The Mask of Motherhood – Book Review Series

I came across a book that I am so totally in love with already. Its called “The Mask of Motherhood- How Becoming a Mother Changes Everything and Why we Pretend it Doesn’t”. The subtitle really caught my eye. How true, isn’t it?  It touches on so many of things that are discussed here and I plan to do a full book review series if anyone wants to read along.

The author, Susan Maushart, define the mask of the motherhood:

“…..the mask of motherhood is the outward and visible sign of the silent conspiracy — the public face of motherhood that conceals from the world and from ourselves the momentousness of our common undertaking. The mask of motherhood is what mutes our rage into murmurs and softens our sorrow into resignation. The mask of motherhood is the of serenity and control that enables women’s work to pass unnoticed in the larger drama of human life.  Above all, the mask keeps us quiet about what we know, to the point that we forget we know anything at all…or anything worth telling. ”

“For the uninitiated, the realities of parenthood and especially motherhood are kept carefully shrouded in silence and disinformation and outright lies. The conspiracy of silence is real, and its documentable. That much is clear. What is much less clear is what purpose the conspiracy serves, and why the vast majority of women participate in it.”

“The mask of motherhood is what keeps women silent about what they feel and suspicious of what they know. It divides mother from daughter, sister from sister, friend form friend. It creates an abrupt and tragic chasm between adults who have children and those that don’t. It distorts the distance between childhood and adulthood, cutting ever deeper gaps between the generations. It pits male parents against female, amplifying the disjuncture between the verbs “to mother” and “to father”. Above all, the mask of motherhood, by minimizing the enormity of women’s work in the world, nourishes and sustains the profound ignorance that confuses humanity with mankind.”

We see the mask of motherhood in the following:

Great list! In fact, each bullet point is worthy of a post in its own right.

It was evident to me upon reading the above that the godly women, the traditionalists, whatever you want to call them are the worst offenders of keeping up this mask. They believe strongly in “suffering in silence”, of putting on a mask and pretending everything is OK, even to their own husbands. It is that mask that makes the stay at home mom role they promote largely go unnoticed and unappreciated. We act like we “got it” when we don’t and act as if motherhood comes so natural.

The author shared this story:

Lies, lies, lies! Yes, that is pretty much how I felt as a new mom. None of the advice or books I read truly prepared me.  The feminists lied, the traditionalists lied, the red pill lied. Whats crazy is there are some areas of motherhood where I am too afraid to talk about. That is not right, but that is the mask for you



6 thoughts on “The Mask of Motherhood – Book Review Series

  1. I seriously was once in a childbirth class where the teacher talked (with a completely straight face) about “labor discomfort.”


  2. Wow, if this woman had come along a decade or so later, she’d “just” be a popular monetized momblogger. But she had to write actual books filled with the usual momblog stuff instead. She has more along similar histrionic lines, if you like that kind of thing, including one about reducing technology use.

    I’m not going to lie, I wish I could learn the secrets of how to get paid for saying nothing original or even particularly rare about motherhood (“nobody told me anything” is in fact pretty common) and modern secular mothering and wifing. It would be nice to pay off the house early.


  3. The comments made me curious about her and I found this

    This is a quote from her book Wifework.

    One woman in the book, an ex-wife, summed it up neatly. “It just got too tiresome. I woke up one day and decided I’d rather keep my money for myself. I had a good job, I really reared the kids… I did all the housework. For God’s sake, I even mowed the lawns. And I just decided that the husband had to go. There was no advantage in keeping him.”

    LOL. She’s the type of woman that manosphere types love to hate.

    In some ways, Maushart admits that there are parallels between her ideas and those of the “Surrendered Wife”, Laura Doyle. “She looks at a situation and says, ‘here’s how you can make it a success’,” Maushart explains. “I look at a situation and recoil in total disgust. But I do think that if you follow her instructions you probably would have a very happy marriage. It’s incredibly demeaning but up to a certain point she’s right. Part of the reason her book struck a chord with me is that she has called a spade a spade, and I don’t think there are many women who are brave enough to do that.”


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