MOJO MOM:  Nurturing your self while raising a family

by Amy Tiemann

paperback available April 2006 $14.95 US, $20.95 Canada


Reviewed by Roberta Waters

How did I lose “me” when I became a mother?  Author Tiemann strives to give women who’ve lost themselves in motherhood a path to find themselves again by seeking their mommy mojo.  What is mommy mojo?  It’s the you who is confident of you and your role and your work and isn’t defined by external praise and notice. 

Every woman knows how a baby consumes your life so that you forget who you are a person aside from “mommy.”  Tiemann analogizes motherhood to a caterpillar emerging from the cocoon – the same creature but very different, who will never be the caterpillar again.

Compleat Mother readers may find many of Tiemann’s suggestions not to their liking. 

Regarding attachment parenting, Ms. Tiemann states, “It was nice for my baby but tough on me.”  She then complains about her back aching from carrying her child in a sling and the dread of having her daughter fall asleep in her arms and “then being unable to transfer her to a crib.” 

Another example, Ms. Tiemann writes of the first year of her only child: “ It was great at first, but after a few months, I craved time on my own to do something other than nap or read.”  She then writes, that if she had another child, “I would put a high priority on getting the baby to sleep day and night in a crib within a few months.”

As a mojo mom, Ms. Tiemann consulted with a California “parent trainer extraordinaire”  and learned “details of introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby.”  This “trainer” does not believe in “nipple confusion,”  and Tiemann, although an academic with a doctorate from Stanford, failed to research this “fact.”  Apparently Ms. Tiemann’s need to find her mojo superceded her understanding of her infant daughter’s nutritional and emotional needs. 

While some of the advice is common sense – connecting with people outside of your home, and establishing/nurturing friendships with other women, much of what she advocates is a split identity: be a mom at home and someone else when you walk out the door.  Maybe this is because her book was written for women accustomed to working outside the home and following mainstream lifestyles?

Perhaps some readers will find the suggestions useful, I found the book to be burdensome because of so many non-family friendly suggestions.  However, her recommendation that mothers take time out for themselves and actually budget time and activities just for themselves is valuable.  Certainly every woman needs to do something nice for herself every day, especially those of us who are breastfeeding, caring for children, running a household, preparing meals, doing the laundry, paying the bills, cleaning house, changing diapers, etc.  Those who can ignore the contrary garble may find some good information for setting goals for themselves and on a peaceful course of self-fulfillment of their dreams.

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