Overall Score: 5/5
In a Nutshell: This is a massive book and covers pretty much everything a mom might experience in their first few years of mommyhood. It’s written by two best friends who love each other even though they have drastically different parenting styles. I love that the authors are down to earth, easy to follow, and teach it’s OK to do it your way. There is no one way to perfect motherhood and this book gives you the support and encouragement you need to know that you’re doing a good job. At the end of each chapter there’s a list of resources for more information too.
- The Hospital Experience – What will happen, the recovery process, and tips on getting the most help from the staff
- Tips for New Dads
- Breast Feeding vs. Bottle Feeding
- Sleep Training vs. Attachment Parenting
- Life after the Baby – Issues with Depression, Leaving Your Job, Returning to Work
- Getting Outside with your Baby – meeting other moms, setting up play dates, getting the right baby gear
- Teaching Kids Life Lessons – Discipline, Parenting Decisions, Parties, Rolemodels, Disneyland
- Managing your Household – Staying Organized, Eating Right, Potty Training
- Marriage – Husband Training, Working as a Team, Finance Management
- Expanding Family – Getting Ready for More, Pets
Overall score: 3.5/5
In a Nutshell: This book tells moms, especially Christian moms, that they’re still considered normal, good people, even if they blow up at their loved ones. I know that sounds wrong, but the truth is, we can’t always be in control of our emotions. Sometimes, especially after we’re sleep deprived for weeks to years, we can lose it. And we generally feel incredibly guilty for becoming angry moms who sometimes loses control. The author is one of the first people to openly say, “It’s OK.” She offers understanding, acceptance, and solutions for managing anger and more importantly, the shared experience of other moms who go through the same type of experiences and emotions. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that the author uses God and the Bible as her guiding light, especially through the toughest moments of motherhood.
- Part One: Exploring Mount Mama (How we become angry, the types of ways we blow up, warning signs, root issues of anger, and recognizing damage potential)
- Part Two: Climbing to Sanity (Strategies on how to manage your anger, references to the Bible for guidance)
- Part Three: More Help and Proof You’re Not Alone (When you need someone to listen, when you need honesty, when you feel guilty, when you feel alone, when you feel overwhelmed, when you have regrets)
Overall score: 5/5
In a Nutshell: This book is the journey of a Chinese American mother who practices extreme Chinese parenting philosophies on her two daughters who are born and raised in the US. The story is very well written and at many times so ridiculous it’s funny. Many moms have conflicting opinions about the book, but I loved it. It was a look inside what happens when you do the opposite of Western practices such as “letting children make their own mistakes,” and “never criticize children because it will affect their self-esteem.” My (white) husband said the one thing he took away from this book was that we shouldn’t let our children give up so easily (he always said he didn’t want to push our children to do things they don’t want to do). It’s such a quick read and you’ll find yourself wanting to share your thoughts on it with your other mommy friends.
Overall Score: 3/5
In a Nutshell: This book was written by a psychologist who worked with many moms who felt they had to be perfect parents in order to feel successful raising their kids. She covers many good topics in a logical fashion, breaking down how extreme parenting was born, the challenges that new moms face, and how to overcome those obstacles by simply living the ‘perfectly good mothering mantra.’ It was a slow read for me and I didn’t connect with the writer as well as I did the other mothering books I’ve reviewed. I didn’t walk away from the book with any significant new insights and therefore gave it a ‘fair’ score.
- Part One: The Problem (Keeping up with the Mommy Olympics, Something Must Be Wrong with Me, Why am I the Worst Mom Ever?)
- Part Two: The Solution (Perfectly Good Mothering)
- Part Three: Sharing the Solution (Stop Judging and Start Sharing, Perfectly Good Dads)
- Appendix: Historical Influences on Extreme Parenting
Overall Score: 5/5
In a Nutshell: If you’re looking for someone to laugh at the whole motherhood job, you’ve found her. Smokler started a mommy blog and began getting anonymous confessions from moms around the world. You’ll hear things like, “I kiss my teen goodbye in the morning and then flick her off when I shut the door,” and “I love my husband and know he’s my one and only soul mate, but when he’s sick and acts like the biggest baby, I just want to stab him with the first kitchen utensil I find.” Each chapter starts with confessions like these and the author then gives a short story about her feelings, experiences, or challenges with the various phases of motherhood. I love this book. The author is so fun to read and you’ll find out you’re not the only one with ‘scary’ motherhood thoughts. I loved this book, and my husband even loved hearing the confessions.
- There are no sick days in motherhood
- Yes, you’ll shit on the delivery table
- The “vacation” sure is a lot of work
- Birthday wars
- The mommy races
- I hate other people’s kids (not yours, of course)
Overall Score: 4.5/5
In a Nutshell: This book is written by celebrity mom and businesswoman (who’s assets exceeds those of Marta Stewarts’), Kathy Ireland. I actually had no idea who she was when I picked up this book and fell in love with her realness. She discusses topics that other books cover (money, health, faith), but in a different way which really connects with the reader. She begins each chapter with the the core issues that mothers struggle with and ends each chapter in a question and answer format for specific topics that enable you to get a real grasp of the issue and how to apply them. For example, the money matters chapter discusses possession obsession, false impressions, and trying to fill a void as the main struggles people have when debt. But in the ‘real solutions’ section the problems she solves are, “my kids are experts at loading on the guilt and talking me into purchases we can’t afford,” and “in the next five years I’ll be sending three kids to college and I don’t know how we’re going to pay for it all,” and “our lives are so crazy that I only balance my checkbook when the bank statement comes in the mail.” I loved the last chapter which discusses your faith and how she came to God, and how it’s been the one thing that keeps her going. Her faith in his purpose for her has led her to accomplish so much.
- Money Matters
- Happiness in the Home
- Healthy Families
- Your Best You
- No I in Mom
- Faith and Your Family
Overall Score: 3/5
In a Nutshell: The truth is that as moms we have many skills that improve with the birth of our babes. This book does an excellent job of highlighting all the research that points to the idea that moms’ brains are ever evolving and making strides in learning and skills once we become parents. It describes how our perception improves which touches on all our senses (like your improved smelling abilities that begin at pregnancy), then to how we become masters at multitasking and keep a ton of information in our brains (where did that binky go), the ability to manage stress by calming ourselves and our little ones down, the motivation to keep caring for our children, and how our emotional intelligence improves with the need to connect with other moms (to survive). It is research heavy so I found myself skimming through some sections just to get to the final points of each section (we moms don’t always have much time).
- The 5 New Skills Mommies Get
- Emotional Intelligence
- Mr. Mom and Adoptive Moms
- Moms’ Added Value to the Workplace
- Ten Tips to Make the Most of Your New Brain