10. It’s Not Fair, Jeremy Spencer’s Parents Let Him Stay up All Night!: A Guide to the Tougher Parts of Parenting by Anthony E. Wolf., Ph.D.
If Millie and Mollie were a male with a doctorate, we could have written this book. Anthony Wolf is realistic, refreshing and hilarious. He will reassure you while he suggests new ideas to try – ideas that might actually WORK! – the whole time making you feel like less of a hopeless amateur.
9. A Child Is Born by Lennart Nilsson
These are probably the most beautiful, awe-inspiring photographs ever taken. Lennart Nilsson developed a camera that can take photos of babies inside the womb, and in this book you follow fetal development from conception through birth. It’s fascinating reading any time, but it’s riveting when you’re expecting a baby of your own. It’s also a great book to have on hand when you’re explaining where babies come from.
8. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
This one is a classic for a reason – it answers just about every pregnancy question you can imagine. It’s straightforward, calm and informative – and new editions are printed periodically so it’s also up-to-date.
7. How your Child is Smart: A Life-Changing Approach to Learning by Dawna Markova
This isn’t a manual to prime you for bragging to other moms in the park – rather, it’s an explanation of the six basic learning styles and how to identify where in the spectrum your child falls. This book gives you techniques for teaching your child in the way that will make the most sense to him and will give you insight into how he views the world. It’s a must-read before your child starts school so that you have the vocabulary to explain your child’s learning style to his teachers.
6. Raising Your Spirited Child: Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
This book may save your sanity. There are some children who are just MORE, and if you have one of them this book may make the difference between you resenting the extra claims this child makes on you and you being your child’s number-one fan. It will help with average tantrums and power struggles too, but if you have a child who could be described (by the uninitiated) as difficult, stubborn or too sensitive, it’s no exaggeration to say that this book could change both of your lives.
5. Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan H. Azrin, Ph.D.
4. While Waiting by Dr. George E. Verrilli and Anne Marie Mueser E.D.
This was written by a mother and her obstetrician, and it’s chock-full of information about pregnancy and birth. It’s interactive, with pages for record-keeping and questions you want to ask at your next prenatal visit. It’s kind of refreshing to read a book that focuses on the mother more than the baby, too.
3. Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
This delightful book will remind you why you wanted to be a parent in the first place. So many parenting manuals are focused on the mechanics of poop, pee, puke and preschool that it can be easy to lose sight of what’s really important. Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions is full of ideas for gentle celebrations of everything from Thanksgiving to Tuesday, easy-to-do things that will make lifelong memories for everyone in your family.
2. The Mother’s Almanac II: Your Child From Six to Twelve by Margeurite Kelly
1. The Mother’s Almanac by Margeurite Kelly and Elia Parsons
Quite simply, these books made motherhood for me. My first pregnancy took place in Japan on an ill-equipped Air Force base before the advent of the Internet, and my quest for information led me to the only book the BX had on parenting: The Mother’s Almanac. It contains everything you need to know about parenting a child from birth to age six, and the sequel will see you through to age twelve. In times of doubt during the kids’ early years, my husband was apt to say, “Better consult the Almanac.” It never let me down. I understand that now there’s a combined Marguerite Kelly’s Family Almanac, which I’ve never read – but you can bet I’m going to.
Thank you, Margeurite. And – will you please write one for twelve through twenty-one? I still have six years to go.