As promised, here are the books that I've been reading that involve more than ten brightly colored pages. :)
Holy gut wrencher! What's hilarious is that I came across this book after we moved and we were unpacking. I held it up and asked if my husband knew when and where this book came from--thinking maybe the previous tenants had left it since I had never laid my eyes on it--or so I thought. He patiently explained that he had bought it for me right after I had Carter and had given it to me as a present. WHOOPS! I guess that sleep deprived state I was in washed that memory away. I felt terrible. I literally have 0 recollection of it. He said he knew I would probably want to read more now that I'm home, so he googled "top books for new mothers" and found it. What a thoughtful guy!
Good thing I didn't read it right after giving birth, though. Not sure why this would be suggested. Perhaps it's just me--but my biggest fear would be Claudy cheating on me. And, that's exactly what this book is about (I'm not spoiling anything--says so on the back cover). I'm pretty sure my hormonal/paranoid/sleep deprived/crazy post baby Megan would not have handled this book well. But, current Megan LOVED it. It's a true story about a woman moving on from her husband cheating on her. She tells the story from before, during and after the break up. It sounds depressing, but it's seriously such a good, emotional piece. Sometimes it's nice to just feel. You know? To really think about someone else's problems and grieve "with" them? There's just a release that takes place as you become wrapped up in her misery and sadness. Her frankness in writing and her humanity just surrounds you. I read it in 2 days. I couldn't put it down. The only down side was that it said the F bomb about 7-10 times. I normally don't condone that, but I figure if you're going to swear, there's no time like when you're mad you're husband is leaving you for another woman. It didn't seem arbitrary (insert rationalization here) so I guess I just tried to ignore it.
And then--we had to throw in some educational books as well.
No, Claudy and I aren't in trouble. However--I think that everyone who is married should read books about marriage. It boggles my mind that people will spend their entire lives pursuing advanced degrees in math, science...etc...but won't devote themselves to studying their longest and most important relationship. How is it you can worry about progressing your career, but not your marriage. Most professionals I know read and subscribe to trade journals, or online forums. Shouldn't we do the same for our marriages? How anyone thinks they are just naturally going to be an excellent spouse is beyond me. It takes work and I think it takes humility to seek expert opinions. And, I think it helps to read these books for when the times ARE good. That way, your walls aren't up and you're able to store information to help you for when the tough times do hit.
This book was recommended by my friend who just finished her master's in counseling. She said it was one of the books they studied for marriage counseling and that it is a highly acclaimed book. That was enough for me. I don't want to waste my time on someone's mumbo jumbo--but I want something proven and actually used in the professional field.
The author, John Gottman, as far as I could tell in my limited understanding, has done the longest and most far reaching studies on marriage. If you've ever seen a talk show on marriage, they've probably had him on. He is incredible! He really breaks it down into 7 principles (as the title promises). But, he also doesn't make it boring. I hate these type of books if they're too text-booky. He gives real examples and at the end of each chapter he gives exercises you and your spouse can do. It's basically free therapy. If you can't or are too embarrassed to go to therapy, give this book a try. Because, chances are--your therapist will just be telling you what's in this book. It was so enlightening and I thoroughly enjoyed talking about the topics with Claudy. I want to buy it for any newlyweds as a gift.
There is another thing that truly irks me. It's parents who don't try to educate themselves. And, they would probably say that their pet-peeve is a parent who tells other parents what to do. Haha!! I guess we all annoy each other one way or another. Oh, well :)
Once again, I feel like people will spend time pursing knowledge in other areas, but don't bother to invest time into learning how to raise another human being.
I feel like it's every parents duty to read up and study. As much as you want to think, parenting isn't natural. You can only know so much naturally. You have the examples around you--but what about all of the other types of parenting you may have never thought of? Even if you had excellent parents, there may be other ways of doing things. Your children may be very different from your personality! I cringe when I hear "just go with your heart," or, "trust your instincts," or "you're the mom--you know best." Of course these phrases are good, but I think they only truly work after you've studied something out so you can make an educated decision. Most people's natural parenting style is to get angry, frustrated and burned out. Why we wouldn't take advice from people who have made child development and psychology their life long pursuits? And, I'm not saying you can't be a good parent without books, but I think it will make you a better parent.
I'm also not saying that this is the end-all, be-all book. I don't think one exists. Each child will have their own temperament. Every time you have a child your life circumstances will be different. So, I think you should be as well versed as possible. Because my guess is--it will probably take a combination of several theories and methods to work for each of us.
I found the examples in the book to be a little scare-tactic as far as it came to "your child could turn out to be xxx way if you don't..." so obviously, you have to ignore some of the rhetoric.
However, it was short, sweet and easy to follow. And, the majority of it made sense to me. I really liked that it talked about loving your children and showing empathy when they make mistakes versus anger. I love that it talked about having your children learn to make decisions, and then allowing natural consequences to take place. I love that it talked about including your children in decision making, instead of doing everything for them. There was definitely a lot of good things to take away from this.
This won't be the last parenting book that I read, but it's a fabulous start and I'll definitely refer back to this one.
...so that's it for now. A few educational books and a super intense/super fun read. It was a nice balance. I love hearing what good books are out there, so I hope you did too. Be sure to drop me a comment with books you've read lately!