Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman

In Bad Mother, Ayelet Waldman talks about how all mothers are made to feel like they are performing poorly as mothers, regardless of their choices.  Waldman is married to the novelist, Michael Chabon, and together they have four children.  She gives the reader an intimate view of the choices she has made as a mother, and the negative feedback she has gotten for some of her choices.

The book is written in eighteen chapters, each discussing common parenting issues.  The stay-at-home mom vs. the working mom is covered, and how each is criticized for what they choose for their family.  The marriage partnership and how work is divided is a chapter.  Chapters I found especially relevant was one about how they elected to abort a child identified with birth defects, and one that talked about how to discuss sex and the parents' sexual history with one's children.  I also liked the chapter about the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship which gave me new ways to look at this common issue through a new filter.  The chapter about helping children with their social relationships and not dragging your own angst into the issue was timely, and I loved the chapter about hating homework.

This book is recommended for all readers.  Those who are parents will recognize themselves, or at least the issues that most parents face, while those who have remained childless will gain a better understanding of what family life is like. 

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