Best-selling author Ayelet Waldman delivers a humorous, encouraging look at the nearly impossible - and often thankless! - job of mothering. Filled with humor and deliciously outrageous observations on the world'smost difficult profession, Bad Mother is a godsend for anyone who's ever felt maternally challenged.As every pregnant woman knows, motherhood is a nonstop pleasure cruise filled with warmth, personal fulfillment, and consistent joy - or at least that's what women are told before they give birth and the real truth of mothering asserts itself. As seasoned moms will attest, mothering is difficult, stressful, and the biggest challenge a woman will ever face. With rare insight, Waldman addresses the overwhelming task of motherhood - and encourages women to realize they may be doing a much better job than they think.More
This book was definitely not, to borrow from the title of that ubiquitous parenting tome, what I expected.
Ayelet Waldman, a former federal public defender, was penning successful "mommy-track" mystery novels when she thrust herself into the middle of the national, media-induced, mommy-tug-of-war. In the now infamous essay, published in the March 27, 2005, Modern Love column of The New York Times, she dared to confess that her children had not supplanted her husband as the center of her passionate universe. And, not only were she and her husband still "doing-it" on a regular basis she was enjoying it!
So, quite frankly, I was expecting a primer on how to become a "bad-ass" mother myself.
I didn't imagine the Ayelet presented by narrator Mia Barron in this collection of essays: a sensitive and loving woman, with a strong identity as both a "good Jewish girl" and a staunch feminist, struggling with society's dictates for mothers in a post-feminist world. By all accounts, Ms. Barron reads with a wonderfully accurate approximation of the author's pedigreed voice. Her tone and cadence is pleasant, with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek needed to deliver the more ironic passages.
She recounts Ayelet's journey from working, breast milk-pumping lawyer (Chapter 4) to stay-at-home, baby-lusting mother of four (Chapter 16) and the blogosphere-full of disdain for both roles. Like mothers everywhere, she worries that there is something wrong with the baby; something wrong with the 1st grader; something wrong with the 13-year-old.
When she's not crying over an optimistic YouTube portrait of the world her children might someday inherit, she's busy dissecting the influence of her and her husband's disparate upbringings, as it bears on their children's future. And she can go from boring ("My Mother-in-Law, Myself", Chapter 7) to heartbreaking ("Rocketship", Chapter 11) in 60 seconds. As parenthood does, every day.
Ayelet does give up a few secrets, and they benefit both seasoned moms and "we're trying" gals. The secret to an intact, marital libido? Equally shared housework. The secret to a happy, healthy child? "Be the parent your child needs, rather than the one you want to be."
Now, I ask you, does that sound like the advice of a bad mother? Lisa Duggan
"Waldman writes in these well-fashioned essays how a mother's best intentions frequently go awry.... [her] frank revelations are chatty and sure to delight." (Publishers Weekly)
"While Waldman's biting humor is ever present, it is her concern for other conflicted mothers that stays with the reader. In all, an unexpectedly tender book in which Waldman candidly considers how difficult it is to be Mommy." (Booklist)
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I'm not a mother but I still loved this book.