Two books on mothering you can actually read while mothering.
John Green: 0 for 2 on reading recommendations, thus far.

The Kids Will Be Fine.

Now there's a title that's a balm to every mother's soul.

The other book on parenting that I read last week, largely while parenting (well, sort of: I was outside with the CRboys, supervising, but clearly I was also reading, slacker mom that I am), was The Kids Will Be Fine: Guilt-Free Motherhood for Thoroughly Modern Women. The good news is that, according to Brit author Daisy Waugh, evidently "the kids will be fine."

Waugh takes on all the offenders who have ever offered pregnant women or mothers unsolicited advice on how best to raise their children, and works at debunking the myth that you have to be a total martyr to your children's needs in order to do a good job raising them. Overall, hers is kind of a refreshing take on the subject, and the kicker is that most of her chapters are all of two to three pages long, so it was easy to read her book in short bursts. I find this is necessary these days, as roughly every 30 seconds I am called upon to blow some more bubbles, help someone in the bathroom, separate someone else from his favorite remote that he loves to chew on, etc.

Waugh starts off with a bang on the topic of pregnancy, admitting she had pain relief during her deliveries and couldn't imagine why everyone wouldn't.* She then moves on to caring for babies, working or not working, child care, school, and so on. Here she is on not attending every single last one of her children's sporting events or school functions:

"My children (less as they grow older, of course) would generally prefer it if I attended their school functions. Why wouldn't they? And yet I still don't. Because, as I explain to the children, time is of the essence. Although I love them tenderly (duh), there are other things--not related to them--that I either need or would prefer to be doing.

Added to which, by the way, even if I didn't have work to do; even if I had a fleet of nannies and housekeepers and--gosh--a tax-deductible chauffeur to attend to the parking, I would still want to limit what hours I spent, in this short life, making polite conversation on rain-soaked sideliens or sitting in school halls watching other people's children playing musical instruments badly.

Children who grow up understanding that their mother's world doesn't solely revolve around theirs are much the better for it. In my opinion." (p. 137-138.)

Personally? I think she makes a good point. Several, actually.

If I have a slight quibble with this book, it's that I feel some of the chapters actually end a little abruptly. She's going along on a subject, tickety-boo, and I'm really quite interested to see how she resolves the point, and then, bang, the chapter's over, without much actual resolution.

But still. An interesting little read, and of course I'd love to believe her title.

*I don't really agree with her on the need for medicated labor. It sounds stupid, but I didn't really mind unmedicated labor. Labor you know is going to end. It's the recovery period from the all sorts of bad things having a baby does to your body that does me in.