Customer Reviews: The Mother Dance: How Children Change Your Life
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on January 29, 1999
I loved Harriet Lerner's other "dance" books. At first I thought this one was going to be more of a guide for the mom-to-be. However, as I kept reading I realized Lerner was taking us through the stages from birth to the young adult's departure from home. Giving us examples from her own life as a mother of two sons, her friends' and clients' lives Lerner marvelously illustrates the various difficulties many women/families can experience. Lerner admits she was not a perfect mother. That admission makes it possible for us, the readers to evaluate our own weaknesses without the customary guilt that usually accompanies such assessments. Topics discussed include power struggles, talking with difficult kids, and sibling relationships. She even mentions the unmentionable-mothers hating their children. I have already recommended this book to a friend for the the last section which deals with the departure of the youngest child from home.
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on July 8, 1999
As a new mother I have read everything I can get my hands on! This book though is for ME, not advice on how to quiet a crying baby or what to feed a picky 12 month old. It is about the feelings, thoughts and worries that a mother obsesses over each day. I cried, laughed and learned through the entire book and then receommended it to two friends. If you are looking for a book to read that talks about how becoming a mom has truly made you a completely different person this is it!
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on November 16, 1999
As a working, mother in the mental health field I was so please to read that Harriet has gone through the same termoils I have. It seems so trivial when I hear her recounts. What a guilt trip we put on ourselves. While reading you feel like she could be sitting in your kitchen talking over a cup of diet soda. I have recommended this book to so many new mothers and older mothers that seem so concerned about doing the "right" thing. Dr. Lerner reminds us there isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to parent.
Lena Sheffield, M.S.Ed., CAP
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on March 10, 2004
I found this book to be well-written, humorous and honest. The author does a good job discussing some of the various "larger societal forces" that help to shape our choices as women and as mothers. Of particular interest to me was the connection between how we relate to our children and how we related to others in our "first family" or "family of origin." This book covered topics I have not seen discussed in other parenting books - for example, the author discusses "empty-nest-syndrome" and how we are affected by gender roles.
That all being said, I was turned off by the bleak picture she presented of stay-at-home mothers. I felt she presented this option as something women are "forced" to do, or end up doing because they are on "automatic pilot." The author makes references to how women lose themselves, their power, and their money if they stay at home. And throughout reading this, I couldn't help but ponder the title - "...How Children Change Your Life". It seems rather ironic because I got the feeling the author was hell-bent on NOT changing her life after her children came along.
If you can get past the negative homemaker/full-time mother references, this book has information that is interesting and helpful and it is also humorous. I do feel, however, that a book that does ALL mothers more justice is Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett's "The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood."
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on October 12, 2004
I am a committeed Lerner-phile, having read her previous books as well. Like her, I am also the mother of two boys. I think that "The Mother Dance" is her best one! Although my children were nearly grown by the time it came out, I identified with her portrayal of young motherhood, and thought she did a great job of normalizing many of the feelings that women have but don't talk about. I gave it to a young (childless) friend of mine to read (OK, she was in her early '30's). A few weeks later, I asked her what she thought, and she said that until she read the book, she didn't know if she could be a good mom herself. But now she knew--she wanted to go ahead and have a baby. Thus, in addition to being humorous and supportive to mothers, it's changed at least one life profoundly!! I would strongly recommend it, for moms and would-be moms.
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on July 19, 1999
I bought this book because I thought it was about how life is different before and after you have children. It's not about that. This is a good parenting book from a feminist's perspective, but didn't give me the insight I was looking for about how my life might change if I decide to reproduce.
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on October 13, 2004
Get this book NOW and give it to every Mom you know regardless of how old their children are! I read this book before I had kids to try and understand what my own Mom might have gone through. Now that I have 15 mo. old twins, I have re-read it during the long hours of breastfeeding! It is falling apart and my highlighter ran out of ink! Harriet Lerner has once again written a thoughtful, insightful, warm, and inspiring book. Through her experience raising 2 boys, she tells it like it is! I was so tired of parenting books giving me "steps to success" and rules for engagement - none of which work consistently. Harriet seems to be the first to recognize that we are all human and it is bringing this human-ness fully into our parenting that connects us with our children. Her real life stories demonstrate how being honest, curious, revealing, and loving can help us raise kids. I loved how courageous she was to reveal her own times of doubt and fear, and then to know what the outcome was for her. She also talks a lot of her husband's involvement and how they are in their different ways of being with the kids. It's just one of those books where you go, "Yeah, that's what happens for me, too." After reading this book, I felt as if I had been inside Harriet's home and seen first hand what it's really like to try and raise kids using your values, knowledge, and self awareness while simultaneously trying not to fall apart when they do something crazy. Thank you, Harriet, for helping me be a better Mom.
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on February 15, 1999
I am a fairly "new" mom with two daughters. One is three and the other is 8 months. There is always TONS of advice everyone has to offer new parents ... or parents entering those "new" stages in a childs life. Some advice is good, some rather questionable and some completely horrible (likely from loving in-laws and over bearing mothers of our own). It gets so confusing! SO ... taking it just as it is ... it is all just advice. For my own piece of mind, I have always enjoyed reading ... especially parenting/self-improvement books. This book by Dr. Lerner rates up there in the top 5! She does an excellent job at acknowledging your "true feelings" as a parent, not what your "suppose to feel". I would love to talk to Dr. Lerner when my daughters reach each of those "stages" ... especially the ones where I might want to overreact! Not because she is a DR ... but because she is a mother too. Parenting has it's good days and it's bad days. You always love your children and they always love you ... and the days you are not at your best ... your still a good momma (and they are still good kids)! I have since purchased her book "The Dance of Intimacy" and look forward to starting it soon.
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on October 12, 2004
This book is full of great advice and heartwarming stories. Harriet Lerner had me laughing about serious things,like how children teach us all about fear and worry, and why advice like "set rules and consequences" isn't as easy as it sounds. Best of all, Lerner is searingly honest about her own experience ("Being a mother comes as naturally to me as being an astronaut," she writes) and includes lots of real-life stories about herself and other parents. So,on your Bad Mommy Days when you think someone should call the Parent Police on you, you know Harriet Lerner is right with you and that you are travelling in good company. I enjoyed every chapter and I highly recommend this book. --Jennifer Margulis,Ph.D., editor of Toddler: Real-Life Stories of Those Fickle, Irrational, Urgent, Tiny People We Love
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on June 16, 1998
When I found out I was pregnant, I didn't want to be. I had never been around kids, much less babies. Reading this book has helped me immensly to find inner peace. By the time I found this book, I had experiences so many people, telling me that I will love being a mom and my identity shouldn't matter. Thank you Harriet Lerner for letting me know it does matter and that having an identity doesn't impair my ability to be a parent.
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