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Samantha Wilde

Things I Love:
Library story times
Baby swim classes at the YMCA
Music Together Classes
Hosting a playgroup
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
(if you’re lucky enough to live near it)

Links:
My blog, lots of material on there: wildemama.blogspot.com
Some of my more substance-
full blogs on masslive

Cradle 
MotherWoman 
Green River Doula Network 
ChannelMom
Feministbreeder
Listen to my online radio ministry, You Are Loved

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About The Book

Resources for Mamas:
I’ve felt a call to motherhood since childhood when I had six Cabbage Patch kids and as many life-like dolls that I took continuous care of. One Easter I made each of them a special basket! The real-life version is much harder than I ever imagined. I’ve just become a new mother again for the third time, and nothing in my life brings me greater joy or a steeper learning curve. Since the birth of my first child I’ve deepened my interest, emotional, spiritual and intellectual, in the call to motherhood, in mothers, and in mothering. I feel a particularly keen kinship with first-time mothers, remembering all too well the trauma/drama (of love, of course!) that unfolds with unexpected intensity. Since I can’t personally give every new mother on the planet a big hug and a nap, here are some of my favorite resources for the journey.

Favorite Mama Books:

Anne Lamott’s OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS
Unsurpassed. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Get one for every new mother you know.

Catherine Newman, WAITING FOR BIRDY
Especially if you’re waiting on a second baby while raising a toddler.

Katherine Center, THE BRIGHT SIDE OF DISASTER
Made me want to live in Texas. And I don’t like Texas.

Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile, I WAS A REALLY GOOD MOM BEFORE I HAD KIDS
Doesn’t the title say it all?

Naomi Stadlen’s WHAT MOTHERS DO: ESPECIALLY WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE NOTHING
Radical stuff, this book. Awesome, especially for a new mother with a small baby.

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I don’t make a habit of reading Dear Abby, but my husband reads the comics that get printed on the same page. I read an awful response she wrote to a new mother who thought she needed some post-partum meds because she was bored to tears playing with her infant son. I sent Dear Abby a long and not so dear letter that I reprint here, in case you too have experienced some boredom playing with your precious angels. (Who you love beyond reason, of course. But we KNOW that!)

Dear Abby,

I am writing in response to the letter of 11/4/08 from the New Mom in Las Vegas. Whether or not you are able to publish my letter—in full or in part—I would appreciate it if you could pass it on to this new mother.

Though it may be possible that she has post-partum depression (although it didn’t sound like it from her letter), MOST stay-at-home-mothers (SaHM) are bored, at least sometimes, especially if they’ve left interesting, busy or creative careers to spend time with infants who don’t walk or talk!

Telling this mother that she has a condition that might need medication (as post-partum depression often does) perpetuates a dangerous myth about the stay at home mother. Staying at home with a young child is hard work, tedious, repetitive and often quite lonely. Our mothers may not have had the same experience; they may not have been raised to expect as much as we do in terms of personal satisfaction. Babies, meanwhile, don’t interact as adults do. They are demanding and not always interesting. I have friends, in fact, who love their daughter immensely and always have, who said “we didn’t even enjoy being with her until she was one!” This woman should know that by the time her son is walking and talking, her feelings may change.

Not only that, our ideas of child raising are so different from reality. Life with two children, 6 and 8, may have been what she imagined—school, games, fun times. Even life with a toddler can be more engaging—playground, play dates, singing funny songs together. Most women find that they enjoy certain ages more than others. That’s normal! Being bored is normal!

Here are some things that can be done to make the first year or so of life more fun for everyone:
* Find a family center where parents go during the day. These places are usually packed with toys and other mothers and fathers to commiserate with and enjoy.
*Join a local library story hour. This is a great way to meet other mothers.
*Join another class for babies—swimming, yoga, music. Check out the YMCA or town recreation center. This will be another place to make friends.
*Have play dates with other moms—once you’ve found them—at least weekly! If you can’t find one, start one.
*Read up on baby development. Some books have great ideas for playing that can make it more fun for mom, and an active mind, like this mother obviously has, might enjoy the playing more knowing about what’s actually happening in the baby’s mind
*Hire a babysitter—maybe a young neighbor so it isn’t too expensive—and take an hour every day or so to read, walk, have ADULT time. Many mothers find if they spend some time away doing what they love and what feeds them, they appreciate the time with the baby much more.
*Know that it will pass, soon enough. She might find she enjoys being the mother of an active toddler or even of several children more than the mother of one young baby.

READ about how it is for other mothers so she doesn’t feel so isolated in her feelings. There are some great reads about being a new mother—funny, HONEST, and live-saving.

Most importantly, this mother is doing a wonderful job! She is an excellent mother. Not only is she doing hard, often dull work, in an isolated setting (no chatting at the water cooler for her), she is doing it despite the fact that it, as she wrote “bores me out of my mind.” It’s a myth that all mothers enjoy every stage of babyhood and have a great time. And it is long past time to shatter the myth. We can LOVE our babies and not love being with them—all the time, or some of the time. Some of us love it more of the time, some less, some find it harder than they thought, some easier.

This mother, and all who feel the same, ought to know that they are good mothers. Motherhood is much harder work than ever gets spoken about.

Yours truly,
Samantha Wilde
A mother of two

P.S. Did you have children, Abby? I am dismayed by your response. Motherhood is hard enough without having someone tell you that if you don’t find it fabulously fun you need Prozac!

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Some excerpts from my novel:
“Then I was alone again with the baby--the alone that I’d come to think of as the permanent condition of my life. The alone that I hadn’t put into my fairy -tale vision of married life. There are days when I get so claustrophobic I could eat my own hair in frustration. Okay, maybe not my hair. That’s pretty disgusting. Besides, I don’t have much of it these days.” 
From This Little Mommy Stayed Home

On the upside, I wouldn’t trade Zach in for anything, not a trip to Paris or a lifetime of lottery winnings or eternal life or the chance to be a saint (sounds boring anyway, and lonely), and not even to have my father back. I decided somewhere along the way that Zach was my reward for a depressing childhood. He was also his own reward for the challenges he offered me. Touching him, holding him, loving him, watching him become a person--like a real person--was a gift I’d never known to long for, as a kid, as a young adult, as an adult. I’d never known how satisfying it would be, the sight of his smile, the snuggles in the morning. If I’d known, maybe I would’ have felt so misplaced all my life. I would have known where to end up. Anyway, I’m here, and even though I’m crazier than before, and somehow less free and different and more tried, I’d rather have this mess and Zach than not have Zach at all.”  From This Little Mommy Stayed Home

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