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The Mask of Motherhood: How Becoming a Mother Changes Our Lives and Why We Never Talk About It Paperback – May 1, 2000
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About the Author
Susan Maushart is a columnist for Weekend Australian Magazine and is heard regularly on ABC Radio as host of the acclaimed online series "Multiple Choice." Maushart has a PhD in Media Ecology from New York University and her book The Mask of Motherhood was hailed by the London Times as "a feminist classic." She lives in Australia but will be returning to live in the Long Island, New York, area this winter.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike some of the reviewers in here, I did not find this book to be negative. I found the author to be concise and thoughtful in her narrative. She shared with the reader her experiences and was honest. She did not make it sound like motherhood is a negative thing ~~ just sometimes, women get blindsided by reality that they had little or no prior knowledge of what to expect. Women just do not talk about these things. Women just do not talk about their lack of breastfeeding experiences or how overwhelmed they are when they are first home with their children and how overwhelmed they get when they go back to work. Sometimes, even the spouses don't help out and they (both mothers and fathers of newborns) find out that they've fallen in traditional roles. However, she did point out that it's just as much as the women's fault as the men's in allowing that to happen. (That is one chapter I read with misgivings because it doesn't fit in my life and perceptions of what is like in my own family.)
This is an informative book ~~ one that I urge all mothers read. It is enlightening and honest. It is not a dry book ~~ it is very interesting and pretty fast paced for me. I did not find this book to be negative in complaining about motherhood. Reality is reality and sometimes, it's hard to bear. I know that I denied my first year of motherhood ~~ I didn't want to admit that I struggled with a lot of issues that were going on at that time. No one wants to admit that being a mother is hard sometimes and that it's tedious, boring and sometimes, just too much. But isn't that true of life? Being a mother may be a job but it is a job that spans over an entire lifetime ~~ and like any job, there are moments of pleasure, joy and tedium.
Any woman who wants to stop feeling alone should read this book. It's worth it.
Because of the negative reviews, I admit that I read it on the lookout for evidence that the author was biased against motherhood or for any indication that she herself didn't enjoy motherhood. I found no evidence of this at all! She's not arguing that women who had an easy time with delivery and/or enjoy breastfeeding are lying. She's simply pointing out that it is an adjustment for many women, and yet it's not necessarily discussed (which leaves many women wondering if they are normal or not).
Her chapter on breastfeeding is *not* anti-breastfeeding. It is obvious that she is not a proponent of the attachment theory of parenting (Sears et al). But, for goodness sakes, just because one doesn't necessarily believe in demand feeding doesn't mean one is anti-breastfeeding!
I also thoroughly enjoyed her chapters on The Juggled Life (balancing career & outside interests with motherhood) and the Superwoman chapter on gender roles that may play out in marriages after the arrival of the first baby.
I highly recommend this book -- it's excellent "food for thought," whether you're considering having children, are pregnant or already have one or more children.