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Motherhood is all-consuming. Most other areas of a mom’s life can get ignored, forgotten, and un-prioritized. I’m talking your marriage, your sex life, and your mental health, just to name a few. It may feel difficult to know where to start making room for your whole self again.
I’ve made a list of books to steer you in the right direction to begin this journey. You know, assuming you need a little push. 😉
Now, you might be thinking: You just said moms don’t have time for anything! Why are you assigning reading homework?!
And the answer is twofold.
First, I strongly believe reading is always the answer — to escape, to connect, to learn, to share, to feel. Books never let you down. (I mean that figuratively, not literally. There are some books that I want to hurl across the room upon completion.) Books can be life-changing. And, at least for me, each of these books had a message that I needed to hear.
Which leads me to the second part of the answer.
These books will make you feel less alone.
1. This Is How Your Marriage Ends by Matthew Fray
Don’t let the title dissuade you. This book is about keeping relationships intact. In case you need a reminder as to why you got married in the first place, this part memoir, part guide will make you laugh and cry. It’s a masterclass in what to do and what not to do if you want to keep your relationship healthy, loving, and secure.
>> RELATED READ :: 3 Recommendations That Actually Helped My Marriage <<
2. Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski
A sex book! I cannot recommend this one enough. The central tenet of this book is that you are capable of creating a (sex) life filled with confidence and joy just by being yourself. And sure, there are some graphic diagrams and passages I wouldn’t want to necessarily read aloud to my grandmother. But I promise you, this book will make your life better, and not just in the way you think.
3. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
Not only will this book get you out of a reading rut, it will also serve as the nudge you need to make that therapy appointment you’ve been putting off. The author gives us a giant dose of empathy, compassion, and understanding — things we might be lacking and needing as mothers.
4. Rage Against the Minivan by Kristen Howerton
The tagline pretty much sums this one up: “learning to parent without perfection.” We could all benefit from unlearning the cultural myths about the perfect kid, the perfect mom, the perfect snack, the perfect bedtime routine, and so on. Come for the sarcasm and laughs, stay for the honesty and connection.
5. Fair Play by Eve Rodsky
I don’t say this lightly, but this book is a total game changer. If you are struggling to manage the mental load of keeping your family’s lives afloat (spoiler alert: it’s all of us), then I implore you to read this book. It is a practical guide for not only identifying all of the things on your “sh*t to-do list,” but also for how to find a working solution for the unequal labor in your household. I suggest getting a hard copy of this one because there are helpful worksheets inside!
>> RELATED READ :: 6 Therapist-Recommended Couples & Marriage Books <<
6. Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott
This author considers herself “an anxious optimist.” I’m sure many can relate to that. Remember when I mentioned that these books will make you feel less alone? Well my friends, this is what I’m talking about. This memoir explores motherhood, life, and death, in an approachable, vulnerable, and powerful way. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious but will also make you cry. In the absolute best way.
Having children fundamentally rocks your world. Some aspects of your life can get pushed to the side once there are little people under your feet demanding Goldfish crackers and tablets.
So, if you find yourself struggling to “balance” your kids, marriage, household, job tasks, and what have you, dive into this list of books worth reading to remind you who you are again in marriage, sex, and mental health.