Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Nook: Being There - Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters

I recently had the chance to read BEING THERE: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters (a TarcherPerigee hardcover, on sale April 11th, 2017) by Erica Komisar.  This veteran psychoanlayst writes about how important a mother's physical presence is during the early years. Her viewpoints are somewhat reminiscent of Dr. Spock, with updated information from neurobiological and psychological research on caregiving, attachment, and brain development - but also with tips that work for both working and at-home moms.

My mom did daycare when I was young, and went back to teaching when my youngest brother went back to school. My mother-in-law always did daycare. That meant both my husband and I were raised with a very present mother, while we were young and even as we grew up (although my mom's teaching schedule didn't line up perfectly with our school schedule, she was home on most of our school breaks). As a result, we were determined to do the same for our kids. This has meant sacrifice (I went from a full-time classroom teaching position to a quarter-time online position the year my first daughter was born) and juggling (at the moment I juggle part-time homeschooling, part-time classroom teaching, freelance tutoring and lessons, a small online teaching job, and occasionally work for the city's skating center). It hasn't been easy, but the rewards of watching my children grow up has been worth it.

Not everyone is able to make those same choices - or wants to - and that's fine. This book isn't meant to inspire guilt in a mother's choice, but it's meant to give help to families to make choices that will make parenting a priority, whether or not both parents work outside the home. It also helps strengthen the emotional connection with their little ones and make transitions easier. The most helpful part, I found, was the section on postpartum depression or something else that's often overlooked - boredom.

It was well-written and well-researched. Like any book, not everyone will use the whole thing, but it makes a compelling case for making parenting your first job (while taking care of yourself at the same time).

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