I am proud to be affiliated with the experts who contributed chapters to Courageous Parents, Confident Kids — Letting Go So You Both Can Grow. I continue to collaborate with many of them, and I enthusiastically recommend their work:
Kella Hatcher and Maryanne Perrin, founders of Balancing Professionals and authors of The On-Ramping Guide: Tips, Exercises and Important Job Search Steps for Returning to Work After Time Out Raising Kids | Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
The books below were some of the most important in my research for my book Mojo Mom: Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family, and I highly recommend them.
The Mask of Motherhood: How Becoming a Mother Changes Our Lives and Why We Never
Talk About It by Susan Maushart. Maushart examines the unspoken cultural pressures and taboos that prevent mothers from expressing their full range of feelings, and the psychological and social implications of wearing the inauthentic mask of motherhood.
The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels. Douglas and Michaels make a compelling case for the damage done by the “cult of new momism”—the modern American vision of motherhood that sets unrealistic, romanticized standards of perfection that are forever out of reach.
The 7 Stages of Motherhood: Loving Your Life without Losing Your Mind by Ann Pleshette Murphy. Pleshette Murphy’s guide previews the seismic shifts that mothers undergo at each stage of their children’s development, from birth through the teen years, giving you a preview of the road you’ll be traveling.
I Wish Someone Had Told Me: A Realistic Guide to Early Motherhood by Nina Barrett. Barrett takes an unflinching look at the physical, emotional, and social challenges that women face in the first months of motherhood. She debunks common mothering myths, giving women an honest look at the realities of this transition.
This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Post-Partum Depression by Karen Kleiman and Valerie Raskin. This comprehensive guide details the symptoms of postpartum depression and describes a self-help program for women to use alone or with a therapist. It also provides information about mobilizing support from your husband or partner, family, and friends.
This Is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today by Kristin Maschka, past president of Mothers & More.
The Sleep Book for Tired Parents: Help for Solving Children’s Sleep Problems by Becky Huntley. This workbook equally considers four different sleep philosophies, helps you decide which approach is the best fit for your family, and tells you how to implement it. I recommend reading this before and after the baby arrives.
The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies-and How You Can, Too by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette. The “Milk Mamas” provide helpful practical advice as well as inspiration and empathy. This is an essential guide for mothers who continue breast-feeding while working. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
More Than a Mom: Living a Full and Balanced Life When Your Child Has Special Needs by Amy Baskin and Heather Fawcett. Mothers of special-needs children face even more challenges than other Moms in juggling caregiving priorities and still managing to find time for themselves. More Than a Mom is the essential resource for families who have children with developmental disabilities, mental health or learning issues, or chronic medical conditions.
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer. This slim, wise book about vocation traces Palmer’s quest to find his true vocation. Given that my focus is on motherhood, I was surprised by how closely Parker Palmer’s writing and core beliefs resonated with my own. His writing connected with my concept of mojo as one’s core source of power related to life’s meaning.
Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Karen Maezen Miller (Mojo Mom Podcast Interview) and Buddhism for Mothers and Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children by Sarah Napthali (Mojo Mom Podcast Interview). These gems address the always-surprising spiritual path of motherhood.
Mommy Guilt: Learn to Worry Less, Focus on What Matters More, and Raise Happier Kids by Julie Bort, Aviva Pflock, and Devra Renner. If you are mired in mommy guilt, this thoughtful guide can help you find your way out. The book weaves in experiences of real Moms who responded to the authors’ survey on mothering issues at a range of age levels and situations. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know: Getting Back to Basics and Raising Happy Kids by Michele Borba, Ed.D. There are so many good parenting books to choose from, but I especially appreciate Michele Borba’s approach. She takes the latest research and distills it to its essence. She knows that we Moms can really make our role harder and more stressful than it has to be. Her advice helps you focus on what really matters most, then allow yourself to let the rest go. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
Momfidence: An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting by Paula Spencer. Part parenting guide, part memoir, Momfidence can help lead you from insecurity to confidence, and help you laugh along the way. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
Mommy Mantras: Affirmations and Insights to Keep You from Losing Your Mind by Bethany Casarjian and Diane Dillon. Even if you’re not the mantra type, mommy mantras are useful phrases you can say in your head, or out loud if you need to, during those trying moments of mothering. They act to empower you, revive you, and remind you that there is always another way to see your situation.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Julia Cameron presents a comprehensive plan for becoming an “unblocked creative,” complete with a map telling you how to begin your journey, daily activities, and strategies to overcome roadblocks you may encounter on your way.
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp. Renowned as a dancer and choreographer, Twyla Tharp tells her readers that “in order to be creative, you have to know how to prepare to be creative”—and then she teaches them how to do it. This is an excellent resource that features exercises that will inspire any artist, novice or expert, in any field.
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. If you are feeling limited by your prescribed role in life, The Art of Possibility will help you see the world from many new angles and may lead you to new paths that help you reach
The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way by Hillary Rettig. Rettig’s guide to creating a sustainable life and avoiding burnout as an activist is equally applicable to our lives as mothers. She serves up practical management tips that will help managers, activists, and parents alike.
It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys: The Seven-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized by Marilyn Paul. Marilyn Paul’s book takes a deep look at the causes of disorganization. If you are really interested in getting down to the hidden, maladaptive “benefits” that keep us disorganized, and to change your attitude and behaviors at their core, this book can be a real eye-opener.
The Seven Secrets of Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver.
This accessible, research-based guide describes the key factors that help marriages succeed.
Equally Shared Parenting: Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents and www.EquallySharedParenting.com by Marc and Amy Vachon. Amy and Marc Vachon provide tips and tools for sharing family life more equally. The Vachons view the issue as broader than a black-and-white fifty-fifty split, providing many ideas to allow both parents to purposefully share breadwinning, child raising, housework, and recreation time. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel. Couples therapist Perel takes on the paradoxical union of committed relationships and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.
How to Avoid the Mommy Trap: A Roadmap for Sharing Parenting and Making It Work by Julie Shields. Practical and eye-opening, this book will change the way you approach motherhood. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home by Pamela Stone. Stone’s work is revolutionary because she did actual sociological research, studying the reasons that women left the paid workforce. She communicates her results with refreshing compassion and understanding. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny by Suze Orman
Kidding Ourselves: Babies, Breadwinning and Bargaining Power by Rhona Mahony. Kidding Ourselves traces the decisions that women and men make—usually unwittingly—before and after marriage, and especially after the birth of a child, that lead inevitably to an old-fashioned division of labor at home. She explores game theory and bargaining strategies to help women negotiate a more equitable deal.
She Wins, You Win: The Most Important Strategies for Making Women More Powerful by Gail Evans. We need to start building a new “old girls’ network.” Gail Evans fosters win-win scenarios for all women in business. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview
This Is How We Do It: The Working Mothers’ Manifesto by Carol Evans. As the CEO and president of Working Mother magazine, Carol Evans is truly an expert on helping working mothers create successful work and family lives.
Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke–the Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terrific by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. The guidebook for asking for and implementing ROWE, the Results-Only Work Environment. Mojo Mom Podcast Interview