After a hectic day of parenting, I do my best to set some time aside in the evening to decompress and read. It’s a great way to relax, learn something new, and wind down after a crazy day with the kids. The problem is there are so many good books out there. Where do I start? I’ve asked several mothers what books they recommend, from parenting to fun leisure reading, and we’ve got quite the list for you. So if you’re looking for a good book and you’re a mom or expecting, you have come to the right place. Here are 25 books for every mother.
1. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, by Anne Lamott
This book is HIGHLY recommended. In this awesome book, Anne Lamott details—in short, poignant entries—what life was like in the first year after her son arrived. It’s beautiful, funny, and soulful—an absolute must for every mother.
2. Bringing Up Bébé, by Pamela Druckerman
This book has been a favorite of many. We read it years ago (Book Review: Bringing Up Bébé) and loved it too! Druckerman, an American, shares her experience raising her child in Paris, France. She provides fascinating details about French sleep training, feeding schedules, child care, and family rituals. This is a great book if you want ideas on how to have your child behave better and eat everything.
3. Parenting with Love and Logic, by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
We all know that parenting can be tough. You can suddenly find yourself screaming at your kids after a crazy day. Yikes! This parenting book shows you how to raise self-confident, motivated children ready for the real world. And helps you establish healthy control through easy-to-implement steps without anger, threats, nagging, or power struggles. Learn how to parent effectively while teaching your children responsibility and growing their character.
4. The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau
The ultimate parenting book. Tracy Hogg, The Baby Whisperer, helps you establish a daily routine and tailor your parenting strategies according to your child’s unique personality and stage of development. In this book, you will learn about the EASY sleep method, the pick-up put-down sleep trick, simple troubleshooting techniques for everyday situations, the ability to understand and manage feelings, introducing bottles to breastfed babies, toilet training, and other growth issues.
5. Nurture Shock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Released in hardcover in September 2009, Nurture Shock remained on the New York Times best-seller list for three months and was one of Amazon’s best-selling books that year. The book has become a worldwide phenomenon, with editions published worldwide – in fifteen languages. Nurture Shock offers a revolutionary new perspective on children that upends a library’s worth of conventional wisdom. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, the authors demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are backfiring—because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Nothing like a parenting manual, Nurture Shock gets to the core of how we grow, learn, and live.
6. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman
It’s no secret that breastfeeding is the #1 recommended way to nourish and nurture your baby. Dedicated to supporting nursing and expectant mothers, the internationally respected La Leche League has set the standard for educating and empowering mothers in this natural art for generations. Their classic bestselling guide, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, has been retooled, refocused, and updated for today’s mothers and lifestyles. Working mothers, stay-at-home moms, single moms, and mothers of multiples will all benefit from the book’s range of nursing advice, stories, and information—from preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy to feeding cues, from nursing positions to expressing and storing breast milk. It’s the breastfeeding manual you’ve been looking for.
7. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
We’ve long heard the dangers of telling boys “not to cry” and to “keep a stiff upper lip,” but this book details exactly why putting a damper on our sons’ emotions is one of the most heartbreaking things we can do as parents. Herein, Kindlon and Thompson detail exactly the challenges boys face at home, school, and on the athletic field and how we can help them cultivate and embrace the most important gift of all: emotional literacy.
8. Oh Crap Potty Training, by Jamie Glowacki
If you need to start potty training soon and are unsure where to start. Here’s a fun book! Jamie Glowacki—potty-training expert, Pied Piper of Poop, and author of the popular guide Oh Crap! Potty Training—shares her proven 6-step plan to help you toilet train your preschooler quickly and successfully. Her 6-step, proven process to get your toddler out of diapers and onto the toilet has already worked for tens of thousands of kids and their parents.
9. The Whole Brained Child, by Dan J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, a neuropsychiatrist, and parenting expert, Tina Payne Bryson, offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.
10. No-Drama Discipline, by Dan J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
We love Siegel and Bryson’s books, so we had to include the No-Drama Discipline on our list. Parenthood can often feel like a lot of drama, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This book highlights the fascinating link between a child’s neurological development and how a parent reacts to misbehavior. No-Drama Discipline provides an effective, compassionate road map for dealing with tantrums, tensions, and tears—without causing a scene. The authors explain how to reach your child, redirect emotions, and turn a meltdown into an opportunity for growth. By doing so, the cycle of negative behavior (and punishment) is essentially halted, as problem-solving becomes a win/win situation.
11. Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting, by Janet Lansbury
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. That’s what every parent wants, right? Well, in this book, Janet encourages parents and childcare professionals to perceive babies as unique, capable human beings with natural abilities to learn without being taught, to develop motor and cognitive skills, communicate, face age-appropriate struggles, initiate and direct independent play for extended periods; and much more. Once we can view our children in this light, even the most common daily parenting experiences become stimulating opportunities to learn, discover, and connect with our children. Janet’s insightful philosophy lays the foundation for a closer, more fulfilling parent/child relationship and children who grow up to be authentic, confident, successful adults.
12. No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline without Shame, by Janet Lansbury
I think many parents worry if their kid will be around too many “bad kids” or become “the bad kid.” We love Janet’s unique advice in this book. No Bad Kids is a collection of Janet’s most popular and widely read articles about common toddler behaviors and how you can apply respectful parenting practices to benefit both parents and children. It covers such common topics as punishment, cooperation, boundaries, testing, tantrums, hitting, and more. No Bad Kids provides a practical, indispensable tool for parents anticipating or experiencing those critical years when toddlers are developmentally obliged to test the limits of our patience and love.
13. Mommy Burnout, by Dr. Sheryl Ziegler
The title alone pulled me in. This is the ultimate must-read handbook for the modern mother: a practical and positive tool to help free women from the debilitating notion of being the “perfect mom,” filled with funny and all too relatable true-life stories and realistic suggestions to stop the burnout cycle, and protect our kids from the damage burnout can cause. Pretty much a book that every mother could benefit from.
14. The Magic of Motherhood, by Ashlee Gadd
The Magic of Motherhood celebrates your life as a mom—the good stuff, the hard stuff, and everything in between. In this book, you’ll find heartwarming essays about identity, adoption, body image, miscarriage, friendship, faith, infertility, and more. The Magic of Motherhood is a curated collection of honest stories that weave together the love, joy, and magnificent heartache of motherhood. Instead of offering advice, the writers offer something even better: their hearts.
15. The First Forty Days, by Heng Ou, Amely Greeven, and Marisa Belger
As modern mothers are pushed to prematurely “bounce back” after delivering their babies and are often left alone to face the physical and emotional challenges of this new stage of their lives, the first forty days provide a lifeline—a source of connection, nourishment, and guidance. The book includes 60 simple recipes for healing soups; replenishing meals and snacks; and calming and lactation-boosting teas, all formulated to support the unique needs of the new mother. In addition to the recipes, this warm and encouraging guide offers advice on arranging a system of help during the postpartum period, navigating relationship challenges, and honoring the significance of pregnancy and birth.
16. Breathe, Mama, Breathe, by Shonda Moralis MSW LCSW
Moms can feel like they are sprinting through life, crashing onto the pillow at day’s end, only to start the next morning again. In Breathe, Mama, Breathe, psychotherapist Shonda Moralis outlines the benefits of daily meditation and shows moms how to do it—in just five minutes! Plus, she shares over 60 “mindful breaks” that will help moms tune into their well-being. Every mom—whether caring for a new baby, an overscheduled grade schooler, or an angsty teen—can become a mindful mama!
17. Becoming MomStrong, by Heidi St. John
If you’re looking for a book about motherhood and faith, consider Becoming MomStrong. Through encouragement, practical prayer points, and authentic “me-too” moments, Heidi equips you for a job that only you can do: to train your children to hear God’s voice and to walk in truth no matter where our culture is heading. If you’re feeling tired or inadequate today, get ready to find new strength.
18. Cravings, by Chrissy Teigen
I’m a big fan of Chrissy Teigen! When I heard she was coming out with a new cookbook, I had to check it out. Salty, spicy, saucy, and fun as sin—that’s the food you’ll get in this book which is so fitting because that’s Chrissy, too. These dishes are for family, date nights at home, party time, and a few life-sucks moments (salads). You’ll learn the importance of chili peppers, the secret to cheesy-cheeseless eggs, life tips like how to use bacon as a home fragrance, the single best way to wake up in the morning, and how not to overthink men or Brussels sprouts.
19. Weelicious, by Catherine McCord
Every parent knows how difficult it is to get kids to eat happily and healthily. Catherine McCord’s Weelicious cookbook can help! Catherine strongly believes in the “one family/one meal” idea—preparing a single, scrumptious meal the entire family can sit down and enjoy together rather than having to act as a “short-order cook” for kids who each want something different. In Weelicious, she offers dozens of recipes and tips for creating quick, easy, healthy, and fun food that moms, dads, and young children of any age will adore—from the most persnickety infants to the pickiest grade-schoolers.
20. Milk Street: Tuesday Nights, by Christopher Kimball
A momma highly recommended this cookbook to us! Apparently, Tuesdays are the new Saturdays with this book! That means every Tuesday Nights recipe delivers big, bold flavors, but the cooking is quick and easy—simple enough for the middle of the week. It presents over 200 solutions to transform your weeknight cooking, showing how to make simple, healthy, delicious meals using pantry staples and just a few other ingredients.
21. Whiskey in a Teacup, by Reese Witherspoon
If you haven’t checked out Reese Witherspoon’s cookbook, Whiskey in a Teacup, you are missing out! This book shares how Reese entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair. It’s a little bit of everything, and we love it! Reese loves sharing her grandmother’s most delicious recipes and her favorite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers and magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.
22. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis
You either love this book or hate it, but you can’t deny that everyone is talking about it. In this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore. Rachel encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be. Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle—and how to give yourself grace without giving up.
23. Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist
As moms, we can find ourselves exhausted and isolated. We become tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seems like almost everyone we encounter—especially other moms—are in the same boat: a longing for connection, meaning, and depth, but it is settling. Present Over Perfect is an invitation to walk away from frantic pushing and proving and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth.
24. The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most. A part coming-of-age tale, part meditation on how mothers define us even after they’re gone, The Mothers is about a girl named Nadia, who loses her mom at a young age and must find the way to adulthood on her own. This immersive book is a reminder to everyone about the importance of, well, our mothers.
25. Brave Love, by Lisa Leonard
Lisa is a wife, a mother to a son with a severe disability, and a jewelry business owner. She committed to giving it her all, but over the years, the exhaustion of trying to be the perfect wife, mother, and businesswoman took its toll. Lisa knew it wasn’t working. She wanted to change things, but how? Everyone depended on her. So she kept going, pushing, and trying to prove she could do it all. In Brave Love, Lisa shares her story of finding truth and wholeness amid life’s competing demands. Brave Love is about what it means to be human, how it feels to be broken and afraid, and what happens when we dare to love deeply.
And there you have it, our favorite books for every mother. What were some books you’ve read that you found helpful? What would you add to this list?