4 Books to Read Before the Snow Thaws

. January 31, 2016.

This really should have been a top 10 list but who are we kidding? No way am I going to get you to read 10 books.

I used to read all the time but since I had kids I (well, you know the drill, choose your own excuse and put it here). However, we tell our kids to read all the time. We stress the importance of books. Teachers want them to read at least 20 minutes a night. Here’s the problem; remember that fantasmic (yes, I made up my own word there) anti-drug commercial? “I learned it from watching you dad!”  We know it’s good for them but how can we ask them to seriously have a love of reading if they see us staring at a screen all the time (come on, you know you are).

So in order to give you some awesome books, here is what I really wanted to title this article: “Top 5 Books For Mom that are Better than Watching Netflix in your Elastic Waistband Pants while Drinking a Glass (aka a bottle) of Sauvignon Blanc”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up 

by Marie Kondo

What it’s about: Home and life organizing.   I’m not saying my whole house now looks like The Container Store but the tips in this book were overall easy to implement and really motivating. The best part is the way she recommends folding has allowed less of the “mom! Where is my (fill in the blank)?!” and more “forget it! I found it myself.”  Now if that’s not worth ten dollars, I don’t know what is.

Why you should read it: It’s a quick read, it fits in your purse and it’s fun to imagine this adorable tiny woman folding undergarments in cute little rolled balls. 

Find the Good 

by Heather Lende

What it’s about:  So get this, I’m not going to tell you what it’s about. I ‘m going to tell you how I found out about it. I was at Nicola’s Bookstore and I was overhearing a customer telling the cashier about a book that brought her so much joy that she had to stop after every chapter and just smile and think about it. Okay, that’s not what got me to buy it; she mentioned that it was a book about life lessons written by an obituary writer in a small town in Alaska.  That sounded super interesting and that’s why I bought it.

Why you should read it: This is going to get a bit repetitive here. It’s a fast read, and again, it fits in your purse so it’s great while sitting at soccer practice or in the pick up line.  It’s also, as that smart customer said, a book that really does make you smile and think after every chapter.

A Mother’s Manual for Self Care 

by Michelle Schrag

What it’s about:  This is a fabulous little handbook for parents written by a local Ann Arbor mom. You can just feel her Zen-like quality when you read this book. I need that. I’m the type of person that gets totally miffed when the Trader Joes clerk talks to me too long at check out (Dude, just put my Joes in the bag and let me get on my way). This book addresses feelings and life moments like self-deprecation, guilt, helplessness, worry and people pleasing. The author does so in a very raw and organic way. She also has self affirmations at the end of every chapter which aren’t my bag but maybe they’re yours. 

Why you should read it:  There are some really helpful tips for parents especially ones like me that tend to lose their cool at times.  My dad would also call this a “bathroom book” meaning each chapter stands on its own and you can read it intermittently.  You can go back to reference chapters, which I have repeatedly. 

The Matheny Manifesto

A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life 
by Mike Matheny

What it’s about:  For those of you non-sporty folks with a sporty kid, this is the book for you. Mike Matheny is the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals (I had to look that up on Wikipedia, that’s how non-sporty I am). He wrote this book not about managing major leaguers but about coaching his son’s little league team. The lessons are great for both on and off the field. A little nugget that I loved is how he asked all the kid players to look the ref in the eye, say “thank you” and shake his hand after every single game. That’s a great skill.  

Why you should read it: I loved this book. I loved it so much that I don’t know why I didn’t put it first on this list. I now buy it as a gift for any coach that is kind enough to spend time with my 7-year-old son and his cohorts. I also give the coaches a bottle of wine and earplugs.  

Come on, we knew from the very beginning that you’re not going to read 5 books. Happy reading! Make sure you set an example, and read in front of your kids.

Andrea Rich is the Executive Director of A2 Therapy Works, a private pediatric center in Ann Arbor offering speech, occupational, physical therapy and tutoring services.
A2 Therapy offers reading groups for kids that are struggling with reading or just haven’t found the love of reading yet.
Find out more at a2therapyworks.com