5 Books Moms Should Read (That Aren’t Parenting Books)

Being a mom is hard enough, we don’t need someone to tell us how to parent. Every mom will have a different perspective, and that is okay. So while “parenting books” might share some useful information, the majority don’t need to read those books. Instead, here are five amazing books on being a mom that every mother should read. Each of these books share relatable experiences, and will give you a new love and meaning for being a mom.

  1. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

This book is great to gain a perspective of how parenting forms our children’s world and how they view the world according to how we describe it to them. I think it’s also an important story to understand all our children really want from us is love and approval and beyond that they are willing to forgive our imperfections.

2. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Girl Wash Your Face is a great motivational book about motherhood, life, accomplishing goals, and balancing it all. It is a relatable, light, and funny read that has a lot of suggestions and guidance on improving yourself as a person and mother. This is a great book for a working mom.

3. Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

As one of my favorite writers, I think this is a must-read for all moms. Not as light or easy as the other suggestions, but definitely a great book for a deeper reflection on the mother and daughter relationship. 

4. Dear Mother: Poems on the Hot Mess of Motherhood by Bunmi Laditan

As a busy mom, I love that I can just pick up this book, open a page, and find a relatable quote or poem. It really helps with the “am I losing my mind?” of motherhood. It will make you laugh, cry, and say “oh my God, I know.”

5. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama talks about a lot of issues mothers face from infertility, balancing a career, and fitting in healthy eating as a family. I love how even though she’s a powerful and accomplished mother, the book and her motherhood experiences feel so relatable. The book will empower you to pursue your own happiness and fulfillment while also deciphering what’s best for your family.

Bonus Reads:

Motherhood by Sheila Heti

Hunger by Roxanne Gay

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are”. – Max DePree

When I Am Not Being The Mom I Want To Be

What To Do When You Aren’t Being the Parent You Want to Be

We all know the struggle of dealing with society’s pressure on us as parents. All the do’s, don’ts, and mismatched suggestions we hear daily, but what about our expectations? What can we do when we aren’t living up to our OWN expectations of who we want to be as a parent. We all have this magical, not-so-realistic vision of what we will look like as parents. Some of us more realistic than others, but for the most part, we had this dream of being a well-put-together parent who never loses their cool and always knows what they are doing.

Now that we are parents, it’s hard to even catch a moment to reflect on how we are being affected by our expectations not matching the reality of parenthood. Maybe we wanted to be screen-free but now grab the screen for a second of sanity or wanted to be the chill mama who always keeps her cool but now catch yourself snapping more often than not. Regardless of what it is, it is important to make sure your expectations are realistic, but also that you are meeting your own expectations. Here are a few suggestions on how to make those expectations a reality and get a little closer to being the parent you actually want to be.

P.S. Go easy on yourself mama. Just loving your kids is the most important thing you can do.

Make a detailed list describing the parent you want to be

Physically write down and visualize the parent you want to be.

Do you want to be calm, give clear expectations, limit screen time, have dinner as a family? Write it all down and be as specific as you can be.

Don’t fear being inconsistent while transitioning to being a better parent. Give yourself time to adjust, accomplishing one or two shifts at a time.

Listen to podcasts or audiobooks

They don’t even have to be parenting-related. Sometimes the best way to be a better parent is to give your mind a little break from being a parent. I noticed I was getting really impatient and frazzled around bedtime and naptime because my little one takes forever to fall asleep, but it was a parenting goal for me to rock her to sleep.

I started listening to podcasts while doing this and immediately improved on my patience and attentiveness because I was no longer focusing on her falling asleep. I think she also noticed I was less focused on it and she started falling asleep easier as well! Not to mention, it’s been so good for my soul to listen to something I’m interested in outside of parenting.

You can also listen to parenting podcasts. They are helpful for not feeling alone, getting advice, and sometimes a good laugh.

See a counselor

There is no shame in seeking professional help. Sometimes all you need is someone outside of the situation to talk to in order to get some clarity and make improvements. The simple act of talking to someone often is enough to pick us up and back on our feet after a difficult day of being a mom.

Join a parenting support group

A mom tribe is essential in maintaining sanity. Seeing that NO mom is perfect helps you feel less stressed and relieves some of the anxiety around being a “good” mom, which actually makes you a better mom. Just remember you don’t need to try and force a connection with someone who you don’t relate to. Try to find someone who is in a similar life situation and parents similar to you.

Plan your reactions ahead of time

Planning how you react to a common issue in your household will help to prevent a bad reaction that may not fit into your “ideal parent” mold. For example, my little one was exploring random screaming. This obviously frazzled me a bit and I found myself reacting in a way that did not align with how I wanted to be as a parent. I thought about it and made a plan of action for when she does this. I decided to identify what emotion she may be trying to express and give her an alternative: “it sounds like you are wanting to express how you feel, if you are excited you can clap your hands and say yay.” She quickly got over the screaming phase after addressing it calmly a few times.

Take a break & ask for help

When I feel myself approaching my limits I ask my husband to step in. Enlist anyone you have, even if they might not do things exactly how you want. As soon as you find your calm you can step back in and address anything that may not have been how you wanted it.

If no one is available it is okay to tell your little one “mommy is feeling overwhelmed and needs a moment to calm down.” Even if they aren’t happy about it at that moment, doing this is amazing role modeling in teaching children how to calmly deal with their emotions. This is one of the best ways to teach your children how to regulate and share their emotions.

Create clear, written & posted rules and limitations.

As a family, decide what you want your home to be like. Clearly write out and post these expectations, even if they are just for you to read. It will be a nice reminder of how you want things and help you to be consistent with everyone. It will also help any co-parent to get on the same page with their approach.

Change your expectations

If your expectation is stressing you and has not been realistic, change it. It is okay not to meet all your expectations, we really have to choose our battles as parents. There is no shame in changing your expectations as a parent. All moms will at some point in time, and that’s okay.

Mantra what you love about your child.

Keep positive ideas about your child in your head as often as possible. Viewing your child in a positive light will help you feel better about their actions, allowing you to react in a more positive way as well as set your children up to succeed. Science has confirmed the self-fulfilling prophecy is true. If you tell a child they are a certain way, they will act that way the majority of the time.

Pause & Breathe

You got this mama.

Thank you for Joining My Journey

I am so excited to pursue this passion of writing and motherhood with a community of amazing parents.

I am so grateful for the support that has lead me to have the opportunity to share such a beautiful and messy journey.

My hope for this blog is to connect with other mothers, show they are not alone in this journey even in the ugliest difficult and dirty parts, and encourage the not-so-beaten path of crunchy motherhood and alternative parenting.

My crunchy parenting has risen out of years of caring for others’ children, a background in psychology and mental health work, and most importantly a Master’s degree in Child Development focused on infant and toddler mental health, so pretty much everything I encourage in the parenting journey is backed by current research around how our babies grow.

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