Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace (Paperback)
May 2010 Indie Next List
“In her funny, brutally honest, and brave prose, Waldman tackles the many challenges of motherhood in the modern era, offering encouragement to all bad mommies out there who recognize the impossibility of having and doing it all gracefully and without error. How is a self-aware, thoughtful, intelligent feminist to raise children well in a culture that villifies nearly every choice available (or unavailable) to her? A provocative, entertaining read for moms with moxie.”
— Libby Cowles, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO
In our mothers’ day there were good mothers, indifferent mothers, and occasionally, great mothers. Today we have only Bad Mothers: If you work, you’re neglectful; if you stay home, you’re smothering. If you discipline, you’re buying them a spot on the shrink’s couch; if you let them run wild, they will be into drugs by seventh grade. Is it any wonder so many women refer to themselves at one time or another as a “bad mother”?
Writing with remarkable candor, and dispensing much hilarious and helpful advice along the way—Is breast best? What should you do when your daughter dresses up as a “ho” for Halloween?—Ayelet Waldman says it's time for women to get over it and get on with it in this wry, unflinchingly honest, and always insightful memoir on modern motherhood.
About the Author
Tom Little served as head of Oakland, California's Park Day School for twenty-seven years. A national leader in Progressive Education, he cofounded the Progressive Education Network. He died in 2013 from cancer shortly after writing this book.
“Hilarious, heartbreaking, and edgy.” —Newsweek
“This is not only a wonderfully written book, but I think it may also be a book of great salvation for many women. Most of the mothers I know (the honest ones, the tired ones, the confused ones) will see themselves reflected in these wise pages and will find long-overdue comfort here.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“Absorbing reading . . . takes brave risks. . . . What really makes Waldman’s book interesting, as voices on motherhood go, is Waldman herself—the intensity of her positions and the way she thinks.” —The New York Times Book Review
“I have often felt that it is impossible to be a mother without a profound, even corrosive, sense of failure, or at least that’s how I feel about myself. To find a book that shares that anxiety, and an author who dissects this insecurity and self-doubt with wit, honesty and proper, enquiring intelligence, is (as a reader) like being grossly dehydrated and being presented with a vat of water to drink. . . . I want to be in the company of her frank intelligence forever.” —Nigella Lawson
“Many find Waldman’s honesty hard to take. For some of us it’s hard to live without.” —People
“Waldman’s book is nothing short of a revelation.” —The Oregonian
“Nuanced and thoughtful. . . . Waldman is often an astute commentator on contemporary parenting.” —Boston Globe
“Waldman hates to hold back, and that trait serves her well in Bad Mother.” —The Washington Post
“Bound to stimulate ferocious discussion.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Waldman is a courageous and talented writer. Her greatest accomplishment in this book is to take her experience—some of our worst fears—and make it something we can understand. . . . Isn’t that a mother's real job?” —Susan Cheever, The Daily Beast
“Fascinating. . . . If she’s honest, every mother will see herself reflected in the pages of this book.” —The Anniston Star
“Ayelet Waldman writes cleanly and thoughtfully about motherhood as both an experience and a spectator sport. Bad Mother is blunt, wry, prescriptive and pleasurable.” —Meg Wolitzer, author of The Ten-Year Nap
“Ayelet Waldman's sane perspective on the challenges of motherhood comes as a relief. I relished her graceful language, self-mocking humor, her clear, if sometimes painful, insight. And I admire her—deeply—for the bracing honesty that redeems it all.” —Peggy Orenstein, author of Waiting for Daisy
“Ayelet Waldman writes about motherhood the way women live it: Not only as parents, but also as wives, professionals, and most touchingly, former children. Written with humor, insight, generosity, and unflinching honesty, Bad Mother is for anyone who has—or has been—a child.” —Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc. and The Starter Marriage