AD – This book was gifted for the purpose of a review
Despite a plethora of parenting books telling us how to cope with newborns, there is very little out there to help as children get a little older. In particular, the transition into adulthood is difficult. Relationships between children and parents have to change. We can no longer assume that mum knows best, since our offspring now have their own life experiences, opinions and ways of doing things. Once a Mother, Always a Mother by Annette Byford seeks to redress that balance. Based on her own experience as a mother, grandmother and psychotherapist, Annette addresses the issues of parenting adult children.
Once a Mother, Always A Mother: Review
As a parent to children heading towards the end of primary school, Once a Mother covers subjects that seem a long way in the future to me. That said, I wanted to read it because I can see that the transition into parenting an adult must be extremely tough. I often worry about maintaining a good relationship with my daughters as they get older. Both are strong, independent girls who know their own minds. Which is great for an eight and a ten year old, but how is that going to pan out when they’re adults?
In Once a Mother, Annette Byford covers multiple scenarios that I hadn’t even thought of. How a relationship changes when a son or daughter gets married. Welcoming another person into the family in the form of their spouse. Whether that relationship is positive or negative, there will always be a desire to maintain contact with your children. How their spouse reacts to you can have a big impact on your ability to do so.
Once a Mother is quite heavy reading. There is a lot of information about the pitfalls of parenting adult children and how we can and should react to different scenarios. These are backed up with examples from case studies of interviewees that Annette Byford has spoken to. There is also a selection of short stories in a book, that show us the emotional impact of this stage of parenting. Those short stories were my favourite part of the book, I found them extremely engaging and easy to read.
If you are looking for a review from a parent who already has adult children, this one from Life of Kim is very insightful.
About the Author
As a mother to two adult children, Annette Byford has first-hand experience of the pitfalls of parenting adults. She is also a psychologist and psychotherapist. The book is based on her experiences, as well as those of mothers she has interviewed. Whilst the book was written by the author herself, other mums have contributed in their own way. Annette has asked the difficult questions including those around culture. By drawing on her professional life, she is able to gently suggest a way through each stage of family life.
To curate the book, Annette spoke to 35 mothers at different stages of their parenting journey. Whilst the stories she constructed are fictional, they draw on the emotional roller coaster experienced by those 35 women.