Hell, if I were a better mother, I'd be doing something for my child instead of coding this page.
This is a collection of links and recommendations regarding parenthood in general and motherhood in particular. Most of these items contain links to author pages, which in turn have links to purchasing info (if you're into that kind of thing). It's a work in progress, meaning that I'm a little too tired from nursing all night to remember everything. Rest assured that this list will grow as my child gets bigger & bolder.
And also? The title: she's a joke. Not parenting, that's serious. But the whole mom olympics thing is crap. I'm as good as I need to be. I bet you are too.
- The mother of all pregnancy books by Ann Douglas
- The first thing I did after I got the news was to walk into a bookstore
and buy this book. Crammed full of info, stats, quotations & tips, this
book does a great job of staying reasonably objective.
Pros: All Canadian information, objective tone.
Cons: the progress of fetal development section is skimpy and some of the quotations made my blood boil.
The Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book by Jennifer Louden
- This book was given to me by our good friend Sister Silver and it was
invaluable. It did a fantastic job of identifying and discussing the various
anxieties of pregnancy without proposing condescending solutions. It isn't
trying to add to the demands of pregnancy, rather it's the book to read
when you've got pregnancy brain and it won't go away.
Pros: soothing & true to my experience of pregnancy.
Cons: the physical discomfort section was essentially limited to the author's experience.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin, PT
- Another gift from the good Sister. This is an eminently practical tome
full of hard information on the birth process. The goal is to educate
the parent and allow them to make the best choices for themselves and
their baby. Lots of drawings, charts and other material to prepare you
for the realities of labour, including the pros and cons of various medical
Pros: every time I thought I was in labour, this book helped me decide whether or not to call Hectate.
Cons: After giving birth, I reread the sections on labour and found them a tad euphemistic. Cleansing breaths? Not at Blake's birth!
Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis, MD
- I didn't actually own this book, but every time I went for a visit to
the midwives I would take it down from the shelf and catch up on my developing
Pros: excellent line drawings and wonderful tips for partners.
Cons: as Monstre pointed out after we bought it for her, this book is anti-midwife in a big way. Drat.
- The Hip Mama Survival Guide by Ariel Gore
- This book caught my eye years ago when I read the memorable phrase,
"you can nurse, even after nipple piercing." From pregnancy to birth to
keeping the baby alive to parenting the independent soul, this book is
a hell of a sled-ride. It's the best place to start if you can't find
yourself in all the glossy photo spreads for the popular parenting mags.
Pros: excellent, empowering information that honours the imperfections of modern motherhood.
Cons: all the information is American, which can be of limited value to a hoser such as myself.
The Baby Book by William & Martha Sears
- This is the baby bible for parents who want to be as attached
as possible. Covers everything, although other books by the same authors
are more detailed and may be more help with specific issues (i.e. nighttime
parenting, attachment parenting).
Pros: lots of tips, tricks & ideas, all of which are suggestions rather than rules. As they say, keep what works & lose the rest.
Cons: physically heavy, not as detailed as it could be, glosses over the possibility of problems with breastfeeding or babywearing.
- The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
- Blake doesn't have many "problems" but he is an extremely
restless sleeper. This book is an excellent way to learn about healthy
infant sleep and find ways of encouraging nighttime independence without
letting you baby "cry it out."
Pros: lots of pithy info from a woman who's been there, plenty of anecdotes from parents who had it much worse than any of us.
Cons: these suggestions require absolute dedication and can take a really long time to work. We've been doing this since July and we're still experiencing setbacks whenever we deviate from the program in the slightest.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League
- Planning on breastfeeding? Currently breastfeeding? Problems with breastfeeding?
This is your book. Back in the first week when Blake wasn't gaining weight,
I took this book out of the library and read it from cover to cover. My
favourite line is, "there's no more reason to count the number of times
a woman feeds her baby than to count the number of times she kisses her
Pros: all the pro-breastfeeding stats you'll ever need to ward off naysayers and assholes.
Cons: some of the advice verges onto martyrdom, with very little balance for the mother's wishes and feelings.
The Baby's Table by Brenda Bradshaw & Lauren Bramley
- A cookbook for baby food. Stresses natural ingredients and developing
baby's taste for simple flavours before exposing them to processed food.
Lots of excellent recipes with a great deal of wiggle room for quantities,
plus facts on infant nutrition and tips on cheerful feeding. Yes, you
can make your own baby food!
Pros: So many ideas! This book is very, very empowering.
Cons: the feeding schedule is a bit accelerated, with solid food suggestion starting at 4 months and proceeding from there. (The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breast- or formula-feeding for the first 6 months.)
- The Mother Trip by Ariel Gore
- Soulful and beautiful reflections on the pitfalls and perks of motherhood.
Lots and lots of short essays, all of which encourage deep thought - this
is no facile comedy routine composed of humiliation and inevitability.
You will not be encouraged to put on a happy face and suck it up.
Pros: This book will make you feel strong as hell. The format lends itself to quick bouts of reading in between child care.
Cons: this is not something that can be read in a few sittings. It demands patience and concentration.
Of Woman Born by Adrienne Rich
- I started reading this when I was pregnant and should have been marking
papers. I finished it during Blake's early marathon nursing sessions.
This is a powerful, scholarly analysis of patriarchy as it pertains to
motherhood. She kicks ass and takes names.
Pros: great primer on all kinds of sexist institutions, makes you feel smart for reading it, quoted in a lot of other books.
Cons: she doesn't seem to like being a mother, which is somewhat alienating in the long run.
Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective
- Not just a comprehensive set of instructions on how to do most anything
related to the maintenance of female health, it also details various ways
in which the Man tried and is still trying to keep us down.
Pros: Lots of interesting information to get you good n' mad.
Cons: your partner may grow weary of hearing the word "patriarchy" over and over (mine did).
The Big Rumpus by Ayun Halliday
- A parenting memoir by the woman who creates the zine "East Village Inky."
Honest, funny, challenging and occasionally wistful, she breaks down the
joys and sorrows of being an arty chick fully attached to two small children.
Pros: an attractive tale that combines parenting annoyances with feisty mad-love for her growing children.
Cons: some of this material has been reworked from older columns, but I didn't mind.
The Kid by Dan Savage
- Hysterically funny adoption memoir. "We didn't want to be anyone's old
gay uncles." Despite the cutie on the cover, this book is all text and
no gushing. Sure, he loves their son to death, but he's not going to lose
his sense of humour about the whole bumpy road to fatherhood. I snorted
uncontrollably many a time.
Pros: an excellent breakdown of adoption and a certain facet of queer experience in America.
Cons: the Boy got real tired of being interrupted so that I could read another passage to him.
- Hip Mama
- At one time I didn't consider myself a hip mama. Didn't I live in the suburbs with my husband? Didn't I have a straight job? But the idea of the Hip Mama by Ariel Gore isn't so much being cooler-than-thou, but being open to change and willing to take risks to be true to oneself. The world of motherhood is broad and deep, this magazine collects dispatches from some of the more interesting corners.
East Village Inky
- Little & sometimes hard to read, this is a hand-lettered zine of stories and drawings from Ayun Halliday, an arty stay-at-home mom in Brooklyn. Before I was a mother I thought she was a doormat. Now that I have one of my own, I suddenly understand how flexibility can be misread as submission.
- The perfect reading material for mothers everywhere. All the pieces can be read in snatches as time allows and all repay closer attention when there's time for that sort of thing. I read this to keep my mind awake, and so I'll have something to take about with my childfree friends.
- I've loved this magazine for years, and I still get so much out of each issue. Suddenly all the mom articles make sense! Fun & feisty, this is third-wave feminism at it's finest.
- La Leche League
- They are everywhere and they're the best place to get an answer on a breastfeeding question. I called my local leader out of the blue and got sensible advice that comforted me. Their monthly meetings are also a great place to meet other like-minded moms. Check the phone book for your local chapter.
Ontario Early Years Centres
- An initiative of the Ontario Government, the EYC are a place where caregivers of preschoolers can bring their babies to sing, play, relax, and chat with other caregivers. We took their Mother Goose program this summer and it rocked.
- Baby Trekker
- Our carrier. Ergonomic, compact, easy to clean, quickly adaptable to winter conditions - this carrier is the stuff. It's especially useful when our big wiggly exploring baby needs to be contained without making him feel like it's a punishment.
"Nursery Days" (1951) and "Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child" (1956) by Woody Guthrie
- "Don't just buy this record and take it home so your kids can listen
to it while you go off and do something else. (Of course, that's one thing
records are really good for, but that's not the best thing.)
"I want to see you join right in, do what your kids do. Let your kids teach you how to play and how to act these songs out. Get your whole family into the fun. Get poppa. Get momma. Get brother. Get sister. Get aunty. Get uncle. Get grandma. Grandpa. The friends. The neighbors. Everybody. But mostly get yourself into it. Please, please, please, don't read nor sing my songs like no lesson book, like no text for today. But, let them be a little key to sort of unlock and let down all of your old bars....The kids have taught me all I know or ever hope to know. Watch the kids. Do like they do. Act like they act. Yell like they yell. Dance the ways you see them dance. Sing like they sing. Work and rest the way the kids do.
"You'll be healthier. You'll feel wealthier. You'll talk wiser. You'll go higher, do better and live longer here amongst us if you'll just only jump in here and swim around in these songs and do like the kids do.
"I don't want the kids to be grown up. I want to see the grown folks be kids."
- Woody Guthrie, 1956.
- herds words & her toddler with equal grace.
- amy l. & quinn
- are my cheering squad. i do not deserve their prodigious love, which doesn't mean that i don't revel in it.
- baby is just ahead of mine!
- is not my parenting role-model, but she writes a near-perfect diary.
- is trying so hard.
- is the ring-leader.
- rob r-h
- hamsters ho!