Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet B. Schor
Eye-opening. Truly. I never realized how deeply marketed every facet of children's lives are today until reading this book. It has definitely made me want to be even more intentional about monitoring O's exposure to television, the internet, processed foods, branding, etc. It helps that we don't have a TV, but that doesn't mean I can't still spend plenty of time watching stuff on the internet. Right now, since O is still a very young baby, I think what I'm taking away from reading this book is to monitor my own consumption of these things, because the habits that Andy and I make will ultimately determine the environment that our kids grow up in.
Despite the fact that I'm usually not that into books about the new perfect way to parent your child, the concept of this one intrigued me, so I thought I'd at least skim it. I was fascinated. It's less of a parenting manual and more of a collection of articles on the latest research on child development. My big take-aways were to compliment my kids for their hard work rather than their intelligence and to make sure our kids see our conflicts resolved. I also learned some interesting things about the importance of sleep, the effect of early friendships on sibling dynamics, and when to talk to your kids about race. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the book just presented the information and let you draw your own conclusions about how your parenting might be affected. It was definitely an educational read if nothing else.
Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes
The one word I would use to describe this book is inspiring. Shannon Hayes has suddenly gotten me beyond excited to try tons of things I've never done before: canning, gardening, soap making, etc. etc. etc! Though, I'll admit, I was probably pretty ripe for the picking beforehand. Another thing I loved about this book is how it reminded me that my choice to be a stay-at-home mom is less 50's housewife and more 60's activist. It also helped me to see more clearly how this thing called motherhood can be a real career choice for me, filled with legit professional development opportunities. It also encouraged me to see our home not as place to be kept pretty and clean, but as a living organism whose primary duty is to nurture and create.