• Fri, Dec 6 - 12:00 pm ET

Mommyish Gift Guide:10 Parenting Books That Won’t Suck Under The Christmas Tree

bookWhile a book may not be at the top of your Christmas wish list, there are some people that enjoy a good read—I know I do. Bonus if these people just happen to be parents.

If you have parents, young or old, in your life that are interested in a little “higher learning,” you may want to check out a few of these non-sucky parenting books that have been flying off the shelves. And by flying off the shelves, I mean they have pretty decent Amazon reviews because who goes to bookstores anymore anyway?

If you’ve read any of these parenting books, I’d love to hear your rating. Let me know if these books are worth the trouble of wrapping or if they’d be better off as doorstops. And tell me if I missed any of your faves on this all-inclusive, non-sucky Christmas gift guide­—inquiring minds want to know.

1.    Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman

I’m totally biased on this one because I truly loved this book. Sure, it’s received some criticism because Pamela is all, “French parents are the best blah blah blah,” but she does have some good points. This book was interesting and easy to read. I’ve also tried semi-successfully to embrace the laissez-faire French attitude with my kids.

bebe

(image: barnesandnoble)

2.    Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy

This book may not be for everyone, but I personally loved it so much. I mentioned in a different post that I admired Lenore’s ballsy parenting attitude and am trying to find the Free-Range balance for myself. At the very least, this book has some awesome “positive” crime statistics that are hard to find anywhere else.

(image: barnesandnoble)

(image: barnesandnoble)

3.    The Baby Book, Revised Edition: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by William Sears

I haven’t read this book personally, but it seems perfect for the freaked out new parent, like we all once were. It promises that you will know EVERYTHING about the first two years of your kid’s life, so maybe it’s worth the 17 bucks?

(image: barnesandnoble)

(image: barnesandnoble)

4.    Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

I love me some Jim Gaffigan, and as a parent, I love him even harder. This is my favorite Jim Gaffigan quote, which I’ve used before and I’ll use again, “You know what it’s like having five kids? Imagine you’re drowning. And someone hands you a baby.” Nuff said.

(image: barnesandnoble)

(image: barnesandnoble)

5.    Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t by Suzanne Barston

I haven’t read this book yet, but I’m intrigued. This may be the perfect gift for any new mom you know because at least it provides a complete perspective on breast-feeding and formula feeding. Or, maybe it will just start an unnecessary fight on Christmas morning, who knows?

(image: barnesandnoble)

(image: barnesandnoble)

6.    Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out by Phil McGraw

This may not seem like a parenting book per se, but I am not-so-secretly obsessed with Dr. Phil and think he may be my real father. With that fantasy aside, I just think it’s so, so, so important to work on yourself and have a strong personal identity, or else how will you be a good parent? Soapbox over.

(image: barnesandnoble)

(image: barnesandnoble)

7.    Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us by Laurie Kilmartin

The title of this book alone has me hooked because who doesn’t want to be a self-proclaimed shitty mom? This snarky parenting guide was written by four shitty moms and may be the perfect gift for the irreverent, bad ass mom in your life, i.e. a Mommyish reader.

(image: barnesandnoble

(image: barnesandnoble)

8.    Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

This book is an oldie but a goodie from 1998, but it has tons of positive Amazon reviews. Also, the title makes me laugh because it could pass for a passive aggressive holiday gift for the mom friend you love to hate.

(image: barnesandnoble)

(image: barnesandnoble)

9.    Guide to Pirate Parenting by Tim Bete

A friend got me this book after I had my first baby because I like to do annoying pirate voices for no reason at all. The book kind of makes no sense, but it’s a really fun read—when read aloud in a pirate voice. Yarg.

(image: barnesandnoble)

(image: barnesandnoble)

10. Blank Parenting Book by Yours Truly

Okay, this is totally brilliant, and I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this years ago. You can order your own original fake blank book with a personalized title to torture the parent on your gift list. I have several titles in the works myself: “Everything I Know About Parenting Whilst Tipsy” or maybe “Everything I Know About Twerking Babies.” wheelchair_racing_book-2

BONUS—because this list goes to 11: Don’t think I’d forget the Mommyish all-time favorite, non-sucky stocking stuffer… STFU, Parents by Blair Koenig

If you haven’t read her stuff, do it now, and then go get the book and stuff it in a stocking.

(image: amazon)

(image: amazon)

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • AmazingE

    I actually have the Jim Gaffigan book, and I gotta say no book has ever made me laugh as hard as this one did.

  • Jordana

    Love-love #1 and #2!!! Also want to check out a lot more from this list. I like that parenting books are taking the direction of honesty lately, even though it’s not always flattering. Great post!

  • Rachel Sea

    The title is the best part of Sh*tty Mom.

  • radicalhw

    The title of your fake book should be “Dr. Phil May Be My Real Father.” HIlarious!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Oh man, that shit would sell!!

  • kay

    Not Sears. He’s a judgey judgey dude. On baby swings “You may discover that you are uncomfortable with mechanical mothering
    and decide to get more creative. Still, swings have their moments.” MECHANICAL MOTHERING. STFU dude. I know that women who tried and haven’t had success in breastfeeding also find his stuff to make them feel worse about it.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Oh snap! I’ve never heard of mechanical mothering before and probably never want to again. My only hang-up is that I saw Sears on Dr. Phil, and we all know how I feel about my “true father” Dr. Phil…. Haha

    • kay

      he’s got some other crazy stuff too, but “mechanical mothering” became a phrase after we read it… “the baby needs to nap soon, should I put her in the swing?” “sure, if you’re ok with mechanical mothering”

    • Jessica

      I was going to comment that Sears gives me anxiety! When I was a working mom, there were sections of the book I couldn’t read without getting upset.

    • Andy

      I agree-Sears sucks. In retrospect I think his books were at least partly to blame for the PPD I suffered after my daughter was born. She was low birth weight and had had issues with nursing, and after reading his section on BF’ing I was convinced that unless I got her to nurse I was condemning her to a life of being stupid and obese. Not to mention the enormous guilt I experienced if I dared to put her in the swing for fifteen minutes so I could, I don’t know, shower.

    • Katie

      Did you read the section in his books on balance? Perhaps the only one judging you was yourself? Mothers can be so hard on themselves if things don’t go how they planned.

    • Andy

      Sorry, I think Sears doesn’t believe in balance for mothers. Even if he does, the tone of his books is guilt inducing for many mothers-he does a bang-up job of implying that you’re a bad mother if you don’t devote every second of your life to your child.

    • Katie

      I don’t agree with your assessment at all. But if you are not happy with Sear’s books that is fine.Many parents however find his books a good fit for their family.

    • Andy

      If Sears works for you and your family, that’s great. Everyone has to find what works for them-for me it was the Baby 411 book. Sears was just too overwhelming for me as a FTM.

    • PennyCentury

      Thank you. I was worried I was the only one who felt that way.

    • Katie

      Dr Sears books have been a fantastic resource for many parents. His books were liberating for me.

  • Hibbie

    Drew Magary’s Someone Could Get Hurt is fantastic. It made me laugh and tear up. I read it in one sitting it was so good! He really captures the joys and challenges of parenting in a take-no-prisoners kind of way.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I love Bringing Up Bebe. It was exactly the sort of way I wanted to raise my kid, and it was a relief to know amidst the freaking out and scheduling of kids, there was a huge group of women out there saying “non”. And Bottled Up was an excellent read, just the thing to separate propaganda from genuine scientific facts regarding breast milk and breastfeeding. I now also want to read the Shitty Mom book :D
    But screw Sears. He’s… I dunno. Sort of a… dick?

  • Scaredevil

    Bottled Up is wonderful as is Suzanne Barston the author. Her blog, Fearless Formula Feeder is so supportive and informative.

    However, Dr Sears can jump of a cliff with his sanctidaddy and sexist attitudes. If anyoen gives me that book I will burn it and I don’t believe in burning books.

  • Giulia

    You’ve just written a list of “recommended” books — of which at least half you admit to not having read. Sigh.

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