“Mama, you were given these children. You—no one else. You were given these children because you are who they need. You have the soul to love them even on their hard days. You have the motivation and love to give to these children everything they need. You have the heart to wake up every morning and do it all over again, even when you are exhausted. You have the smile that they crave and the touch to make everything okay. You are their sunshine and their comfort. You are theirs, and they are yours, Mama. On the days you are questioning yourself, remember this…you’ve got this.” – Unknown
There have been so many nights that I have gone to bed questioning the kind of mother I am. Questioning every decision I made throughout the day, questioning if I am cut out for this job, and wondering how much damage I caused my daughter by the things I either did or didn’t do.
When I read this quote the other day, I almost started crying. I have never been so touched and encouraged by a random quote on motherhood. We are all just doing the best we can, and there is a reason we were chosen for our children. We are the ones that they want, and the ones that they need. We don’t do things right all the time, but we show up each and every day. We get out of bed when they need us first thing in the morning, and we don’t stop until they are tucked in bed later that evening. We have to give ourselves some credit.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been much of one to read parenting books. I think I have been turned off by the books that tell me what to “expect.” I feel like we can’t be prepared for what to expect, especially in motherhood. However, what I have been very interested in and drawn to are books and articles that bring a new perspective and idea to what I think about parenting. Resources that have helped shape my philosophy and opened my eyes to see how to better teach and guide my children as opposed to just telling me what to “expect.” Often I feel like the things that I learn seem so simple and almost common sense, but when you are in the trenches, you sometimes just need someone else to show you the way.
Especially since Shiloh has entered her 2’s, I have been trying to find ways to better deal with and work with her. Out of desperation I read some of these, and am so thankful that I did. I know that I am a better mom because of it. Or at least know how to be a better mom, whether or not I always practice it or not.
These are my top 5 parenting resources, and I would recommend to anyone that either has children or works with them. They are incredible for bringing a fresh perspective and encouragement. Now, keep in mind, Shiloh is only 2, so they are definitely geared more towards the younger years, however, I don’t think that it is ever too late to assess how we are as parents, and how we approach situations.
- Bringing up Bebe – This book was written by an American journalist who raised her daughter in Paris. While she was there she was in awe of French parenting, and began studying it. French children sleep through the night at 2 months, eating anything you put in front of them, and play independently. This book goes over the essentials of French parenting, and what their “philosophy” is. This book greatly shaped my idea of parenting. I recommended this for all ages, but it it has a lot of great information about newborns to young children.
- Loving the Little Years – This book is such an easy read, at about 100 pages. Each chapter is only about 3 pages, and touches on a different subject. It’s whole focus is how to be the best you and parent so that you can “enjoy the little years.” It talks about how to love, teach, and encourage your children in the best ways while they are young. How to better understand and deal with the rollercoaster of a toddler emotions. There are so many little lessons that I remind myself of every single day from this book.
- No-Drama Discipline – This is a research based book written by a doctor and a psychologist. It is all about how and what we are to do in order to engage our children’s “whole brain.” How we appeal to the logical part while helping calm the emotional. It gives practical ways to discipline and teach that are in line with where children are developmentally. It focuses a lot on how we have to first work on ourselves before we can expect our children to be able to control themselves. This is great for toddler to teen age. It also is written in a way that is easy to read, and there are even fun illustrations that make it a really interesting read.
- The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting – This is an audiobook, and it is only about 2.5 hours. This series is by Brene Brown, a shame researcher, meaning she researches how shame affects people and their lives. This series is great for recognizing what not to do with our children and how to help prepare and try to prevent them from shameful living. Her goal is to help cultivate worthiness, vulnerability, creativity, gratitude, and respect in homes.
- Hair Tie Parenting Hack– This isn’t a book. This is just an article I read one day, but it was very powerful for me. This is a little trick to try if you find yourself losing your patience a little too quickly with your little one. It is a great way to physically remind yourself to take a breath and calm down before trying to reprimand or correct your child.
This is a hard, hard job. And no matter how wonderful of a parent we “knew” we were going to be before we had children, we probably have been given a little more than we feel like we can chew sometimes. But, the beauty in it is that they are ours and we are theirs. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and with each step we can choose to run a little stronger and with more purpose.
Photography by Samantha Brooks Photography