Whenever I attend a baby shower, I like to give the mom-to-be a book on parenting that I think she’ll enjoy and find helpful in the future. Here are some of my favorites books on motherhood, parenting and what to really expect. They’re also fun and fast reads to take to the beach or on the plane this summer.
How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm and Other Adventures in Parenting by Mei-Ling Hopgood
Written by a journalist, this delightful book offers a glimpse into the varied child-rearing practices of different countries and cultures, putting into stark relief how there’s more than one way to raise a child. Hopgood gives fun examples (the Argentineans throw the idea of scheduled bedtimes out the window; the Chinese typically start potty-training at six months — and are successful!) through her own observations, as well as interviews with anthropologists, educators and friends that live abroad. In addition to being a fun read, the book’s central message is that parenting need not to be as black and white as we make it here in the States, which I found to be a liberating idea.
This may be my favorite memoir on motherhood. Wilson is a hilarious, heartwarming and thought-provoking writer, and I related to almost every detail she imparts, even ones that I’ve never personally experienced. The thing I admire most about her series of essays is how balanced they are — never preachy or prejudiced. Wilson addresses topics that are usually a minefield but somehow manages to remain neutral and even come off as endearing. I picked up this book wanting to read about how someone else was having as difficult a time as I was, but ended up with something much better: an uplifting ode to parenting.
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
This highly successful book has been lumped in with parenting guides like The Happiest Baby on the Block, but I enjoyed it as more of a glimpse into one mother’s life as an expat in France and her own trials and tribulations with child-rearing. While Druckerman’s anecdotes do lead to helpful advice (maybe you shouldn’t run to pick up a crying baby, or start solids with bland cereals instead of colorful, flavorful purees), what I found most profound were her almost off-handed comments and observations on how her children affected everything in her life, from her work to her relationship with her husband. I really related to this book, and also picked up a useful trick or two.
What are some of your favorite books on parenting?