My favorite book on parenting is Finding Your Purpose as a Mom by Donna Otto. I bought this book at Borders one afternoon while browsing around, shortly after my oldest child was born. It stayed on my bookshelf for about a year, until spring 2007, when I had extra room in my schedule and my mind to take it all in. Over the past two years, I have read and re-read this excellent book, and endeavored to put many of Ms. Otto’s tips into practice.
Finding Your Purpose as a Mom is filled with practical ideas. I love Ms. Otto’s chapters on keeping the home in order, maintaining peaceful relationships with family members and friends, and making the house a welcoming, inviting home. But beyond the practicality of her ideas lies chapter after after chapter about envisioning the future for your family – having an idea of how you’d like your kids to grow up, and living intentionally to seek after those goals.
My favorite application in this regard is listing qualities I’d like to see in my children as they grow older. When I first read the book, I made a list of 10 for my daughter, and put it on my nightstand as a reminder of my overarching purpose as Lucy’s mother. Here are three of Ms. Otto’s many examples:
- I want [my home] to grow a man or woman of prayer.
- I want [my home] to grow a person of character and integrity.
- I want [my home] to grow a culturally discerning person.
I love the author’s gentle insight. She is older than me (probably older than my mom), yet her wisdom doesn’t seem dated. Rather, it’s timeless. She shares many stories from her own parenting experiences – successes and failures – to flesh out her advice, and she is encouraging to her readers in such an inspiring way that I feel refreshed after consuming any chapter. It moves me to action.
If you are needing some inspiration or advice amidst this vast and tiring career called motherhood, Finding Your Purpose as a Mom is an encouraging “shot in the arm”. Donna Otto’s book Secrets to Getting More Done in Less Time is also great – an in-depth outline of her specific strategies for organization of home life. Both of these books would make great gifts, too – especially for a new mom.
What unconventional parenting books have made a difference in your life? Do share! And have a great weekend, Mom Crowd!