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These Parenting Books Are Worth It!
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These Parenting Books Are Worth It!

By 49thShelf
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tagged: parenting
New books to help parents up their game—and perhaps give themselves a break, along with great memoirs.
Impossible Parenting

Impossible Parenting

Creating a New Culture of Mental Health for Parents
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

A roadmap for parents who want to feel less pressure and more joy during the intense early years of childrearing.

Why is it that research suggests people who don’t have kids are happier than people who do? Olivia Scobie provides practical solutions for parents who find themselves pushing beyond their capacity to meet impossible standards, and challenges parents to shift their thinking from child centred to family centred.

By naming today’s unrealistic parenting expectations as impossible from …

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Excerpt

One: Introduction

THE DREAM OF THE GOOD PARENT

Before they have children, most parents have a dream of what they think their new life will look like. Some of us focus on snuggling tiny babies, with their sleepy yawns and tiny socks, all nestled into a little blanket burrito. Others think of adorable toddlers with their toothy grins, broken language, and cuddly reading time. A few of us even envision helping school-aged children with their homework or driving them to an early morning sport practice or art class.

In these dreams we usually have quiet, well-behaved, neurotypical, able-bodied children. We have deep relationships with our children where we love and respect each other. Life is good in this dream. It’s happy and joyful. We are good parents with good children.

Some anxiety may slip into this dream. We might worry if we will be enough. We might not know if we can afford the vision. We might see other people’s children behaving badly and wonder how to avoid such behaviours while convincing ourselves that, somehow, “it’ll be different for me/us.”

My vision of parenting was patterned on the life of Lorelai Gilmore, the adorable, confident single mother from The Gilmore Girls. When I got pregnant with my first-born son, I was young — about a year out of high school. I already knew that the person I got pregnant with wasn’t going to be a parent in much more than title, and that I was going to have to figure this out on my own. But that was no big deal. I was Lorelai Gilmore. I imagined going for long walks with my baby in the stroller, coffee in one hand, chatting with friends. I saw us becoming best buds and braving the world together. I knew there would be challenges, but a dynamic team like us? We could handle it.

Then I had the baby.

Becoming a parent was like taking a long series of punches in the face. The birth was traumatic. Nursing was simultaneously a nightmare and a cruel joke, landing us back in the hospital after only a few days because I had an infant so dehydrated that he could barely muster a cry. Once he was nourished with formula, he didn’t sleep for more than forty minutes at a time and when he was awake, he cried and cried and cried. I went back and forth, either frantically struggling with a baby that was awake and crying, or stuck under a sleeping baby who could not be put down. He also had a medically complicated urinary system, chronic ear infections, and severe reflux, so we hung out at the hospital a lot. There were no coffee strolls. There were no breaks. We were not friends.

I thought the first year with my baby would be the best year of my life. Instead I found myself praying every day that I would die and that someone more equipped than me would be willing to raise this difficult creature into a lovely human. Unfortunately, my experience was not unique.

THE GRIND IS UNFORESEEABLE

Once we become parents, most of us realize that our pre-parent selves were naive, or even foolish. To some extent, there’s a discrepancy for every parent between what they thought it was going to be like and what it’s really like, and there’s nothing abnormal about that. When the gap between expectation and reality feels massive, some people adapt relatively easily. But others really struggle.

My partner, Janna, refers to this adjustment as learning to live with the grind of parenting, a term I’ve now adopted as my own. How the grind will feel is simply unknowable before having children. I had two kids when I met Janna, and before we moved in together, we spent a lot of time hanging out as a family. I asked Janna if they were nervous about living with the kids, but they assured me that they had spent enough time with them to get a sense of what it would be like. After a year of living together, we returned to this conversation, and they admitted that while they had a sense of many aspects of parent life, they couldn’t have imagined how wearying the daily grind of chores, the irrationality of children, and the never being “off duty” for any more than a few hours at a time would be. It’s not one task, one sleepless night, or one tantrum that feels tough; it’s the combination of a seemingly endless stream of them, without knowing when you will get a moment to catch your breath, that feels so intense and exhausting. While there are many rewarding parts of parenting, I often liken the early years to waking up with a leak in your energy system and trying to get to the end of the day without letting the grind suck all your energy out of the leak, all the while hoping that there’s at least an hour at the end of the day to fix the leak and fill the tank back up, because you have to do it all over again in the morning.

Each parent’s experience is different, and it’s not possible to understand your own experience of the grind ahead of time. Some people cope better with it. Some babies sleep more than others, and some people are less triggered by crying or whining. But all parents experience a loss of agency and control the moment they meet their kid(s) for the first time. For those who are co-parenting, there’s usually one parent, who I call the primary parent, who does more of the parenting work in the postpartum period, and they feel the loss of agency very deeply. And while the desire to be in control has a bad reputation and can get you accused of being a “control freak,” not having enough control can be disempowering and can make you feel hopeless. And yet much of the advice to new parents is to give in and let go of expectations, with very little discussion about what it’s like to live with the serious responsibilities of postpartum life. This leaves parents with little control over their day-to-day lives, because the ever-changing needs of babies and young children often keep us from planning and executing tasks. Establishing a routine feels like a pipe dream, and even when something resembling a routine does emerge, it’s almost never set by the parents, and it can be disrupted at any time by teething, developmental milestones, or just plain old off-days. Every day, postpartum parents try to find the balance between moving life forward, by doing basic things like going to appointments and getting groceries, and letting go of it all when their kid(s)’ needs take over.

No one teaches us how to navigate this tricky dance of meeting expectations and letting go of them simultaneously, or how to live in a space with conflicting demands. Most of us aren’t used to being needed in such an intense way, which makes it hard to understand what kind of resources might help us. Even if we do know what we want or need, resources often feel limited, and some parents have much more access to resources than others. We are taught that to be a “good” parent we must work hard, sacrifice, and be joyful, all of which can sometimes feel more like a performance for others than an authentic experience.

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Rooted, Resilient, and Ready

Rooted, Resilient, and Ready

Empowering Teen Girls As They Grow
edition:Paperback
tagged : teenagers

How to help—and how not to hinder—your teenage daughter’s healthy development as she prepares to step into her own circle of power.

Today’s teen girls face pressures such as an increase in mental health concerns, mounting demands to be both beautiful and successful, and addiction to social media and the approval of others, all of which can result in a damaging decline in personal satisfaction and self-esteem.

Rooted, Resilient, and Ready explores how today's teen girl assembles her identit …

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Babies

Babies

21 Days of Menus
edition:Paperback
tagged : baby food

Are you wondering if baby is ready to make the transition from milk to spoon-feeding? Which solid foods you should begin with and which ones you should avoid? How much food should baby eat to be healthy? What can you do if he is a fussy eater? This guide will allow you to:

  • Understand your baby's nutritional needs and prepare food accordingly
  • Know how to satisfy his hunger and help develop his taste buds
  • Prepare easy and delicious purees
  • Plan meals and snacks with the help of age-appropriate …
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Small Courage

Small Courage

A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family
edition:Paperback

Rarely do we know what life will hold. When starting the adoption process, Jane Byers and her wife could not have predicted the illuminating and challenging experience of living for two weeks with the Evangelical Christian foster parents of their soon-to-be adopted twins. Parenthood becomes even more daunting when homophobia threatens their beginnings as a family, seeping in from places both unexpected and familiar. But Jane and Amy are up for the challenge. In this moving and poetic memoir, Bye …

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Discipline Your Kids with Positive Parenting

Discipline Your Kids with Positive Parenting

A Practical Guide to Building Cooperation and Connecting with Your Child
edition:Paperback

Guide your children with the power of positive parenting: a practical approach to discipline

Discover how simple it is to regain peace in your home and help kids regulate their own behavior. Discipline Your Kids with Positive Parenting introduces the idea of empowering your children (and yourself), as well as using discipline as an effective teaching tool.

Rooted in mindfulness—the practice of being present and self-regulating—this complete guide to discipline through positive parenting make …

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ohpikinâwasowin/Growing a Child

ohpikinâwasowin/Growing a Child

Implementing Indigenous Ways of Knowing with Indigenous Families
edition:Paperback

 

Western theory and practice are over-represented in child welfare services for Indigenous peoples, not the other way around. Contributors to this collection invert the long-held, colonial relationship between Indigenous peoples and systems of child welfare in Canada. By understanding the problem as the prevalence of the Western universe in child welfare services rather than Indigenous peoples, efforts to understand and support Indigenous children and families are fundamentally transformed. Chil …

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The Tech Solution

The Tech Solution

Creating Healthy Habits for Kids Growing Up in a Digital World
edition:Hardcover
tagged : school age

A Harvard-trained psychiatrist and mom of 3 gives parents and educators the tech habits children need to achieve their full potential--and a 6-step plan to put them into action.

You may have picked up on some warning signs: The more your 9-year-old son plays video games, the more distracted and irritable he becomes. Or maybe comparing her life to others on social media is leaving your teenaged daughter feeling down. Then there are the questions that are always looming: Should I limit screen time? …

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Baby Food in an Instant Pot

Baby Food in an Instant Pot

125 Quick, Simple and Nutritious Recipes for Babies, Toddlers and Families
edition:Paperback

Short on time and sleep? Need baby food in an instant? Try baby food in an Instant Pot!

For new moms and dads it's not always easy to prepare nutritious homemade baby food. The most popular and bestselling kitchen appliance of the last several years, the Instant Pot, will be a parent's new best friend and new favorite kitchen sidekick because of how quickly and easily it can help to get healthy and delicious food into the mouths of little ones -- even the picky ones.

Here, parents will find ever …

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