When I became a mother, seriously when we left that hospital in Okinawa, Japan and drove to our little apartment on the 8th story – I was not prepared for the pressure and overwhelm I would feel.
Here in my arms lay this adorable, perfect, malleable child. Her whole world would be shaped day by day, her mindset and outlook like clay just waiting to be transformed. In that first month or so of parenthood it became clear to me that this pressure I felt – the deep inherent desire to build my daughter up into the best version of herself wasn’t going away.
Throughout the first year of my daughter’s life I began to understand a few things:
- Guiding her (and hopefully my future children) would be one of my greatest purposes in this life.
- Leading by example, teaching through stories, and discovering life together were the only ways I wanted to parent.
- If my husband and I tried to teach our daughter empty handed, we would come up short.
Did I mention we lived in Japan? I was reluctantly a stay at home mom during that time (my background is in engineering & programming and I couldn’t find a job that made sense there and I hadn’t yet started my tech consulting company).
Although I knew it was not the role I wanted forever, I did as I do with all things and threw myself into the SAHM life. Thus, we frequented the library – at least 4-5 times per week. It was right on base, a good 20 minute walk in the stroller…fresh air, books, toys for the baby, what’s not to love?
In August of 2016 I started this blog, Addison Reads, as a bit of an experiment. I wanted to categorize the books I read to AJ because I realized that children’s books would be our ultimate resource and help on our parenting journey. When we would go to the library I wasn’t just looking for any books – I was super particular.
My husband and I imagined how we wanted to shape our perfect, pure daughter in those early weeks of her life…so I found children’s books that spoke to those ideals. Things like: kindness, empathy, love for your family, respect, and honesty. I also realized if I didn’t enjoy the books myself I wouldn’t be fully present when we read, so I found books that related to topics I liked: computers, engineering, geography (I’m terrible at it, so we learned together).
And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
We parent using literature as the stepping stone. We have an idea of what’s most important to us – we find books that relate to it – then we teach our daughter and learn as a family.
My biggest hope, is that by reading my story, by spending time on my blog, and in reading books with your kids that truly matter…you too get to reap benefits of peace and presence.
Peace, because I know that I’m giving it my all to build my daughter up.
Presence, because we as a family pro-actively engage with one another to connect on a deeper level, to explore within ourselves, and to pay attention while we do it.
Just remember this – it’s not all about the books (believe it or not). It’s about letting the books help you be a better, more impactful parent. I’m not here to teach about early literacy – I’m here to give actionable tips for finding books with meaning and using those books to create powerful, long lasting memories and teachable moments with your children.
My Favorite Blog Posts
- Five Clues You’ve Found a GREAT Children’s Book
- Why You Need to Fiercely Guard Your Children’s Bookshelf
- Setting & Achieving a Family Reading Goal
Resources to Build Your Intentional Bookshelf
- Quick-Start Guide to Building an Intentional Bookshelf
- My book, The Intentional Bookshelf
- The 7 day #ReclaimYourBookshelf Challenge
- The Intentional Book Club
5 Facts About Me:
- I absolutely love coffee. I actually have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to it.
- I have a background in engineering and computer science – need help with your website? That’s something I do!
- My hubby is in the military which makes me a military spouse. We move around a lot and I enjoy every minute of it.
- I never thought I wanted more than one child but now I’m reconsidering because Addison brings my life so much joy.
- Oh, and I’m sarcastic. So get used to it. If you’re a love of sarcasm and humor, welcome!