The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality

The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality

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by Avital Norman Nathman
     
 

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In an era of mommy blogs, Pinterest, and Facebook, The Good Mother Myth dismantles the social media–fed notion of what it means to be a “good mother.” This collection of essays takes a realistic look at motherhood and provides a platform for real voices and raw stories, each adding to the narrative of motherhood we don’t tend to see in

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Overview

In an era of mommy blogs, Pinterest, and Facebook, The Good Mother Myth dismantles the social media–fed notion of what it means to be a “good mother.” This collection of essays takes a realistic look at motherhood and provides a platform for real voices and raw stories, each adding to the narrative of motherhood we don’t tend to see in the headlines or on the news.

From tales of mind-bending, panic-inducing overwhelm to a reflection on using weed instead of wine to deal with the terrible twos, the honesty of the essays creates a community of mothers who refuse to feel like they’re in competition with others, or with the notion of the ideal mom—they’re just trying to find a way to make it work. With a foreword by Christy Turlington Burns and a contributor list that includes Jessica Valenti, Sharon Lerner, Lisa Duggan, and many more, this remarkable collection seeks to debunk the myth and offer some honesty about what it means to be a mother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/25/2013
Showcasing a diverse set of women and their mothering experiences, this collection by Norman Nathman (the Mamafesto blog) aims to lighten “the social as well as biological burden of good motherhood.” The mythical “Good Mother” emerges as less a cultural “archetype” or media-driven construction than an internalized angst fed by the “self-induced pressure to become the Perfect Mother” and the lurking suspicion that other parents are having an easier time. In each of the 35 contributors’ reflections on her motherhood challenges—kept short and digestible, and ranging in tone from thoughtful to self-congratulatory—a set of shared narratives emerges: women seeking absolution for moments of perceived failure; women seeking validation for their individual choices; and women seeking to retrieve a sense of self-possession. While some don’t stray far from the “tired tropes” or the blog confessional, several essays by scholars, activists, artists, and professionals delve into the ways in which “motherhood, as an institution, remains oppressive to women today,” and expose ideals of femininity that are not just exclusively straight, white, and biological but ensure that “women’s work” remains “invisible and unpaid.” Refreshingly honest, frequently funny, and overall intelligently self-reflective, these voices reassure the anxious and guilt-ridden that “there is no such thing as a good mother. There is only the good enough mother.” (Jan.)
From the Publisher

"Refreshingly honest, frequently funny, and overall intelligently self-reflective, these voices reassure the anxious and guilt-ridden that 'there is no such thing as a good mother. There is only the good enough mother.'"
Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580055024
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/31/2013
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
392,507
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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Meet the Author


Avital Norman Nathman is a former teacher and lifelong learner turned freelance writer. Her work, which places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, gender, reproductive justice, and reproductive health, has been featured in Bitch magazine, The New York Times, Bamboo Family Magazine, RH Reality Check, CNN, Offbeat Families, HLNtv.com, and more. In addition to her blog, The Mamafesto, Norman Nathman has a regular series, “The Femisphere,” for Ms. magazine’s site, as well as a regular feminist parenting column, “Mommie Dearest,” for The Frisky.

While teaching high school social studies for a number of years, Norman Nathman completed her master’s thesis at Wesleyan University, with a concentration in women’s studies. Her thesis, which focused on the status of feminism in the lives of women in their twenties, only fueled her interest in investigating and commenting on the role of feminism for women in other aspects of their lives, including motherhood.

Based in Western Massachusetts with her husband and son, Norman Nathman enjoys digging in her urban garden, hosting dance parties in her kitchen, tweeting (follow her @TheMamafesto), and searching for the perfect cup of chai.

Christy Turlington Burns is a mother, a model, and the founder of Every Mother Counts, a campaign to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world.

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