As Gina Ford’s mother lay dying of cancer, she turned to her daughter and asked her a question; ‘Was I a good mother?’ It is this haunting question, the question so many mothers ask themselves, which is explored in Ford’s book, Good Mother Bad Mother.
Part memoir of her own mother and part an examination of how mothers feel about the job of parenting, Gina Ford has used her 20 years experience as a maternity nurse to explore whether mothers feel they are doing a good job and if not, why?
Ford interviewed hundreds of mothers in the course of her book and discusses the big topics that we mothers fret over. How ‘competitive mummy syndrome’ is corrosive to both us and our children. How fraught with stress the decision whether to stay home with our children or whether to go back to work is. How we are made to feel guilty by both other mothers and health professionals if we do not manage to breast feed for a certain length of time, yet are treated with contempt if we are perceived to breast feed for too long.
She explores the experience of mothering boys and of dealing with the mothers of our children’s fathers, how becoming a mother affects our relationship with our own mothers, and how our mother’s parenting style influences the way we bring up our children. Finally she explores something she missed out on – that of becoming the parent to your own elderly parents in their twilight years.
The book is not a list of things to do which will make you a good mother. There is no ‘doing Gina Ford’ routine for this, no hourly or weekly plan of what to do. If you have ever asked yourself if your feelings about motherhood are ‘normal’ there is someone else out there who has felt the same.You cannot fail to find something of your own experience in the anecdotes so that you will realise that your feelings are indeed normal.
The book is for everyone, whether you are a staunch supporter of attachment parenting, a devotee of routines, or like most of us have found your own balance. There are places to laugh and places to cry.
In answer to the question ‘Am I a good mother?’ Ford simply says that;
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.