Parenting books that won’t make you feel like a failure

mother snuggles up to her baby in bed

When someone becomes a new parent, they are often overwhelmed with advice from family, friends and strangers in grocery store check-out lanes. Since giving birth three years ago, my own parenting style has faced many questions and earnest concerns. My grandmother still does not understand why my female child loves cars. Former coworkers looked on in horror when I talked about having to move to a "cry-it-out" method for bedtime. Yet, somehow, I have a super healthy and happy kiddo who sleeps through the night, loves books and says please and thank you. I call that a win.

Throughout that first year of being a mom, many of the parenting books I brought home left me feeling like a failure – here were all of these authors who I felt had personally set out to tell me that I was doing it wrong. But what I quickly learned is that there is no one way to parent. When you are crying over spilled breastmilk, struggling through snot or waking up at 2 am because a stuffed friend fell out of the crib, you simply do not need someone bringing you down. You need a laugh. You need some glorious praise. You need some practical advice that you can use.

So, I set out to find those gems in the parenting section that will make you laugh or at least leave you feeling that you are not alone.

Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

Wilder-Taylor will make you laugh while also covering topics like attachment parenting, sharing responsibilities with your partner, and making grown-up friends. Laugh out loud at her honesty and be reminded that your instincts are usually sound.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson

If your child has ever thrown a tantrum, debated over broccoli or refused to put on pants, then here is a book for you. This more traditional parenting book will provide you with a game plan to lead you toward a much more chill vibe in your home.

Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right by Jamie Glowacki

While this book gets into the nitty-gritty of a six-step potty training process, the Pied Piper of Poop Jamie Glowacki is down-to-earth and reassuring. When it comes to potty training, appreciate that not every child gets it right away and look for what fits with your parenting style.

Toddlers are A**holes: It’s Not Your Fault by Bunmi Laditan

Sometimes you just need a laugh – thank goodness for this satirical take on what it means to share your home with a toddler. The humor that Laditan uses to address the struggles of early mornings, snack demands and daycare costs will make you feel seen.

Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by James Breakwell

James Breakwell – on Twitter at @XplodingUnicorn – shares a survival guide that has everything you need to survive a zombie apocalypse with your children, including how to tell a baby that the world is ending. Breakwell will likely induce giggle snorts, but also leave you prepared for a possible Walking Dead situation.

What parenting books are on your nightstand? Are they full of groundbreaking science like Po Bronson's NurtureShock or hipster manbuns like Susan Allan's Baby's First Hashtag? I truly hope you have a little of both.