Over the five years we worked together on our three “Baby Whisperer” books, the late Tracy Hogg and I often marveled at the fact that so many modern mothers had stacks of parenting books on their night tables, went to parenting classes, consulted the Internet and various child-rearing sites when they were confused or worried–but overlooked an important, and often better, resource: their own mothers. Some worried that their mother’s advice might be “out of date.” (Admittedly, we don’t know how to close that damn stroller, but babies haven’t been similarly modernized!) Others feared that if they turned to their mothers for advice, they would somehow open the door to endless intrusions. Still others felt as if asking Mom was a sign of their own incompetence.
Of course, mother/daughter collaborations run the gamut, from women who don’t feel they can function without their mothers to those who believe that Mom has nothing to offer. In “My Mother, the Parenting Expert,” our latest addition to The Buzz, psychologist Mindy Greenstein, author of the upcoming memoir, The House on Crash Corner, was solidly in the latter category when her son was born. Daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she had spent most of her childhood fending for herself–and struggling to understand her mother and to be understood. She couldn’t imagine calling on her mother for anything. But as is often the case when a young woman joins the Motherhood Union, circumstances forced her to take a second look.