Books to help parents get through hunkering down with their families.
Do you have those mom friends that you follow on social media and make you think, “How do they have time for that?!” Or even, “How do they have the patience for that?!” They’re the ones making the fun seasonal breakfasts, creating picture-frame-worthy pictures for every holiday, and following philosophies (named after real people!) about things like eating and napping.
My parenting philosophy is: Do your best. Show your kids you love them, no matter what. Try to stay centered enough so you can show up for them. Apologize when you make a mistake. Everything else I’m basically winging, especially during this time when our world is so upside-down. And while no one has written the manual on how to parent during a pandemic, I’ve found a few books that are personally speaking to my own brand of parenting during this time.
The Kids Are in Bed: Finding Time for Yourself in the Chaos of Parenting by Rachel Bertsche
For those spending all evening reading the news and scrolling through photos of sourdough loaves on Instagram
While Bertsche notes that recent studies show that working parents have up to 30 hours of free time a week, I’m not sure that still holds true in this pandemic world. But Bertsche’s book focuses on how to find pockets of time to focus on the areas that suffer most after one has children: self-care, friendships, and marriage. I think we can all agree that these are hit doubly hard during our current stressful period. And while sticking to date nights or making new friends may look a little different right now, these are still valuable lessons to take away for now, and for later.
Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis by Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis
For those sneaking peeks at the phone in the middle of the night and trying to remember that sleep meditation skill
There are a lot of reasons we’re having trouble sleeping right now. And I don’t know about you, but whenever I think my life is stressful, I immediately feel guilty. I am healthy and so is my family! I have a job! Even pre-COVID, Calhoun’s book struck a chord with me. She investigates why so many Gen X women—the generation that was told that we could have it all—are overwhelmed and burning out. She not only identifies the problem, which can make you feel less alone, but also offers solutions on how to feel better.
For those caught in a shame spiral after letting their kids eat packaged macaroni and cheese in front of Daniel Tiger again
Powers is the former editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Parenting and creator of the #NoShameParenting movement, and I can’t think of a time in my four years as a parent when I’ve needed to let go of the shame and pressure of being a perfect mom more than right now. My kids are getting more screen time, losing their routines, and eating more candy than they ever have before. We need to have grace with ourselves and let go of judging what other families are doing to survive. Powers challenges many “truths” that we’re told as parents, and I for one feel a lot of comfort from these chapters that are about acceptance and letting go of the idea of perfection.
For those who have a new baby and are worried that social distancing is going to emotionally damage them
After I had my first baby, my new moms group kept me afloat during a lot of the tough times—we huddled together in one mom’s air conditioned house and watched The Bachelor when it was hot outside, walked together as an army of strollers while comparing notes on pacifiers, and exchanged sleep training tips. If you’re not able to find your mom tribe—or see them—during social distancing, Leslie Anne Bruce’s book feels like talking to your smart and empathetic best friend who knows you’re doing an amazing job with your little person. Bruce tackles everything from social media envy to mom bods. (Confession: this chapter was especially therapeutic to me after having my second son.) In lieu of a hug and a home-cooked meal, consider giving this to your bestie who just had a baby.
For those fighting with their partner every night about whose turn it is to wash the dishes
As many people have said in cleverer ways than I will, it’s pretty darn hard to be a full-time employee, a full-time teacher to your kids, a full-time parent, and a full-time partner. Add in a few pets and the load—physical and emotional—of running a house, and anyone would feel overwhelmed. Rodsky not only identifies the problem, she offers up ways for couples to divide and conquer the invisible work of the household. This may be a great time to reexamine who does what in your house, and look to Rodsky for a makeover.