Sunday, September 11, 2011

Naomi Stadlen, who wrote What Mothers Do, Especially When it Looks Like Nothing, has a new book

    Naomi Stadlen
    Naomi Stadlen: 'With mothering you can always put things right, make things better' Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

    Naomi Stadlen likes mothers. She has written two books with the word in the title: What Mothers Do, Especially When it Looks Like Nothing and her latest one, How Mothers Love and How Relationships are Born. She has for 20 years run weekly Mothers Talking meetings, at which she chats with mothers about the sort of week they have had, spring-boarding various discussions. She is a mother of three and a grandmother of two. I don't think to ask how old she is as it doesn't seem to matter; she is in the "wise" category. She's an existential psychotherapist, so I know she is careful with words because she understands the weight they carry. Her answer to the question "Why are you obsessed with mothers?" is unexpected. "I come from a line of problematic mothers." Oh....

"For too long, mothers have let other people dominate the way motherhood is framed and seen and now, for the first time, there is a much bigger generation of mothers who are educated to question all these things that have been said about them. But they don't. You have these people say to you, 'I'd rather be nice to my baby than not, but the books tell me I'm not a firm enough mother.'"

Whereas what mothers do is actually more scientific – and less anecdotal – than they realise...

"Everyone says 'parenting' these days," she gently chides, as I tell her an anecdote about a mother, but use the word parenting. "What's wrong with the word mothering?"

From here

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