Today’s young moms are such a savvy bunch—much more so than my generation was. They know how to find information, connect with resources, and share what they know with other moms. Granted, we didn’t have the Internet when we were raising them but still, they impress me with their wisdom and insight.
Case in point: Nina Coslov and Tara Keppler, authors of food for thoughtful parenting: 12 must-have lists for new parents & young families. This slender 75-page book should be a must for all new moms who need help adjusting to their new role.
Nina and Tara have pulled together their favorite parenting strategies and tactics into an easy-to-read collection of 12 lists to help moms through the rough spots.
As a new mom, I would have found their first list—”Thoughts for Newbies”—so helpful and comforting as I sat home alone with my newborn daughter wondering if I’d ever have an adult conversation again.
Find your people they write. Your people are no longer your friends from the past; they’re anyone who became a new parent within two to three weeks of you. This advice seems so obvious to me now, but forty years ago I never would have thought to look for a new parent’s group at the hospital where I gave birth.
They reassure the reader that she’ll know when she’s found her people because they’ll be struggling with, enjoying, and being blown away by the same things and on exactly the same time schedule. And they’ll ease and enrich the journey to new parenthood.
Another tip that resonated was to back off and let your child have his own relationships with other people without your over involvement. They admit it’s difficult, particularly with relatives. We grandmas know you want your child to be treated or spoken to in a certain way but their advice is true—it’s important and beneficial for children to experience different personalities and realize that there are inconsistencies in the world.
The authors speak from experience when they offer sound advice in the “Gifts to Yourself” list: care for your friendships. Tara and Nina met when their kids attended the same cooperative preschool. Their contrasting personalities led to rich conversations on parenting and inspired their book.
In the section on “Teaching and Learning,” they recommend you look at your own behavior as good learning opportunities for your kids. For example, when you make a mistake, don’t know an answer, or hurt someone’s feelings, let your children in on the process of acknowledging the mistake, finding the answer, or apologizing. “Oh man, I sure messed up!” can be the start of a rich conversation about disappointment, taking responsibility, or affecting an outcome. And be sure to share and name your feelings when you’re frustrated, jealous, sad, proud or relieved. You’ll help your child understand the situation, and help them develop their emotional vocabulary as they learn to label their own experiences.
Using personal anecdotes throughout their book, the authors share some creative activities and adventures as well as some sweet strategies for “Smoothing the Bumps.” My favorite was Tara’s Never-Go-Away Cuddle in the Surrender 15 minutes section. Her advice for a clingy child was to hold him on the couch like when he was a baby and tell him all the things they don’t need to do any more because everything she needed was right there in her lap! Her child would laugh and then try to escape, proving that if you drop everything and surrender for a few minutes in an over-the-top way, your child may wander off content.
Food for Thoughtful Parenting is a truly nourishing book in a delicious little bite!