Mothering Without a Map

Mothering Without A Map

O: The Oprah Magazine


NO MOTHER TO GUIDE HER: Kathryn Black searches for how to give what was never given
By Abigail Thomas
January 2004

"In 1960, when I was embarkng on motherhood, there was nothing to guide me but an imperfect past. Now there is Kathryn Black's new book, Mothering Without a Map (Viking)....Drawing on her own experience of motherhood, Black believes the foundation is self-awareness...Wherever we may be, Black shows us how to get there."


The Washington Post


ATTACHMENT ANXIETIES: The state of being under-mothered
by Stephanie Wilkinson
May 9, 2004

"Black is right to note that learning about attachment theory inevitably prompts every mother to scrutinize both her upbringing and the way she parents. It's a testament to Black's considerable sensitivity and skill as a writer that her book leaves us feeling not anxious and judged but upbeat and hopeful."

The Boston Globe


Breaking Out of Old Behaviors
By Naomi Rand
November 28, 2004

"I'm in a blue state of mind. And I've got my reasons. The election, yes, but there are also more personal losses pending on the home front. My eldest is a senior in high school, and if our luck holds, he'll be attending college next fall....Do I worry that I've failed to equip him for what he faces as he ventures into the real world? Most definitely.

"In 'Mothering Without a Map' Kathryn Black addresses that same anxiety. Her theme is 'under-mothered' moms and their ability to change the hand dealt them. These women had a parent who provided either limited or inadequate guidance....The question she tries to answer in this skillful book is if 'the unconscious leaning toward repetition well serves those whose early relationships were loving, empathetic and nurturing . . . what of others, women like me, whose data banks are crowded with "wrong way" examples? Are we destined to burden our children with the limitations of our childhoods?'

"Black believes the answer is complex (as most right ones are). Some mothers repeat their learned behavior, while others struggle hard against it. Thus, a woman whose mother never voiced approval works hard to force herself to do the opposite with her own offspring, meting out abundant praise. Another, whose mother refused to brook differing viewpoints, is careful to make sure freedom of speech starts in the home. This book argues, persuasively, that an examined life can help make the difference between parenting poorly and parenting well."

Rocky Mountain News


MOTHER NATURE: Avoiding mistakes mother used to make
By Janet Simons
May 3, 2004

"The book emerges as a tribute to human resilience and to the women who have been able to erase the imprint of inadequate mothering to become attentive, loving parents."

Literary Mama


"Mothering Without a Map is a very thorough and affirming book. It left me feeling that although I might have been under-mothered, I can become a healing mother for my own daughter. In our society, mothers often fear that if we make a one wrong move, our children will be scarred for life. Black presents the whole picture: that mothering is really a learning process for moms and children alike."
--Literary Mama:A Literary Magazine for the Maternally Inclined, March 2004

Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia


"Kathryn Black writes with personal and professional authority about an important topic. She's an excellent writer with fresh, positive ideas. She integrates history, psychology, anthropology, and common sense. Best of all she is kind to mothers and to daughters."
-- Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia

Publishers Weekly


"Black sifts through her own feelings, searches through psychological literature, and interviews 50 women between the ages of 20 and 70 about the effects of being under-mothered. Although Black acknowledges that others can sometimes step in to fill the void left by a mother who is absent from her daughter's life because of illness, alcoholism, drug abuse or death, her focus never waivers from what happens when the mother-daughter tie tears and the daughter is left without a role model."
--Publishers Weekly, November 3, 2003

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