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Surrendering to Motherhood: Losing Your Mind, Finding Your Soul Paperback – April 22, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Krasnow, a freelance journalist who has worked for the Washington Post and UPI, begins her memoir by remarking, "after years of trying to find power in various gurus, interviews with movie stars, senators, and even a queen, surrendering to motherhood was the most liberating and powerful thing" she ever did. In great detail, Krasnow takes us through her life as a child growing up in Chicago, college in California, glamorous jobs, a string of exotic boyfriends, and success in her field. She still felt "something huge was missing." After various quests, she married and is now the mother of four boys under seven and has surrendered to days of diapers and educating her sons. By the end of the book, she has realized that no one can have it all, that sometimes more is just more. We know that out of the havoc she has found peace. Her book is a bit whiny and filled with too much "me generation" angst. Still, the writing is first-rate. Recommended for general collections.?Susan Dearstyne, Hudson Valley Cty. Coll., Albany, N.Y.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax; Reprint edition (April 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786883189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786883189
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,863,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In chronicling her journey from driven career-woman to driven mom, Iris Krasnow makes some valuable points, such as the importance of enjoying one's children on a day-to-day basis, and the value of living in the here and now. However, she takes an enormous leap in implying that to do this requires one to "surrender" to housework and childcare and give up, or drastically curtail, many of the career interests that a woman had before bearing children. The life at home advocated by Krasnow, involving cleaning up children's messes and ignoring more adult interests, sounds suspiciously like the depressing 1950s myth of fulfilled womanhood that Betty Friedan worked to dispel in The Feminine Mystique. Her advocacy of such a life is also more than a little disingenuous, given that Krasnow is actually working nearly half-time as a writer and has a significant amount of childcare available. I wonder if her joy in the life of a housewife and stay-at-home mom would persist if she did not have her career as an intellectual outlet.
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57 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Loki Shams on June 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was introduced to this book by my husband.He was listening to a radio talk show, while driving to work. Their guest was Iris Krasnow, the author of Surrenderig to Motherhood. He apparantly liked what he heard, because he came home, raving about this book. He insisted that I MUST read it. He claimed that it would make my life as a mother oh so clear.
I finally agreed. He bought me the book and waited expectantly. I told him that I must first READ it before gaining insight. I started into this autobiography of sorts. I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but it certainly was not this.
I honestly did not like this book. I forced myself to finish it, just to make my husband happy. I did not feel as if I had gained anymore wisdom or insight in my role as a mother. I stay home with my children of my own free will, I would sacrifice everything for them. Yet, it nearly took the death of Iris Krasnows firstborn child, to realize that she was missing out on everything.
I cannot see what was the huge sacrifice that Iris Krasnow made. Nothing is too good to let go of for your own flesh and blood. Besides, she supposedly had the perfect life. College in sunny California, Jet Setter jobs in Chicago and Houston. A perfect journalistic opportunity in Washington.
She fell in love with and married the so called perfect man. Maintained the perfect size 6 body. I mean this woman had absolutely no complaints. Good jobs, lots of money and a great loving and supportive husband. And to top it all off, she was in her late thirties when she had her first child. Far from being a young chick.
This woman had and has it all. She is happy and content with her life. She has accomplished many dreams in her forty some years.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Lopoukhine on February 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is almost insulting to us "real" moms out there. I am a stay at home mom of 3 under 3 who was fortunate enough to be able to walk away from a big career with even bigger potential. I was hoping for some words of wisdom to make the transition a bit easier. But, alas, all this one has to offer is self-piteous name dropping and repetitive stories of a search for spirituality. Get over yourself. Her writing is insulting at times. Although I agree having so many kids so close is not a walk in the park, and definitely takes some surrendering, I also know that life would be much easier with the "staff" she was able to employ with her 4 boys. Get real, Iris.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By LH on March 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
I do not share Iris Krasnow's driving ambition, nor her good fortune at being financially well-off. In fact I am about as different from her as one could possibly get. But I do relate to her in one way: I have found myself needing to be in the process of surrendering to motherhood.
I have had to struggle to allow myself to let go of expectations (from myself and others) to "do something worthwhile" with my life and "contribute to society," i.e., have a successful career. I have also had to struggle to let go of this mindset that says that I always have to be looking forward and away, rather than just appreciating the moment. I have also had to struggle to give of myself, a struggle even when it was in my own best interest.
She affirms, from her personal experience, that it is *okay* to choose this path. It is valid, as well as fulfilling and honorable. That's a nice thing to hear when you've grown up in a culture that has no respect for and devalues the woman (or man, for that matter) who wishes to make her children, rather than her career, the priority in her life.
Iris herself is quite a character, and though she does tend to be unnecessarily (and sometimes tediously) verbose, I enjoyed reading about her career and often fruitless search for truth and happiness. She is simple and honest and does not take herself too seriously, speaking of her missteps with tenderness and forgiveness toward herself.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was an answer to my prayers, literally. When I was suffering from wondering "what if..." flights of fancy ("what if I had pursued a glamorous career instead of committing to my family", etc. etc.), this book convinced me beyond any shadow of a doubt that I not only missed NOTHING, but that I gained EVERYthing, with my choice.

The last few chapters of the book had me weeping....I felt something inside me just "click" with the RIGHTNESS of it all! Someone actually did live the life I had always dreamed of and fantasized about, and in the final analysis found her absolute fulfillment in "surrendering to motherhood".

Through the author, I lived that life, and saw how shallow and fleeting the joys would have been. What an incredible gift!

I've read some of the reviews, and I am really surprised at some of the ugliness. First, the reviewer who wasn't even a mother had NO business commenting. Sorry, but truly you have to be a mother to "get" surrendering.

Secondly, I noticed a lot of snide, snarky remarks about her having nannies and book tours. Well, I'm most definitely NOT of the "Nanny" class of people, and none of that bothered me in the least. Actually, it was really refreshing to see that money and glamour does not bring you happiness (I mean, I already KNEW this, but it was just really a huge confirmation for me). I can say that because her book made it so REAL for me.

Perhaps she is just a really gifted writer, for this book to have touched me so, but whatever the case -- I am immensely thankful that I found this book.

I might not identify with the lifestye that the author is probably accustomed to, but her feelings about motherhood and her precious children? That cuts across all class and money lines...
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