Books for new moms

New moms barely have time to bathe or eat. How could they possibly have time to read?! They make the time, that’s how — during their children’s naps, while nursing or as they wait in line at the doctor’s or the grocery store. Reading other moms’ stories, whether fact or fiction, can ease the isolation that new moms often feel and help them stay sane during that surreal time of early parenthood.

If you’re a mom, we wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day and offer the following reading suggestions that provide various views of motherhood.


Guarding the Moon: A Mother’s First Year by Francesca Lia Block
Block, author of the popular Weetzie Bat books for young adults, revels in the intense love she feels for her newborn daughter and reflects on her new life as a mother.

The Big Rumpus: A Mother’s Tale from the Trenches by Ayun Halliday
This thirty-something, hip mother of two from New York City’s East Village hilariously describes the challenges she faces each day as a happily imperfect urban mom.

Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott
As a single, recovering alcoholic who gets pregnant at 35, Lamott relies on her ample sense of humor and a diverse group of friends and neighbors to help her survive her son’s first year.

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Karen Maezen Miller
Using her experience as a mother and Zen teacher, Miller offers practical advice, encouragement and spiritual lessons to new mothers looking for greater self awareness.

Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family by Catherine Newman
Sweet, funny and candid memoir about expecting a second child while raising a toddler.

What Mothers Do Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen
Mothers reflect on how they spend their time with their babies, the isolation they sometimes feel and how they adapt to their new roles.


The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center
First-time mom Jenny Harris tries to remain optimistic when she unexpectedly winds up single, but then is too exhausted to respond when her perfect neighbor becomes interested in her. 

The Brambles by Eliza Minot
The three adult Bramble siblings – Max, Margaret and Edie – try to cope with their father’s illness while dealing with their already busy lives, full of the frenzy of children and other responsibilities.

I Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson
Armed with a healthy sense of humor and lengthy “Must Remember” lists, Kate Reddy attempts to juggle her escalating responsibilities as a British financial manager and mother of two young children.

Digging to America by Anne Tyler
Two Baltimore couples meet at the airport while waiting for their newly adopted infant daughters to arrive from Korea, thus forming a lengthy, though sometimes awkward, friendship between the two families.

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
Three women become friends after meeting at a prenatal yoga class and then help each other through the traumatic year that follows.

Mix of Fiction and Nonfiction

Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined edited by Andrea J. Buchanan and Amy Hudock
This collection of personal reflections about motherhood features fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry selected by the editors of

2 thoughts on “Books for new moms”

  1. Just the mention of “Operating Instructions” immediately made me smile. I first read it when my son was about 13 months, and never had I felt so strongly that someone was writing from within my skin — this time about the wonderful new experience of being a parent and having this amazing gift. Nice fiction titles, too. I thought “Digging to America” was fab; one of Tyler’s best in years. I think I’ll try “The Bright Side of Disaster.” Thanks for the suggestions and links.

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