Those of you who follow my blog and know me in real-life know this about me: I love to read and am constantly reading something. The books I finish compared to those I start is a bit disproportionate. I am usually reading at least 5+ books at any given time, of various genres and topics – parenting how-to, Chrstian faith, marriage, counseling, fiction, cultural reflections, etc.
My goal for 2013 Goodreads was to read 40 books this year. And wouldn’t you know, out of all of my 2013 resolutions, this is the one of the *few* I completed (ok, maybe it’s the only one completed). So I thought it would be fun to do a countdown to 2014 of a review of my top 10 books read in 2013. Without further ado – here are #’s 10, 9, and 8:
#10 – Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman (2012)
Expect to be challenged if you are an American parent reading. Expect to laugh out loud and also scratch your head at how different French parenting is. And expect to be insanely jealous about how well-behaved French children are described to be. For example, take Druckerman’s observation that all French babies “do their nights” (meaning sleep 8-9 hours at a stretch) by 4 months old, at the latest. And that they know how to eat multiple course meals in public as toddlers tantrum-free. Then there’s the idyllic “creche,” a government-subsidized childcare option for ages 3 and under that’s a far cry from our public daycare systems. They serve the children 3-course-meals including a “cheese course,” that are prepared by in-house chefs who take great pride in their meal plans. This book made it to my top 10 list because of what an entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking read this was in our American parenting culture that seems too characterized and defined by competition, comparison, and perfection (expected both of ourselves and our children).
#9 – Making the Terrible Two’s Terrific by John Rosemond (1993) [note-I just saw that there’s an updated version from 2013 available here. I’m sure it’s even better than the original!]
The best book I’ve read on specifically parenting two-year-olds, of which we had TWO for over half of 2013. (And to be honest, I haven’t found age 3 to be that much easier yet …!). He’s down to earth and practical and keeps in balance a parent’s authority and the developmental reality of age 2. Such as saying it’s more about “containment than correction” at this age. It’s made me think of how I can be more proactive in parenting instead of reactive. He gives a variety of suggestions for parenting and natural consequences that I found helpful to implement (not easy but helpful to at least have a game plan!).
#8 – Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson (2013)
What a great book on motherhood that balances both its reality and joy! I appreciated hearing the two stories weaved throughout of Sarah Mae who’s “in it” (with 3 young kids) and her mentor, Sally Clarkson, who’s been through motherhood (and thrived). Sarah’s perspective resonated with me since this is where I am, too, and it gave me hope to hear of someone struggling in motherhood in similar ways (while loving her children). Reading of their interaction gave me a vision for being this type of mentor when I am out of this young kids stage, and it reminds me that the first steps to take when feeling desperate as a mom is to admit you are and to reach out for help. I am thankful for so many mentors and fellow young moms past and present who have been there for me in these moments of desperation to remind me that I am not alone. Reading this book in the beginning of this year when I did feel more desperate than I do today was a significant part of helping me to carry on. (speaking of that last phrase “carry on” … ok, spoiler alert for the next segment!)