Let’s face it. Most moms do not get a lot of time to read. With work, home, school and after-school obligations, our “free time” is limited. But that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good book — or two or three. In fact, most of the moms I know are very well read. How do we do it? Some combination of dedication, obsession and multitasking is my guess.
But what books should moms invest in given the scarcity of reading time?
Well, we have quite a few ideas. And while we couldn’t pack all our favorites into this roundup — there were simply too many to keep track of — we narrowed it down to some of the best nonfiction titles out there. Because why bother with fiction when real life is this interesting?
If you’re looking for a solid nonfiction read, look no further. Ahead are our top picks in memoir, self-help, parenting, essay collections and more. Get ready to take in some major life lessons while you “supervise” your kids’ bath time — or homework or soccer practice… we won’t tell.
‘Gift From the Sea’
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (yes, that Lindbergh) wrote Gift From the Sea while vacationing alone (a delightfully novel concept for a mother of five in 1955) on the peaceful shores of Captiva Island off Florida’s Gulf Coast. At the time, the book was as groundbreaking as Morrow Lindbergh herself (renowned aviator, thinker and winner of the National Book Award), but her message remains eerily relevant today — as do her thoughts on love, marriage, solitude, contentment and how we might all strive to transcend the trappings of modern life.
Gift From the Sea, available at Amazon
‘Forget ‘Having It All’: How America Messed Up Motherhood — and How to Fix It’
Forget “Having It All”: How America Messed Up Motherhood — and How to Fix It offers a real and refreshing look at the American maternal care system and what’s wrong with it (from the lack of maternity leave and gender-based double standards to everything in between). But Amy Westervelt’s book isn’t a “bitchfest”; instead, it is a thorough and insightful read full of historical context and tangible suggestions for how we can overhaul American motherhood.
Forget “Having It All”: How America Messed Up Motherhood — and How to Fix It (Kindle), available at Amazon
‘The Best Business Book in the World* (*according to my mom)’
Jill Salzman is no stranger to the business world. After graduating from Brown University (and law school), Salzman started a music-management firm and then launched a baby jewelry company. Her current venture, The Founding Moms, was the inspiration behind The Best Business Book in the World* (*according to my mom). It was compiled using the daily business-building emails she was sending to her subscribers and includes copious tips and small-business tricks — a must-read for any smart, savvy entrepreneur.
The Best Business Book in the World* (*according to my mom), available at Amazon
‘Financial Nutrition for Young Women: How (and Why) to Teach Girls About Money’
Financial Nutrition for Young Women: How (and Why) to Teach Girls About Money is a book that aims to empower young women to make conscientious financial decisions in a wide variety of circumstances, including day-to-day transactions and salary negotiations.
Financial Nutrition for Young Women: How (and Why) to Teach Girls About Money (paperback), available at Amazon
‘Lore: Harnessing Your Past to Create Your Future’
Lore: Harnessing Your Past to Create Your Future isn't your typical self-help book. In fact, author Jeanette Schneider — a single mother and the founder of Lore Advocacy, a network of professional women whose goal is to inspire women to change the world — wrote Lore to help women break free from the way society has programmed them to act, think and behave. And while Schneider offers a good deal of insight throughout the book, she also invites readers to do the work with her, through a series of exercises and writing activities.
Lore: Harnessing Your Past to Create Your Future (paperback), available at Amazon
‘Girl, Wash Your Face’
Whether you love it or hate it, Girl, Wash Your Face is making waves. According to the publisher, The New York Times best-seller is showing women "how to live with passion and hustle — and how to give yourself grace without giving up."
Girl, Wash Your Face (paperback), available at Amazon
In an intimate memoir, actor Sally Fields shares details about her challenging and lonely childhood. She opens up about acting and how the craft helped her find her voice, and she speaks about how these experiences helped shape her into the woman and mother she is today.
In Pieces (paperback), available at Amazon
‘Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind’
One of the most humorous parenting books of all time — and no, I don't say that lightly — Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind is a definite must-read for mamas deep in the throes of parenting — if you can deal with some foul-mouthed humor that is.
Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind (paperback), available at Amazon
‘First We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety’
Already a New York Times best-seller, First We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety is one of the best books on anxiety. Period. In fact, Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, believes it is "probably the best book on living with anxiety that [he's] ever read,” according to Harper Collins, and that is because Sarah Wilson — an author and journalist — tackles the subject matter humorously, compassionately and practically, offering tips for living with "the Beast."
First We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety (paperback), available at Amazon
‘The Last Black Unicorn’
Stand-up comedian and actor Tiffany Haddish's new memoir, The Last Black Unicorn, is a hilarious collection of raw, edgy, (at times) filthy and extremely personal essays from Haddish herself. In fact, People has said The Last Black Unicorn is "as raw and real as her stand-up act." So if you need a laugh, be sure to add this to your collection.
The Last Black Unicorn (paperback), available at Amazon
‘Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now’
A tried-and-true classic, Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now is a collection of hilarious, thought-provoking and edgy personal stories celebrating motherhood. A must-read!
Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now (paperback), available at Amazon
‘Love Warrior: A Memoir’
Much like Glennon Doyle's other works, Love Warrior: A Memoir takes readers on an emotional and heart-wrenching journey of self-discovery and, according to Flatiron Books, Love Warrior will speak to anyone who "yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life."
Love Warrior: A Memoir (paperback), available at Amazon
‘I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering’
When Janelle Hanchett became a mother at 21, she embraced it with reckless abandon. However, while she was in love, she was also bored and directionless and soon found herself seeking relief with wine. So much wine that before long, she was captivated. It soon controlled her life, and it did for 10 years — until Hanchett lost everything, including her family, children and home.
I'm Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering follows Hanchett's journey through addiction and recovery. However, her story is one we rarely hear: There is no salvation. There is no redemption, and while Hanchett becomes sober, she quickly learns she will always remain an outsider.
I'm Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering (paperback), available at Amazon
‘Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About Their Postpartum Experience’
Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About Their Postpartum Experience is a powerful collection of personal essays from women who have struggled with postpartum depression, anxiety and/or other perinatal mood disorders, and while the subject matter may be difficult for some, Mothering Through the Darkness also offers comfort, companionship and hope.
Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About Their Postpartum Experience (paperback), available at Amazon
While former first lady Michelle Obama's book has yet to hit to the shelves, Becoming — Obama's long-awaited memoir — promises to take you into her world, from her childhood in Chicago to her years as an executive to balancing motherhood, all while living at the world’s most famous address. Becoming will be available for purchase on Nov. 13.
Becoming (hardcover), available at Amazon
‘Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life’
Giselle Bündchen has lived a life many of us dream about. She is an actor and an iconic fashion model, one who has appeared in almost 400 ad campaigns and on over 1,200 magazine covers. However, Bündchen's life has been far from easy, and Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life takes readers on a journey through her struggles and how she came out on the other side.
Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life (hardcover), available at Amazon
‘Grace Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy’
According to publisher Thomas Nelson, wife, mother and author "Emily Ley reached a point in her life when she realized she couldn’t do it all. She needed to simplify her life, organize her days, and prioritize the priorities," and she did: one minute, one step and one day at a time. Grace Not Perfection takes readers through Ley's journey and helps them find their own "joy and acceptance in the midst of life’s beautiful messes."
Grace Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy (paperback), available at Amazon
‘Vagina: A New Biography’
Vagina: A New Biography is a radical book by Naomi Wolf that explores, well, the vagina, but it isn't just a book about a sexual organ. Vagina explores the connection between female genitals, sexual expression, our lives and how we understand women. A must-read for feminists and all women (and men) who want to better understand the female consciousness.
Vagina: A New Biography (paperback), available at Amazon
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