Professor Sharon Lamb’s Personal Book on How Society Judges Mothers Hits Bookshelves Today

Office of Communications | Tue Jun 25, 2019

Vermont Book Launch for The Not Good Enough Mother Is Thursday, June 27 at Phoenix Books

As an expert witness, Professor of Counseling and School Psychology Sharon Lamb’s take on a parent can mean that parent will never see their children again. As Lamb often argues before the family court in Vermont, some of these children have been in foster care for two or three years, and the termination of the parental rights of their mothers can be in the best interest of the child.

Lamb has weaved stories of the mothers and children she evaluates with her search for the right treatment for her opioid-addicted son in her new book, The Not Good Enough Mother, out today, June 25. 

Cover of The Not Good Enough MotherFraught with feelings of failure and “the particular kind of anxiety that modern mothering produces when one’s children turn out to have problems,” she begins to question her right to evaluate the fitness of other mothers. “Who am I to make these determinations?” Lamb writes. With a mixture of guilt and moral responsibility, she goes on, “I begin to compare myself to the mother I’m watching, finding myself lacking and not good enough. I am a wreck and lost in a kind of hazy confusion that comes when one allows oneself to loosen the boundaries between professional and client, good mother and bad.”

The Booklist review says, “The writing is engaging, and Lamb’s professionalism is evident, but what mostly shines through is her empathy, sympathy, and deep concern for her clients, both children and adults.”

In his review, No One Cares About Crazy People author Ron Powers said, “The Not Good Enough Mother places Lamb in the diagnostic company of Robert Coles and Karen Horney, and recalls the writerly precision of Joan Didion.”

Speaking about the book to WBUR’s Morning Edition, Lamb said through her experience with her now sober son, she’s learned that relapse is part of recovery.

“In my mind, those [treatment centers in Vermont where patients relapsed] didn’t work. Well, of course they worked. They worked as well as any other rehab center. I didn’t have to send my son all the way to Texas,” Lamb said. “I’m glad that he kept trying and he trusted us to tell us about the addiction and I’m glad that I got the parenting help, too, know when I could help and when I had to sit back and wait and realize that at that point I was helpless. But I wasn’t always helpless.”

The Vermont book launch event is happening this Thursday, June 27 at 7 p.m. at Phoenix Books in Burlington. There’s another book event on Friday, June 28 at 6 p.m. in Manchester, Vermont at 6 p.m. The Massachusetts Book Launch is July 19 at 7 p.m. at Belmont Books in Belmont.

An expert on moral development, abuse and victimization, sexual development, psychotherapy with children and adolescents, the sexualization of girls, and media and marketing impact on the development of girls and boys, Lamb has now written, edited, and coauthored 11 books. She won the Books for a Better Life Award for Packaging Girlhood (2006) and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research’s book award for Sex, Therapy, and Kids (2006). She is a coauthor of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force Report on the Sexualization of Girls. Also notable is the publication of her award-winning sexual education curriculum, Sexual Ethics for a Caring Society (2016). In November, she received the Association for Moral Education’s Lisa Kuhmerker Career Award

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