The most complex, draining, joyful, interesting, demanding, and ironic job I believe one can ever have.
Parenting is many things, but able-to-be-simplified is not really one of them. Many books (and the experts or everyday parents who write them) have often attempted to create the perfect, easy guide to all-things-parenting. But every one of them have failed.
The authors I love, and trust, are those who don't claim to have it all together or claim to have perfect answers. Rather, I trust the authors who are realistic and forgiving. Humor helps, too.
Here are my current, top 6, favorite parenting books that have influenced me and why I love them:
The Hands Free Mama: The author, first off, lives true to her message: less screen time, more in-the-moment-time. Her blog is simple, her posts are reflective and honest, and she doesn't post very often because she's busy being in-the-moment. Like most moms, I struggle with balancing all the electronic distractions (which begin as necessities for work and safety and communication) with living in the moment and relishing in the blessing of being my children's mother and my husband's wife. And just being ME and enjoying who I am and what I'm capable of. This book offers heartfelt messages, truth mamas need to hear, and practical steps to live hands free.
The Connected Child: There are so many books that tell parents how to discipline their children effectively, but few get to the heart of parenting: connection. This book is written for adoptive parents, but I have found that the methods can be helpful to any parent-child relationship. I greatly enjoy the tone of the book: honest, firm, and heartfelt. And the fact that when we wipe away all the discipline methods that do not work (at least not long-term) and get to the heart of the matter (the heart), connection and healing can happen. I also love that though this book is about connection, the authors aren't "fluffy" or hokey.
No More Perfect Moms: As a type A lady, this book resonated with me on many levels. First, unlike a lot of Christian literature, I felt that the author didn't put forth a perfect Christian front. She's realistic, kind, and forthcoming. The author reminds readers that they don't have to be perfect because Jesus is the perfect One. We need to chill out, stop trying to take the Savior's place, and enjoy the children we have. This was a refreshing read in an age where perfectionism is expected.
The Girls Who Went Away Fair warning: this is a hard read. The author shares the stories of women who were coerced into placing their children for adoption in the 1950s and 60s. What does this have to do with parenting today? The author takes readers into the depths of manipulation, abuse, societal expectations, stereotypes, loss, and secrecy: things that resonate with most women. We are reminded of the bond between mother and child and the importance of demanding, seeking, and adhering to transparency and justice.
Breastfeeding Without Birthing The author goes where no author has gone before: an in-depth, experienced explanation of the possibilities a mother has when it comes to nurturing her baby at the breast even though she hasn't given birth to that baby. The author, an adoptive mother herself, and an experienced lactation consultant, gives women exactly what they want: truth, advice, and encouragement. (See my blog's most popular post on the same topic this book covers)
The Honest Toddler This book is hysterically, laugh-out-loud funny. The author doesn't hold back one bit, sharing what all moms know to be true; motherhood is nothing like a Hallmark movie. Sometimes we need to shush the critical voices and just laugh. Laugh at ourselves, laugh at the parenting situations we find ourselves in.