And Then I Became a Mother.

When I was pregnant with my first baby I read every single parenting book and magazine I could get my hands on.  In hindsight, that was a mistake.

(Although, it wasn’t as big as a mistake as watching Passions, the worst soap opera known to man, which is also something I did while pregnant with my firstborn.  All I can say in my defense is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.)

All those parenting books and all those magazine articles filled my head with an insane amount of do’s and don’ts.  The first three years are critical in brain development.  Don’t give your baby honey until after the first year.  Too much water will give your baby water poisoning.  Co-sleeping is great.  Co-sleeping is from the devil.  You must breastfeed, if you don’t you are a complete failure…..

I became terrified I was going to screw up this whole mothering thing.  It got so bad that I began having nightmares and, eventually, my husband confiscated all the books and magazines.

(I’m not ashamed to admit that I followed him around like an addict whining, “But I neeeeed those.  Give them baaaaack.”)  There’s no junkie quite like a book junkie.

Since then I’ve been leery of most parenting books.  Which is horrible because when I go to a baby shower I want to give the momma-to-be a good parenting book.  (Top sign that you’re a book junkie?  You assume that everyone else wants a book as a present.)

Gentle reader, I’m happy to report I’ve now found the perfect book to give someone who’s expecting a baby.

Then I Became a Mother is part biography and part gentle encouragement that not only will you survive this crazy thing called motherhood, but that you will do it successfully.  Inside this book there is no list of things you must buy or the latest scientific study designed to make you feel like dud of a mother.

Instead, Robin Kramer shares her experiences and the most important things she learned on her journey while becoming a parent.  The writing is good, as in “man-this-lady-can-write” good.  Even better, the tone is warm and comfortable, and when you’re done reading the book you start thinking of the author as a friend.  (You may even develop some small fantasies of moving to her hometown and living down the street from her.)

Finally, let me give it this high praise:  your spouse will never have to confiscate this book from you.  Unless it’s because you like reading it so much that they get jealous, then they hide it from you so you’ll pay attention to them.

Because that sometimes happens to everyone.  Right?  Right?

<Sigh, head hung down in shame>  Hi, my name is Ami from Bunkersdown and I’m a book junkie.


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7 Responses to And Then I Became a Mother.

  1. LOL! You crack me up. I always fantasize about knowing my favorite authors personally. We are book junkies at my house, too. I like my kindle, but I can’t see my book collection on my kindle, which is weird. We have tons of books and it makes me cringe to think about how much money we spent on them; however, some of them get read several times, so that makes it okay, right? I’d rather buy the book than wait for it to be available at the library, especially if it’s the latest popular novel that has hundreds of people on the waiting list. Then we fight over who gets to read it first. Now with three kindles in the house we can read a book all at the same time! (We have our kindles all attached to the same account.)

    My DH and I have both read several books on raising children and there’s only a couple that we recommend. One is Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. They focus on using natural consequences, choosing your battles, and taking the drama out of discipline. They give scenarios for every age so we felt prepared for the older years. I still feared the older years, but they are turning out fine! We read a couple of these books when my oldest was two and my second was just a baby, so we’ve used them through the years and I’m very pleased with how well it works.

    There’s one other series I highly recommend by the Arbinger Institute. The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict deals specifically with teenagers and how to relate to them. Having a good relationship with our kids as they become teenagers will help us survive their teenage years with a few less gray hairs! Or any hair at all for that matter. The Arbinger Institute also wrote Leadership & Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, which deals with adult relationships. Oddly, this was a required reading for a job that my husband took many years ago. They are written in story form as to make a self help book interesting. These books are also a fast read! Anyway, after DH read it and enjoyed it, I had to read it, too, and it helped our marriage! My DD attends a Charter High School that focuses on leadership and uses the Thomas Jefferson approach to education through classics in their classroom. They have used the Arbinger books as part of their required curriculum to help the students know how to build appropriate relationships. That’s pretty cool in my book! I buy these books regularly off amazon and share them with friends and we typically get them pretty cheap through the used section.

    I have another series I recommend for marriage by Dr. Willard Harley. I won’t go into details on his books, but they work!

    Okay, I hope this is not overload or TMI. But from one book junkie to another, you might enjoy them! “We LOVE you Ami!”

  2. Natalie says:

    Oooh, thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to read this. I did the same thing you did, reading anything I could get my hands on, and since I was on bedrest for the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy with my first child, I had lots of time to really absorb all the pregnancy and parenting books I read, thereby completely freaking myself out as well before my son was even born. It set me up for lots of guilt and feelings of failure later when my son wouldn’t eat or sleep the way the books said he should, and I found myself questioning my qualifications as a mother and really, a woman in general, since the whole mothering thing didn’t come as easily to me as I was told it would.

  3. Kate says:

    It may be the last thing I did right, but I looked at one parenting book and ran away. Back into fiction. (I’m having the shakes cause I just finished a good one. It’s like a whole world just ended. Clearly, not a book junkie, right?)

    This one sounds good though. Maybe I’ll peer into real life through a book.

  4. Dear Sister Bunker. Or Ami. Or the coolest primary chorister ever!
    This is Becca Woolf (As I am sure it states above). I some how came across your blog one day and I must admit I love it. I love your thoughts. I love your writing. I love your cute little family. Please allow me to stalk you from now until… *ahem*… forever :).


  5. Robin Kramer says:

    IF ONLY you could move down the street from me. I’d invite myself over to your house, and together we’d eat part of your half-cow and some of my Oreos. (Okay, perhaps all of my Oreos.)

    Thanks so much for these generous words, my friend. It means so much.

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