What Mothers Do Especially When it Looks Like Nothing

Posted in: Book Reviews

whatby Naomi Stadlen

Piatkus £7.99

What Mothers Do… is an inspirational book. I would recommend buying a copy for any friend embarking on their first experience of motherhood, particularly those who are unsure as to whether they should really be considering giving up a career to become a full time mother.

Here is a book which champions our cause: the inestimable value of a mother’s investment in taking care of her baby, particularly during those first few difficult months when we are still trying to understand what it is we are doing.

The early days of motherhood can be the hardest period. It is also at this time that career women have to convince themselves that giving up their position in the workplace to bring up a child is really worthwhile.

Which of us doesn’t empathise with that early feeling of “achieving nothing” all day, or even that what we have achieved is measured in terms of what we’ve managed to get done whilst the baby slept? (And no feminist would give up her hard-won career to become a housekeeper.)

We need a new vocabulary to challenge society’s assessment of “what a mother does”; reading this book will encourage all new mothers towards the belief that the job of bringing up a child is one of the most worthwhile and challenging careers available to a woman. It offers new mothers the wisdom that veteran mothers will, if they are lucky, have gained through experience.

The commitment required to be a full time parent, when society at large so underestimates and undervalues a mother’s role, is enormous. As the baby grows older the challenge to mothers to justify the importance of their work, both to others and to themselves, continues.

To this end I would like to commend another book: in Endangered – Your Child in a Hostile World, Johannn Christoph Arnold’s reverence of children is a compelling affirmation of the importance of parenting. The book is a passionate advocacy for full time parenting as the way forward for a civilised society.

Whilst we continue to campaign for public recognition of this role, this book will help committed parents in the meantime to strengthen their personal belief in the value of what they are providing for their children.

Esther Peacock

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