Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reading List: Motherhood and Beyond

I have to start by apologizing for my self-imposed hiatus. I didn't plan it, but I needed it, and it feels great to be back and writing. As promised, here is the last post in my series of three reading lists. These are books that may or may not have to do with motherhood and children. Enjoy and as always, leave a comment and let me know what book you've liked or would recommend.

As I thought about what books to include in this list, I realized that I haven't read a great book that doesn't revolve around being a parent for a while. I'm going to get on that, and hope I can stay awake long enough at night to read!

1.  The Truth Behind The Mommy Wars: Who decides What Makes a Good Mother?  Perhaps the most contentious "mommy war" of them all, working or staying at home was something I thought a lot about during my son's first four years, when I was a working mom. I felt guilty, tired, inadequate, and that was on the good days. I loved this book because not only did it give voice to all those feelings, but it helped me sort through them, as well. The author explores women's choices when they become mothers; talks about the middle ground many of us fall in (working part time or working at home); discusses work environments for mothers (with most of them severely lacking what is needed to strike a balance between home and work); women's overall role in the workforce; and does so through research and personal accounts.

2. The Motherhood Manifesto: What America's Moms Want - and What To Do About It  A feminist look at motherhood today, this book speaks to those working moms who want to "have it all"-- a job they love with a good family life balance. It's both fascinating and frightening how much women are still discriminated against in the workplace, and it only gets worse when we become mothers. I stay home with my kids now and I wouldn't have it any other way, but while I was still working, the disadvantages were crystal clear and I felt quite helpless. Outlining the problems working mothers face today, we also read about companies who have got it figured out--those with paid maternity/paternity leaves, on-site childcare, special pumping rooms for breastfeeding mothers, and it's outlined how much those types of work situations benefit us as women, and how much they benefit society as a whole.

3. Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds  Ok, I admit it--I love to buy stuff. I love stuff. However--I don't hoard, I donate things I don't use several times a week, and I don't buy stuff *just* to buy it. We all go through our stuff (children included) every few months to decide what we don't need anymore. This book is not simply about buying stuff--it's about the consumer manipulation many of us are victims of, whether we realize it or not; especially children. It was truly jarring to learn that there are entire corporations hard at work trying to figure out how to penetrate my infant's mind so that, when she's old enough, she can point to what she's been brainwashed with thinking she wants to have. That even before we have children, if we are in the correct demographic, we are marketed to so that when we *do* have children, we can buy stuff we don't need. Interesting and educational if you are into consumerism and marketing.

4. Heaven Is Here I read this book just a couple of months ago, and it's an incredible story. You don't have to be a fan of Stephanie Nielson (of NieNie Dialogues fame) to read about how she and her husband, parents to (then) four small children, miraculously survived a horrible airplane crash, their lives being changed forever. She is inspirational and her story is really and truly amazing.

5. Louder Than Words She's not a scientist, and she doesn't have all the answers, but Jenny McCarthy's book on her journey with her son's autism is the reason I started researching vaccinations and one of the reasons I am as informed as I am today. Whether you agree with her stance or not, this book is a gut-wrenching and emotional account of every parent's worst nightmare--that our child might have, or in this case does have, an often incurable and life-altering disorder. She eloquently expresses the emotion and the guilt involved and takes the reader inside her plight.

As always, these titles are all available on Happy reading!


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