Here are my favorite books, websites and resources, in case you’d like more information or inspiration.
If you need reminding that you’re not alone on this journey:
Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-life Parenthood has a pretentious title but is full of beautifully-written essays about all stages of motherhood. (It’s a collection of essays from Salon.com’s parenting section, back when it was a little more active and thoughtful.)
I love Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. It was the first book about parenting that didn’t make me want to smack the author for their preciousness. I also love the “Dear Sugar” column from The Rumpus which — while technically not about parenting — is full of you-got-this inspiration from Cheryl Strayed, before she became the author of Wild. (Many of the columns are collected in book form as Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar).
If you’re interested in research about parenting and child development:
Hands-down, my favorite is NurtureShock: New Thinking abut Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. It’s like Freakonomics-meets-Malcolm Gladwell, smashing all sorts of myths about how kids work.
The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances Jensen and Amy Ellis Nutt is fascinating/terrifying, but provides excellent insight into why my son literally can’t remember three things without a list. School Girls: Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap by Peggy Orenstein and Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher are both thought-provoking, if you accept that being a girl hasn’t changed that much in the last couple decades.
If you’re interested in specific parenting tactics:
To be honest, I don’t do a lot of reading about how to parent. But there have been a few resources that helped me when I needed help. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish is a classic (for a reason). I also learned a lot from a Redirecting Children’s Behavior class when my little ones were actually little; I still use a bunch of tactic like pause button and make-ups (it may feel to hippie-dippie for some, but it’s got great tools for reducing the number of power struggles involved in an average week of parenthood).
A few other interesting reads:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain changed my life. I had no idea that I was so introverted, or that I was torturing my daughter with our constant social whirl. She also has a TedTalk if you want to start small.
Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun is a fast read that summarizes all the research about happiness, contentment and a fulfilling life in a super-readable way.
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman opened my eyes to the idea that everyone has preferred ways to express and to receive expressions of love (it sounds obvious now, but I pretty much thought my way was “normal”…)
There’s a lot of shame involved in parenting so The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown is an eye-opener. She has a TedTalk too.