Author: Ann Pleshette Murphy
Basic Overview: Ann Pleshette Murphy was the editor-in-chief of Parents magazine for ten years. Drawing on her own experience, that of other mothers, and experts’ advice, Murphy provides a funny, relate-able guide to motherhood. The seven stages of motherhood are as follows:
Stage 1: Altered States: Pregnancy, Birth and the Fourth Trimester
Stage 2: Finding Your Footing, Finding Yourself: Months Four Through Twelve
Stage 3: Letting Go: The Toddler Years, One and Two
Stage 4: Trying to Do It All: The Preschool Years, Three to Six
Stage 5: Reading the Compass to God-Knows-Where: Years Six to Ten
Stage 6: Living in the Gray Zone: The Preteen Years, Ten to Thirteen
Stage 7: It Gets Easier … and Then They Leave: The Teen Years, Thirteen to Eighteen
Parts I Liked Best: Having read a host of books on child development, it was so nice to read a book about mother development. While we are all different, we all experience similar feelings and situations as our children grow up. Here were some of the key take-away points for me:
Stage 1: Accept that your life will be different from now on, redefine your definitions of goals or accomplishments (it’s an accomplishment to tune into your baby, or even to get to a doctor appointment!)
Stage 2: This section contains a lot of great advice about making the decision to go back to work vs staying home and what to expect with each choice.
Stage 3: “’Take the long view’ should become your mantra during the toddler years.” (pg 103) Remember that most challenges will be temporary and give yourself a break.
Stage 4: Don’t confuse lots of rushing around and activities with quality time. Recognize that children at this stage just want to hang out with you. You need to accept that you will not always be at the top of the totem pole when friends and teachers begin to enter your child’s life.
Stage 5: It’s difficult to know when to help and when to let go during this stage of motherhood. We have to realize we can’t always make it all better. Avoid comparing yourself to other parents.
Stage 6: Be careful to stay the parent and not be too much of a friend. Like toddlers, teens want and need limits. It’s normal to feel a little lonely.
Stage 7: Sometimes you will feel like your dealing with a toddler again during this stage! Anticipate the empty nest stage.
How This Book Made an Impact In My Life, Especially as a Mother (or why I just really liked it): I loved the tone of this book. The author was so honest about her own experiences – she’d often explain the “expert” opinion and then explain how hard it was for her to follow said opinion. She also includes a lot of interviews with other mothers who share their experiences.
After reading this, I felt more “normal”! I realized that many of the emotions and struggles that I’ve gone through thus far in motherhood are to be expected. Motherhood is like a dance. We go from being center-stage in our child’s life to sidling backstage to give them independence and we repeat it again and again.
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