Are you sick of all the mom books?
Don’t get me wrong, books that educate moms on parenting, motherhood, pregnancy, babies, and marriage are wonderful. I have a shelf full of them and they are my go-tos, ahead of even Pinterest and Google.
But seriously, you can only read so many books about mom life.
Which is why you need a reading list that goes beyond mom books and stretches you to learn new things.
I can already hear you right now: “Yeah, I’d love to, but I don’t have time to read!”
Before you click off of this page, give me a chance to make my case. I guarantee there is time in your day to read, and I’m going to show you how you can read anywhere between 30-50+ books every year.
Why Do Moms Need a Reading List?
Maybe you’re still on the fence about whether you need a reading list at all.
Well let me ask you this…Do you make a grocery list before shopping? Do you put together a gift list at the holidays? Do you write a to-do list to keep track of tasks?
If you go to the grocery store without a list, you probably buy way more than you needed, but end up wasting a lot of it because you didn’t have a plan.
If you don’t keep track of who you need gifts for around birthdays and holidays, you’re bound to forget someone and end up buying gift cards last minute.
If you don’t make a to-do list, you waste a lot of time on low-priority tasks and forget important, urgent ones, like paying a bill that’s due, or putting dinner in the crock-pot with enough time to cook.
So here’s my argument for a reading list… If you don’t have a reading list:
- You will read less without goals and direction
- You will waste time on books you weren’t interested in because you didn’t prioritize
- You will forget about books you were interested in because you never wrote them down
- You won’t have a good balance in the types of books you’re reading
- You won’t be stimulating or challenging yourself intellectually to the extent that you could (and should)
A reading list is like a bucket list of things you want to learn.
You need interests outside of your career
Whether you work outside the home, work at home, or are solely a stay-at-home-mom, motherhood is its own career.
But for a moment, let’s say you work a full-time child-free career in sales. If you wake up, check your work email, read a book over breakfast about being a better salesman, listen to sales-related podcasts in the shower and on your commute, work in sales all day, and then hang out with friends from work to talk about sales, you’re going to get really freaking sick of sales, and fast.
So why are we confused when we feel burned out from mom life, when we eat, sleep, and breathe motherhood? We have to have a life outside of our careers!
Part of the challenge is that our home lives and our work lives are basically one and the same. It’s very hard to escape work when you live in your office. You have to get a little bit creative when it comes to setting boundaries between “work life” and “personal life.”
One of the things you can do is to pursue your other interests (and find a temporary escape) through reading.
Reading is a dying pass-time
In a study by the Pew Research Center conducted in 2015, only 7 in 10 adults (aged 18+) read even a single book in any format in the entire year. Translate: 30% of adults hadn’t even read ONE book in 12+ months.
According to the study, the average American reads about 12 books per year. What a missed opportunity. To think about the sheer number of books in existence, the amount of knowledge readily available to us, and know that the vast majority of us don’t even graze the surface…or care to.
Reading in front of your kids, with your kids, and to your kids will teach them to love reading an learning. You can cultivate that love by setting the example.
Reading is downright good for you
Reading is vastly beneficial not only for your mind, but also for even your physical health. Reading:
- Improves your memory (to the point that it even reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia)
- Reduces stress
- Organizes your thought processes
- Broadens your vocabulary
- Introduces you to topics and ideas outside of your normal scope
- Improves your focus
- Gives you something to talk about in conversation
- Helps you sleep better.
Creating a reading list can help you set your intentions to read more and provide a written roadmap of the books and topics you want to explore.
What Kind of Books Should Moms Read?
The short answer is…anything and everything!
Parenting books are fantastic, but they don’t have to be the only thing you read. In fact, you don’t even have to prioritize them.
I personally find a good rule of thumb is roughly 25% mom life books and 75% everything else. That means only a quarter of the time you spend reading needs to be about your ‘career.’ Your balance could be weighted however you want, but in general, I think mom books should make up less than half of what you focus on.
Fiction is high on my list of priorities. I try to get a good mix of classic literature, fantasy, and science fiction, along with a couple of ‘real life’ type novels.
Some of my other personal interests are: economics, personal development/self-improvement, productivity, and theology.
I’d also love to expand into history, philosophy, medicine/human anatomy/health, and poetry.
Your interests can be different than mine. The point is that you take a few minutes and think about what interests you, what things you’d like to learn more about, and become well-versed in.
First make a list of the topics you want to explore more in-depth, and then start hunting for the best books in those categories.
Making Reading a Habit as a Mom
“I just don’t have time to read!”
I hear so many moms swear up and down the wall that they don’t have any time to read. I call B.S.!!
I know you’ve got a lot going on, Mom Friend, but I promise you have time to read.
If you have time to pick up your phone and scroll Instagram or watch Youtube, or binge Netflix, you have time to read.
If you literally are SO BUSY that you can’t take five minutes here and there to pick up a book, you need to cut something out of your schedule. No one should be that busy. Remember that nothing can get onto your schedule unless you let it. You’ve got to be in control of your time.
You can read:
- While kids are in the bath
- In the parking lot waiting for grocery pickup
- While you’re cooking dinner
- Once you’ve climbed into bed for the night
- In the morning, before kids wake up
- While you’re eating
- While kids are napping
- While (older) kids play at the park/on the playground
- During nursing sessions with a new baby
- When you’re trapped under a sleeping baby or child
- Instead of scrolling on social media
- Instead of watching TV
- Out loud to your children
- By listening to the audiobook version in the car, while doing chores, in the shower, etc.
You have SO MANY opportunities to read throughout the day that you probably don’t even realize. Don’t forget to make use of those transition times where you can’t necessarily start and finish a new task, but you could pick up your book and read 5 pages.
How to read a whole book every 1-2 weeks
Let me just put this in perspective for you quickly.
The average book is 2-300 pages. The average person can read about 300 words per minute (about a page every 60 seconds).
If you read a page per minute, you can finish a 300 page book in 300 minutes (5 hours).
If you grab 6 random opportunities every day to read for just 5 minutes (30 minutes total), you can easily finish a 300 page book in 10 days.
A lot of the books you read will probably be shorter than 300 pages, so it is entirely realistic to complete a book every week (on average).
That means you could read anywhere from 30-50 books (or more!) in one year.
I usually have at least 2 books going at once, one fiction and one nonfiction. That’s in addition to reading my Bible and studying a theology book. I tend to like nonfiction best during the day and fiction in the evening before bed.
The Best Books I Read in 2019: My Top Recommendations for Moms
The best parenting books for new moms and moms of Littles
Anything from the Sears Family Library
Dr. Sears and his family have written an incredible library of resources. I can absolutely, honestly say that I would not be the same mom I am without them. They promote responsive parenting–that is, meeting Baby’s needs as Baby expresses them–and encourage parents to listen to their instincts. You shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to hold your baby, or feed them when they cry, or rock them to sleep. The Sears family weaves that empowerment into each volume of their writing.
Here are some of their books:
- “The Baby Book” Seriously, you need to at least have this one; it’s a nearly all-encompassing guide to a new baby
- “The Portable Pediatrician” An A-Z guide of the most common symptoms and health conditions for babies and children.
- “The Fussy Baby Book” How to live your best life with a high-need (fussy) baby.
- “The Baby Sleep Book” A guide to baby sleep that doesn’t pressure you to implement schedules or sleep train.
- “The Vaccine Book” Everything a parent needs to know about vaccines to be informed and make the best decisions for a child’s health and well-being.
- “The Attachment Parenting Book” How to parent responsively to your baby’s needs without schedules and training.
And a few others:
- The Birth Book
- The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood
- The Family Nutrition Book
- The Healthy Pregnancy Book
- The Discipline Book
You really can’t go wrong with any of these books! I have a shelf full of them, and they are fantastic.
If you enjoyed the show The Big Bang Theory, then you’re already familiar with the author of “Beyond the Sling:” Mayim Bialik. Whether you’re head over heels for attachment parenting, or still on the fence, Dr. Bialik makes a great case for it. “Beyond the Sling” is her family’s approach to and experience with attachment parenting, and it is such an enjoyable read.
If you’re interested in applying aspects of the Montessori Method at home, but you’re not really sure where to start with your toddler, you need this book. Not every parent can complete the hundreds of hours of training required to become a certified Montessori practitioner, nor should they have to.
The Montessori Toddler introduces you to the fundamental principles of the Montessori Method and walks you through the things you can do with your Little at home to “help them help themselves.” I love this book; it is clearly written and so easy to read and understand.
Brain Rules for Babies teaches you some cool science behind an infant’s brain development, starting in the womb and continuing into early childhood. You learn actual ways you can promote and stimulate your baby’s intellectual growth.
This is a good follow-up after you’ve read The Montessori Toddler. Most of the information in this book will be most actionable once you have an older toddler or preschooler. However, it doesn’t hurt to read it sooner to help clarify your vision for how you want to raise and educate your child as he grows. Nothing wrong with reading it again later!
The best books to get your life and home in order
These books are not written specifically for moms. In fact, some of these probably didn’t even have moms in mind. However, I think they are fantastic for applying to your home life and personal mindset. No matter what audience they were written for, you can swoop in and scoop up the best strategies and ideas to implement with your family and in your home.
The Madame Chic series
I can’t say that a lot of books have changed my life, but these books truly have. Jennifer Scott traveled to Paris as a typical college exchange student and had her eyes opened to the refined and intentional way the French approach daily life. She shares these insights with readers in 3 volumes:
- Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris
- At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life
- Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic: Lessons in Everyday Elegance
I consider these books must-reads for ANY woman. As a mom, you will be inspired and empowered to find beauty in the mundane and refine your approach to even the seemingly most inconsequential activities.
This is one of those books that makes you go, “WOW…what am I even doing?” While it was basically written for the career man to be more effective in his profession and rise quickly through the ranks, it will really make you deeply consider your vision in life, question the limits you’ve placed on yourself, and push you to think BIG. (A great read for teens, too!)
Honestly, I’m not terribly impressed with the writing in this book. I feel like it could have been more effective as a long-form blog post than an entire book. If you want to read it, I’d recommend checking your library before buying it.
With that being said, The 12 Week Year lays out a really novel strategy for businesses that I believe could make a huge impact in your home. Basically, rather than setting a 12 month timeline with your goals and year-end review falling at the end of the year, you treat each 3 month block as its own year.
Because I think it’s so valuable, I’ll be walking you through exactly how you can apply this business strategy in your home in an upcoming blog post, so make sure you’re subscribed to my email list if this is something you’re interested in learning!
There are a lot of books out there right now about habits and daily routines, but of all of the ones I’ve read/listened to, “Atomic Habits” is by FAR the best. I found this one to be the most engaging, as well as actionable. I’m thoroughly convinced routine and habit are JUST as important for moms as they are for CEO’s of huge companies. I guarantee you’ll take so much value from this book.
Another book written for career people, but we’re treating motherhood as a career, remember? This book is all about how to maximize your time to be effective and productive, and what mom doesn’t need that? It is your NO FLUFF guide to getting more done in less time. Every page is concise and actionable, making it an easy couple-hour read.
Starting Your Reading List
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that not only should you make reading a priority as a mom, but also that you have the time!
Just five minutes here and there throughout your day can add up to an entire book every week or two.
A reading list is a great way to map out the things you want to learn and meet specific goals. I’ve even made you a fully customizable reading plan to make it even easier to start reading more.
What is your favorite book genre? What are you reading right now, or planning to read next? Leave a comment below because maybe I want to read it, too!
If you found this post helpful, you should also check out:
- How to Structure Your Day to Get Things Done with a Baby
- Strategies to Make You a Calmer, Happier Mom
- Why You Should Treat Motherhood Like a Career
- 7 Ways to Feel Like Yourself Again as a SAHM