Social media, especially Pinterest, is filled with tips and tricks. Articles like: “The ONE thing I changed to stop yelling” or “Getting your kids to pick up their stuff in two easy steps!”
I’m not ashamed to say that I click on these types of articles, and there’s definitely value there, but the moms that I look up to the most, the moms that I really feel like have their act together, have one major thing in common, and but it’s not just one step.
They read books about parenting, and don’t stop.
Mothering is more than finding tips and tricks to get life to go the way we planned (or one-step solutions to help us cope with disappointments). Parenting is about the long game, the big picture.
We don’t teach kids to clean their room only so we can walk through their room for bedtime. We don’t ask them to eat their vegetables just so we don’t throw away part of the night’s dinner. All of these are pieces of a much bigger puzzle. They are all, in sha Allah, ways that we help guide our kids to healthy choices later in life, and in turn they will make the most of their potential as healthy, responsible adults.
When to start reading
Not that I’m claiming I’m a star parent, but even when I was going to school, and working full time, I still made time to read about parenting. It’s important to start as early, so you can be proactive instead of reactive.
Ideally, you start reading about parenting as soon as you become pregnant. Why not before? Well, without being a total snob about it, I think until you have real life application of parenting techniques (and realize they don’t always work in the short term), I fear it’s too easy to be judgmental of other parents as they go through their struggles.
What to start reading
In the very beginning, start with the big picture. Read memoirs of other mothers, encouragement, and books that help you discern the different parenting styles. Some parenting styles will speak more to you than others. Likewise, other parents will feel compelled to follow another route. Start with more general topics, because the nitty gritty details will fade as you and your child grow.
As homeschoolers, there’s even more reading to be done. Do you plan to homeschool classically? Using the Charlotte Mason method? Unschooling? What do all of those terms even mean?
If you have the time to devote to really digging into your homeschooling decision, look for books by the original sources: John Holt (unschooling), Charlotte Mason, Susan Wise Bauer, and the like.
The best moms I know didn’t wait until they needed the information. They were proactive about their life decisions and learned about what they were heading into. If we are devoting our life to the raising of these children, then it deserves just as much knowledge as any other career we would pursue.
Especially as homeschoolers, being proactive about our choice to homeschool, how we envision it, and knowing what our priorities are, help us to have more certainty in our decisions. Even if we struggle from time to time, we know what choices we have in front of us.
Umm Maryam says
Thank you for sharing this tip. I’m a mum to two girls 6 and 3 and my attempts are failing with the little one. Which books would you recommend?
Shannen Espelien says
Assalam alaykum Umm Maryam,
My favorite parenting book thus far is No Drama Discipline. One of my girls has very big emotions, and all of my parenting attempts usually just escalated whatever issues arose, and this book helped us gain control of ourselves. At first it felt like coddling, but it’s been the most effective techniques in our house by far. I listened to it as an audio book, and you can get two free books with an Audible trial, if you haven’t tried Audible already.