The How I am Rocking Motherhood challenge has been taking over blogs around the internet lately. It is awesome to see all of these bloggers whom I admire giving themselves credit for the awesome job that they are doing as moms! I was nominated by Elizabeth Brico from the great blog Betty’s Battleground. On her blog, she shares her journey of parenting with PTSD, and she decided to put her own spin on the challenge by listing the ways that her PTSD helps her to rock motherhood. I decided to take her spin as inspiration and came up with the 10 ways that I am rocking motherhood as a bookworm raising a bookworm!
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1. Surrounding her with diverse books
It is one of my goals as a mother to raise a strong daughter who is kind and loving to all people and all living creatures. To help me reach this goal, I plan to surround her with a wide variety of books featuring diverse characters, settings and situations. Girls can often be characterized in stories as the “damsel in distress”. I aim to help my daughter see that girls can be anything and do anything. I compiled a list of Great Books for Strong Girls recently as a starting point.
In addition to recognizing that she can do anything regardless of her gender, I also want her be accepting of people regardless of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs or their country of origin. In a country divided right now, I think this is even more important. I can’t change the mind of the country, but I can shape the mind of my daughter.
2. Providing her with opportunities to expand her knowledge
I have fond memories of reading anything and everything when I was younger. My parents took my sister and I to the library and the bookstore more often than I can count. I realized very early on in life that books held answers to all kinds of questions. My hope is to instill a love of learning in my daughter as well. I plan to surround her with reading materials so she can learn about anything she wants. Right now, she likes to ride the rocking horse at the library, and look at the pictures in all of the books. When she is older, I will show her how to look up the information she wants and find the answers she needs.
3. Teaching her to respect books
This is one we are still working on. My daughter loves to be read to, and she loves looking at books. However, we are still working on things like not standing on books, and being gentle with the pages. I know she is young still and that this is normal. For now, I gently remind her how books should be treated. When a book gets ripped, I show her how I fix it, so she knows that books are meant to last.
4. Giving her one on one time
I love that our daily and nightly read aloud time gives us an opportunity to just sit together and talk. When the chaos of the day slows down, it’s so nice to have some quiet time together to just focus on the book in front of us. I ask her questions and she points things out on the page to me. I have very fond memories of my own read aloud time with my parents growing up, and I hope she remembers these quiet times fondly as well.
5. Asking her questions
I love that even now that she is a toddler, I can ask her questions about the books we are reading and help her to make connections to her own life. She is able to point out familiar objects in her favorite stories that she knows from her own life. I like the talks we have while reading, and I hope we will be able to continue having them as she gets older. I plan to share books with her that will allow us to have meaningful conversations about her life and her dreams, and so much more.
6. Introducing her to art and illustrations
She loves to look at the illustrations in her favorite books. I like pointing things out to her and having her show me things as well. She is already familiar with some famous pieces of art from her love of Disney’s Little Einsteins. (Seriously, what 1 year old can recognize Edvard Munch?). I love that as she grows, I will be able to introduce her to different styles of art and different mediums used by the illustrators in her books.
7. Giving her characters to look up to
Along with my earlier point about surrounding her with diverse books, I also plan to fill her library with great characters she can look up to. I love that there are such strong characters in children’s literature. Characters can help us to learn about ourselves, and teach us how we want to behave or what we want to be. My daughter is interested in how things work, so I will add books to her collection about inventors and engineers, like Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty. If she gets into an art phase, I will add books about artists. When she starts school and has to deal with new social situations, I will add books about brave little kids in the same situations. I hope that she will be inspired by some of these characters and go after what she wants.
8. Teaching her through literature
I also use literature to teach my daughter. Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama Red Pajama is one of her favorite stories. This story of an impatient little llama has helped me to teach my daughter a few important lessons. The little llama in the story learns from his Mama that sometimes she is busy, and he has to be patient. As any parent of a toddler knows, this is an important lesson! We also read this story a lot when my daughter was waking up at night and wanting me to stay in her room while she slept. The end of the story helped me to reiterate to my daughter that while I cannot always be right there, I am always nearby. There are so many amazing stories out there with lessons that I want my daughter to learn, so I will continue adding to our collection.
9. Sharing my love for her through literature
There are so many amazing children’s books available to help parents share their feelings of love with their children. Beyond saying I love you, there are books that talk about what parents want for their children, how they will love them no matter what, and more. I recently shared a list of these books around Valentine’s Day. Nancy Tillman’s books are especially fantastic at putting these emotions into words. I tear up whenever I read them to my daughter, and I will keep reading them because I want her to know just how much I love her.
10. Building a lifelong passion
I am beyond thrilled that my daughter already shows such a passion for reading. She has books in almost every room of the house, and more often than not, that is what she chooses to play with. She brings me books and sits on my lap, or she tells me to lay down and she “reads” to me for a change. Nothing makes me happier than when she pulls herself up on to a chair and opens a book to read to me. I have always been an avid reader, so I am very excited to be sharing that passion with my daughter!
I am rocking motherhood by giving my daughter a love of reading which can help her mentally, emotionally and spiritually as she grows up. By recognizing the power of books, she will know how to find answers to her questions. She will be able to escape into another world when this one becomes too hectic. She will meet new characters who she can connect with and look up to. Most importantly, she will learn about the world and the type of person she wants to be. I hope that by raising a bookworm, I will provide her with a great foundation for her life, and that she will have fond and happy memories of reading with me!