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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mama Bear Moxie: Top five parenting books to read in 2019

By Kristina Phelan For The Spokesman-Review

I have read many parenting books over the years and found that most of them can be quite helpful. They aren’t always the most exciting read, but they try their best with a mix of humor in with the daily struggle of parenting. I wanted to share my recommendations for this year:

‘In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms’

By Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Schlessinger hits the nail on the head when it comes to working inside the home and raising kids. It helped me identify my role as a stay-at-home mom. It also sheds light on how our culture views and values stay-at-home moms, which was hugely beneficial for me. The best part about this book is that it cheers on those mamas who are putting in the unrecognized time and effort and home.

‘The Connected Child’

By Dr. Karyn B. Purvis, Dr. David Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

This was recommended to me as part of our adoption journey. It won’t be applicable to some households, but it was gravely relatable in my family. “The Connected Child” focuses on how trauma and neglect can affect adopted children both in the current day and for the rest of their lives. It spells out certain behaviors and helps adoptive parents understand how to dissect that behaviors highlight underlying issues.

‘Girl, Wash Your Face’

By Rachel Hollis

“Girl, Wash Your Face” is a real-life mantra to this thing called motherhood. Rachel Hollis shares funny stories and a level of openness that is hard to miss. She uses her experiences as a mom, wife and woman to encourage others in the same life situations. I marked up this book with all of the good one-liners and tidbits about how to improve. It’s an easy read too.

‘The Five Love Languages’

By Dr. Gary Chapman

There have been so many times I come back to this classic. “The Five Love Languages” should be read by everyone, not just parents. You’ll learn about the five different ways that people show love and receive love, and the mixes that make you unique. This has been so important when raising children as three all have very different love languages. The classifications helped me realize my children need and require different things in order to perceive love.

‘Strong Mothers, Strong Sons’

By Dr. Meg Meeker

If you want to learn more about the inside mind of your son, this book is just right for you. I grew up in a household of girls, so finding out my first child was a boy was kind of a shock. I worried about not being able to relate to my son and raising a boy. “Strong Mothers, Strong Sons” gives an inside view to the mind of a boy, and how boys are very different from girls. It helped me understand my sons’ behavior and helped me better connect with my boys. There is also a companion book, “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters,” for those men raising girls.

Four out of five books are written by doctors and for good reason! These professionals have done the research, have the education and offer good ideas. Now, I don’t agree with every single word they wrote, but it is good to learn about certain subjects from experts in the field. I challenge my readers to pick at least one of these books to read this year and let me know what you think!

Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. Visit her website at

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