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How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  981 ratings  ·  148 reviews
An encouraging guide to helping parents find more happiness in their day-to-day family life, from the former lead editor of the New York Times Motherlode blog.

In all the writing and reporting KJ Dell'Antonia has done on families over the years, one topic keeps coming up again and again: parents crave a greater sense of happiness in their dai
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Avery
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  981 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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K.J. Dell'Antonia
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Read it? Heck, I wrote it! I can practically recite it. I still like it, though. Sometimes when I re-read bits to bone up for interviews, I still go, yeah, I really need to try that/do better with that. (It's not a memoir, it's got a ton of research and advice from parents who've BTDT). Especially on chores. We're getting better.
Sarina Bowen
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just excellent! This book makes an excellent case for affixing your own oxygen mask before assisting others. In this world where parenting has become a verb, it's easy to lose yourself. And this book wants you to find yourself again. :) It's terrific.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an affirming and pragmatic book, laced with humor and concrete tips. It's divided into topical chapters, each one focused on a particular area that tends to make parents crazy (morning routines, mealtimes, screentime, bedtime, etc.). Unlike most parenting advice books, this one repeats the refrain You do you, which is really satisfying. So many self-help books, particularly about child-rearing, act as though it is life and death whether you follow their exact prescriptions, and this one ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
I've been eagerly anticipating this book for months and was not disappointed - one of the better parenting guides I've read in the past 7-8 years.

Dell'Antonia's big message here is "You do you - just be conscious of the 'you' you're choosing." She walks us through the major pitfalls of parenting, from homework struggles to family vacations to dinner table battles, by providing an overview of available research, anecdotes and suggestions from real parents, and her own experiences. Instead of prea
Jun 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Such a waste of a premise. This book offered no real solutions as the author's main mode of fixing thing were to just throw money at the problems. Mornings too busy for you? Hire a morning maid! House a mess? Hire a cleaning service! Is life just too hard to juggle between home and work? Stop working! It does wonders for adding free time to your life.

I think her main audience is herself. Wealthy stay-at-home moms with lots of kids. If you are that mom, then this is the book for you.
Kaytee Cobb
I think my favorite two things about this book are:
1) the mantras. When I finished I immediately went to her website to see if she has a printable resource. (She does!)
2) the fact that I can probably declutter 5 other parenting books because the wisdom found herein distills what I've learned about siblings, discipline, mealtime, school, bedtime, mornings, etc so well that I don't need a deep dive into all the rest. Thanks to KonMari, I'm all about the thanking books for their service and letting
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Back when KJ Dell’Antonia ran the Motherlode blog for the New York Times, I used to want her to be my best friend. Now I want her to move into my house and coach me through every day. This is a great book for parents of early elementary-age kids. Tons of great suggestions for habits and patterns of behavior that are probably easier to establish in the years once kids can reason but before their attitudes harden into constant striving for independence. Many of these changes will make for better i ...more
Cameron Vandenberg
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading/listening to this book. There are a few saying and pieces of advice I have never heard before. My favorite are: there are many paths to happiness, everyone gets a chance to be grumpy, and remember that even the biggest mistakes are not the end of the world. Also, make sure to get enough sleep :-)
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I mean, what do I know? It seemed helpful in theory. I'll suppose I'll have to reassess in 10-15 years.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderful collection of research based advice for family life!
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Meh. I read a great review of this book so I thought I would check it out. But I should have known better because 1) I feel quite happy already as a parent! And 2) I don't like reading parenting books.

The best part of this book was the introduction where the author listed some of her basic philosophies regarding parenting, such as You Do You and Revel in the Good. Those were very reaffirming and comforting!

The rest of the book was divided into bigger chapters (screens, meals, vacations, etc.)
Super click bait-y title, but this was so well done. Intentional, practical, and self-aware -- its voice was more inclusive and non-judgmental than often is found around this topic. Also? Hilarious, clever, and truthful. So many takeaways to the point that I am putting this on my very short to-buy list so as to have as a reference for the coming years and seasons of parenthood.
- "Who do you want this child of yours to grow up to
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a readable and fairly practical book about the everyday challenges of parenting. The author starts off with 10 parenting mantras (worth remembering!) and then focuses on 9 areas where parents typically feel most challenged. A few notes on points that I want to remember...

This Could be Fun (Intro)
“On the surface, we had everything we ever wanted, and below that surface, we had even more....There was nothing to complain about, but complain we did.” “We can start by changing the stories we
faith ann
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best parenting books I have read in a LONG time.

It’s not a “parenting philosophy” book but more of a “parenting practicality” book you know the nuts and bolts of how to get your kids to do chores and how to limit screen time and how to feel like you’re not loosing your mind - and I needed it SO BADLY. I have kids in a wide range of ages and I felt like her advice was best for school-aged children, there was less about the pre-school phase of life. And if you’re a parent to a newborn
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was exactly what it promised to be--helpful tips on parenting trouble-spots. She has wise and useful advice and I liked the low-key tenor of the book. I agree with her style of parenting as it's the only way to stay sane if you have jobs and multiple children.
Just decide and do it.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is filled with super practical advice and was a good read.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I heard an interview with the author on a podcast, and really liked her approach. Her Ten Mantras for Happier Parents are great, and her style and approach are super relatable and not judge-y at all. It was not "How to Be a *Better* Parent." It was all about enjoying the journey.
2.5 stars
It was ok, but I didn't really learn anything that I didn't already know.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like that it was written in the midst of parenting. Also "you do you" is the best advice ever.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice synthesis on research. The chapter on discipline was the best for me. Her "10 Mantras for Happier Parents" that she lays out at the beginning of the book were great for giving perspective.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book left me with a smile on my face. I love the practical advice, much of which I already knew to do, but implementing said advice is too often another story. Her overall approach resonated with me--keep focus on the big picture and don't get lost in the details. I love my family and consider myself a happy parent, but this book left me inspired to find ways to add even more happiness to our everyday life.

My one complaint was a brief section in the food and dinner chapter in which she talk
George Nash
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have been going though a lot of parenting books lately. Most of them have been focusing on babies. How to get them to sleep, what can you do to make them smart, etc.

Most of the books have covered really early parenting the first 6 to 8 months. Many of the books I listened to too late and had already made my choices.

This is one of the first books I have read before my child reached the point the book talks about.

This book is broke into nine sections with advice about how to handle situations. I
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Parenting books have become a sort of hobby, born partially out of curiosity, need for solidarity, and sheer fascination that they exist at all — and in such abundance. I read them as a parent, as well as with my researcher ears; in the former position, I am listening with the kind of eagerness for “answers” and camaraderie that a new teacher might read texts on teaching: what do I do? And has this happened to you?

I also read them as a person who has mostly spent time with adolescents and who h
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy from LibraryThing in exchange for a review.

I don't feel like an especially unhappy parent, just a tired one. When I saw this book giveaway, though, it made me wonder if there's anything I can do to enjoy parenting more. The book didn't captivate me enough to sit down and read it exclusively, but it was engaging and easy to get back into whenever I wanted to read another chunk. I wouldn't say that anything presented is especially novel or memorable, however
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction-adult
This offers some peace of mind and practical suggestions to today's harried, multitasking parents, as well as a thorough (and fairly extensive) bibliography which immediately filled up my parenting "to-read" list once I finished.

I liked it overall, but I would say that it did cross my mind that this may not be the most broadly applicable advice in all cases. For example, not every family is in a position to marshall multiple children through paid lessons and high (expense as well as time) inves
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I try to choose the follow-my-gut parenting philosophy so I don't read a ton of self-help in this topic but I heard KJ Dell'Antonia on the podcast, Longest Shortest Time, and I thought a lot of the things she said paralleled my thinking. Upon opening the book, the chapters pretty much called out all of my struggles: Discipline, Screens, Siblings, etc. Leading me to believe that my struggles aren't unique.

This book doesn't tell you how to fix your issues but she offers research, personal/friend a
Leslie Mariana
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't remember where I picked up the recommendation to read this book, but I do remember thinking that I needed it in my life.

At 29yo I find myself in an unexpected place that I honestly never crossed my mind, I am in a pseudo step mom role to my boyfriends 11yo son. My relationship with him is a great one, but my bf and I have picked up that recently, our 11yo is becoming more resistant to our requests to help, talks back more than ever before and more of the 'normal' behaviors as he cruises
Julianne Bancroft
KJ Dell'Antonia tackles all of the main areas that cause stress and unhappiness for parents: mornings, chores, sibling relationships, extra-curricular activities, homework, screen time, discipline, meals, and vacations. Unlike most books in this genre, hers does not provide a list of 10 things to do in each category that will magically make your life better and easier. Rather, she provides some general suggestions for parents to use in all circumstances, such as "you don't have to get it right e ...more
Ashley  Brooks
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-and-parents
This is one of the most realistic, practical, and hopeful parenting books I've ever come across. I loved so much about it: the "I've-been-there-too" tone, the suggestion that stepping back and *not* doing something is a totally valid parenting choice, the input from experts who are also parents. Dell'Antonia not only offers practical tips for getting through the scenarios parents encounter day after day, but she shares several approaches so readers can decide what will work best for their family ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, audio-reads
So many good snippets. From dealing with mornings, sports, homework, screens and discipline. This book takes a lot of the stresses of modern parenting and gives concrete ways to make them less stressful. At the same time she doesn’t claim to have all the answers and offers different solutions that may work for different families. One of the snippets that stuck out to us (reading it with Kev) was: when children were asked what their least favorite part of playing in a game or activity, the child ...more
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KJ Dell’Antonia is the author of the viral New York Times essay Why I Didn’t Answer Your Email, the former editor of the Times’ Motherlode blog and the author of the book How to Be a Happier Parent. Her debut novel, The Chicken Sisters, is a timely, humorous exploration of the same themes she focuses on in her journalism: the importance of finding joy in our families, the challenge of figuring out ...more

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