the Consequences of an Ideal
by Ann Dally
This book examines the history of motherhood and how ideas about it have changed and evolved through the decades, how have societal standards and attitudes towards women influenced our perception of motherhood and what creates our ideal image of a good mother. Popular and professional opinions have shifted about nearly everything from what is better, constant cuddling or letting your child cry? bottle or breast feeding? to how to disciple children, or even how close they should bond with their mother. It was interesting to see the change in trends- some strong advice from decades past has been refuted today as ignorant and even harmful. I found it particularly applicable to read about how society has gradually made it more and more difficult to be a full-time mom while at the same time advocating that only a mother can provide the best childcare. Most of the book focuses on the idea that while society holds in mind an ideal image of motherhood, few of us are allowed, or capable of, fulfilling it. Some parts of Inventing Motherhood get really technical and dry, especially when it goes into more detail about sociological and psychological issues. I admit I didn't follow all of it well. And I don't agree with all of the author's conclusions, but it was a very educational read and made me think about what has shaped my own ideas about how to be the best mom.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 360 pages, 1982
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