I'm incredibly proud of our March release LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOO-GOOD MOTHER ARCHETYPE by Patti Ashley. The book was a result of Patti's doctoral dissertation and 20 years of working with mothers in pediatrics and psychotherapy, plus she is raising four children as a single mother. Patti has a psychotherapy and parent coaching practice in Boulder, Colorado, and has been offering workshops on the material in the book for years. The women who have attended the workshops say they were transformed and experience mothering in a whole new way.
Here's some of what Patti wrote to me in her book proposal: "Times have changed dramatically in the past fifty years, and parenting today requires a new sophistication and understanding of children and families. Combining analytical psychology, child development information, and historical perspectives regarding the role of women as mothers, my book changes how women see themselves as mothers."
I am especially proud of the list of incredible permissions that Patti secured from such amazing books and notable women as For Your Own Good by Alice Miller, The Art of Sensitive Parenting by Katharine Kersey, Mothers and Children by Susan Chase and Mary Rogers, Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda-Bolen, Shriver Report, Perfect Madness by Judith Warner, Romancing the Shadow by Connie Zweig & Steve Wolf, articles by Ayelet Waldman in NY Times; by Judith Warner in Newsweek; and by Martha Beck in O Magazine.
Here are some of the advance reviews Patti was able to gather:
"In her new book Patti Ashley invites us to be available to ourselves as we unravel the expectation of perfection that shadows mothering. Inspired by her words we find rest within our own lives and embrace the gifts and challenges of our parenting efforts with mercy and loving-kindness."
Patricia Lynn Reilly, Author of Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself
"As I read through your thoughtful and compassionate book, I keep thinking to myself how special it is that you are able to make the most profoundly essential points that parenting is really an ongoing process of discovery and acceptance of our true selves (and those of our children), balance, and mindfulness. What I also find remarkable is the deftness with which you provide and connect historical, mythological, psychological, educational, and political contexts. Thank you for inviting me into this delicious book. I look forward to recommending it to colleagues and friends alike."
Dale V. Atkins, Ph.D., Author of I’m OK, You’re My Parents, Contributor to the Today Show and CNN Headline News
"This book can help you step out of the ideal of “Perfect” to be the authentic, 'Real' mother that you are. In your wholeness lies greater hope for a healthier parenting paradigm."
Jasmin Lee Cori, MS, LPC, Author of The Emotionally Absent Mother
"In a parenting culture characterized by guilt, self-doubt, and competitiveness, Dr. Ashley moves beyond rallying mothers to accept themselves and calls us to dig deeper. With thoughtful research and empowering exercises, this is one of the most meaningful, helpful books about motherhood that I have ever read."
Stephanie Sprenger, Co-editor of The HerStories Project and blogger at Mommy, for Real
"If we are going to move forward as a nation we must allow women to excavate their feelings of guilt, shame, and admit society’s binding hold on the image of the perfect mother and child. Dr. Ashley’s compilation of research and presentation of the clash of past motherhood images and unrealistic expectations transcend a mother’s true feelings and give mothers the opportunity to release true feelings. This book serves as a wonderful tool for parents and practitioners to overcome unrealistic expectations brought on by the quest to become the perfect mother. It’s a must have for those working in preventive programs promoting optimal outcomes for infants and their family."
DeAnn Davies, MS, Director of Healthy Steps in Show Low, AZ, Fellow, UMASS Infant-Parent Mental Health Program
"Patti Ashley’s book is an intelligent and clearly written discussion of the pressures women face when they undertake motherhood in the face of society’s unreasonable expectations. It is accessible to both professional and the general public."
Barbara Almond, M.D., Author of The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood
"As a therapist, hearing women struggle with feeling over burdened and inadequate or like a failure as a mother seemed universal. For all such women, Patti Ashley offers you a big sigh of relief with this comprehensive and compassionate breath of fresh air."
Jordan Paul, Ph.D., Co-author, Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by You?, Author of Becoming Your Own Hero
"Hats off to the author for bringing to the forefront this long-awaited, overlooked subject. The many women who have been living under the cloud of the too-good mother have finally been given a way to confront and overcome this challenge."
Mary Elizabeth Marlow, Author of Jumping Mouse: A StoryAbout Inner Trust
"Mothers seeking support and validation for the myriad of feelings that come with parenthood—especially those who don’t feel that they meet an idealized standard—will find information and tools for thoughtful reflection and actionable steps, whether they’re reading this book alone or in a supportive group of fellow moms."
Amy Brozio-Andrews, Social Media Coordinator, Museum of Motherhood
"Unrealistic expectations, judgment, and guilt combine to form a nearly universal malady of motherhood. I highly recommend Dr. Ashley’s book for every mom who has ever felt 'not good enough.'"
Harley A. Rotbart, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair Emeritus University of Colorado School of Medicine, Author of No Regrets Parenting—Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids
"Living In The Shadow of The Too-Good Mother Archetype flows nicely, explains challenging concepts like paradox and shadow in understandable terms and is graced with sound, practical assistance for introspective growth."
Suzanne Rouge, Educator, Mother, and Spiritual Teacher
"Living in the Shadow of the Too-Good Mother Archetype is a fabulous resource for all mothers (and fathers too!) I was particularly moved by the honest and heart-centered stories shared by the mothers in the study and also the stories the author shares of her personal life as a single parent of four children. Their candor and honesty helped me to be more gentle with myself as a mother and to not constantly criticize myself for not being a 'perfect mother.' This book has helped me to accept my own fragile humanness and to realize, as Dr. Ashley’s book points out, 'mothers need mothering too.' Thank you Dr. Ashley for gifting us all with the tremendously powerful book!"
Billie Ortiz, Certified Dreamworker and Workshop Facilitator, www.wakeuptoyourdreams.com