books for when motherhood becomes a full-time job
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When my eldest children grew out of naptimes and into kindergarten, I hit what I call “full-time motherhood”. Truth is, when they nap, you get a break; when they don’t nap, you don’t. I was facing more than twelve hours a day caring for children whose needs and desires were maturing beyond food and clean pants. I needed to grow, too, in order to learn to parent them well.
I headed to the nonfiction shelf for some answers. I’d been skipping over recommended reads in favor of fiction for too long. I have found a wealth of knowledge in the books that had guided my parent’s generation, but finding time to glean it all was a challenge! I thoroughly wished I’d buckled down and fed my mind this good stuff in the many hours of free time I’d had while single or as a mother of one.
Now I desire to encourage other young moms and moms-to-be to make the time to read certain titles before the squalls of full-time motherhood arrive. Get direction now, so that when the winds of “Which curriculum do I choose?” or “How do I teach my children to share?” hit, you’re not scrambling through the rigging trying to figure out which rope to tighten.
Set your sails with these classic reads…
Home Grown Kids by Raymond and Dorothy Moore
This was the book that inspired both my parents and my husband’s parents to homeschool back in the 1980’s. Though some of the content is now outdated, the Moore’s research into childhood development is still fascinating. Whether you plan to homeschool or not, this book is an eye-opener on how and when children learn best. I feel the Moore’s books are essential to gaining confidence and direction as we begin educating our children.
“The unqualified parent or teacher is one whose attitude is indifferent to a youngster’s real needs, or whose motives place his or her own freedoms above those of the child. We firmly believe that the greatest teaching talent in the world lies in the warm, responsive and consistent parent whose love makes the needs of his children his highest concern… Parents’ daily one-to-one example amounts to master teaching at the highest level.”
(Home Grown Kids by Raymond and Dorothy Moore)
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
I literally wept when I first read this book, wishing I’d understood the Biblical vision for child training sooner. Thankfully, it was not too late to implement the practical tips and sound advice and to see a change in our home. The book gave me the direction I needed to love my children with a love that reflects our Heavenly Father, with the purpose of pointing their little hearts to Him.
“Communication not only disciplines. It also disciples. It shepherds your children in the ways of God. Like the teaching of Deuteronomy 6, this full-orbed communication occurs while lying down, waking, rising, walking, sitting. Parents are often to busy to talk unless something is wrong. A regular habit of talking together prepares the way for talking in strained situation. You will never have the hearts of your children if you talk to them only when something has gone wrong.”
(Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp)
For The Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer MacAulay
This is a lovely book that encapsulates the best teachings of the renowned educator, Charlotte Mason. Once again, whether you feel led to homeschool or not, this book will provide vision and inspiration as you make decisions for your child’s education.
“The person rises to understand, master, and enjoy whatever he is surrounded with in language, ideas, literature, and in appreciation of beauty. If you share with the children the very best, carefully chosen to meet their needs, they will amaze everyone.”
(For The Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer MacAulay)
Add these books to your reading list now to craft a vision for your season of motherhood!
And if you’re already up to your ear lobes in motherhood, here are a few more titles I’ve been gleaning a lot from…
- Hints on Child Training by H. Clay Trumbull
- Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
- A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola
So, that’s what’s on my reading list. What’s on yours? I would love to hear what your favorite parenting or mothering book is. Please share in the comments? Thanks!
Photography: JenniMarie Photography
(originally published in 2012; edited from the archives)
Yes, I have all Sally’s on my wish list, read Ted Tripp, working on the Moores, and have the others on my wish list. Thank you for the encouragement to use this time as momma of one to pour into these great books. I’ve been doing a lot of that but lately been a bit slacking and more into the novels. But you confirmed my suspicions: “full-time motherhood” is more intense and I need to get cracking!
Others I have been enjoying with a few different views on Christian parenting:
Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay
Making the “Terrible” Twos Terrific! and The Well-Behaved Child, both by John Rosemond who I heard recently on Focus on the Family.
Another author I have so enjoyed is Kevin Lehman. Keeps one from getting too serious. 🙂
And I have to add one more: Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna. They do tons on research on adults of our generation who have become spiritual champions and show what their parents did that really worked. It is really a fascinating read when you see what all these parents have in common.
Everything by Sally Clarkson is on my reading list. And I love that, now that I’ve heard her speak in person, I hear her voice as I’m reading her words!
As Kirsten mentioned, I really like Loving the Little Years. Don’t Make Me Count to Three is another good one!
My homeschool mom’s group is going to be reading Elyse Fitzpatrick’s Give Them Grace so I’m looking forward to seeing how that is.
And yes, Shepherding a Child’s Heart is on my coffee table, too. 😉
Now for time to read them all…!
I just ordered Home Grown Kids, per your recommendation, and added a few of the others to my wishlist. Large Family Logistics is what got me started with creating my homemaking binder and housekeeping systems.
Thanks for the recommendations, Trina.
I’m a fairly new mama, yet finding that nurturing my little one is a more complex task than it looked as just a babysitter. And I’m missing being able to call my own mom (who passed away recently) often to ask her advice – I’ve never known anyone who understood children as well as she did. So gleaning wisdom from books has been such an encouragement to me! I just read Loving the Little Years…that’s on my list to re-read at least once a year from here out.
On a practical homemaking level, I found Large Family Logistics to be very helpful even with no children or one — just tips for keeping your home running more smoothly. And her perspective in the chapter “Rejecting Me-Centeredness, Redeeming Time Alone” was a refreshing, Biblically balanced look at the need to be 100% available and focused on our families – with some time to refresh and restore ourselves so we’re not dry wells for our husbands and children.
I, too, have really appreciated Loving the Little Years! Now if I could get the audio version to play on my MP3 player as I do the dishes…
Praying for you today, Kirsten.
Thanks for these titles, Kirsten! I’m so sorry about your mom…I hope you can find some companionship in books she may have read or recommended to you…
Home Grown Kids inspired my parents too. Way back in the ’80s here in the UK … 🙂
Same with my parents…back in the 80’s in the US. 😉
I, too, loved Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Such a well-balanced book! Is there anyone who has read Habit’s of a Child’s Heart: Raising Your Kids With The Spiritual Disciplines by Valarie E. Hess?
That book is on my list to read but I haven’t gotten a copy of it yet.
Oh, that sounds like a good one, Natasha. Good for you – reading these books now!
Haven’t heard of the second title! But the first is on my coffee table. 🙂