Parenting Books

In the 3 years since I discovered that I was pregnant with my first child I have accumulated an astonishing 21 Parenting Books …

There are several reasons for that…
I don’t find my own mother a very reliable source of wisdom due to the fact that I pretty much raised myself.
I was born in 1988 in Thuringia – a “state” of eastern Germany which was formerly part of the DDR.
The Wall stood from 1961 to 1989 and so my mother grew up in a World where the State and Government thought for you and you did what was expected of you.
After you had your first child you wre granted only 8 weeks of maternity leave before returning to work full time and leaving your child in childcare.
Here every child was treated the same, taught the same and followed the same schedule. As a parent you had to make very few decisions on the upbringing of your offspring.
Almost no one in the general public questioned this and it seems as though most people actually preferred it this way.
With the coming down of the wall these ideologies didn’t just change overnight and even to this day Germany is still somewhat divided into east and west in terms of earning potential,
living cost and general attitude and mentality.
When I was 4 we moved to a small market town near Mainz – western Germany, since my stepfather found better paid work here.
But not long after the move the marriage broke down.
So my mum was a single parent from the time I was 5 and worked double shifts in the restaurant Industry throughout my entire childhood.
My two older brothers (one of them 8 years my senior the other 12 years) were tasked with looking after me when my mother was at work.
It is what it is and it has made me a very self sufficient independant person from a young age which served me well so far.
However even when she was at home she was a very “hands off” parent,
partly because of her own upbringing (she had a very controlling mother herself) and partly due to her exhaustion from working to support the family on her own…
So what I learned from her is responsibility and work ethic but She would not be the person I turn to for advice on potty training or temper tantrums …
I have two older Brothers who have children themselves and I can ask them for some advice but as they both work full time and are not part of the traditional nuclear family structure themselves, this source of wisdom is also limited.
I have a few friends with children whom I have received advice from in the past but one finds oneself not wanting to look incabable or stupid due to asking too many silly questions 😉
My Family in law are very willing to volunteer advice but with culture differences and otherwise differences in opinion in general these exchanges can sometimes be more frustrating than helpful…

Enter parenting books …
I have Books that advise on everything from trying to conceive, Pregnancy, Labour and Breastfeeding to sleep, weaning, naps, discipline, play, potty training, siblings and more.
In fact, whenever I find myself needing reassurance or another perspective I turn to amazon in search of a book.
I must admit that I have found the Parentng experience so far sometimes very confusing.
After trying to conceive for two years for out first Baby – I wanted everything to be just perfect and while some things seemed to come naturally and without effort others most certainly did not … wherever you looked and whomever you asked seemed to have a different opinion – it soon occured to me that there is not one right way but rather a hundred different choices and decisions and only you and your significant other to figure out what to do.
OK so as long as my child is loved and cared for the little details probably dont matter so much and I just need to trust my insticts and everything will be OK…
Except maybe all the little details matter a great deal and actually – I dont really trust my instincts at all because I’m not even really sure who I am modelling them after…
So another amazon purchase appears on my bank statement and the book that I receive in the post a few days later feels comforting in my hands even before I turn any of its pages, because I know it will reassure me that maybe I handle this a little bit better than I give myself credit for …
and maybe my staying at home to look after my smalls is something to be proud of even though it sometimes seems as though I am doing nothing all day…
For when you do the same chores each day every day running a household with two small (exploring, enthusiastic, messy) children seems fairly simple on paper, not factoring in the emotional demands of two little human beings that rely entirely on you in every way.
So some mums treat themselves to a bottle of wine or a new pair of shoes … I treat myself to a parenting book…
Recently I have found myself raising my voice to my little girl a few too manny times.
I’ve run out of patience after telling her for the 30th time that day not to jump on the sofa (among various other scenarios) and I yell and she gets down and sais sorry with a sad face and a small voice, I feel terrible and guilty for yelling, I turn my back and hear the familiar thud and squish of her little grey slippers on the sofa cushions again … I sigh …
I have tried just about everything – naughty chair, distraction, star charts … they all work in their own ways but it does get confusing
and at that age it takes a while before something truly sinks in … and attention spans are not very long at best … I remind myself of how brilliant and clever and funny and beautiful she is choose to pretend I dont hear her this time …
Parenthood needs infinite Patience… I don’t know anyone with infinite patience … especially not myself … I am Impatience in person …

I want my children to have the magical childhood I didn’t have. I wnant them to feel loved and valued. I want them to be honest and kind and I want them to know they can trust me and rely on me always… I also want to keep my sanity =)

Anyway … I have another few books on my amazon wish list for the next time when going gets tough … 😉 whatever it takes to get you through the day …

In the meantime – 3 Books I thoroughly recommend are:

The Food of Love – Kate Evans (Breastfeeding Wisdom)
What Mothers Do – Naomi Sadlen (emotional reassurance especially but not exclusively for the first year)
The no-cry discipline ssolution – Elizabeth Pantley (brilliant book by a brilliant author on coping with the many challenges of toddlerdom)
until next time 🙂
ta da


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