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What Mothers Do: especially when it looks like nothing [Paperback]

Naomi Stadlen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Aug 2005
Have you ever spent all day looking after your baby or young child - and ended up feeling that you have 'done nothing all day'? Do you sometimes find it hard to feel pleased with what you are doing, and tell yourself you should achieve more with your time? Maybe it's because you can't see how much you are doing already. In this unique and perceptive look at mothering, Naomi Stadlen draws on many years' work with hundreds of other mothers of a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. She explores mothers' experiences to reveal what they - and you - are doing when it may look, to everyone else, like nothing. If you are a mother, and have ever felt: that nobody understands what you do all day; overwhelmed by your feelings for your baby; tired all the time; that nothing prepared you for motherhood; uncertain what your baby seems to want; short-tempered with your partner - you will find this the most reassuring book you have ever picked up.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (25 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749926201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749926205
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Naomi Stadlen has three children and three grandchildren. She has worked for many years as an existential psychotherapist who specialises in seeing parents of young children. She continues to work for La Leche League as a breastfeeding counsellor in London, and runs weekly discussion groups for mothers called Mothers Talking. Naomi teaches and supervises at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling in London.

For further information and forthcoming events, see Naomi's website at www.naomistadlen.com.

Product Description


This book is amazing . . . It doesn't tell you what to do but reassures you that you're not alone (MOTHER AND BABY July 2010)

A great book if you're feeling like a less-than-perfect new mum (Now Celeb Mum & Baby: 4 star review)

The best book on parenting brilliantly insightful. (Guardian)

I wish I'd had this book years ago - to show to bosses who didn't understand, to friends who couldn't grasp why I was permanently tired, and even to myself - to know that I wasn't the only one who wished for an extra eight hours in the day. (Anne Diamond, television presenter, mother)

If you haven't read [Naomi Stadlen's] books, please do so. They will inspire your mothering (Battersea Yoga)

From the Author

I am very grateful for these reviews of What Mothers Do. I'm collecting reviews from mothers, from fathers, from grandparents and from non-parents. I'm sorry that I haven't yet got my own website. However, you can contact me through my publishers on info@piatkus.co.uk and title it: For Naomi Stadlen, What Mothers Do. I'm very keen to hear from each of you. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book only a few months after my son was born, and I appreciate it more with each passing month.

The author looks sympathetically at mothers, whether they are stay-at-home, work-at-home, or work-outside-the-home. This is a book that gives you words for what being a mother means in a concrete kind of way.

She helps you fill in the blanks when someone asks you what you've done all day, and you know that you've been insanely busy but can't actually put in words what you've done. You know that you ran two loads of wash, changed 5 diapers, and managed feeding your child, but can that REALLY fill up 9 hours?? Oh yes! What about the nurturing and comfort that you provided? How about the education that you provided as you emptied the washing machine over 10 minutes instead of 2 as you explain to your baby "this is a sock", etc.

The "tasks" of mothering don't have words or an accompanying value in Western society, but this book helps you name what you do and feel good about it!

All I can say: Buy it as fast as you can and enjoy!!
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a find... 6 Feb 2006
My husband bought me this book before our baby was born and I started to read it and didn't find it relevant (as I hadn't had the baby yet!)
But when the baby came....so did the book and it was such a good help and confidence booster in the mad hazy first weeks of having a new baby at home with you. I wish I had read it before.
The book, unlike other advice books, is a no nonsense, straight from the hip advice from other mothers. I loved it because it was just so honest....a relief in times that you start to doubt your abilities as a mother. It help me to realise something that I suspected from the start - to trust myself and my intuition. I really think that this book should be read by every mother.
From one very happy Mam and a very healthly baby - enjoy!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Got me through the hard times 31 May 2007
If I could write a mandatory reading list for pregnant couples, this book would top it. Read it. If you are already a mother it will provide you with a boost that is almost spiritual, if you are going to be parents it will provide a valuable insight into the massive changes your lives are about to undergo.

Ladies, if your partner is reluctant to read another baby book, simply get him to read the chapter 'Snapping at my partner'....a peek into why we take out the frustrations of our day on them!
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheers me up 17 Mar 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have two really small children and a very tiring, chaotic life. Reading this (which I did in two days, despite aforementioned children) really cheered me up and helped me feel validated in the work I am doing. I will be buying it for all my new mother friends and I highly recommend it for everyone who is trying to mother their new children and feels overwhelmed, distressed, fearful and/ or exhausted. This will make you feel better and put some of it into perspective. I've never encountered another book which explains my current life better.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Reader
This book deals primarily with the first year of motherhood, and babyhood. Real mothers are given the opportunity to speak through this book, as many quotations are included showing a range of experiences that constitute motherhood. There is no law laid down concerning the right and wrong way of doing things. The message comes across that the best teacher is the baby and that any mother and baby relationship is unique. This book could be empowering and reassuring for new mothers. It would also be extremely valuable for new fathers to read this. It could perhaps herald a new "golden period of babyhood", as babies are seen as expressing genuine needs, rather than just being demanding.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an esteem-boosting read! 25 May 2006
I have four month old twins and little time to read, but I saw 'What Mothers Do' reviewed on Amazon and bought myself a copy. I have been reading a few pages every evening, after the babies have gone to bed and I have a few hours to myself.

This book has at times brought a tear to my eye because it so accurately describes the enormity of motherhood and the complex array of emotions and thoughts that we, as mothers, go through.

It is a wonderfully heart-lifting book. On days when you really think you've been useless (and I have plenty of them!) and things have got on top of you, this book just makes it all make sense again and helps you believe in yourself as a 'good' mother.

It's very esteem-boosting and reassuring, for all mothers, but particularly new mums. I've read loads of practical reference books for parents, all giving contradictory advice. This doesn't give any prescriptive advice, but simply describes what a brilliant job us mums do for our babies and society as a whole!

Great book - even my husband is reading it and agrees with me!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The REAL Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul 30 April 2005
By A Customer
This is an amazing book that--unlike any other babycare book--would make a great gift for a new or recent mother (or father!). It is packed full of quotes from mothers speaking honestly. It doesn't tell you what to do. It highlights and praises what you are probably doing already. It is written with "a big heart" stressing the uniqueness of each of us, that for me meant I could finally feel good about my own parenting choices while at the same time appreciating others' choices were just as right for them. My son was already 16 months old by the time I read it but it still helped me make sense of the disorienting experience of early motherhood in a way that nothing else has. I was getting ready to pass my copy onto a friend when I realised how much I still need it, 6 months after I first tore through it. "What Mothers Do - especially when it looks like nothing" made me realise how valuable my mothering was, in a society that says it is not worthwhile, and having this encouragement has been priceless. It could be for any person who is a primary carer for a baby, as the writer says.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly helpful
In my opinions, this book is the best literature on how to cope with the demands of a firstborn to a new mother in today's rather isolated families. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars A profoundly moving book, which enabled me (a midwife) ...
A profoundly moving book, which enabled me (a midwife) to appreciate far more deeply the importance of a mother's full availability to her baby.
Published 19 days ago by Mrs. A. S. Blenkinsop
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - the only book on parenting you will need!
I LOVE this thought provoking book. It takes a deeper look at the concept of motherhood at all various angles. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Jencat123
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit depressing
I started to read this Book when I was 5 months pregnant. I got to the chapter entitled 'so tired I want to die' and decided I had to stop reading. Read more
Published 4 months ago by H Gruber
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for every mother...
I wish someone had bought me this book when I had my first baby. Now I reread it as often as I can and buy it for others when they have their first babies! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Becksy
5.0 out of 5 stars cannot reccommend this book enough - read it.
Excellent excellent book, All mothers should read it - so reassuring it made me cry with relief. Do get it
Published 8 months ago by E Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I really enjoyed this book and it has calmed some of my worries - about to give birth to my first child. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Emily P
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking read
As a first time mum (10 month old boy) this book really put into words what I have been feeling through the amazing, tiring, bewildering and wonderful time I have had since the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs S L Bakewell
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book
such a brilliant book. made a lot of sense and found myself agreeing and found that i was doing some of the things the book said. Read more
Published 10 months ago by J-na
1.0 out of 5 stars Sheer poison
I was given this book by a well-meaning female colleague, who had felt very validated by this book. It clearly wasn't for me: just dipping into it after my baby was born made me... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Anne Conte
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