Instead of preaching what mothers ought to do, psychotherapist Naomi Stadlen explains what mothers already do in the course of any exhausting day's work. Drawing from countless conversations with hundreds of mothers spanning more than a decade, What Mothers Do provides lucid insight into the true experience of motherhood and answers the perennial question common to mothers everywhere: What have I done all day? Stadlen's wise reflections, threaded throughout with the voices of real mothers, explore unsentimental reactions to motherhood-resentment, guilt, splintered identity, crippling inefficiency, and deadening fatigue. Yet the overriding sentiment is one of empowerment and wonder, as Stadlen illustrates how seemingly insignificant skills such as responding to a baby's colicky cry, being instantly interruptible, or soothing an overstimulated child to sleep profoundly contribute to an individual's socialization, self-worth, and curiosity. Remarkably perceptive and heartening, What Mothers Do will resonate with mothers everywhere in search of understanding and wisdom.