Parenting Books A Mom of 7 Reads

Before I had one or two kids I was sure that everything I needed to know could be learned in books.  By the time I had a couple kids I was pretty sure that books were utterly useless and I would learn everything I needed to know from my family.  Now as a mom of 7, my reality has settled somewhere in the middle.  Realizing that books have their limits, but acknowledging that sometimes we need a helping hand when our family presents us with a particularly challenging puzzle!  No book is perfectly aligned to my parenting philosophy or yours, but these are the copies I reach for when I run into a road block with my family.

Child development is a tricky subject for parents.  It is not altogether useful for parents to become overly concerned with milestones.  More important than specific ages and dates is the fact that a child is progressing in a natural and logical order through the early years.   Any sort of milestone guide has to be flexible enough to allow for parents to use it with this in mind.  As a mom of multiple special needs children, however, the importance of early intervention can't be overstated.  Being aware of general progressions can help a mom know that she might need to work with her child (or have someone else work her child) a little more in a certain area.

While I don't have a go-to child development book, this is the one that I would recommend to parents of infants/toddlers who are just getting going or who don't feel like they have a good understanding of what sorts of things their children should be doing at various ages.  The original Wonder Weeks book is a thick volume dedicated to the age-linked leaps in mental development and the Milestone Guide is meant to cover just about everything else.  Each chapter of the guide has charts of typical skills and then a series of questions and answers to common questions on that topic.  Since much of a child's development is linked to brain development (in fact, all of it is actually) the Wonder Weeks book is a great place to start digging deep into infant and toddler development.  The Milestone Guide is meant to be a companion to the full text, but could also be used as companion to the app or alone if you are just looking for a shorter overview.

 For older children, I prefer this series from the Gessell Institute of Human Development.  They are older books that are still in print, which says a lot.  It also says a lot that my mom is actually the person who introduced me to them!  I know when I check these for something, I don't have to worry about unrealistic all 5 years olds should learn how to read.  I also love the periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium which reminds me of the storms and sunshine of the leaps outlined in Wonder Weeks.  I don't own the entire series yet, but I love the preschool books (which I do own) and I have the older kid books on my wish-list to add to my collection permanently.

Every time I do a post on sleep, be it comical or serious, it flies straight to the top of my stats and stays there.  Sleep is a tricky topic, but this is my favorite sleep book of all time.  Maybe because she takes the stance of if it's working for everyone in your house its ok to leave it alone, even if its not what everyone else is doing.  This is pretty much my mantra of parenting so a book that supports that while also giving me some practical ideas is high on my recommendations list.  I also appreciate that this author acknowledges the child as an individual who deserves to be respected.  Lots of talk about sticker charts and extrinsic rewards, which are not my thing, but her approach really does work.

Early in my homeschool journey, I did a Simply Charlotte Mason video study with a group of other homeschoolers from our area.  While I have never gone fully into most of the aspects of Charlotte Mason, I love what she has to say about habits as rails and the importance of well formed habits.  In many ways, the habits proposed by Ms. Mason are a lovely mix of Montessori practical life skills and grace and courtesy.  I love the checklist in the original Laying Down the Rails and take it myself as a reflection tool on a somewhat regular basis.  I've even handed the checklist to an older child who was having trouble with  a few *growing* pains.  We also regularly use the Laying Down the Rail for Children training companion as a supplement to our virtue study.  There is also a new version for mom that I have yet to check into.


 Obviously as a mom of many I spend plenty of time in the kitchen.  Add in FPIES and well...sometimes I wonder if I've ever left the kitchen!  Even though we default to the same types of meals most nights, there are always periods when we want something new and this is where I look.  These are two of my favorites because I know they are going to be easy to adapt for whatever our current FPIES food needs are and because I will have in my pantry most of what I need to make it!  100 Days of Real Food is super kid friendly and my kids enjoyed 100% of what we made from it.  Nourishing Traditions is where I find all of my fermenting and traditional food recipes.  My back up favorite in the cookbook category are the old Whole Foods cookbooks from La Leche League.


This one is less a specific book and more about a genre.  This mom of many still finds time to read fiction on a regular basis. Maybe that sounds like something you don't have time for, but I want to encourage you to find time anyway.  I've read well more than a dozen fiction books this year in addition, just for fun... because I wanted too.  Maybe it feels like you don't have time for this one, but I bet you could find a way.  If it feels impossible to pick up a book, maybe find a new audio book that you can listen to in the kitchen while you prepare dinner each night.  It is worth it to make time for just-for-fun reading!  Montessori would call it the spiritual preparation of the adult.  Charlotte Mason would call it mother culture.  

I call it common sense.

What are your favorite go-to books? 
 What are you reading right now?  

I'd love to hear from you in the comments or on social media!

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