Moms have managed to raise functioning adults for centuries without a guide on how to do it or a class with real-world lessons. A job you learn as you go, motherhood is an adventure in happy accidents, controlled chaos, and heartwarming surprises. To kick off the Mother’s Day season and celebrate the one who knows best, we’re sharing our favorite books that explore motherhood in all its multifaceted glory.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple
A book so engaging it was made into a movie, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is the fictional story of a mom who goes missing and leaves her daughter, husband, and the police to piece together her whereabouts. A person some may label a hot mess, Bernadette Fox is anything but the poised mom you’d expect from Seattle’s upper echelon. A once highly regarded architect, Bernadette is smart and witty, but completely imperfect. Her anxiety and neurotic tendencies make it difficult to relate to other people, her family included. A tale that can feel far-fetched and unsentimental, it strikes a chord in the relatable connection—bounded by unflinching love—between a mom and daughter.
And Now We Have Everything
By Meaghan O’Connell
Some grow up dreaming that one day, they’ll be a mom. Others aren’t so sure. In And Now We Have Everything, Meaghan O'Connell is a twentysomething who accidentally gets pregnant. A very real exploration of what it’s like to be pregnant and a mom to a young child, this book follows her journey into sudden—and unplanned—motherhood. A funny and touching read, it’s a look into what motherhood really is: magical, strange, joyful, messy, and inexplicable.
Bringing Up Bébé
By Pamela Druckerman
If you struggle to keep your little one from creating a scene at a restaurant because there’s cheese on the burger, you’re not alone. Pamela Druckerman is an American living in Paris and expects the same as a new mom. That’s just part of the job, right? Maybe not. In Bringing Up Bébé, Druckerman examines the differences she sees in French parenting compared to American methods. How can French toddlers eat grilled fish and vegetables without going on a hunger strike? Why are French moms so relaxed? Easy and enjoyable, this book will lead you to say au revoir to some old beliefs and bonjour to a new way of thinking.
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
By Bunmi Laditan
Sit down, relax, and get into the mom version of chick-lit. In Confessions of a Domestic Failure, Ashley Keller is an advertising career girl turned stay-at-home mom. Like many of us, she’s a little (or a lot) obsessed with picture-perfect, former blogger, media maven, and mom-of-five, Emily Walker. As Ashley navigates new motherhood and the mix of baby coos, nonexistent nap times, and occasional showers, she looks at Emily as the ideal mom she wishes she was. With a chance to participate in Emily’s Better Motherhood Bootcamp, Ashley goes through a journey of self-discovery and finds that there’s no way to be perfect, but many ways to be great. The beach read you didn’t know you needed, this one’s a lighthearted take on mom-ing at its best—and worst.
By Emily Oster
Pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care come with a lot of happiness, excitement, and questions. What can you eat, what can’t you drink, and why? Rooted in historical data that in many instances is no longer relevant, advice for pregnant people and first-time parents seems, well, outdated. In Expecting Better, Emily Oster, an economist and mom-to-be, takes a deep dive into the whys of conventional wisdom. Looking into the studies, research, and stats that help inform current-day cautions, Oster’s book presents the facts, misinterpretations, and gaping holes in some of the science that guides pregnant women and infant-parent choices today. Allowing you to judge for yourself what the best course of action is for you, the book presents a neutral tone and puts the reader in control of forming their own opinions.
Got the Reading Bug?
For those looking to extend their reading well into the summer, check out our recent article on the 10 best classics you must read right now.