While there were a lot of things that I suddenly didn’t have time for when I first became a mom (I swear I didn’t cook a thing until a month after Charlie was born), one that I suddenly did have plenty of time for was reading. Charlie was a little bit of a lazy eater, so he would sometimes take 45 minutes to nurse in those early days. I occasionally watched a show on Netflix or (way too often) scrolled through social media, but by far the most fulfilling way I occupied my mind during that time was by digging into some great books. Since a lot of that reading was done in the middle of the night, suspenseful page-turners were out of the question. My heart craved reassurance that I wasn’t alone in those sensitive days of early motherhood, so I gravitated toward books that were practical and encouraging. Here are a few favorites I’ve read over the last year and a half that I would especially recommend to new moms!
The Magic of Motherhood, by Ashlee Gadd | Coffee + Crumbs
I’ve proceeded to gift this book to practically all my friends when they have babies! I laughed, I cried, and I nodded my head yes a hundred times over in this breathtaking collection of essays about motherhood. The early days of motherhood can feel oddly lonely, but this book made me feel like I was part of something so much bigger.
The Mother of the Little Flower, by Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face
This was the book I downloaded on Kindle after a mini breakdown about not knowing how on EARTH to be a good mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and writer, all at the same time. My prayers led me to St. Zelie (the mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, who was canonized along with her husband in 2015) and this book by one of her daughters, Sister Genevieve. Zelie was a devoted wife, a mother of nine, a business owner (she made Alençon lace!), and a woman of incredible faith. This book, which includes recollections about her as well as many of her own letters, quickly became one of the most influential books I’ve ever read…and parts of it felt like reading a 19th-century mom blog :)
Grace, Not Perfection, by Emily Ley
I read most of this book for the first time while sitting on the floor of the nursery with one hand on the book and one hand on Charlie’s chest while he rocked in the swing and tried to learn how to nap, ha! It was an incredibly encouraging read that reminded me that I already had everything I needed in order to be both the mom and the writer God was calling me to be.
How to Celebrate Everything, by Jenny Rosentrach
This book helped me look beyond middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper blowouts to all of the joys that were ahead of us in raising a child. Jenny writes beautifully about rituals and traditions and why they are such essential, meaningful parts of family life. It was so much fun to dream about what our family culture may look like in five, ten years while reading!
Cultivate, by Lara Casey
“Seasons” is a word you hear an awful lot of as soon as you become a mom, and for good reason. I love the way Lara dug into what we can learn from the unique seasons we go through in life and how each one helps us to appreciate the others. It’s definitely a message every new mama should take to heart!
The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines
It is no secret that the Gaines’ are wildly inspiring :) I read this when Charlie was about a month old and it was so much fun to learn more about their story and see the way they truly put their family first in all things.
If there’s anything you would add to this list, pop it in the comments–I’d love to add your suggestions to my 2018 reading list!