Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Parenting Encouragement Book and Blog Reviews

Parenting is hard! I know that’s not a news flash for many, and the wealth of books, blogs and resources out there to try and guide each of us on the journey is a testament to how lost parenting can make us feel. There are hot topics that seem to be found in too many parenting article headlines, and there is judgement, real or perceived. Honestly, sanctimommy is even a term! Enough! We’re all in this together. Let’s instead become a village of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles together. Let’s support each other. Let’s lift each other up.

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

In my quest for encouragement and resources, I’ve found some inspirational women on Instagram to brighten my feed and have been wading through a variety of books, articles and blogs. Below are some of my better recent finds. Do you know or have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Please share here in the comments.
Christy Wright is a sought-after inspirational speaker, Certified Business Coach and new mom. Her site includes a blog that is filled with wisdom on work-life balance and giving yourself and others grace. I recently heard her talk as part of a free online mom conference and was so inspired. Her blog articles have the same fresh perspective. Some favorite posts of hers are The Ties that Bind Us and Five Words that People Need to Hear.

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker was exactly what I needed at just the right time. The subtitle really says so much. We really do seem to live in a world of impossible standards, helped in large part by social media. It’s so easy to compare our day-to-day reality to the only good or great parts of life that most people share online. The book is a series of essays on four themes. The common thread throughout is to give yourself and those around you grace. The author is evidently known as a writer, blogger and television personality, especially within Christian circles, but I didn’t know that before picking up the book. Everything in the book is shared with wit, honesty, humility and so much humor. I’m now a total fan of Jen Hatmaker. After stumbling on the title on Amazon, I pre-ordered the Kindle edition and read through it in just two weeks. It honestly felt like the time went more quickly than that, though. I anticipate a reread of this in my future, and highly recommend it for anyone feeling the weight of the struggle of standards and comparison.

How She Does It: An everywoman's guide to breaking old rules, getting creative, and making time for work in your actual, everyday life by Anne Bogel. The author is also the blogger behind Modern Mrs. Darcy, which is probably my favorite blog. How She Does It is a really short book, but filled with notes from the author’s personal journey on finding time for her blog/business, while still raising her four kids. Honestly, I didn’t think anything here was groundbreaking, but I did feel that it addressed the seasonality of life and gave permission in a way to make allowances for those seasonal ups and downs. It also touched a lot on how she tag teams with her spouse to find balance. For that last reason, it may not the best book for single parents, though I sincerely hope we all have some sort of support network, because this whole parenting gig is HARD. Overall, this was a good, quick read that I found to be worthwhile to quickly glean some gems on balance. 

Many Ways to Say I Love you: Wisdom for Parents and Children from Mister Rogers and The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember, both by Fred Rogers. I loved watching Mr. Rogers on television while I was growing up. There was something so warm and welcoming about him. He was soft spoken and kind and patient. Those traits still resonate with me, probably even more so now that I can better see how it's so incredibly hard to be those things consistently with children. Both of these small books are a compilation of quotes from Fred Rogers' life. Some are from his TV program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and others are from letters and speeches he gave over the years. The forward in both small books is by his wife, Joanne Rogers. I liked reading this knowing that the family supported the endeavor. The quotes are compiled thematically into topics, including The Courage to be Yourself, We Are All Neighbors, Growing as Parents, and Many Ways to Love Each Other, and all of them are incredibly encouraging. It's clear, even just from these small books, that Mr. Rogers really tried to meet kids and parents where they were without judgement and guide them to be more loving. Great reminders for any season of life.

Test. Test. Note that I'm testing affiliate Amazon links in this post. TBD on if they'll appear in future posts. Thanks!

What books, blogs or resources would you add to this list? I anticipate doing more of these reviews as I have a hefty to-be-read pile of similarly themed titles. I’d love to add your favorite reads to my list.

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