10 Parenting Books That Belong on Your Wish List

by Joelle Wisler
Originally Published: 

It’s that time of the year again when we get to spend quality time with our loved ones and try not to self-combust from all the stress of trying to make everything freaking magical. Oh! And our kids are out of school and super hopped up on manic anticipation and sugar cookies. Happy Holidays!

There is hope. And not just in the arrival of January. When you are feeling alone and annoyed out there this holiday season, there is a list of parenting books that are guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, and feel great about your own life choices…

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Book

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (Parenting, Marriage, Madness) by Clint Edwards

This book has a chapter in it called, “The Day We Caught Our Kids Looking at Their Buttholes.” If that doesn’t get you to buy this book and read it right now, then I don’t think we can be friends.

I’ll just let Clint convince you himself because, this, THIS conversation right here is what it is like to raise children:

“It’s weird,” I said. “Do you ever see me or mom looking at our buttholes?” Tristan thought about this for a moment, and then he laughed. “I don’t know, but that would be really funny if you did.”

Spending The Holidays With People I Want To Punch in The Throat by Jen Mann

Jen Mann’s literary debut is the probably the best way to laugh your ass off through the holidays. She pretty much says everything you are already thinking about everyone who could use a good throat punch.

And if that isn’t enough, this is what her children have to say about her book:

“Please read my mom’s book, because it will make her feel pretty.” – Gomer, 7

“OMG, Mom, this book is so embarrassing for you.” – Adolpha, 5

A peek inside:

“You can always tell which animal lover baker is going to have hair in her cookie. She’s the one who walks in the door already covered in cat hair. I make a mental note of her Tupperware and stay as far away as I can from her hairy Yuletide offerings.”

Science of Parenthood (Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations) by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler

Who knew there was a science behind this whole thing called parenthood? This book proves it in a series of charts, graphs and mathematical equations. Well, at least it shows that being a parent is actually a ridiculous theory and that children will do everything to prove us wrong about EVERYTHING.

Here is Science of Parenthood’s look at Newton’s laws (re-configured just a bit):

“Newton’s First Law of Parenting: A child at rest will remain at rest…until you need your iPad back.”

Mom’s Who Drink And Swear by Nicole Knepper

Nikki Knepper has a way with writing about vaginas, old-fashioneds, and psychoses that makes you want to be her best friend (I hope that’s not weird if you’re reading this, Nikki Knepper).

She says things like, “Dinner is the herpes of the mom world” and she calls her children “crotchfruit.”

But then she says something like this, “A mother gives, knowing that kids will take everything until she thinks she has no more to offer and even then is surprised at the endless supply of everything she dreamed possible for them, regardless of what she gets in return.”

Read this book.

Listen To Your Mother (What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now) edited by Ann Imig

If you’ve never been to a Listen To Your Mother show, find one near you on Mother’s Day and go. But in the meantime you can read this book. Seriously, read it. Each piece takes you on a journey of motherhood and we all know how lovely and embarrassing and heart-breaking and well, stinky, that can be.

Here is a quote from Jenny Lawson’s (!) essay, “Prepare To Be Judged. And Possibly Stabbed”:

“Becoming a parent subjects you to a whirlwind of new and strange emotions and can leave you feeling more vulnerable than you have ever been in your life. It is at this exact moment that you will find yourself set upon by strangers intent on telling you exactly how terrible you are as a parent.”

It’s Really 10 Months: Special Delivery – An anthology compiled by Natalie Guenther, Kim Schenkelberg, and Celeste Snodgrass

This one is brought to you by thirty-two of the best writers out there talking about, that’s right, pregnancy. It’s not pretty or sexy or even nine months long, which we’ve all been wrongly led to believe.

Here’s an excerpt from Kathryn Leehane’s “Bless The Baby, but Fuck all of the Fluids”

“As we waited for my cervix to open wide enough, back labor had me on all fours on the hospital bed with a nurse firmly rubbing down my back. I was like a naked, screaming, interactive museum display.” -Kathryn Leehan

Mothering Through The Darkness – An anthology compiled by Stephanie Sprenger and Jessica Smock

Being a mother isn’t always what we think it’s going to be. This anthology delves into postpartum mental health issues and will help you feel like you aren’t alone.

“When a mother has these thoughts, how can she feel anything but shame and fear? Even though we are told the causes and warning signs well ahead of time, who can bring herself to admit to not feeling overjoyed by her new baby, no matter what the scientific pamphlets say?” —Kate Kearns

The Mother Of All Meltdowns – An anthology compiled by Crystal Ponti

We’ve all had melt-downs, whether we admit it or not. The thirty women in this anthology perfectly describe in a myriad of ways how motherhood can you take you to the brink of insanity and then sometime push you off.

“Motherhood is anything but a rosy fairy tale filled with edible rainbows and opera-singing unicorns. This, my friends, is not Little House on the Prairie. In fact, motherhood more closely resembles a three-ring circus erected in the middle of a war zone. We are the artillery strapping, man-eating, trapeze artists.” —Crystal Ponti

I Heart My Little A-Holes by Karen Alpert

Karen Alpert is funny. Anyone who calls their kid an A-Hole in the title of their book is funny. She describes being a mother like this:

“Once upon a time you and your partner had a perfect life: dinners out, weekend mornings cuddling in bed, brunch with friends. Then you gave birth to a poop machine (or two). Now, it’s all about the pediatrician, breast pumps, princess dresses, and minivans. And discovering that your pride and joy is actually a little A-hole.”


Confessions Of A Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler

Did you know our very own Jill Smokler, founder of Scary Mommy, writes best-selling books? She does! And they are hilarious and heart-warming and also won’t make you feel like the only person who doesn’t know what in the hell you are doing.

Jill perfectly describes what motherhood is all about right here:

“At the end of the day, as I read the boys bedtime stories, Evan inevitably focuses on my face. “What’s that dot?” he will ask, pointing to the tiniest pore or a birthmark or a chicken pox scar. One by one, he counts them like he’s counting sheep, falling asleep to the comfort of my imperfections.”

So there you go, take one (or all) of these books, hide yourself in a broom-closet with some egg-nog and give yourself a much-needed holiday break. Happy reading!

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