The Parenting Book for Real Life: You’re Doing A Great Job! 100 Ways You’re Winning At Parenting

Trying to find a helpful book to add to a shower or welcome baby gift basket? We’ve got the one your friends and family will be thanking you for.

The early days and weeks of having your first baby are not a great time to pick up a complicated new book to read. Sleep deprivation makes your brain work bad. So bad.

What you need is a book you can keep on your nightstand, read one page at a time, and still feel like you’re getting something positive out of it. Of course, it’s always a bonus if you manage to laugh a little along the way. (I know, I know. Get out the Poise pads.)

In their book, You’re Doing A Great Job! 100 Ways You’re Winning At Parenting, Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn have compiled a series of witty, insightful, and genuinely reassuring affirmations — one per page — that you can pick up whenever you have a minute to sit down. Or lie down. Or slowly recline as you try to stealthily unlatch your baby from your boob. Things like, “You chose a name for your baby! Some people like it; others don’t. Who cares?” and “Doctor visits. Oh man, who wants to take their child somewhere they are going to hate? But, you did it!”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t hesitate to congratulate my kids on small achievements. Any parent with a bowl of Skittles on their bathroom counter knows what I mean. Everything is relative. When life is particularly hard, it’s particularly important to recognize incremental progress. New parenthood is bloody hard — parents should congratulate each other more on the small stuff, really. Even if it’s kind of an ironic congrats.

This book is wonderfully inclusive. However your parenting journey began (planned? Not planned?), and however it’s going (partnered? Single?), you’ll quickly find something that resonates. The second-person anecdotes are very real, and very relatable: “Dentist A said to give your toddler the control and let her brush her own teeth. Dentist B said until your kid is 8 years old, it’s your job to make sure every tooth is brushed each night. Your neighbour said to have them rinse with witch hazel Who’s right? Who knows? (J/K, we know it’s not the neighbour.)” The whole tone manages to capture a certain universal frustration, yet lift the reader out of it: let’s just stand back and look at how ridiculous things are for a minute, eh?

Pick up this book as a pick-me-up for yourself, or as a gift for the sardonic expectant momma in your life (you know, the one who isn’t going to be one of THOSE moms). It takes a village to raise a child, and we all take turns being the village idiot.

Alanna Schiffer

Alanna Schiffer

Alanna Schiffer runs the exceedingly popular PLN Facebook group. She is also a writer who lives in Toronto with her husband and three kids, Android, Panda and Emily. She enjoys sushi and unicorns.