Finally! A practical, no panic book for first time parents
If you have ever been in the situation where you are expecting your first child, you know how overwhelming it can be, especially when you have different books telling you all the many ways you could potentially be a bad parent.
Refreshingly different, How to Have Your Second Child First by Kerry Colburn gives a list of time-saving and sanity-saving tips that experienced parents wish they knew the first time around. With a down to earth tone and a bit of humour, this book is sure to calm expectant parents.
The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls From Today's Pressures by Stephen Hinshaw
Product Description: In many ways, today is the best time in history to be a girl: Opportunities for a girl’s success are as unlimited as her dreams. Yet an alarm is sounding, revealing a disturbing portrait of the stresses affecting girls of all ages. Societal expectations, cultural trends, and conflicting messages are creating what psychologist and researcher Stephen Hinshaw calls “the Triple Bind.” Girls are now expected to excel at “girl skills,” achieve “boy goals,” and be models of female perfection, 100 percent of the time. The Triple Bind is putting more and more girls at risk for aggression, eating disorders, depression, and even suicide.
Combining moving personal stories about girls and their families with extensive research into genetic risk, vulnerability, and cultural influence, Dr. Hinshaw provides strategies and tools for parents who want to empower their daughters to deal in healthy ways with today’s pressures.
Motherhood in the Twenty-First Century
Bad Mother: a chronicle of maternal crimes, minor calamities, and occasional moments of grace, by Ayelet Waldman
Waldman is the author of the "Mommy Track" mysteries and two previous works of non-fiction. She is married to writer Michael Chabon, and they live in California with their four children.
Waldman shot to fame (or notoriety) when she wrote an online piece called "Modern Love", confessing that she loved her husband more than her children. A firestorm of public opinion ensued, culminating in her appearance on "Oprah."
Here in Bad Mother, Waldman makes her case for giving both ourselves and other mothers a break. Such contentious topics as stay-at-home versus working moms, breastfeeding, organic foods, roles of dads, in-laws, and hyper-competitive parenting are all covered with clear sight and common sense.
Waldman's bottom line, and her most important message, is that the more secure and comfortable we are in our own parenting choices, the less need we feel to act as the "Bad Mother Police" for other mothers.
This compelling book is both enlightening and encouraging for those still trying to navigate the never-really-clear waters of parenthood.
A Book by the Most Widely-read Personal Blogger on the Internet
It Sucked, and Then I Cried: how I had a baby, a breakdown, and a much-needed Margarita, by Heather B. Armstrong
Heather B. Armstrong was one of the personal-blog pioneers, back in the day when the concept of an online journal accessible to all who cared to read seemed a tad - odd...
Her blog - Dooce.com - led to her being fired after some of her scathing remarks about her boss and fellow employees were discovered by her workplace, leading to the popular concept of being "dooced."
Armstrong has had the last laugh, however, as she now makes her living from ad revenues on her still wildly popular and successful blog.
Armstrong is always painfully candid about the events in her life, and the same can be said for this book. She discusses the excitement and anticipation of planning to have a child, and the shock of coping with the reality of introducing a high-needs child into your life. She is frank about the cons as well as the pros, and lays out how her ongoing low-level depression precipitated a case of post-partum depression severe enough to hospitalize her for a brief period of time.
Throughout the book, it is clear how dearly she loves her child, and her husband, Jon, as she tries to recover and to thrive, rather than merely survive, in their newly configured family.
Another book in our Regina Public Library collection with a similar theme - how blogging on the internet can affect one's personal life and fortunes - is Petite Anglaise: a true story by Catherine Sanderson.
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: a Memoir, by Elizabeth McCracken
Elizabeth McCracken offers a bittersweet recounting of her pregnancy and the stillbirth of her first child in this poignant memoir.
Elizabeth and her husband, fellow author Edward Carey, revelled in their lifestyle. Married in their late thirties, they had had plenty of time to establish careers, alternating stints of teaching at the university level in Iowa with residing in various foreign locales.
In fact, Elizabeth and her husband live in Paris when they go through the time that she calls "the happiest story with the saddest ending." She paints a picture of the anticipation of the birth of their son, who they have lovingly dubbed "Pudding", and of how things went so dreadfully wrong at the nth hour.
She explores how there could have been an alternate, better ending - what if the midwife had taken her concerns more seriously? What if..... with a legion of possibilities.
Elizabeth writes this book with her newborn second son in her lap, but while this is a joyous event, it does not erase the anguish they have endured. She doesn't ever cross over into the bathetic. Her pain is subtly delineated instead, in such lines as " France is ruined for me"; not that she descends into blaming the country itself, but indicating that it served as the backdrop to the worst event that most people could envision happening in their lives.
Ultimately, this is a hopeful book, and offers insight into the effects that a late pregnancy loss or stillbirth can have on many, including friends and family. Elizabeth states that, despite the pain, she would never choose to have had Pudding never exist, to not have experienced the joy and anticipation of awaiting the birth of their first child.
The Sandwich Generation - Parenting Your Parents
Welcome to the Departure Lounge: adventures in mothering mother, by Meg Federico
Meg Federico is an American transplanted to Canada; she has written for the National Post and for CBC Radio. Her story is one that is familiar to many "boomers" in North America today - how do you cope with the competing needs of your growing children and your aging parents?
Meg feels compelled to dash back and forth between Nova Scotia and New Jersey to aid her eighty-year-old mother and her considerably older stepfather, who are struggling with dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and overindulgence in alcohol.
She and her siblings attempt to cobble together effective homecare for their parents, and realize how expensive and unreliable their stopgap measures truly are, as they deal with accusations of voodoo practice by staff, phone orders for cases of scotch, and mail-order sex aides.
This book is both poignant and screamingly funny, as it lovingly chronicles the chaos and confusion that can ensue when one's parents refuse to settle into a Norman Rockwell-style life of slowly and peacefully fading away.
"The Departure Lounge", as Meg and her brother wryly christen their parents' home, is a place you are glad to visit, but wouldn't want to live.
Carter, Abigail; The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow's Transformation
This autobiographical account of how a young family's life was shattered by 9/11 offers an up-close and personal portrayal of the long-term effects of such a devastating event.
Carter is frank in her depiction of the reactions she both experienced and received - the good, the bad, the helpful and the less than helpful. She discusses how, with the best of intentions, many friends and family members made a difficult situation worse.
The evolution of the new family, minus one parent, is a central theme of the book. Carter obviously loves her two children dearly, but she is realistic in showing how the loss of their father affected them in all their relationships, most especially with her.
Another recurring theme deals with the various memorials that were intended to celebrate the life of her husband and the other victims of 9/11. Over the course of two years, none of them seemed to really celebrate her husband, and start the road to closure for her, until she and her children develop their own way to remember their dad and husband.
It is only at that moment in time that Carter feels she is free to move on and make life choices that will be in the best interests of her children and herself, without worrying any longer whether her husband would have made the same choices if he were still alive.
This is an engrossing and affirming read - it gives one faith in the ability of the human spirit to survive and to triumph in the face of great loss.
You've probably heard of the bestselling What to Expect series from authors Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg and Sandee Hathaway. If you are a new parent--or about to become one--I highly recommend What to Expect the First Year. This book covers virtually every topic that you will need help with: the dreaded carseat, feeding and sleeping problems, colic, and sibling rivalry. We've all heard the saying that babies don't come with manuals....well, What to Expect is as close as you are going to get.
Also in baby news, watch for the arrival of the revised 2008 edition of What to Expect When You're Expecting, which we are "expecting" very soon....
I also just discovered Heidi Murkoff's What to Expect website, replete with information spanning the spectrum from pre-conception to the toddler years...very useful link!
Finally, a Good Night's Sleep
A Parent's Guide to Getting Kids Out of the Family Bed: A Twenty-One Day Program by Lawrence E. Shapiro
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of this title. But can it really be done? And in only 21 days? I'll let you know if I have any luck...
From the Publisher
Many parents have a difficult time getting their children out of the "family bed." A Parent's Guide to Getting Kids Out of the Family Bed presents a 21 day program for parents to move their children back into their own bedrooms and to end the wanderings of "ambulatory sleepers." The workbook has separate sections for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, and older children who are sleeping in their parents bed due to special circumstances (e.g. divorce, fears, death in the family, etc.)
In the meantime, here are some other titles that may help you with your children's sleep problems:
The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep -- From Birth to Age 5 by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack
Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber
Better Sleep for Your Baby & Child: A Parent's Step-by-Step Guide to Healthy Sleep Habits by Shelly K. Weiss