For as long as I can remember, I have been infatuated with reading anything and everything I can get my hands on (well, except historical romance novels…). Recently, my mom told me that when I was tiny and couldn’t read yet, my favorite part of getting birthday presents was the card and that I would walk around the house pretending to read them!
So, obviously, when I found out I was expecting, I start to read a LOT of parenting books. I tended to gravitate towards memoirs over instructional manuals, as you can see below. This little list is something I was excited to compile for you and I hope maybe something here will pique your interest. Please feel free to recommend your favorite parenting books in the comments below! I’d love to hear about them.
Best Practical Advice for Actually Giving Birth:
I credit this book fully with making me less afraid of childbirth. Of course, Ina advocates for home birth with little to no medical intervention, and a lot of the stories in the book reflect that, BUT this book is indispensable regardless of your birthing preferences. She lays out exactly how capable your body is for the task, how to remain calm and focused, and provides you with many first hand experiences of births she has helped with, told from the point of view of the mothers. I read through this book many times while pregnant and it is pretty much the only birth manual I would suggest others read wholeheartedly.
Best Book for Geeky Parents who Want to Do Things a Bit Differently:
Mayim Bialik is best known these days for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. She also has a Ph.D in neuroscience and is a mom! You can’t get much geekier than that! Mayim is an advocate of attachment style parenting (which usually incorporates co-sleeping, baby wearing, extended nursing, and sometimes even infant elimination [a fancy term for baby potty training, not something more sinister, don’t worry])!
I completely agreed with many things she said and I kind of questioned quite a few others. One of the very best things about her writing style is that she never makes you feel guilty or put upon to take her suggestions. A lot of parenting guides stipulate that if you don’t follow their rules that your child will end up unsuccessful and unhappy someday. Mayim avoids that tone while still promoting her views clearly and thoughtfully. This book is a must read, even if you don’t plan on following any attachment style techniques.
Oh, here’s a short excerpt from when I reviewed this book on goodreads: “This book did enlighten me to some techniques other parents use and made me feel more confident and secure in my ability to parent well, which makes it invaluable reading for any mom-to-be.”
Best Book for Those who Like Brutal Honesty:
Anne is nothing if not an honest writer. She tells you exactly how she feels and while her pregnancy experience was nothing like my own, the fears she has about having and raising a son really hit home with me. I am a fan of most of her works in general and I think that even if this book seems a little dismal compared to the other suggestions here, it is still an important read and one of the main works on motherhood I would recommend. No one writes like she does:
“All these people keep waxing sentimental about how fabulously well I am doing as a mother, how competent I am, but I feel inside like when you’re first learning to put nail polish on your right hand with your left. You can do it, but it doesn’t look all that great around the cuticles.”
Best Book for Those who Over Think:
This is a poetic journey about motherhood. There really is not too much more for me to say about it, but if you are a lover of beautifully told stories, you should find a copy. As an English major, this book was a wonderful read. It can be a little dense at times, but I did not find that a deterrent.
Best Book for Moms To Be:
I read this book before I even became pregnant. It was so good that I read it again while pregnant. The first time around, I figured that if I still wanted to have a child by the end of this book, then I was ready. Vicki tells you the truth about how the trials and tribulations are not over after you leave the hospital with your newborn. She touches on how you can never feel quite ready for motherhood and how she feels like a fraud. It’s truthful, it’s easy to relate to, and it’s gripping. The except where she talks about how her baby won’t stop crying while they are out on a walk sticks in my brain like I read it this morning. There is another segment where she becomes frustrated with her husband and packs up her things to leave for her mother’s house with the baby. It doesn’t get much more realistic than that feeling on the bad days of parenthood. Read this book if you want to feel less alone with those doubtful thoughts we sometimes have as moms.
Best Book for Geeky Foodie Parents:
This book! Oh, I loved, loved, loved this book! Matthew, a grade A foodie, writes about raising his daughter, Iris, to be an adventurous eater. If you have ever wondered about feeding your baby more exciting fare than bland purees, this book is for you. The author’s love of his daughter and sharing his passion of food and cooking with her shine in this book, making it the perfect example of geeky parenting. He’s funny too! You’ll enjoy the included recipes and the creative ways he comes up with to get Iris involved in the kitchen and interested in trying new things.
P.S. Anthony Bourdain liked this book! It must be good!
Best Book to Make You Grateful for What You Have:
I cried about four times while reading the first chapter of this book. This is the true story of how Natalie lost her husband in a freak accident while pregnant with her first child. This was not my favorite book on the list by far and by the end I realized I really didn’t care for her writing style, but there are gems sprinkled through out and the book made me feel grateful by the end, so I am including it any way.
Best Book That Isn’t About Parenting, Per se:
This book really isn’t about parenting at all, but when I came up with the idea for making this list I had to include it. The first chapter of Tough Sh*t is about Kevin Smith’s dad and it is for that story alone that you should find this book and read it. I’m actually not going to say anything else about it (besides he does talk an awful lot about male ejaculate in the story, so if that offends you…YOU SHOULDN’T LET IT, IT IS A WORTHWHILE READ).
“My Father taught me how to be a man – and not by instilling in me a sense of machismo or an agenda of dominance. He taught me that a real man doesn’t take, he gives; he doesn’t use force, he uses logic; doesn’t play the role of trouble-maker, but rather, trouble-shooter; and most importantly, a real man is defined by what’s in his heart, not his pants.”- Kevin Smith (not from this book, but whatever)!
This post was originally written by Emily F. S.