I have been a mom for over eight years now, and I have searched high and low for a parenting manual that will help guide me in the way to raise these minions that have SOMEHOW landed in my care (yes, I do know the story of the birds and the bees).
Without a manual to go off of, I have sought the expert advice from some of the nation’s top leading child psychologists to help equip myself with techniques and strategies, at a minimum, to help me feel sane that these kids are actually “normal” (if you consider wild banshies normal).
Here are the couple of parenting resources that have whole-heartedly helped me in my journey. By no means, were they a one-size fits all magic key with 5 hops to parenting bliss, but they’ve helped.
I should say that there is no right and wrong way to do this motherhood thing. This culture is FULL of judgement (“oh you do Baby Wise, I only believe in co-sleeping”). We are all just trying to do our best, and winging it 95% of the time, so back off. Not everyone has to raise their kids like you. That’s how the world works. We are each beautifully and uniquely wired and made to raise our specific kids. Mine might be more active and crazy than yours, but somehow, I’m the right person for the job.
You just need to believe that for yourself as well, and for the mom next door doing it different than you.
Anyway, end soap box, here’s my favorite parenting books:
1. Wild Things: The Art of Raising Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas
I have two boys that are physical, crazy, rowdy and nuts when they’re together. They touch each other often (and hard!) and I just don’t know what to do with them half the time! This book helped me feel relief that my boys were acting, in each stage, with VERY age-appropriate behavior. It also helped me to identify when I would see new behaviors, that in fact they were entering a new phase of development. I recommend this book to any and all boy moms out there!
2. Parenting the Powerful Child by Dr. Kevin Leman
This is my most recent read in the help-me-I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing phase of motherhood (aka just a normal Monday). I discovered that birth order is STRONG in my trio, and that the culprit of much of the power struggles in our household actually stem from my husband and I! Yikes! This helped educate and shape how we approach dethroning these powerful children (that we’ve helped nurture) and I’m so thankful for it. We’re SLOWLY turning the ship around on lessening the everyday battles (aka BEDTIME, NAP TIME, DINNER TIME, etc), and this book has helped a ton with that.
3. That’s My Son: How Moms Can Influence Boys to Become Men of Character by Rick Johnson
Even though I had always envisioned myself as a boy mom, once I actually had a house full of boys, I didn’t know what to do! One was rough and tumble, one was artistic, yet they both were very much still ALL BOY. In a season where I was filled with a lot of doubt that I was the right person for the job, this book was full of reassurance that the boys that we’re raising can be both strong and sensitive. That they need nurture and love from their mom, just the same as girls do. Culture teaches our boys to not cry, to be tough, and thus we get a myriad of grown men who don’t know how to deal with their emotions and exude them properly. This book gives proper place and weight on how a mom can really influence their little boy to grow into the man that you envision him to be someday.
*PS I noticed this author has a follow up book as well for moms of teenage boys just so you don’t feel like a lost cause in case your little man is a tad bit older. Never too late to start loving on them!
4. Baby proofing Your Marriage by Stacie Cockerel, Cathy O’Neill, and Julia Stone
Dear Lord, please for the love of all things chocolate, DO NOT ALLOW these tiny dictators to get in the way of your marriage. Statistics hover right around 50% for couples ending in divorce, and I am hellbent on making sure I don’t contribute to that statistic. Having a baby, and kids, changes the dynamic of your marriage A TON. This book will help navigate how to put up as many safeguards, boundaries and systems in place prior and during the long days of parenthood. We can’t forget about our marriages when it comes to raising kids, and this book helps with that!
5. Understanding the Highly Sensitive Child by James Williams
Raising, and having, a highly sensitive child is new territory for both my husband and I. Neither of us are really sensitive, but we have been gifted with a child that is. This book has helped a ton in navigating the rollercoaster of emotions our child experiences, along with equipping us with a few tools on how to help them calm down quicker. I’ll be honest, I was NOT a very empathetic person prior to raising a highly sensitive child, so I’m thankful this book has shown how even a cold-hearted robot like myself can still successfully raise a kid who experiences emotions and life in a completely different way.
Hopefully those help guide you in your desperate moments of motherhood where you just need someone WAY smarter and more knowledgeable than you to tell you what to do with the monkeys, better known as your children, living in your house!