They always say that there’s no handbook for parenting, and while it’s true that you’ll never fully be prepared until you become a parent yourself, there are still tons of resources and books out there to help you find your way. In this article, we’ve compiled our must-read reading list for moms. So, whether you’re a mom or mommy-to-be, our recommended reading list is here to help you be more confident along your motherhood journey, develop a sense of peace knowing that you’re not alone, and share a little insight about what to expect while (and after) you’re expecting.
Amanda Johnson, Founder of True to Intention recommends Dr. Wayne W. Dyers’s What Do You Really Want for Your Children? Johnson says that the book “helps new moms determined to raise emotionally healthier and happier children by gently challenging the cultural/familial assumptions and beliefs that often undermine our best intentions as parents. Not only are we encouraged to identify what we really want for our child, but we're also guided to reflect on how our conditioned expectations, words, and behaviors might actually promote the exact opposite outcomes. (Yikes!) Finally, and most importantly, Dr. Dyer offers a new lens through which we can see the incredible beings we have the opportunity to nurture into adulthood and provides suggestions for doing our most important job in truly empowering ways.”
While the book is great for any parent to read at any point along their journey, Amanda notes that this is the perfect pre-birth read as it can help you align your words, expectations, and actions so that your intentions can align with your outward expression before bringing your little one into the world.
Next on the list is A Little Less of A Hot Mess: the Modern Mom’s Guide to Growth and Evolution. Written by licensed therapist Kaitlin Soule, this witty and heart-first book provides a step-by-step guide for women to heal as they embrace their motherhood journeys, and embrace the fact that they aren’t just mothers but are also world leaders, teachers, nurturers, creators, and providers. In her practical guide to growth, Soule gives you a step-by-step guide to embodying your role as a mother while also engaging in intentional evolution as an individual.
Erica Dickerson and Jamila “Mila” Mapp are hosts of the podcast Good Moms Bad Choices, and are also authors of their recently-released debut book, A Good Mom’s Guide to Making Bad Choices. In the book, best friends Erica and Milah take us through their own journeys as single mothers of color raising children, being in (and falling out of) relationships, making mom friends, and, ultimately, finding themselves as they learned to redefine motherhood on their own terms. Part memoir, part guide, and part manifesto, the duo offers insight and tools that you can use to recognize your past traumas, find a way of healing, and break free from unrealistic expectations of what it means to be a good parent. Uncensored, unapologetic, empathetic, and no-holds-barred, A Good Mom’s Guide to Making Bad Choices takes an unconventional approach to motherhood. This is a fun read for moms who are defining their own path without concern for the status quo.
Brené Brown’s Atlas of the Heart defines eighty-seven (87) human emotions and how they impact your ability to show up and facilitate meaningful relationships. While this book isn’t specific to parenthood, it offers great practical advice for understanding the inner workings of your emotions and was recommended by Chrissy Bernal of Be a Better Brand. Chrissy shares that this book is useful for any stage of the parenting journey, and helps moms “understand that the language of emotions is what shapes our thoughts and decisions when parenting. Brené Brown teaches us how to understand these emotions and cultivate them into meaningful relationships with our loved ones.”
The Power of PR Parenting is not only a number one bestseller on Amazon, it takes the unique perspective of how powerhouse PR Executive Marjie Hadad used her professional skills to manage life on the homefront. In addition to personal and professional stories of success and hiccups that we can all learn from, the book (and workbook) offers parents (and anyone who works with kids) step-by-step, practical advice and exercises on how to use public relations strategies as well as your own superpowers to instill self-esteem and help their kids to do and be their best. If you’re a working mom trying to balance your professional duties and aspirations with mindful parenting, this one is for you.
When you’re trying to do it all on your own, parenting can feel isolating and you’re left having no clue as to whether you’re doing a “good” job. At Confidence Daily, we believe in the power of storytelling to humanize the human experience, and Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer’s Mom Truths does just that. Their bestselling book, Cat and Nat's Mom Truths: Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood, gives an “honest, messy and real depiction of motherhood” while making you laugh and feel less alone in the process. No topic is off-limits as the ladies discuss post-partum sex, what not to eat after giving birth, and what you’ll really want to bring with you to the delivery room. The book is part memoir, mixed with a lot of humor and excellent advice, and comes highly recommended by Maria Berglund, the Founder of In Kind Boxes.
Julianne (Jules) Buonocore, the President of The Literary Lifestyle, recommends one of her all-time favorites, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. Julianne shared that “It's a book about an artistic, quirky woman who has lost her sense of self after years of prioritizing motherhood over her career. After a series of slapstick events, she escapes to Antarctica, where she finds herself and a new sense of balance. What moms will take from this book is the need to fill their own cups first. This book is valuable for mothers at any stage of mothering young children that feels all-consuming and overwhelming.” We recommend this novel to any mom looking for a fun escape from a busy day, or anyone who feels like they’ve left a part of themselves behind after having their little ones. The bestseller was such a hit that it was adapted into a film starring Cate Blanchett in 2019.
New York Times Best Seller Atomic Habits by James Clear is a how-to book on how you can change your life by changing your habits. The book took the nation by storm when it was published in 2018, and can help you curate an environment that lends itself to success, overcome a lack of motivation, and achieve your goals. Olivia DeLong, Senior Health Editor of BabyCenter, listened to the audio version of Atomic Habits after she gave birth and shared that it was an instrumental part of her journey to feeling like herself again. One of Clear’s productivity hacks stuck out as being particularly useful for Olivia, as she recounted: “I wanted to feel more in control and like I was able to spend time focusing on myself a little bit each day. James Clear's time batching/stacking tip (batching together a series of habits) is the best tip ever for busy parents and I use this method each and every day in my morning routine.” This is a great book for anyone who is looking to be more productive and optimize their habits, and can serve as a resource for moms who are looking to redefine themselves after making the transition into motherhood, starting by developing habits to do just that.
If you’re looking for tactical tips to help guide you through everyday life as a parent, Parenting with Sanity and Joy: 101 Simple Strategies by Susan G. Groner is a must-read. Susan takes the approach of a mentor as she walks you through her best practices for success in different aspects of parenting and family life. She includes notes on setting rules and getting respect, the “Golden Rules” of parenting, food and dining, and family management. This handy tool guide is a quick read and recommended for moms with kids between the ages of two and sixteen.
When making the transition into mom life, some women feel a pang of guilt for missing remnants of their pre-baby life. Ashlee Gadd, the author of Create Anyway: The Joy of Pursuing Creativity in the Margins of Motherhood can empathize. Ashlee felt guilty for wanting to be creative after giving birth, struggling with how she could reconcile her identity as both a mother and a creative. This book is great for new moms and moms with small children who are feeling overwhelmed and guilty for wanting to take time for themselves and pursue their own passions. Create Anyway, which is described as part pep talk and part commissioning will give you the motivation you need to go out and live your best, most creative life all while maintaining a sense of balance.
Lachauna Edwards, Attorney and Lifestyle Influencer at LE Sports Law recommends Priscilla Shirer’s The Resolution for Women. In the book, Pastor Shirer offers “practical guidance and biblical wisdom for women to live intentionally and purposefully in their various roles and responsibilities, including motherhood.” LaChauna adds that the book encourages women to make commitments and resolutions that align with their values and priorities, and offers inspiration and encouragement to follow through with those commitments.” This read is perfect for Christian mothers who want to live a life that feels authentic, balanced, and aligned.