Summer Reading List – Mama version

Surprisingly, I have actually managed to finish quite a few comedic and/or “chic lit” books so far this summer. TV shows being on hiatus combined with trying to rest more have been an awesome combination for extra reading.  But I have also pulled out some new and old parenting books that I plan to read or re-read this summer too, if any mamas are looking for some family related reading they are all below with a few thoughts!


Sacred Pregnancy: A Loving Guide and Journal for Expectant Moms
Anni Daulter

sacred pregnancy book
If you find yourself less inclined to stay up to date with the week-by-week pregnancy updates online or via a phone app during a subsequent pregnancy but feel like you don’t want to completely ignore the changes taking place in your body each week, this is a great alternative! The book is set up for a few pages each week talking about various things that may be happening with you or baby that week, way less clinical and more spiritual, and also gives a topic you can journal about that week and a small activity to honor yourself and/or the baby growing inside of you! I have this on Kindle version but so wish I would have ordered a physical copy as the illustrations look so beautiful and there is probably room to journal right inside the book which would make it such a special keepsake even once the pregnancy is over.

Parenting from the Inside Out
Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. & Mary Hartzell, M.Ed.

parenting from the inside out book

I love everything about this book! It is NOT an easy read by any means and I have only made it about half way through but if I ever get some quality, uninterrupted time to read I like to pull this up on Kindle and am always highlighting passages and taking numerous notes. It is written by a psychiatrist and early childhood and parent educator and is very straightforward and scientific at times. It delves into how memory works, how certain parts of the brain develop and work, and is centered on emotional intelligence, self understanding and reflection. It also lays out very specific ways for us as parents to grow and understand ourselves and our children more. Everything is very practical and I learn a TON every time I pick it back up. Before the book begins it states “This book will encourage you to build an approach to parenting that is founded on basic principles of internal understanding and interpersonal connection. The anchor points for this approach to the parent-child relationship are mindfulness, lifelong learning, response flexibility, mind sight and joyful living.” These are all principles that were important to me and my husband long before having children, so this book really resonated with me on all levels. I would highly recommend if these are things that are important to you in your life as well!

How to Raise a Healthy Child… In Spite of Your Doctor
Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D.
I have had this book for awhile now and have never actually read it, I have just used it as a very useful reference guide. The index has everything you could possibly be wondering about and you can flip right to the appropriate page. I really want to sit down and take it in cover to cover though, I know I won’t remember everything but I think there is probably a lot of useful preventative information that would be nice to have in the back of your mind before you are in the thick of a OH MY GOODNESS MY BABY IS PEEING BLOOD AND HAS A FEVER OF 104!!!??? episode. It does a really great job of providing a balance between treating at home and when to seek care, most everything I have read doesn’t seem too liberal or too conservative, just logical paired with the author’s actual experience as a medical doctor.

kids are wroth it!
Barbara Coloroso
This book was recommended by my wonderful doula and mama to seven, Rose, so I knew it would be a good one. I have only got through seven of sixteen chapters but have really loved it so far. Chapter Two talks about “three kinds of families” and I found it to share a lot of similarities with Dr. Laura Markham’s (the next author on the list) four parenting styles. Some parts were a tad overwhelming to me as they address some very typical patterns and behaviors that we have fallen into with our toddler without even realizing and/or thinking about it. It definitely prompted me to want to make many positive changes in the behaviors we use to encourage him to change his behavior. There are also a lot of tools of self reflection in this one, ways in which to honor our own feelings as parents and how to work through them while still being our best selves for our children. One of the main themes throughout the entire book is how to empower children, something I really appreciate and try to keep at the top of my mind at all times, can’t wait to finish the rest!

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
Dr. Laura Markham

I have probably said this before, particularly when I reviewed seeing Dr. Laura speak earlier this year that while the book is very feel good and has many great messages, I find most of it very hard to apply to toddlers in particular, especially ones that are not yet verbal. There are only 17 pages specifically for the toddler ages, 13 months – 36 months, which is obviously what I am most interested in right now. I think there is a lot of “big picture” information too, showcasing what ideal circumstances will look like when you and your child are connected, instance, etc, but it was sometimes hard for me to find information helpful for specific circumstances we find ourselves in that are hard to deal with. Some of the techniques are helpful, like offering choices, making a game out of hard times like bath, brushing teeth, etc. but I also find us a lot of time going through all of those tools and still ending up in a tense place. I think there is a lot of great information for “preventative” work with our children though, and the overall theme does really seem to be self care and connection to help avoid as many negative situations between child and caregiver as possible. I am happy to keep this book around and think I will re-read it many times during the school age years!

The Discipline Book
William Sears, M.D. & Martha Sears, R.N.

I picked up this book when looking specifically how to handle discipline with my two year old. I found that during age 1 he was still learning and exploring and there was only keeping him safe and guiding him, no discipline. As we approached his second birthday it was clear that “discipline” was needed. Discipline has a very negative connotation but I am not referring to punishment, just a way to reinforce important rules to keep him safe, provide structure, and understand age appropriate behaviors along with what I could expect him to understand, etc. Because this is what I was looking for I only read Chapter 1 “Our Approach to Discipline” and Chapter 3 “Understanding Ones, Twos and Threes.” I really liked the information as it was easily presented, easily digested and practical. I did feel that some parts were focused on setting limits and providing structure around “age appropriate behaviors” but what exactly is age appropriate wasn’t defined, as it varies from child to child? That was a hard one for me because it was what I had struggled with before I even picked up the book, what is appropriate to expect from my 18 month old? What does he actually understand? What is he actually capable of? This has gotten easier as he has transitioned into two and now into two and a half. I have a better grasp on his understanding and capabilities even though he still doesn’t talk much, and revisiting this book as well as reading ahead will definitely be helpful!

What are your favorite mama or family focused reads? Is there anything you have heard of but just haven’t picked up? I know I have been meaning to find Raising Your Spirited Child as well as The Whole-Brain Child I just need to get through the rest of the above first!