How Not to Be a Perfect Mother: The Crafty Mother's Guide to a Quiet Life Paperback – 11 Jul 1994
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‘This book is a great antidote to the prevailing tendency to make a science of everything, even the most natural things, like raising children. Libby Purves has faith in people. As you read her book, your faith in yourself comes flooding back.’ Amazon reader, 2002--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
WHICH ARE YOU?
run immaculate homes
make nappies into kites
read books on Child Development
never raise their voices
have food on their jumpers
never finish anything
limp from treading on Sticklebricks
read romantic novels on the quiet
squeak with exhaustion
With sparkling humour and a low cunning born of four years spent catching food before it hits the floor, Libby Purves shows that even the most unpromising madonna can survive the years of looking after babies and toddlers.
Full of down-to-earth tips and hilarious anecdotes, this is a battle-manual for the mother on the front line – going from pregnancy to pre-schoolers, and taking in sibling fights, fraught outings, nannies and careers along the way.
Drawing on her own experience of domestic havoc with two babies, and on the wit and wisdom of fifty like-minded mothers, Libby Purves shamelessly describes how to cut the corners and bend the rules which never mattered much anyway. 'How Not to Be a Perfect Mother' is an invaluable guide to being an imperfect mother and enjoying it.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's very readable and there were odd bits that made me laugh aloud, but overall it is a book of tips and advice - I think I'd been hoping more for a book that would be cathartic with its humour. Lots of advice was probably refreshing honest and even radical in places when it was first published but feels quite mainstream now e.g.in the toddler section, you'll find suggestions to use distraction to head off unwanted behaviour, to buy toys from jumble sales, and to do potty training in the summer . Much has changed since the book was written (in the 1980s?). For example, a fair chunk of the book is about childcare and returning to work, and it all focused on nannies and child minders with no mention of nurseries. The author did an update in 2004, but ultimately, the experience of being a mother has changed so much since then in terms of the pressures, issues and so on, that I don't think it can hope to hit the mark in the way that it probably did originally.
This book is a great antidote to the prevailing tendency to make a science out of everything, even the most natural things, like raising children. Libby Purves has faith in people. As you read her book, your faith in yourself comes flooding back.
Yes I suppose it is dated in some respects. However, there are some principles of motherhood that do not change, and what I especially enjoyed about this book was its essential subversiveness, compared with the terrible guilt trips offered by the middle class bible thumpers.... At the time, this was the only book I came across that even contemplated the possibility that a mother might want to go out to work - or have to - and offered moral support and practical advice instead of disapproval.
I can thoroughly recommend the two subsequent books as well; my children are a year or two younger than Ms Purves', and I am still hoping for the one about teenagers....
Th horror of it! That kind of sets the tone of this book really. It is an amusing and insightful string of anecdotes from a woman who has money and support (and a nanny) and talks about the hardships of motherhood which if like me, you think a childminder is completely normal and don't have the luxury of police paging you in a horse show arena during a babysitting emergency, it can get a little annoying. That said, it is a good read if you don't mind your blood boiling every so often at the insensitivity of the privileged...
There are a lot of really helpful tips in there, which I would really recommend! Nobody needs to be perfect - no one is. Stop trying and enjoy doing it your way!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dated but still relevant. My favourite line is where she compares a baby's sleep to the weather, just because it rained at 9.30 yesterday it doesn't mean it will rain at 9. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Sarah
I absolutely loved this book, which Purves wrote in response to her misgiving about other parenting books available when she had her children which appeared to apply rigid theory... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Josa Young
i am reading this 30 years too late, but it is is still fun to read she writes so well and apparently so sincerely.Published 19 months ago by Duncan
I read this book years ago when it just came out. I thoroughly enjoyed it then and I just bought a copy for my daughter-in-law who became a mum a few months ago. She loves it. Read morePublished 20 months ago by O.J.H.
Bought it for a colleague who was going on maternity leave - she loved it! It was welcome relief from the enormity of the serious stuff!!Published 23 months ago by Rachel Samuels