An unlikely guide to parenting

A geeky little tidbit about me: I have poured through way more than my fair share of parenting books. You name it, I’ve read it. Brazelton? Check. Sears? Him too. Happiest Baby? Yep. Toddler Whisperer? Of course. Zen parenting? Oh yeah. I’ve even read Dr. Spock’s 1945 version of Baby and Child Care, courtesy of my parents’ bookshelves.

I am a glutton for information. I found most of those parenting books helpful, if not fascinating. Truly, I eat this stuff up. I’m not the type of reader or parent who grabs hold of one philosophy and follows it like gospel. I prefer buffet-style, picking and choosing pearls that resonate with me. So for the past 7 years of parenting, I’ve enjoyed a really big buffet of books—Golden Corral big.

With that said, I must share my new favorite parenting book, which is actually not a parenting book at all. An American Family by Pam Spaulding is a photographic journey that follows a family for three decades and three generations.

It’s a simple, stunning collection. Spaulding captures so much honesty and beauty in the every day happenings of a Kentucky middle-class family. Each photo is familiar and exceptional all at once.

Every time I open the book I recall my favorite parenting mantra: “The days are long, but the years are short.” And every time I turns its pages I am inspired….To be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister. To take a breath. To let some things slide. To smile at my kids more. To kiss my husband in front of the kids. To worry less about the future. To stop saving money for new furniture and to spend it on a family vacation instead. To laugh more. To dance every single day. The list goes on and on...because I promise, this book is that powerful.

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