I think for many parents, raising children is by far, THE most difficult and challenging thing a person can do. It is also one of the THE most important things we can do in life and, as many parents know, it can be THE most rewarding and wonderful thing in life.

Parenting is like a website – you can plan it, save money for it, come up with different ideas for it, have a set of guidelines for it and have a strategy for it. But when it’s actually born online, it is forever growing, changing and developing. I think the way we parent is also constantly evolving because every stage is new. Especially for those with both boys and girls. Like websites as well, there are many books we can read to help us make decisions and improve it or find ideas to help us. (sorry for the web analogy, it’s just that websites and children are the two things I think about all the time!)

Here are some books I’ve found very helpful during the past 11 years of being a parent. Many of you may have come across them before.

How to be an ‘Amazing Mum’ When you Just Don’t Have the Time by Tanith Carey
This book is full of great ideas for busy mothers. It has motivated me on many occassions when I just felt things were too hectic or I felt too guilty about being a working mother. It has practical ideas and solutions. Not all of them work, but it’s worth trying out some of Carey’s advice. At the least, it’s a way to jump-start yourself into making the effort and following through with things which could ultimately improve your life as a busy working mum.

 

Annabel Karmel’s Complete Family Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel
Love this book and use it when we all get bored of the meals I cook on a weekly basis (you know how you just fall into habits – pasta on a monday/Tacos on a tuesday etc…) well this book can really jazz up your cooking and has great party ideas and lunchbox ideas. My children love it too and we often use it at the weekends or when they have friends over.

 

 


Mothers: Twenty Stories of Contemporary Motherhood
by Katrina Kenison and Kathleen Hirsch
This book should be read by every mother. That’s all I will say – get it, read it and see for yourself.

 

 

 

 

365 Ways to a Smarter Preschooler by Marilee Robin Burton and Susan G. MacDonald
I feel the title of this book is slightly mis-leading. It’s basically a great book full of fun activities that you can do with your child. It was given to me when my second child was born and I’ve used it ever since with all of my children. It’s also great to take with you when you go on holiday. You might have to improvise a bit, but it will ensure no one gets bored!

 

 


Siblings Without Rivalry
by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Read the review I wrote of this book on Parent Guide UK http://parentguideuk.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/review-siblings-without-rivalry-by-adele-faber-and-elaine-mazlish/

 

 

 

Bringing Up Brits: Expat Parents Raising Cross-Cultural Kids in Britain by Meghan Peterson Fenn
Since I wrote this book, I’m putting a review here from a parent who has read it. I think it can be useful to parents who are parenting in countries they are not from or raising their children in a language that is not their own.

“I loved this book. As the child of an Indian mother who left her native South Africa to live in Britain with my English dad, I felt I could relate to what it must have been like for her bringing up her children in a culture very different to her own. I loved reading about people’s experiences in the book, it gave it a very real feel. I was also saddened by the negative experiences.
It was lovely to read about the authors Americanisms and it reminds me that here in Britain we do have some awareness of American culture, probably due to the amount of American TV programmes. However, British culture seems quite alien to those arriving here! A must read for Brits and non-Brits alike!” – Sun Flower mama

I welcome other suggestions if you have read a book that’s been instrumental to your life as a parent. Please leave a comment with the book title, author and as much detail as you wish.