Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Top 5 parenting books for real people

I’ll admit – straight up – I’m not a parent, and never will be. What I am is a very-nearly-lifetime aunt and great-aunt (I was 7½ when my first nephew was born, so I barely remember a time I wasn’t an aunt).

So, watching my siblings raise 10 children, and THEIR children raise 11 children (with another on the way), has given me some insight into parenthood. Not to mention the realisation that it’s not like many parenting books say it is. Seriously, some of the titles and covers just make me nauseous – they are SO saccharine, I can feel my teeth rot in my gums.

Parenting is hard work (ok, they say that);pregnancy can totally suck (and resemble those scenes from the Alien movies, when the alien rips its way out of people’s chests); childbirth is still risky (and can be life-threatening); and, children have personalities before they’re born so a large part of being a parent is figuring out how to work WITH them… And, yes, there is a lot of joy, too…

In honour of the hopefully-soon (the sooner the better for the mother) arrival of the latest great-niephling (shorthand for niece / nephew / sibling), I found these five books that rip the rose-tinted glasses off parenthood, and tell it like it is… And, hopefully, make real people feel like they’re normal when they struggle with this whole parenting thing…

NB: a lot of the ‘humorous’ parenting books do seem to attract wildly different opinions. Some think they’re 5-stars, best parenting book ever!; while others wonder why they were published. I’ll leave you to form your own opinions.

Honourable mention:
  1. Balance is a crock, sleep is for the weak : an indispensable guide to surviving working motherhood / Amy Eschliman and Leigh Oshirak 
  2. It gets easier! --and other lies we tell new mothers / Claudine Wolk

Answering such burning questions as:
Q: How can I tell if I’ve chosen the wrong pediatrician?
A: He/she can’t pronounce “stethoscope.”

Moving closer to home, we have Australian comic-writer, Kaz Cooke’s offerings. They are packed with words, and can double as door-stops if you feel the need.

Quote: "If you buy those headbands with a bow on them for a girl baby your child will look like a demented Easter egg in a nappy".

A New Zealand book! Featuring REAL people! And, slightly more serious than others on this list.
Quote: Waiting for a baby to arrive is like waiting for a bomb to explode. You are the bomb.

Shared confessions of mums who aren’t perfect (who is?!)
Quote: Some days I love my life. I truly love my husband and my kids. They are everything to me. But sometimes I look around my life and it doesn’t feel like it is mine and I wonder what the hell I am doing here.

Parenting: illustrated with crappy pictures / Amber Dusick.
This is the book that inspired the list… Laugh at Amber’s crappy moments – alas, usually in sympathy and understanding… nodding as you recall the exact thing happening to you…

Quote: Kids can smell parental embarrassment the way dogs can smell fear.

~ Annie, Central City Library

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