Finding Momspiration in Books


mom inspirationThere are times when Momming requires inspiration. Mom blogs are great for short bursts and immediacy but sometimes I need more. I need longer.  

I need books.

Nobody has time to read books. I ignore much of life – and things I shouldn’t ignore – in order to read. I understand not everyone can or wants to make that choice.

However, as the nights grow longer and the weather grows colder, you might be looking for a good read. If that good read happens to offer some insight on surviving and thriving parenthood, all the better.  

Here are a few books I’ve drawn inspiration from lately. Some are fiction, some are nonfiction, some are kids’ books. All are available at your local library.

Night Bitch by Rachel Yoder – I can’t say enough about this novel, truly. The premise of the book might sound a bit fantastical, but is actually so completely grounded in reality you’ll soon let that go. The story features a stay-at-home mom with a toddler son and a husband who regularly travels for work. In the midst of her many days alone with her son, the narrator realizes she’s starting to develop physical canine characteristics and become what she calls “Night Bitch.” Ultimately, the book is about transformation and identity and motherhood and the dance they twirl together every single day. I could quote nearly every page of this to describe my own parenting journey and the book has stayed with me ever since. Bonus, the author lives in Iowa.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle
I heard Glennon Doyle on a podcast with Brené Brown (yet another source for inspiration) and was interested enough to check out her book. I know very little about her public persona or her past work. However, something she said resonated with me, and pretty soon I was listening to her audiobook. I’ll be honest, I only made it 82% of the way through before I had to return it for the next person on the hold list, but I appreciated so much of what she had to say. She talks about being a woman, what it means to be a mom, how she parents her three children, and how to do hard things.

Anxious People by Frederik Backman
This is fiction by a man so how can it possibly offer inspiration for motherhood? My answer to that is to point to the first word in the title. Like many of Backman’s books, the set-up is a bit strange: eight strangers are held hostage by a bank robber who failed to actually rob a bank. Ultimately, it’s a story of people sharing anxieties and finding empathy and kindness for themselves and others. I find myself drawn to stories of kindness these days. (Why, yes, I do watch
Ted Lasso.)  When dealing with the many anxieties of the world and reacting to crabby children, I need as many reminders to be kind as possible.

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I’m always happy when brilliant writers are willing to share their personal correspondence with the rest of us. By request, Adichie wrote a letter to a friend offering 15 suggestions for raising her friend’s daughter to be a feminist. This short book is incredibly readable and yet filled with so much. Anytime someone can break down a segment of parenting into 15 simple steps, I’m there. Almost all of her suggestions are applicable to raising any child and will give you plenty to think about. 

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous.
This one is going to be hard to explain. So there’s this Twitter account called Duchess Goldblatt. The Duchess is a complete fabrication and never existed in real life yet her tweets are beloved by many. The Duchess’s creator is anonymous to the general public.  This creator wrote a memoir about her real life and her need to create the Duchess, and she does so without revealing who she really is. It doesn’t matter who she is because the book is all about someone dealing with a lot and this fictional character offers an outlet full of love and kindness. Part of what the writer deals with is divorce and sharing their child, and they also describe general parental angst we can all relate to. I have since started following the Twitter account and it is delightful and nearly guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Again, any source of warm fuzzies is welcome.

Happy Right Now by Julie Berry and Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival  
We read a lot of children’s books in our house. As you all know, some of these books are completely lovely and many of them are completely forgettable. These two are my reigning favorites at the moment and my daughter has started to complain that I always want to read them. Yes, honey, because Mommy needs them. Happy Right Now offers its main character a constant choice: wait to be happy until all conditions are ideal or decide to be happy in spite of the circumstances. I need this reminder daily, if not hourly. Ruby Has a Worry features Ruby who becomes aware of an unnamed worry that’s growing bigger and bigger. Spoiler alert, she discovers that talking to others about the worry helps it stop growing, even if it never leaves completely. I learn a lot from children’s fiction. 

Where do you find inspiration?

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