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Six Life-Saving Books for First-Time Parents

Sometimes, I just let my children fall asleep in front of the TV.

That's only one of Jill Smokler's wry disclosures in her book, Confessions of a Scary Mommy. While the joys of parenting certainly outweigh the frustrations, it's still nice to have someone validate the inevitable what-the-fuck-am-I-doing feelings that crop up every so often. 

Some things do come naturally, but at the end of the day you're only human, and it's okay to crave some much-needed relief from the tears (yours and the baby's), stained shirts, and non-stop energy.

Here are six books that totally relate.

Confessions of a Scary Mommy

In a culture that idealizes motherhood, it’s scary to confess that, in your house, being a mother is beautiful and dirty and joyful and frustrating all at once. Admitting that it’s not easy doesn’t make you a bad mom; at least, it shouldn’t. Based on the hugely popular website, ScaryMommy.com, Confessions of a Scary Mommy digs deep into the underbelly of parenting and tackles the issues many mothers are too afraid to expose.

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Great with Child

Beth Ann Fennelly, writing to a newly pregnant friend, goes beyond the nuts and bolts or sentimentality of other parenting literature, in letters that range in tone from serious to sisterly, from lighthearted to downright funny. Some answer specific questions, others muse about the identity shift a woman encounters when she enters Mommyland. This book invites all mothers to join the grand circle of giving and receiving advice about children.

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Sh*tty Mom

Sh*tty Mom is the ultimate parenting guide, written by four moms who have seen it all. As hilarious as it is universal, each chapter presents a common parenting scenario with advice on how to get through it in the easiest and most efficient way possible. With chapters such as "How to Sleep Until 9 A.M. Every Weekend" and "When Seeing an Infant Triggers a Mental Illness That Makes You Want to Have Another Baby," as well as a Sh*tty Mom quiz, this is a must-have, laugh-out-loud funny book for the sh*tty parent in all of us.

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Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (Now with Bebe Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting)

With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman – a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal – sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don't just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.

While finding her own firm non, Druckerman discovers that children-including her own-are capable of feats she'd never imagined.

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Smart Parenting for Smart Kids

It takes more than school smarts to create a fulfilling life. This practical and compassionate book explains the reasons behind these struggles and offers parents do-able strategies to help children cope with feelings, embrace learning, and build satisfying relationships. Drawing from research as well as the authors’ clinical experience, it focuses on the essential skills children need to make the most of their abilities and become capable, confident, and caring people.

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No Regrets Parenting

No Regrets Parenting teaches parents how to experience the joy and depth of the parenting experience amidst the chaos and choreography of daily routines. Car pool, bath time, soccer practice, homework, dinner hour, and sleepovers all become more than just obligations and hurdles to overcome to get through the day. They are opportunities for intimate and meaningful time – quality time – with young kids. It's not how much time you have with your kids, but how you spend that time that matters in the life and legacy of a young family.

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Dancer, prancer, comet, and sometimes vixen. When she's not writing, Pranay can be found wandering art museums and forests, or scavenging local cafes for freshly baked goods.

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