What Mothers Do - Book Review

What Mothers Do - Book Cover
Image from http://www.naomistadlen.com/what-mothers-do.asp

I recently read What Mothers Do - especially when it looks like nothing by Naomi Stadlen, as part of my professional reading for my BabyCalm™ teacher training. It's definitely one of the nicest books I have read since becoming a mum, so I really must share my thoughts on it.

I haven't read much at all since having a baby, there is just so little time. We had eight texts to read for the course which seemed a lot! I read all the other books first, and sad as it may sound, I was attracted to the ones with pictures first as they didn't seem quite so overwhelming (reviews on the ones I likes will follow). This one is 258 pages of very small text - I predicted a hard slog.

couldn't have been more wrong.

started this book on Sunday afternoon, and by 9pm on Monday I had finished it. I hardly put it down. I have not been that absorbed by a book since BB was born, I discovered for the first time that he is actually happy for me to sit and read. He sat with me, sometimes looking at his own books, sometimes playing, sometimes watching TV. He was happy with our day. Furthermore he slept through the night (still a rare occurrence) and I had a 6 hour+ stretch of sleep for the first time in 3 years. I am not sure what the cause and effect is here - possibly it has as much to do with our relaxing day and the lack of looking at a computer screen as it does with the content of the book - but still, this book gave me that. I now think that it should be on every mum’s bookshelf, for her to read whenever she finds the time.

The theme that stands out to me most is how we should all respect other mothers no matter what their choices for child rearing are, as we have all made these decisions with great thought,  doing the best for their family in their circumstances, and that this selfless generosity to our families makes us all the same. I certainly felt respected and appreciated by the author. It affirmed that my work as a mum is incredibly valuable, and it was therapeutic in many ways too.

Before I actually read it, I wondered who will read it?  Would a new mum actually be able to sit down and read this? Is that time just before the baby arrives a good time, or would it not make sense then, or worse, be off putting with regard to what was ahead? Now that I have read it, I am sending it to all my friends who are about to have or who just had a baby as I think it is the perfect gift for a new mum - they will read it when it suits them, and I'm sure they'll love it too.

The Book Depository offers free delivery worldwide on this book.

Hello, and thanks for stopping by. My name is Emma and I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, writer, teacher, coach and mentor. I am passionate about eating real food, learning, travel and health. I get to spend my days with my amazing son who has chosen to learn from the world rather than at school. We write to share the life we love and to help others create a life they love too.


  1. Thanks for sharing this book. As someone who often struggles with wondering if there's actually a reason that it seems I have no time in my day, I'll enjoy looking into this book!

  2. Then I think you'll love it - let me know what you think if you do find time to read it

  3. I read a review about this book last year, and fell in love with some of the concepts. Like 'being interruptible, on call' - it's why writing an email longer than 2 sentences can take an entire day. And 'humiliating inefficiency'. Oh, that is so my life nowadays! Sounds like a good read. I might put it on my wish list.

  4. Yes it's totally worth it! I don't think it will change anything, or make you get more done, but it will help you realise how amazing you are already!

  5. Thanks Shannon. I think I'm getting to a conclusion. Chocofishie's comment about really helped actually. I am happy with one- I am not so happy with the other options. I think just calling it quits and starting a new year with all of the emotional turmoil of the last year behind me will be a good thing. Its a big change to the plans though, and I have twinges of jealousy when I see a bump. I guess that would happen even if I had two or three children though. Its hard to let go of the dream, but I don't think I really have any choice. It's true that if I had gone for an AD I would have had 2, and I do have some regrets about that - but it's turned out BB has a Dad not a sibling, which is a good alternative and I can enrich his life in other ways too.

  6. Oh, so stressful! I wish there were a clear cut solution here...hoping something happens to help you figure out the way to move forward.