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4 Best Books to Read Before Baby (Or: Why To Do Your Homework Before You Have That Kid)

Just ask MrBigIdeas (Image via c.buyoly.com)

By now you will have noticed that I’m a little bit OCD. Not enough to counter-act the effects of housing four kids in my personal space — I can count seven choke-able, non-appropriate-for-children-under-three-items on the floor right this moment just begging the boys to eat them (POLLY POCKETS, I AM CALLING YOU MOTHAF****S OUT !) — but enough to believe that there is a RIGHT WAY and a WRONG WAY to do most things.

This is NOT to say that MY RIGHT WAY is the same as YOUR RIGHT WAY. As far as parenting choices go, we are all basically in this thing alone (despite what the great big wide kumbaya-mother-blogging world would have you believe), especially when it’s 3 am on a Tuesday night and you are up for the fifteenth time servicing water or potty or “my nightlight stopped working” requests … so who am I to say you shouldn’t a) do whatever it takes to soothe your kids back to sleep or b) lose your temper all over them and let them sob their eyes out for the next three hours because you just don’t have another ounce of Earth Mama left in you?

Can you tell which one I’d choose?

Which brings us back to the idea of RIGHT WAYS and WRONG WAYS — and my honest and true belief that there is lots of wisdom to be gleaned from those who’ve gone before us …

The bitch of it is trying to figure out which of those who’ve gone before are YOUR PEEPS and not crazy people whose entire M.O. is to make you nuts.

(In case you can’t tell, my entire parenting philosophy to date, five years and four kids in, is: DO THE THING THAT WILL MAKE YOU, THE PARENT, LEAST NUTS. Which is why, despite my saying here that you really ought to wean your kids off the pacifiers around the same time you wean them off the swaddles, I totally didn’t do that with Pancake and Sausage because after three days they were still screaming their heads off and honestly who has time for Babies 3 and 4 to be screaming their heads off? Not me. And I don’t judge myself for it. Like I said: I’m just trying to stay NOT NUTS.)

Anyway, the RIGHT  way to figure out how you are going to parent is to find out how everybody ELSE parents, and then try to figure out where you fit in. What I’m trying to say is, as long as you’re going and having a baby, you really ought to pick up a few books and hang out on some websites and try to figure out what sort of wisdom’s out there. I mean, it’s a long nine months of growing babies, and at a certain point it’s just not comfortable to be dancing all night. You might as well stay home and read.

This is not to say that what you read BEFORE you have a baby is going to have anything to do with what you do AFTER you have a baby. I promise. I say this because I read everything out there, and here’s what I learned: I was going to be an attachment parent. No, really. I was going to be the woman who never let my baby cry.

Fast forward four months, and I was a die-hard sleep training ninja. (Also, for the record, I am a big fan of science. I’ll get to that eventually — but I figure we can save the Hard Truth conversations for when we know each other better.)

Anyway, as long as you’re looking for parenting advice — and if you’re not, why the hell are you here, aren’t there more interesting things you could be doing right now? Like reading The New Yorker cover-to-cover or going to a movie?  — let me point you to the four books that ended up being THE REAL DEAL for me.

Oh, and, let me save you a fight or two right now and say, don’t bother trying to get the soon-to-be Dads in your life to read these books. Dads think anyone who reads all these books about parenting is being neurotic. They think there are no books on earth that can properly prepare you for becoming a parent.

They are right.

Still, these books do a damn fine job of making the prospect of caring for a brand new human seem a hell of a lot less scary. They make it seem like you can handle it. And that’s why, this week, I’m going to go on about these books, and why they’re my be-all, end-all, “Hey, you’re having a baby? Read these!” recs.

Check back tomorrow to learn more about the first “must-have” book on my Wise Parents booklist — or Or Click Here To Get the Whole List now.

And in the meantime, tell me: What are your go-to Baby Books?








I'm Just Looking for Some Grown-Ups to Talk To ...

Categories: Before Baby, Essential Reading, Infants, Pancake, and Sausage.

One Response to 4 Best Books to Read Before Baby (Or: Why To Do Your Homework Before You Have That Kid)

  • Love
    March 10, 2012

    I cringe to think how quick I was to judge bfoere kids! I wasn’t always vocal about it, but that doesn’t make it any better. I truly feel that with each of my kids the Lord has been teaching me how to be a little less judgemental as a parent. Before E, I was NEVER going to have a c-section because I’d read all the research about how most c-sections are unnecessary, blah blah blah. Well, I found myself in an ambulance in the middle of labor followed by an emergency c-section that probably saved my life. Talk about humbling. What a testimony I now have too!One thing I do need to be better about is not asking for advice in a desperate moment. The other day I was frustrated with A’s sleep habits and so I asked for advice online. I heard everything from keep comforting her 5 million times a night to let her cry it out. I was ready to Ferberize her. But I knew in my heart, all I had to do was find a middle ground just as we did with E.I’ve found with A, I’m a little more lenient with some things and stricter with others. They are different kids, so what worked for E doesn’t necessarily work for A and vice versa.I like to call myself slightly soggy. I’m not 100% crunchy, but definitely not 100% mainstream either. Like you, we just do what works best for our family. Sometimes it changes and that’s okay. We have friends on all ranges of the spectrum and that’s exactly how I like it because we can all learn from each other. 🙂

Sarah Kate Levy

Once upon a time I wanted to be a novelist in NY. FOUR KIDS LATER I'm a
screenwriter in LA who blogs about parenting, partnering, and the decline of civilization / my home.

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