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4.5 out of 5 stars76
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 15 June 2007
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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on 6 February 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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on 17 March 2005
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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on 6 September 2008
I read this when my baby was 6 months old and WISH i had read it earlier. I thought I was the only person who felt like I was way out of my depth, but no, seems like that is completely normal. This book made me feel that I was sane, normal, and a good mother. If you are feeling even slightly inadequate, read this book!
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on 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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on 11 October 2006
This book sets out to celebrate motherhood and it largely succeeds. The author tries to be uncritical and completely supportive. But perhaps this is a subject in which it is impossible to be unbiased. There is a subtle but definite bias against "training" styles of parenting and working mothers.

Despite this the main message of the book is upbeat and heartwarming.
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on 21 April 2009
Do you think that when the day ends, and you are about to collapse from fatigue that you have done absolutely nothing? Well, let me tell you that you have done the most amazing job in the job - raising your child.

As a first time mum, I have felt like I have been wandering in the dark with all these feelings that I could never put into words. I thought that there was something seriously wrong with me and the strength of different feelings I had about my baby. Reading this book helped me to realise that I am actually perfectly normal.

If you only ever read one book on Motherhood, then it really has to be this one.
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on 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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on 4 February 2010
As a new father I found this to be a truly excellent book, both for preparing you mentally for the birth and coping after wards. It has helped me understand what exactly my wife is experiencing as a mother, to be a more supportive husband (I hope!) and to appreciate the importance of seemingly unimportant acts.

Naomi Stadlen's style is reassuring but undidactic - she is at pains to reassure readers not to feel inadequate if their experience differs from that she outlines. In this manner this book would probably be helpful for you no matter what approach (if any!( you are taking to parenthood. Furthermore her observations, while simply and easily articulated, clearly come from a well of digested knowledge gained by both years of first hand experience of mothers and motherhood and a deep understanding of relevant areas of academic research. Ms Stadlen is no self-help hack; her prose is the real deal and her cautious advice a comfort for any parent doubting their instincts.

Highly recommended.
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on 20 March 2013
This book celebrates motherhood by cataloguing all the vital tasks that mothers do and praising mothers for all they accomplish in a society that often overlooks the detail of these accomplishments. The premise of the book is to counter the prevalence of negative language surrounding the work of being a mother and provides interesting insight into the choices modern women make when considering having children. The impact that motherhood has on women who often have no prior experience of child rearing and who have been success oriented in careers is well described and will help women to understand their (often shell-shocked) reactions after giving birth. This is a must read for women in general, mothers and indeed for men and, in particular, fathers who may not otherwise understand their partners as they (mothers) struggle to come to terms with motherhood. Ultimately, this is an empowering book for mothers and a thoroughly interesting (and encouraging) read!!
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