Read all the parenting books, don’t read all the parenting books. There’s parenting advice out there about how you take your parenting advice, and while most of it is coming from a good place, the truth is — only you know what is best for you and your family. Something I have personally never been too keen on is ultra specific parenting books. From my experience, they leave little room for the grey areas that exist in most of parenting and have sometimes been overwhelming when it comes to addressing whatever issue I’m facing at the moment.
Naturally, this led me to swear off parenting books for some time, but eventually I came around to the idea that I shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Because there are some really great ones out there.
The books that have provided the most comfort, insight, support and delight in my motherhood journey are the ones that are a little more open-ended.
Some aren’t even technically parenting books, but they have assisted me on this wild ride, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites.
Nurture, by Erica Chidi Cohen
I love this book because it creates such an incredible foundation for expecting mothers everywhere who will eventually embark on their parenting journeys. Without giving too much away, Nurture provides readers with the tools to truly nurture your mind, body and soul at any phase in your entry into motherhood. There is excellent support whether you experience loss or complications in your pregnancy or are wondering what to expect when it comes to birth and what we have now deemed the fourth trimester. If you or your friends are expecting, this is the perfect gift.
There’s nothing more I love than holding a book in my hands, however impractical it might be these days, but this one is only available on audio and it’s absolutely worth the two hour listen. (If you haven’t read The Gifts of Imperfection, do yourself a favor and pick that up too.) The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting was transformative for me when I first listened a few years ago, and I continue to listen again and again when I need a refresher. For starters she says, “One of the reasons we judge each other so harshly in this world of parenting is because… we perceive anyone else who’s doing anything differently than what we’re doing as criticizing our choices.” Can I get an amen? This is a perfect listen for that long drive, flight, or some chores around the house this weekend.
A truly upbeat and practical parenting book that hones in on their six essential principals, P-A-R-E-N-T. “Play is essential for development and well-being. Authenticity fosters trust and an “inner compass.” Reframing helps kids cope with setbacks and look on the bright side. Empathy allows us to act with kindness toward others. No ultimatums means no power struggles, lines in the sand, or resentment. Togetherness is a way to celebrate family time, on special occasions and every day. The Danes call this hygge–and it’s a fun, cozy way to foster closeness.” There was never a point in reading that I felt called out for doing things differently, but rather learned so much about the Danes and their approach to life and parenting that I immediately wanted to adopt into my own.
This one isn’t technically a parenting book but her tagline for the book is How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. And to me, that says a whole lot. This book was my introduction to Brene Brown (which as you can tell, since this is my second suggestion in a five part list, I may love her) and was a complete game changer for me in almost every aspect of my life. There’s something to be said for also picking up a book as a parent that betters you, personally, that will inherently make you a better parent without too much intense effort. So whether it’s this book or another, pick one up that you feel will truly impact you personally!
When my husband and I read The 5 Love Languages in couples therapy, it transformed our relationship. I recently learned that Chapman has put out a whole series of these books with different focuses, one being children and I’m so curious to pick it up. What I learned from The 5 Love Languages in general, not just in regard to my marriage, is that we so easily love others the way we want to be loved but it’s important to really get to the bottom of how the people in our lives receive love. I highly recommend picking up either of these books, especially the children’s one, if you’re interested in how to approach this with your kids!