Bookworm: Sometimes mother can use some help

For years now, your mother has perfected the art of unrequested advice.


It started when she told you not to bring your favorite toy to show-and-tell because you’d lose it – and she was right. You spent your childhood hearing that you “need a sweater,” and she was usually right. And that boy you dated in high school? The one she hated?

We won’t go there.

Now you have children of your own and mom is still at it. Though the advice you get from her might be unrequested, it’s surely not unwelcome. So why not give mom a little dose of her own medicine, in the form of two great new books?

If it’s been awhile since she’s been around little ones – or if you’re a new mother yourself – then How to Rock Your Baby by Erin Bried is a book you’ll want to tuck in the diaper bag.

This small but extremely helpful book starts out at the beginning, even before the baby is born. How do you deal with morning sickness? What, exactly, should you eat “for two?” What do you do about mood swings (and how can people around you help)? How do you know it’s really labor, and how do you make sure you get to the hospital in one piece?

Once the baby is here, you’ll want to know how to calm a crier; take a temperature; make toys, baby food and burp cloths; how to find time to get some sleep; and how to do the other important things that mothers have been advising one another about for generations.

I liked How to Rock Your Baby because I think it’s great for new moms and for grandmas who want a brush-up. Bried also made this a nice reference book for baby sitters and honorary aunties.

Every mother knows that stuff happens – and it usually happens when you don’t have time to deal with it. For that, you’ll want to have Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford on hand.

Survival Mom is another one of those books that you can use as reference, but this one is for fixing minor annoyances in addition to dealing with disasters you hope you never have.

Beginning with water (how basic can you get?) and moving to emergency shelter, food security and gardening, finances, medical crises, power outages, firearms, major disasters and worse, this book takes things step-by-step. It’s easy to read, contains lots of sidebars and quick-takes, and Bedford also includes stories from mothers who’ve lived through disasters of all kinds. In reading this book, I was astounded at what I didn’t know.

How to Rock Your Baby and Survival Mom both make great gifts.

And that is good advice.