No Parenting Books in November
One of the best pieces of parenting tips I’ve learned over the past two years is to regularly take a break from parenting experts. While I love reading all sorts of parenting books, blogs, discussion forums, and the like, I also realized that sometimes it’s all just information overload. I have loads of wonderful ideas floating around my head, and sadly many of them never come to fruition because they are overshadowed by the next must-try, an idea that seems like an even better fit for our family or perhaps is simply easier to implement and so I choose that instead.
At times, when I haven’t taken a break from reading parenting materials for a while, several things start to happen. For one, I simply spend too much time on it. As a total information junkie, I have a very hard time drawing the line and saying enough is enough. So recently I found myself reading an article about how to connect with my kids, while telling my kids “no, mommy can’t read a story right now because she’s busy. No, we’re not nursing right, mommy wants to read this.” Ironic? I thought so. Secondly, when I read others’ words about what my children (or I!) should be like, they can sometimes become louder than my own kids’ actions. Instead of seeing what truly is, I begin seeing a lot of what “should” be. Not a recipe for contentment, joy, or a loving and supportive home atmosphere! Lastly, the vast array of information that I can consume on a daily basis creates so much choice that a sort of inertia develops. I don’t know which ideas to implement, where to look for trusted information, or how to decide between the cute pumpkin faces craft or the cute ghost faces craft. Which one is better? W hich one is best? What if there’s something better out there and I’m missing it? With an inability to truly evaluate all the information out there, it becomes very difficult to filter any of it. This means I can be easily swayed by a persuasive author or personable blogger.
The solution? Take a month of from all parenting material, each year. November is the month. I don’t exactly know why but it seems to work. By refusing to consume any of it for a month, I have found that it’s like resetting my own equilibrium. When I return to the land of parenting media, and I do look forward to it already, I am generally more able to filter the information coming in, and better able to see how (and whether) it could apply to my family, to my kids.
Lest I feel bored without all my parenting reading, I thought I’d set some goals for myself for the month of November:
- Make it a point to deeply connect with my kids, spending time on fun projects, reading books, and playing games. Oh yeah, and they can help me with the housework, since I’ll have no excuses for neglecting it!
- Explore the idea of fairy houses with the kids, which means lots of outdoor time!
- Delve into this book I just ran across: Praying in Color and consciously spending time reading Scripture. My spiritual life is in need of a bit of a tune-up.
While I tried furiously to complete some reading before the end of October, I did not succeed. I already look forward to several books in December! However, the above goals make me feel excited as well. With the stormy few weeks we’ve had I think my kids, and I, can really use the reconnecting time. I look forward to seeing my family as we are, in all our faults and beauty, and without any of the “shoulds” that the parenting books attach to them.