“Parenting Wild Things” by Jessica Bowman Book Review…

The {UpLIFTing Gourmet} Presents…

When I first saw the title of this book, I immediately decided it was a must read for me.  You see, my husband and I parent an intelligent, cute as a button, energetic, life loving “wild thing”.  In addition, he’s lovable, loving and likeable.  Our “wild thing” is the light of our life.

When I began reading Jessica’s book, I was soon drawn by how her honest and truthful accounts resonated with me.  I giggled to myself, shook my head in total agreement and was stopped mid-sentence by chapter two’s title:

Children are aliens, not criminals

Alien, what?


When our children enter this word, they’re new and everything is new to them.  Our responsibility as parents, is to teach out little aliens how to live in their new world.  I love how Jessica explains it:

“Young children are literally new to this planet. They don’t know the rules or the language or the social etiquette. They want to. They like to learn and be included in what everyone else already knows, but it’s hard. It’s hard to be a little alien. They’re not acclimated to our big person atmosphere yet so they get tired easily. Just living is exhausting because every chair is above their chest, every step is above their knee, and every counter is above their head. Every word spoken, and object touched, and interaction tried is exploratory; a grand experiment (and, judging by the reactions of all the grownups, one they seem to be consistently failing).”  Bowman, Jessica (2011-07-27). Parenting Wild Things (Kindle Locations 139-143). BookBaby. Kindle Edition.

After reading her thought, I thought back.  How many times did we “assume” Alex knew what to do when what we asked was completely foreign to him.  Something as simple as “Alex, take out the trash” needed a teaching moment.  I was beyond excited to share this insight, my light bulb moment with my husband.  Jessica’s word has helped changed HOW we instruct our little man.

Something else which spoke into my heart specifically was the amount of time, real-time, spent with Alex.  I love the real life reminder Jessica shared about her own experience parenting:

“More often than not all that our children need or want from us is our attention…I have wanted to bend them to my selfish will so that I wouldn’t be inconvenienced. I want them to go to their room, or go outside, or just go away so that I can get things done. I want them to be quiet during a movie so that I can watch it uninterrupted. I want them to pour their own drink so that I do not have to get up from where I sit to help them. I want them to show me what they’re so excited about later so that I don’t have to stop my train of thought right now. My motivations are always selfish. Always.”  Bowman, Jessica (2011-07-27). Parenting Wild Things (Kindle Locations 245-251). BookBaby. Kindle Edition.

Wow, cut right into my heart!  It embarrasses me to think back on how many times I let my selfish wants and desires trump time with my little man.  I’m so thankful God uses the words and lives of sisters to speak directly into us, into me.

Although there are MANY wonderful thoughts shared by Jessica, I’ll leave one more with you.  She asks her readers, “Why is it so hard to say yes to our children?” Bowman, Jessica (2011-07-27). Parenting Wild Things (Kindle Location 388). BookBaby. Kindle Edition.

If I’m being honest, it’s easier to say “no”.  By saying “yes”, an action is expected.  So, when I’m in a selfish state of mind, the last think I want to do is say “yes”.  Additionally, saying “no”, especially without taking time to think about what is asked, has the potential to squelch their creativity and excitement.  Again, something I don’t want to do.

I gladly recommend this book and give it a 5/5 stars.

You can buy the book here: Parenting Wild Things

Meet Jessica:

Hi, I’m Jessica – the Matriarch of this here tribe.  I married, and bore my first Wild Thing at the ripe old age of 17.  Since then we’ve had a few more Wild Things, and a few more Anniversaries (3 and 11, to be exact).  I have almost exclusively attended the University of Motherhood with a major in Procrastination.  I’m hoping to continue in this field with a Masters in Baby-Weight loss.  We’ve been a fairly nomadic family, what with Husband serving 8 years in the Air Force and all – We have called Georgia, Arizona, Germany, California, and Maryland home.  And we’re hoping to keep the nomadic lifestyle up with an eventual move to south Asia.

Jessica blogs here ~  Bohemian Bowmans



I adore Parenting Wild Things for the same reasons that I adore Bohemian Bowmans. Jessica has a way with words that simultaneously entertains, teaches, and convicts my heart. Her sage parenting advice is logical and sensible and entirely thought-provoking.  Parenting Wild Things is the stuff of good parenting. It’s the stuff of humanity, of love, and of gentle teaching. It’s the kind of parent I wanted to be before I got angry and tired. It’s about being a positive, productive role model and raising positive, productive human beings. It’s brilliant.

Tara Zeigmont, Feels Like Home

In Parenting Wild Things, Jessica combines her raw, honest, and at times self-deprecating humor into a beautiful little tome based on her own journey to more mindful, gentle, and grace-filled parenting. It gives real and practical advice that anyone can start implementing right now… not in a preachy way, but in a girlfriends sitting around chatting over a cup of coffee way. It’s a must-read for any parent, particularly those who are wanting to move from a traditional, authoritarian mindset to one of partnership and mutual respect.

-Jennifer McGrail, The Path Less Taken

“Like me, you may be wondering if you really need another parenting book on your must-read list.  Most of us parents know what we’re supposed to be doing, right?  Exactly.  So why does all the “knowing and doing” fly out the window in the heat of those hard-to-admit-how-often “moments”?  This book sweetly beckons to you, helps you feel like you’re sitting across from a mom you can really commiserate with, then it unfolds one powerful perspective after another like no other parenting book I’ve ever read. Written with raw and refreshing transparency, Parenting Wild Things helps parents bridge the gap between the knowing and the doing by offering a fresh and crucial perspective on what it’s like to be on the receiving end of parenting’s most common mistakes. ”

– J.D. Richardson, CompassionCan

“Jessica is an imperfect mother raising imperfect children in an imperfect world. The fact that she knows  this sets her apart from many of the experts who give advice better suited for parents living in an alternate reality where pee always lands on the inside of the toilet and kids spring forth from the womb with impeccable manners. With candor and grace, Jessica reveals some lessons she has learned while raising her Wild things that will surely be helpful to you, too.”

-Matt Cannon, Seeking Pastor

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