What Elderly Tennis Players Can Teach Us About Motherhood

By September 15, 2010General

Anyone for tennis?
I play tennis.

Post-kids, I play a couple times a year. But there was a season in life when I played ALL. THE. TIME

I was possibly a bit obsessive.

My family stayed in a condo every year for the 4th of July. They’d head to the water. I’d hit the courts. By myself.

There wasn’t a backboard to hit against, so I’d pick up a ball and hit a cross court forehand. I’d pick up another ball and hit a forehand down the line. On and on. Different shots. One at a time.

Then I’d go and pick them all up. For three or four hours, I’d do this. All weekend long.

Like I said, obsessive.

One year there was an older lady who saw me playing, had pity on me and asked if I wanted to play a match.

Well, sure. I’ll try to go easy on you, nice little lady who is about to eat my dust.

I’m not competitive. Obviously.

A funny thing happened, though. She worked me like a puppet on a string. She stood in one spot, yawning, while she ran me like an errand girl from one sideline to the next.

I was perplexed. Obviously, I was “trying harder” than she was. Why was she destroying me?


She knew the game better. She knew exactly where to hit the ball. She knew what I was thinking. She knew exactly how much energy she needed to expend.

I was a fast. I was serious. I tried hard. She was sweet, wise and beat me without breaking a sweat.


Somehow I’ve always lived in the delusion that if I just TRY HARDER I’ll be a better mom.

“Stop getting frustrated, KAT!”
“Be nicer, KAT!”
“Do crafty things, KAT!”
“Stop getting frustrated, KAT!” (Oh, did I already say that? Well…)
“Be more patient, KAT!”


It’s similar to beating your head against a wall. And just about as productive.

I can “try hard” to be a good mom until I turn blue in the face and I probably won’t change much. But if I pursue wisdom, one book, one chapter, one lesson, one prayer at a time, I will change.

We can reinvent the wheel or we can simply buy one and read it. The most powerful mothering skill is to glean knowledge from those more experienced than us.

Where Have You Found Wisdom?

Today I am asking you to share your favorite resources.

There’s so much information out there about parenting. There are resources geared towards every parenting situation. Many mothers just don’t know where to start. And some mothers just aren’t even aware of the resources available to them.

Library books
That’s why we need you. You are the librarians for Mom-iversity. You’re the research team.

This is what we need:

1. What books have you read that have been most helpful (include author name, if possible)?
2. What parenting blogs or websites do you frequent?
3. Are there any single blog posts (not necessarily from a parenting blog) that have impacted you?
4. If there is something unique about your parenting situation, what resources have you relied on?

I’ll compile and organize the list to help everyone plan their Mom-iversity course more easily. Also, feel free to share a resource even if someone else has already mentioned it. It will help us identify the most useful resources.

More Incentive…

Sound good? As an added bonus, everyone who submits a suggestion will get another entry in the big giveaway. I’ll also give away another copy of Christa Wells CD Frame The Clouds to one of today’s commentors.

Obviously, I really want you all to participate, share your wisdom and your resources. Since there is no real university for moms, we need to rely on one another to learn and grow.

Go team!

Leave a Comment



  • Avatar eelin says:

    I do my research mostly from books and here’s the list of parenting books (as opposed to baby books, that’s a whole other category) that I wished i’d read either before or just as i had my first child (in this order):
    1. Your Baby and Child by Penelope Leach
    2. Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott
    3. Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey
    4. How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen by Faber & Mazlish
    5. Positive Discipline for Preschoolers by Jane Nelsen
    6. Siblings Without Rivalry by Faber & Mazlish
    7. Boundaries for Kids by Cloud & Townsend
    8. Raising Great Kids by Cloud & Townsend
    9. Hold On To Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld

  • Avatar jamie says:

    THIS is a fabulous idea!!!

    A really amazing book that I read recently was,
    Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. Not only does it address anger in kids, but it also addresses anger in parents. Great, GREAT book. I’m currently reading another one that they wrote called “Parenting is HEART work” Not far enough into it to really say what it’s like though. 😉

    Another great book is Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Especially great for homeschoolers.

    As for websites… I did get some interesting tips from http://www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com/ although I don’t agree with EVERYTHING they say over there.

    This is a great site, http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/
    Recently this post was awesome, http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/2010/09/try-this-little-secret-of-mine-instead.html
    And this one, http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/2010/09/six-to-eleven-year-olds-need-less.html She also has some great posts about getting a “Reasonably Clean House.” http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Reasonably%20Clean%20House

    Ann Voskamp has some great posts as well, but… er… I’m taking up all the comment space! YIKES!

  • Avatar Amy says:

    I love Sally Clarkson’s books! My favorite is “The Mission of Motherhood.” Very inspiring and vision-imparting for mothers!

  • Avatar slawebb says:

    This is a great post. Thanks for it!

    My resources are few but really work for me. The one that I turn to the most often and has changed my life as a parent and changed our family is the Parenting on Track website, home program, live program and blog. It’s very real, down and dirty parenting!


    The books I like follow the same philosophy:
    How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen by Faber & Mazlish
    Siblings Without Rivalry by Faber & Mazlish
    Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing by Michele and Ed.D. Borba

  • Avatar Leigh says:

    I can’t remember specific blog posts… but I love the Simple Mom, Simple Kids family of blogs, and of course I’m partial to Impress Your Kids… As for books and other resources:
    Raising Your Child For Christ – Andrew Murray
    The Duties of Parents – JC Ryle
    Don’t Make Me Count to Three – Ginger Plowman
    Wise Words for Moms – Ginger Plowman
    Growing Kids God’s Way – The Ezzos (I know this has lovers and haters out there – but it’s worked really well for us!)
    http://www.doorposts.com/ – love this site!
    The Strong Willed Child – James Dobson
    I know I’ve read more, but these are the ones off the top of my head that have really effected the way I mother, and I refer to each of these frequently (if not daily!).

  • Avatar Lindsey says:

    Great idea!
    Some of my favorite parenting books are:
    The Mission of Motherhood- Sally Clarkson
    Don’t Make Me Count to Three- Ginger Plowman
    Shepherding a Child’s Heart- Tedd Tripp

  • Avatar Stephanie says:

    A book that I really want to read is “The Five Love Languages of Children” by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. They also have one for teenagers. As well as of course the initial “Five Love Languages” and a couple of other ones.

    I’m finding that I really love listening to the podcasts from Focus on the Family. I listened to a really good series of them on Homeschooling a couple of days ago. That was on his family talk podcast. They also have several other podcasts. You can go to http://www.myfamilytalk.com for that one or http://www.focusonthefamily.org for the rest of them and lots more resources. Or in itunes search my family talk or search focus on the family.

    http://www.askdrsears.com is really good especially for medical questions, and common parenting questions. The resources there really helped me when both my babies had reflux.

    I also recently listened to another really good podcast on FamilyLife Today about “understanding your child’s bent” it’s about understanding your child’s personality and how to best parent them based on that. Part two also addresses the strong willed child. Part 1: http://www.familylife.com/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=dnJHKLNnFoG&b=3832113&ct=8568331 Part 2: http://www.familylife.com/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=dnJHKLNnFoG&b=3832113&ct=8568335 I really want to get the book and game mentioned on the program. “Different Children, Different Needs” By Charles Boyd and the game is “Kid’s Flag Page: Discover your Child’s Heart”

    Familylife.com also has some good resources, but I do not agree with everything they say, especially about discipline.

    That’s all I can think of right now. If I think of more I’ll share more later.

  • Simple Mom has always been a favorite website of mine.
    Contentment – Maria Covey
    Parenting with Love and Logic – Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay
    12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know — Michele Borba
    Gifts from the sea – Anne Morrow Lindberg (not really a parenting specific, but one on just being a women, mother, all of our obligations and responsibilities.)
    Bible and Book of Mormon
    A Joyful Mother – Linda Eyre

  • Avatar Marleah says:

    One website that I’ve found a lot of parenting resources at is the Focus on the Family website: http://focusonthefamily.ca/ (There’s a US version, too.) They also put out a magazine called “Thriving Family” that I just love.

  • Avatar Jill says:

    I just absolutely LOVE this post. Such a great story (really? 3 or 4 hours of hitting the ball to no one…it tells a lot about your character) and the application is terrifice.

    And I echo the others: this is a fabulous idea.

    Here are my picks:
    +++A Family of Value by John Rosemond (he has a website too where he has a weekly column http://www.rosemond.com/)
    +++And the Ezzo’s Babywise and Childwise (controversial but super helpful for us starting out and teaching us how to make kids PART of our family and not the CENTER of it)
    +++Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noël Piper

    And this quote from My Life with Michael Keaton:
    “The best thing that parents can do for their kids is just love each other. Kids need to marinate in love, and after about 16 years they are really juicy!”

    Can’t wait to read everyone’s recommendations!

  • Avatar Jessica says:

    I really bendefitted from ‘Christian Living in the Home’ by Jay Adams, ‘Don’t Make me Count to three’ by Ginger Plowman (she also referrs all the time to Lou Priolo’s writing and I read ‘The Heart of Anger’ and especially ‘Teach them Diligently’), ‘Grace Based Parenting’ by Tim Kimmel and ‘Age of Opportunity’ by Paul David Tripp

  • Avatar Alicia Payne says:

    Here are the books I recommend:
    Finding Your Purpose as a Mom by Donna Otto
    The Stay At Home Mom by Donna Otto (she has a website its http://www.donnaotto.org)
    To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debbie Pearl

    And these are the blogs and websites:
    http://www.aboverubies.org (they also have a magazine you can subscribe to or you can see old issues on their site)
    http://www.nogreaterjoy.org (they have a magazine too but I’m not sure about being able to view old magazines)
    Hope this helps!

  • Avatar RG says:

    Not really a parenting book per se, but, I just finished Managers of Their Homes a couple of weeks ago and it is full of wisdom. Thank you for this list.

  • Avatar Stephanie says:

    Here are a couple of books that I recommend:

    Parenting with Love and Logic – Foster Cline & Jim Fay
    The Strong Willed Child – James Dobson

    Both were great!

  • Avatar Abbie says:

    I love Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
    Boundaries with Kids by Cloud and Townsend
    but my favorite is
    Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
    I do NOT recommend To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debbie Pearl
    Sorry to be negative, I just think you should look into that one or read it first before you put it on your list to be sure it is what you are wanting to recommend.
    On a more positive note, thanks for doing this, Kat. I think it will really benefit your mom readers! Here’s a good mom blog that’s not hugely publicized: http://delightinginthedays.com/

  • Avatar Lindsey says:

    I’m nearly through “Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason” by Alfie Kohn. It’s blowing my mind.

    My fav parenting blog is http://www.phdinparenting.com/

  • Avatar Robyn says:

    I cannot WAIT until you get a chance to compile this list. Already there are so many books and websites listed that I’ll come back again and again! Some of the books that really impacted me have already been listed, but I’ll just list them all anyhow (I’m compulsive like that lol!):

    -Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.
    -Living Simply with Children by Marie Sherlock
    -Bringing Up Geeks by Maybeth Hicks
    -Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
    -Unplugged Play by Bobbi Connor

    Websites I follow include:

    this one of course!

  • Avatar Katrina says:

    In addition to reading many of the the books listed above I like watching Worlds Strictest Parents on CMT or episodes on the internet.


    Each week in this show a stable family helps two out of control teenagers. There is a new host family and two new teens every week, which gives the opportunity to see a variety of parenting styles in action. Though the show focuses on teens, I’ve been surprised how much I’ve picked up that is applicable to my 3, 4 & 6 year old, both what to do and what not to do. After all most out of control teens act like toddlers!

    An additional book not listed is Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

  • Avatar Meagan says:

    There are a few books that have been especially helpful to me as a parent. Some are books on home education, but even kids in public or private schools need some degree of home education. If they are going to adopt our values, we have to teach them what they are.

    My favorite book (other than the Bible):
    A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola
    It’s a book on home education, but it is really just a great way to raise capable, loving, curious and imaginative children.

    Next on the list would have to be The Key to Your Child’s Heart by Gary Smalley. I haven’t even finished it and it has helped so much!

    Also, Captivating and Wild at Heart are two books by John and Stasi Eldredge that helps me really understand the difference between men and women or boys and girls and how to raise them differently, because they have different needs. According to the Eldredges, boys and men need to be affirmed that they are capable while girls and women need to know that they are lovely. It helps to know exactly what my son needs.

    Another resource that has helped me is The Family Manager by Kathy Peel. I find it much easier to parent when I know how to manage the whole family and all of our needs.

    I see a ton of books here that I will want to read from other comments. This is a wonderful resource as well!

  • Avatar Shelley says:

    currently reading Bringing up Geeks by Marybeth Hicks
    Keep the siblings lose the rivalry by Dr. Todd Cartmell
    You can’t make me but I can be persuaded by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
    Confessions of an irritable mother by Karen Hossink

  • Avatar Susan says:

    Great information shared here!!! I am very passionate about the book, “ScreamFree Parenting” by Hal Runkel. Please do not mistake my comment here as any self-promotion, as I do teach this series and do coaching – but I can tell you from my years as a single mother “over-reacting” “yelling” “yelling louder” and still feeling like a mom who didn’t have the tools to make it work – it has been a HUGE transformation in our family. The concept of helping raise responsible, self-direct kids by focusing on YOU and your reactions is truly the bottom line. You cannot control your kids, your spouse, rewards & punishments are only manipulative behavior to “try to get” your child to do what you want them to do rather than helping them walk through making choices and learning through the consequences of those choices, no matter at what level. I have two teenagers right now and have absolutely NO trouble and yes, maybe it is all the prayer I have done and certainly God has been here for me, but I believe the years now of treating them like adults and creating a relationship between us based on trust and integrity has made the difference. I cannot speak highly enough of it!! Also enjoy Jamie Martins book, ‘Steady Days.” I could go on and on…. 🙂

  • Avatar Heidi says:

    Kat, I have loved your recent posts (esp. today’s and your guest post on Passionate Homemaking). They have really struck a chord in me.

    A few valuable resources for me:

    Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Charles Fay and Jim Fay
    Above Rubies (magazine subscription) and http://www.aboverubies.org
    Attachment Parenting by Dr. William Sears
    http://www.askdrsears.com for those medical questions and resources.

    Thanks to everyone else who commented…there are SO many resources available! Kat, you have the amazing, big job of compiling it all…how fun!

  • Avatar Sarah says:

    ***Of course, Ann Voskamp of Holy Experience ( aholyexperience.com ) She imparts wisdom not just because she has great strategies or philosophies of parenting, but because everything she writes points to The One who IS wisdom. She inspires me to be a better mother, but not in a way that provokes self-effort and striving. She gives me hope that I can grow and change, but not a burden of guilt that that brings shame over the fact that I am human and therefore weak and broken.
    One I’ve bookmarked: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2009/05/released-from-worry-theology-of.html

    ***Faye Inchfawn’s “Verse-Book of a Homely Woman” is full, full, full of wisdom. Don’t let the “Homely” in the title throw you off…she’s just talking about a homemaker, not assessing the beauty of the reader. It’s remarkable how much this compilation of poetry has revolutionized my heart in mothering and homemaking. Listen free on Librivox.org ( http://librivox.org/the-verse-book-of-a-homely-woman-by-fay-inchfawn/ )
    A snippet:
    From “The Long View”:
    “Some day of days! Some dawning yet to be
    I shall be clothed with immortality!
    And, in that day, I shall not greatly care
    That Jane spilt candle grease upon the stair.
    It will not grieve me then, as once it did,
    That careless hands have chipped my teapot lid…
    … A few short years at most (it may be less),
    I shall have done with earthly storm and stress.
    So, for this day, I lay me at Thy feet.
    O, keep me sweet, my Master! Keep me sweet!”

    From “The House-Mother”:
    “…They do not know,
    The passers-by, who go
    Up to Thy house, with saintly faces set;
    Who throng about Thy seat,
    And sing Thy praises sweet,
    Till vials full of odours cloud Thy feet;
    They do not know . . .
    And, if they knew, then would they greatly care
    That Thy tired handmaid washed the
    children’s hair;
    Or, with red roughened hands, scoured dishes well,
    While through the window called the evening bell?
    And that her seeking soul looks upward yet,
    THEY do not know . . . but THOU wilt not forget.”

    ***I haven’t read a lot from Sally Clarkson (want to read her books, but haven’t gotten to them yet). The few posts I’ve read on her blog have been amazing.
    Especially this one: http://wholeheart.typepad.com/itakejoy/2010/03/advocate-parentingheartfelt-discipline.html
    And this one: http://wholeheart.typepad.com/itakejoy/2010/03/adversarial-parenting-vs-advocate-parenting-part-1.html

    ***I also have been impacted by Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding A Child’s Heart, and I’ve heard phenomenal things by people I respect about Danny Silk’s book Loving our Kids on Purpose. I have gleaned some great things from No Greater Joy (the ministry of Michael and Debi Pearl, authors of To Train Up A Child), and Growing Kids Gods Way (the parenting course by the Ezzo’s, authors of the Babywise and Childwise series). Both NGJ and GKGW have been a bit of a mixed bag for me. Pick out the meat and spit out the bones. The free magazine from Above Rubies is also a great resource.

    • Those snippets of poetry are so, so, so very good! Thank you so much for sharing those! (There is so much great info in the comments on this post!) Now, I need to hunt down a copy of that book…

  • One of my most favorite parenting books is Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel. It’s a nice reminder that God governs us with grace and we need to bestow that same grace on our children. (I think I need to reread it actually)

    And just to share the best piece of advice my mom gave me, because it sums up the “rules” mom’s should follow raising our children:

    “Love through Mistakes
    Teach through Accidents
    Discipline through Rebellion”

    Simple principles and I LOVE it 🙂 My mom’s so wise!

  • Avatar Erin says:

    Hands down the book that has helped my parenting the most is Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp. I also really enjoyed Your Boy by Vicki Courtney.

    I echo what an above poster put about ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com. And I am also a fan of holyexperience.com. Practical help, beautifully written.

    I think probably my parenting situation is somewhat unusual, because I have rheumatoid arthritis which does make life a little interesting and more difficult. I haven’t found many resources for dealing with chronic illness/pain as a mother. rawarrior.com has been a big help generally speaking but it’s not a parenting blog really.

  • Avatar Martine says:

    This is the first time I leave a comment, but I have been reading your blog ever since it was linked on Ann Voskamps blog. Very inspiring!

    Lately I have been reading a lot about education and child raising and so I ‘discovered’ Charlotte Mason and her ‘philosophy of education’. Karen Andreolas book ‘A Charlotte Mason companion’ was mentioned earlier, which I liked too. There is one more book I would like to mention. ‘For the children’s sake’ by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. Written in 1984, but still very much worth reading. Speaking about wise women, I think Susan Schaeffer is a very wise woman and she has written a very wise book ;-). Very recommendable for anyone who would like to read and think about the education of our children (either at home or in school
    (a Dutch mom in Peru)

  • Avatar Debbie says:

    Book: Hold On To Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld
    Blog: ScreamFree Parenting (screamfree.com)

    A fairly recent blog post that was encouraging for me was http://www.incourage.me/2010/07/embracing-who-i-am.html

    I had a traumatic childhood that impacts my parenting and I rely on weekly counseling with a great therapist who lets me use him as a sounding board, a cheerleader, and an unconditionally loving mother figure to me (yeah, even though it’s a guy). Going to relatives (and even certain friends) for parenting advice and support oftentimes made me feel like a failure.

  • Avatar Beth says:

    I recently watched this great video series from Family Life: http://www.familylife.com/site/c.dnJHKLNnFoG/b.5537697/k.6A02/Right_From_the_Start.htm ..I’m in the toddler years, and found this little mini-course very helpful.

    Also, this is a great article for any mommas out there struggling with guilt for not being more involved in ministry during the mothering season of your life: http://www.9marks.org/ejournal/young-mother-ministry-guilt-and-seasons-life

    And one more- some audio by C.J. Mahaney called “What a Mother Can’t Do Without”: http://www.9marks.org/ejournal/young-mother-ministry-guilt-and-seasons-life

    All three of these come highly recommended for Moms!

    I’m so excited about Mom-iversity!!

  • Avatar Beth says:

    I put the wrong link in the last of the resources in the above comment. Here’s the correct link:

    And one more- some audio by C.J. Mahaney called “What a Mother Can’t Do Without”: http://www.covlife.org/resources/2671418-What_A_Mother_Cant_Do_Without

  • Avatar AshleyF says:

    Five Love Languages for Kids by Gary Chapman.
    Would also like to read Bringing Up Girls
    MODSquad (Mothers of Daughters)….I also know there is a MOB Squad (for Mothers of Boys, but I was blessed with two daughters so haven’t checked out other site)!
    Impress Your Kids

    Great idea! So excited about this Mom Revolution!! : )

  • Avatar Heather says:

    I’m a mom of a 15 month old. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth has been immensely helpful! I do feel like she gets the rest she needs b/c of following these principles.

  • Avatar Jane says:

    I love how you summed up exactly what I am feeling (if I try harder – I’ll be a better mother)

    This is a wonderful idea.

    Books that I’ve enjoyed are
    Good & Angry & Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining & Bad Attitudes in Your Kids – both by Scorr Turansky & Joanne Miller

  • Avatar Tashena says:

    To Train Up A Child by the Peals.
    Being BIBLE-based, it is truly my go-to book.
    OF COURSE, Kat, your posts!!!
    You have been such a blessing to me!

  • Avatar Jaime says:

    I haven’t read many parenting books lately, although I should. However, I love simplemom, simplekids, and momadvice. I get so many great ideas and inspiration from those blogs.

  • Avatar patty r. says:

    I love Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman and Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. Both of these books offer great practical advice backed up by Scripture and they bring the gospel into the training and disciplining of our children. Wise Words for Mom’s has also been a great resource when i feel like i can’t find the right words(or verses) when walking through certain issues with my kids.
    i was just reading in my devotions this morning about Wisdom….Paul David Tripp was reminding me that Wisdom ultimately comes from God and that He is Wisdom himself. that the more we know God and meditate on his word, the wiser we will be. i am so thankful that He also uses people to write books that we can practically put into practice in our lives.

    ~patty r.

  • Avatar Sayle says:

    This is a list of books that I put together for myself when I read about the whole Mom-iversity thing.
    Seven Times the Sun – By Shea Darian
    Last Child In the Woods – By Richard Louv
    You Are Your Child’s First Teacher – By Rahima Baldwin Dancy
    Creative Correction – By Lisa Whelchel
    The Happiest Toddler on the Block – By Harvey Karp
    Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves – By Naomi Aldort
    Make Your Place affordable,sustainable nesting skills – By Raleigh Briggs
    Bringing Up Girls – By James Dobson
    Making a Family Home – By Shannon Honeybloom

  • Avatar Jen says:

    article: “The Parenting Pyramid” http://www.arbinger.com/downloads/parenting_pyramid.pdf

    “Creative Correction” by Lisa Whelchel

  • Avatar blair says:

    You never cease to amaze me! I love this analogy! I love a lot of the books already listed but this is my favorite book on being a mom these days..
    A Mother’s Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother by Jean Fleming, it has questions after each chapter too.

  • Avatar Rachelle B says:

    Some books I’ve liked were The Most Important Place on Earth by Robert Wolgemuth, My Hearts at Home by Jill Savage, and books by Donna Otto as well as her website which has many good resources. I listen to radio programs like Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, and Mid-day Connections (all these have internet sites too.) I have also attended a phenomenal conference in Normal IL (also presented in other areas). Its called “Hearts at Home” & created by Jill Savage.

  • Avatar meghan says:

    I’m always so encouraged by your posts! Thank you! Also, its great to have you linked up today with iFellowship!


  • Avatar Laura says:

    Growing Kids God’s Way was a great start for us. Although we don’t implement everything from this bible study, we did learn a great deal about some basic ideas…the verse that sticks with me from this study is 1 Cor 11:1 “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.” I am loving the suggestions from other readers. I have several more books I need to read. Thanks!

  • Avatar Kelly says:

    Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo
    Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas
    Homemaking by J.R. Miller

  • Avatar Dawn says:

    I can add a few more…
    Sacred Parenting-by Gary Thomas (focuses on how raising children shapes our souls as parents)
    The Family Blessing-Rolf Garborg
    Family Night Tool Kit-Heritage builders (great ideas for family nights)
    Taming Your Family Zoo-Donna Jones
    Raising a Modern-Day Knight-Robert Lewis (focuses on a Dad’s influence on his sons and talks about how to set up rites of passage. There is a girl version out there too, but I’m not sure of its title.)
    How Am I Smart?-Dr. Kathy Koch
    The Power of a Positive Mom-Karol Ladd

    And, I also like Creative Correction-Lisa Welchel mentioned in other posts. It’s a great resource for using Scripture as we train and discipline.

    But, most of all, I believe the Bible is the best place for us to turn for parenting advice. Even though these other books help us with practical insight into parenting, God’s word ultimately provides all wisdom and knowledge. It never ceases to amaze me how I will be struggling with my child over something and I will find a verse that speaks either to his heart or mine. We are trying to teach our sons that God’s word has an answer for everything, so when they struggle with lying or fear of the dark, we turn to God’s word, write a verse on one of those poster-sized post-its, and hang it up in their room, on their door, or in our hallway. Likewise, when I am struggling with an area of parenting (say my fuse has been a little short and my patience has run dry), I run to God’s word and tape up verses on my bathroom mirror (ie.Proverbs 17:27-a man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.) for me to meditate on. So, though I often run to parenting resources for help, I don’t ever want to neglect running to THE Source for help.

  • Avatar Joyce says:

    Most of the books have been mentioned already. I think I learn most from other moms that I’ve met. When my older daughter was born, our pediatrician got a group of us together that had babies the same age. So we were basically all in the same lifestage and situation. There were 4 families and our kids were born within a month of each other. Before the checkups, we got together to talk about how they are doing, and it helped to see some of the same things and get suggestions on other things.

    I just joined our local MOPS (mother of preschoolers) group, and already after the first meeting, I feel like it’s been helpful talk to others in the same situation, but also each small group has a “mentor mom” who’s been through it already that can help us out too.

  • Avatar Melissa says:

    I believe that some of the most important work will we do in this life is to parent. God knows how important this is and the scriptures are full of wisdom if we will search for parenting answers. I’m LDS (a.k.a. Mormon) and have found so much help in studying both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

    Two great books that I don’t think were previously listed:
    1. On Becoming Babywise by Robert Bucknam
    2. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, PhD

    I took a few parenting classes taught by individuals with doctorates in the human development and they all recommended the book by John Gottman. It has helped us so much and wish that I would have read it about six years ago!

    p.s. Thank you for putting so much time and effort into this site. It has helped me to make big changes!

  • Avatar Andrea says:

    I am currently reading “Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration….” It is excellent so far. Two books which have really shaped my parenting way are “Hold On To Your Kids” Gordon Neufeld and “For the Children’s Sake” Susan Schaeffer Macauley. I sort of liked “The Power of a Praying Parent”. Nothing to outstanding by sound encouragement. I am also just starting “How Children Learn” by John Holt. Blogs I read that encourage me specifically with mothering? Well right here of course. “Holy Experience”, “A Path Made Straight” .I think all the others are more general, natural living, faith bent or just plain pretty or amusing. I always crack up at “Clover Lane” and she is an organized and efficent mother.

  • Avatar Katrina Fisher says:

    All the books I’d recommend have already been mentioned:

    Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
    Grace-based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
    Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Fay and Fay
    Power of a Postive Mom by Karol Ladd

    Want to read: Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk.

    The Bible.

    Praying through ITA’s praying for your children/husband calendars has been huge. I frequently pray those things for myself, as well! 🙂

    Ann Voskamp inspires me greatly, with her realness, her transparency, and her focus on the Lord. A favorite parenting post: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2010/08/one-parenting-habit-that-changes.html

    Kat, this is so amazing. Thanks for doing this!!

  • Avatar Erika says:

    The whole point of referring to these resources is to gain wisdom/info from them that will enhance our ministry to our families as we seek to glorify God in our lives–so that said, there may be times when you do spit out bones, but even the discernment exercised to determine what’s a bone increases our wisdom!

    I know it’s been mentioned but Shepherding a Child’s Heart (by Ted Tripp) has been absolutely foundational for our family! And my husband recently picked up the next book, Instructing a Child’s Heart (by Ted Tripp and his wife)–we’re very excited to read it!

    And I echo about Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in our Traditions–it’s a repeat read for me–I wish every year, but I don’t get to it that often anymore!

    And I have greatly benefited from Edith Schaeffer’s The Hidden Art of Homemaking and What is a Family? Some ideas are similar in the two books, but both are worthy reads (even if at times a little cumbersome to read–at least What Is?)

    And we are currently reading Dr. Dobson’s Bringing Up Girls (new this year)–very insightful!

    And as for websites/posts:

    A great two-week series on priorities–always helpful for moms with young children!!–by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (who might be single, but is still a very godly, wise woman that we can learn from!!)–unfortunately, I think it’s too old to be able to listen to it. A link to the transcripts:

    The girltalk blog is always an encouraging read, but I especially enjoyed a series they did starting on March 10, 2009 ( http://www.girltalkhome.com/blog/Out_of_Time ) about the best “deals” of the season of young children in keeping with their Shopping for Time book–and you don’t HAVE to join the 5 am club! The series is under ‘Motherhood,’ though it is tricky to read it consecutively.

    Though I don’t personally plan on using the classical methodology in our homeschooling, I LOVE this article on Trivium Pursuit–tons of inspiring ideas to engage our kids with!

    Thanks for compiling the list! Phew!

  • Avatar Jodi says:

    Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
    For the Family’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley
    Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson
    Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney. I read this once a year, figure it will eventually sink in 🙂

    Thank you so much!

  • Avatar Brianne says:

    The books that I have really appreciated are as follows:
    The Gift of the Blessing by Smalley and Trent (Loved it! Not just about parenting, but extremely helpful.)
    Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk (Loved it!)
    Parenting With Love and Logic
    Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tripp

    I go back and read these periodically, because as my children get older I notice that there are nuggets that I missed the first time around. It is great to just keep getting more and more out of these books!

  • Avatar Jaclyn says:

    What a great post! I so needed to hear this today. Thank you!!

    On Becoming Babywise by the Ezzo’s was a good start for us in many ways. Like with all books, you take what you can use from it and leave the rest.

    I also have been enjoying the site passionatehomemaking.com

    Thanks for all the great resources ladies. What a blessing!

  • Avatar Brookiej says:

    Different Children, Different Needs by Charles Boyd
    The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

  • Avatar Mab says:

    Many titles I liked have already been mentioned so I’ll add one I didn’t see on the list:
    Honey, I Wrecked the Kids by Alyson Schafer

  • Avatar Jennifer says:

    In the way of parenting books..I haven’t read many. Lisa Whelchel’s Creative Corrections has some great ideas for younger kiddos. I love listening to Dr. Randy Carlson’s, Parent Talk, on Family Life Radio (Focus on the Family).
    My husband and I are foster parents and we receive a lot of training through our Children Youth and Family Department. We have done several parenting classes, training on attachment disorders, Love and Logic http://www.loveandlogic.com.
    One of the greatest resource we have had is our Pastor and his wife. They have always been a wealth of information and wisdom.

  • I’ve found ‘Parenting with Love and Logic’ to be extremetly helpful in both my home and as a teacher in a classroom! 🙂

  • Avatar stephanie says:

    Don’t Make me count to three -Ginger Plowman
    Shepherding your child’s heart

  • Avatar G says:

    I didn’t see this, but may have missed it:

    Raising your Spirited Child – its excellent

  • Avatar Sara M. says:

    My first choice is SHEPHERDING A CHILD’S HEART by Tedd Tripp – a “how-to” book on Biblical parenting. Best one I’ve read so far. I didn’t know there was another book by him, so I’m going to look for that one next.

    Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Charles Fay & Jim Fay – I use a lot of techniques in here, but not everything works for every child, so it’s one of those you have to sift out.

    Dare to Discipline by James Dobson – another Christian perspective, although I don’t adhere to his philosophies as closely as I do to Tripp’s book.

    To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debbie Pearl – a short read, and the first discipline book I read. The foundations are there, but it doesn’t give a whole lot of guidance. It also has some ideas in there that would be viewed by many as harsh. Another book that you’d have to sift out the extra stuff.

  • Avatar Meagan says:

    Just a side note, I read further and The Key to Your Child’s Heart does advocate “appropriatly done spanking.” While I don’t really think there is such a thing, the rest of the book is wonderful, especially the parts on conflict resolution.

  • Avatar Catherine says:

    I’ve just found your site and am madly forwarding links to it- I enjoy the simple and succinct writing and have found much of value here. Thank-you.

    Your points on sifting through to separate the wheat from the chaff are the perfect summarization of our quest to parent well, and being open minded in that endeavor.

    Personally, my theory is that no one parenting “technique” works for more than 3 days, 🙂 ! Having an array of ideas and resources to help us allows us to act rather than react, and so much of the day-to-day of parenting is being one step ahead of the game isn’t it?

    More helpful than a full arsenal of methods, though, is having a purposeful, clear ideology of why we are doing what we do. For me, I have consciously chosen Motherhood as my lifelong Dream Job. Committing time and energy into that purposeful path has made me a happy woman, not that there haven’t been, or won’t be, challenges or trials, but this focus and an early decision that this is what I am meant to do, the knowledge that this is my God given path, and walking that path with my hand in His, has made Motherhood joyful, fulfilling, and very much a labour of Love.
    The Ames Haber series, “Your One-Year Old”, “Your Two Year Old” etc – goes up to 10 or 12 year olds I think. The authors were taught/worked with Haim Ginott. This is a series on child development, very helpful in understanding what to expect of the stage the child is in and how ABSOLUTELY NORMAL so many things are! Reading ahead of their age allows one to prepare for what’s next.
    Teaching Children Responsibility- Linda and Richard Eyre
    Kevin Leman’s-
    Making Children Mind without Losing Yours
    The Birth Order Book
    The First Born advantage- haven’t read the subsequent titles for 2nds, middles etc, but as a first born, married to a first born and with 4 children who each married first borns, this has been spot on. This book is directed at the person who is a Firstborn, and with each subsequent book he details the strengths and advantages of being in that birth order, as well as weaknesses and how to overcome them.
    The Colour Code- Taylor Hartman The author defines different personality types with a Colour, and this has been enlightening to say the least! He helps to understand how better to interact with one another, and it is surprising how obvious it is to spot, even in small children, a trend to one colour or another. It is much like understanding what a person’s learning style is (audio, visual etc) in that one can then teach to that style ie; why giving a time-out to a White is ineffective! It has taught me new approaches that better reach the children, and given me a better understanding of my own style, its strengths and weaknesses.
    How to Talk so Kids Can LEARN- Faber & Mazlish a revelation.

    This is a great idea, I look forward to the compilation- and appreciate the opportunity of benefiting from each other’s experience.

  • Avatar Erin says:

    Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp was an eye opener for me.

  • Avatar Brenda says:

    I have been following the blog:

    thehappiestmom.com Love her thoughts and ideas and how she is always looking for others opinions as well.

  • Avatar Sara-Beth says:

    We love everything by the Tripps and Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman has been such a blessing to me as well… especially in applying what the Tripps talk about with very young children. I also wanted to mention Ginger’s booklet “Wise Words for Mom” which is a great resource for identifying behaviors in children and then drawing out their hearts and instructing them. There is a ton of scripture that I’m trying to memorize and teach my kids so that I am using the Word of God to instruct them. It has been a great tool.

  • Avatar Jessica says:

    I just finished a book called Nurture Shock by Po Bronson. Now, I may be a little biased, but I loved this book. I think it is appropriate to mention here, because it really does show us that some of the things our culture says we should be doing, really do not benefit our kids. (A big one that hit me is that we do not always need to be so positive to our kids.) So often, we as parents worry when we fight in front of the kids, and this book actually says that it is not the fighting that impacts the kids, it is whether or not they get to see a resolution. (So much for trying harder, right? It’s okay to get upset, just let the kids see that we can resolve it!) Oh, I could go on all day. Loved the book!!!!!

  • Avatar Trisha says:

    I didn’t have time to read through all of the comments up there, so I’m not sure if this one has been mentioned yet. But Baby 411 and Toddler 411 are my top picks for practical everyday info. The authors (one is a pediatrician and the other a regular mom) are really funny and the books are set up more as reference guides than a cover to cover experience. My husband has even laughed out loud when he has looked up a particular issue.
    Baby 411 and Toddler 411 by Denise Fields and Dr. Ari Brown

  • Avatar Raye Ann says:

    I kept seeing reference to a book called Hints on Child Training” by H Clay Trumbull written in 1893. It was well worth the search to find it. It is on Google books where you can read the whole thing on line, or print out a pdf of the 1893 addition.

  • Avatar Lori says:

    I ditto Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman and Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp. I also gleaned a lot from To Train Up A Child. I know it controversial. I think “consistency is key” is the best thing I learned from the Pearls. I also LOVED On Becoming Babywise. I really like the idea of knowing your own baby that they promote which people seem to miss. Every kid is different and YOU have to figure your child’s needs out. No book is going to explain exactly how to raise your child, but they give you ideas. I am reading The New Dare to Discipline by James Dobson. I am learning a lot but I think this one may be controversial too. I also have read and liked How to Rear Children by Dr Jack Hyles. Its not in print anymore as far as I know but you can find a free printable copy here: http://fbbc.com/messages/hyleshowtorearchildren.htm . Also How to Rear Infants is there too. My son is still young and I am still studying and hope to read many more books. Oh and I also read 5 Love Languages of Children and it was good.

  • Avatar Dara says:

    I have a lot of books in my shelf that I want to read but so far I read just Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp, Don’t make me count to three by Ginger Plowman and Baby Wise. I agree with what was share here to read a lot and then see what works for you and your kid, to rely on Holy Spirit to give you wisdom.

  • The comments on this post are a real treasure trove! Most of my favorites have been listed, and I’ve found a few treasures new to me!

  • Avatar Christy says:

    I will second one of the initial commenters suggestions of Hold On To Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld. Though written from a secular standpoint, I was amazed at how many biblical principles could be found in it. I feel like a lot of Christian parenting books say, “always discipline your children within the context of a loving relationship,” then they go on to describe in detail how to discipline. This book talked about how to specifically build a good, solid relationship with your kids.

    By far the best parenting book I have read so far is Parenting By the Book, by John Rosemond. A GREAT call to get back to scripture and ditch what the ‘modern psychologists’ of the day try to preach. (ha ha, funny, since the first book I mentioned is a TOTAL psychology book.) Anyway…good to read together, I guess. 🙂

    I just started Grace-Based Parenting, and it looks to be a great resource as well.
    Thanks for compiling this list!!

  • Avatar Joelle says:

    I just wrote a post on my top ten parenting books. You are welcome to check it out and take what you want. They are all very helpful.

  • Avatar Jacqueline says:

    Just another vote for ‘Hold On to Your Kids’ by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate MD. This book was paradigm-shifting for me. They really go into all the stages of attachment and talk about ‘connection before correction’, meaning the relationship has to come first in all circumstances.

  • Avatar Beth says:

    Ginger Plowman – “Don’t Make Me Count to Three” and “Heaven at Home”

  • Avatar Liane says:

    “Loving Our Kids on Purpose” by Danny Silk is excellent! It’s a wonderful combination of “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” and “Love & Logic”.

    “You Can’t Make Me” by Cynthia Tobias has also been really insightful for the strong-willed child perspective.

  • Avatar Jenn-Jenn says:

    you can add Gina Fords New Contented Little Baby book – clearly she’s never had children, but her principals are excellent – obviously you pray through your choices – I used her sleep routine and feeding routine from day one and have a very happy toddler that sleeps well and eats well. Well worth the read.