Mother’s Day is on its way. A great way to take care of Mom is to give her some time for relaxation, perhaps with a cup of tea and a good book. (Boy, I hope my family’s reading this.)
Here are seven books I’ve found extraordinary valuable along my own motherhood journey and would recommend to every Mom I know and love. I should warn you, only one of them is a parenting book. But we all know that the life of a mother is a complex one; there are many facets to every mom.
Each of these provides tools and ideas that have the potential to improve a mom’s life and, as a consequence, the life of her beloved family.
‘12 Rules for Life’
Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” shot quickly to number one on Amazon after its release in 2018. Since then, Peterson’s cultural impact has only grown. He’s doled out practical advice as simple as “stand up straight” and “tell the truth,” backed up by principles found in sources as varied as evolutionary biology, psychology, ancient mythology, Eastern and Western philosophy, and the Bible.
The rules, which include “treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping,” “do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them,” and “pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)” are presented in the way that a caring but stern father would. The result is inspiring, empowering, and remarkable.
It tops this list because I truly think everyone should read it, especially moms.
‘The Total Money Makeover’
It’s frequently Mom’s job, at least in large part, to manage the household purse strings, budget, save, and keep the financial ship afloat.
For moms who want to nail personal finance, Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” is a must-read.
Ramsey puts forth tried-and-true principles, declaring, “Debt is dumb. Cash is king. And the paid off home mortgage has become the status symbol of choice,” on his radio show and podcast, where he offers practical financial advice that, he says, “your grandmother would give.”
“The Total Money Makeover, A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness” is the cornerstone of his work and outline the “baby steps” necessary to achieve financial freedom.
The need for financial security becomes ever more important after we become parents. Ramsey’s advice is easy to follow, motivating, and solid.
‘Getting Things Done’
If anyone needs to have a solid system for “getting things done,” it’s Mom. David Allen’s classic GTD system, as it is known, works for CEOs and moms alike.
“Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” is a comprehensive guide to managing the work that is your life. First published in 2002, the principles Allen teaches are just as relevant today. If you feel overwhelmed by all you wish to get done each day, this book could be a game changer for you.
Go whole hog and apply the entire system or choose from the book’s many helpful and simple tips, like the “2-minute rule,” which states if a task can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately.
A book truly centered on parenting, “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids” by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross is a book every parent needs to read.
More relevant than ever, “Simplicity Parenting” takes aim at all that is overloading our senses, and more specifically, those of our children. It calls on parents to embrace a less is more philosophy.
“We are building our daily lives, and our families, on the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, too many choices, too much information, and too much speed,” Payne says. “With this level of busyness, distractions, time-pressure, and clutter (mental and physical), children are robbed of the time and ease they need to explore their worlds and their emerging selves.”
From television and screen time to competitive sports, “Simplicity Parenting” addresses familiar concerns and flies in the face of conventional advice to give children every opportunity to advance early and succeed in life.
The authors argue persuasively that it is simplicity that “will provide your child with greater ease and well-being.”
‘Dumbing Us Down’
John Taylor Gatto was a New York City school teacher. His 30-year career teaching in Manhattan, in both the most and least advantaged neighborhoods, garnered him the New York City Teacher of the Year award not once but three times, in 1989, 1990, and 1991. He was also named New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991.
That same year, he issued his resignation. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled, “I Quit, I Think,” he announced his intentions explaining, “I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know.”
His book, “Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling” is an eye-opening indictment of the state of our public school systems that every parent truly needs to digest. Every mom wants the very best education possible for their children, and many would be surprised by sad truths Gatto reveals.
Many moms today have dreams and ideas about creating their own business on the side, perhaps one they will devote more time to as their children become more independent. Christy Wright’s “Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves” provides the road map and practical advice to make business dreams a reality.
A conversational and entertaining read, “Business Boutique” balances well-told stories with solid tactical advice. Wright walks readers through her advice laid out in a way that is well crafted, simple, and precisely targeted to the needs of aspiring women entrepreneurs. It’s an inspiring read that a Mom with a dream will definitely enjoy.
‘The Brave Learner’
“The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life” by Julie Bogart was a book I could not leave off of this list. A fantastic read for any parent, Bogart, a veteran homeschooling parent, presents a framework for providing one’s children with a magical and enchanting childhood, with an emphasis on learning and adventure. It’s heartwarming, practical, and simply lovely. It’s applicable to both homeschooling and non-homeschooling parents alike.