The 10 Best Books for Working Moms to Read

UPDATED: May 14, 2024
PUBLISHED: May 19, 2023
expecting mom reading book in bed

Whether an expecting or experienced mother, there is always more to learn and be inspired by. These 10 books for working moms provide encouragement, advice and brutal honesty for the women trying to extract the core pleasures of this dual role without the unattainable ideals. These books are also for the working moms who just want to maintain their sanity. 

Books with advice for working moms

1. How Are You, Really?: Living Your Truth One Answer at a Time

By Jenna Kutcher

Are you trying to balance everything in your life—your career, aspirations, family and friends—all at once without a break? As the idea of balance becomes more popular in the workplace, take a breath. Remember that it’s also an important aspect of your personal life, and stop trying to be such a high achiever that you forget who you are or what you want to do.

Author Jenna Kutcher knows the struggle of achieving success only to lose focus on balance and identity among the demands of her job and family. She wrote How Are You, Really? to help other high-achieving women create spacious, fulfilling lives. The three-part book discusses personal stories from Kutcher’s childhood, the benefits of finding a community and support system and how to find space in your life to live the way you desire.

So whether you’re a businesswoman trying to stay sane while having it all, a working mom looking to make more room in your life or even just someone who hasn’t been able to find the fulfillment they’ve been searching for, this book is here to help.

2. Ambitious Like a Mother: Why Prioritizing Your Career Is Good for Your Kids

By Lara Bazelon

Is it possible to achieve true work-life balance as a woman in the workplace when you’re often expected to not only manage your assigned tasks, but the lion’s share of the work at home? And for mothers in the workplace, there’s even more to do.

Author Lara Bazelon argues that it’s important for women to allow themselves to put their career first. While you may feel like you always need to put your children first—and sometimes, you should—while also balancing and managing your life and work, you’re really creating an impossible situation. Instead, allow yourself to be selfish. According to Bazelon, doing so models a valuable work ethic for your children. You’re showing them not only how to use their skills to make a difference in the lives of others and in the world around them, but that it’s possible to succeed in work and in life—if only you let yourself take the chance to be ambitious.

3. Work, Parent, Thrive: 12 Science-Backed Strategies to Ditch Guilt, Manage Overwhelm, and Grow Connection (When Everything Feels Like Too Much) 

By Yael Schonbrun, Ph.D.

Sometimes what we need to improve our lives aren’t stories and lessons, but actionable strategies. And that’s what Work, Parent, Thrive aims to do—provide a way for us to rebalance work and parenting. Twelve ways, to be exact, each of which are based in acceptance and commitment therapy principles. 

In this three-part book, author Yael Schonbrun, Ph.D., shares how working parents can change their mindset, take a strategic approach to work and parenting and improve their emotional well-being. With strategies including “When You’re Lost, Let Values Be Your Guide,” “Rethink Your Rest” and “Tend to Your Happiness Needs,” alongside stories from Schonbrun’s own research, Work, Parent, Thrive helps you achieve success—and reduce stress—in both domains of your life. 

4. The Working Mother Ultimate Guide to Working From Home: How to Survive in Your Job, Care for Your Kids, and Stay Sane

By Working Mother magazine

As if motherhood didn’t have enough difficulties, for some parents, the pandemic added working and/or learning from home to the mix. While it may have given you more time to spend with your child—or to keep an eye on them—it also came with its own set of difficulties as it blurred the work-life boundary for many employees.

The Working Mother Ultimate Guide to Working From Home is here to help. With each chapter written by a different person, the book provides 40 suggestions to help working moms make it through remote work with their—and their childrens’—sanity intact. From the guilt of not making your children your only priority and not being available at all hours to maintaining the mental health of your children, The Working Mother Ultimate Guide to Working From Home is here to help working mothers not only survive, but thrive.

5. Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids

By Hunter Clarke-Fields

How many of us have looked at the parents around us and said we wouldn’t raise our kids the way they had chosen to? Of course, it’s all well and good to say that, but when stress and frustration get the better of us, are we actually living it?

Author Hunter Clarke-Fields is here to help us raise compassionate children by teaching us to act with compassion, even in our most frustrated moments. In this two-part book, she first shares how to manage your own emotions, then teaches us how to be there for our children. A useful tool for any present or future parent, Raising Good Humans teaches us to mindfully take charge of our reactivity, form stronger relationships with our children and—most importantly of all—teach them how to be caring human beings.

6. Enough About the Baby: A Brutally Honest Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood

By Becky Vieira

It’s unlikely that any aspect of parenting will always be the picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy moments you see on social media, and trying to meet that ideal will only lead to frustration and failure. Author Becky Vieira shuns the idea of idealistic motherhood. Instead, she is here to be completely straight with mothers, providing them with honest and helpful information for making it through the first year of motherhood.

From your time in the hospital to figuring out friendships, Enough About the Baby provides new mothers with everything they need to know, including lists to work through in order to preserve your sanity and additional resources, along with a message of the importance of prioritizing self-care when you need it. 

Relatable and inspirational books for working moms

1. Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood

By Jessica Grose

How many of today’s mothers have seen the bloggers, social media influencers and other “perfect” moms whose appearance, creativity, energy and patience never seem to fade or wane? It’s easy to internalize what we see around us and assume we aren’t living up to the attainable ideal. 

Author Jessica Grose tried to meet self-imposed expectations during her first pregnancy, and after failing to do so, began to discover just how impossible many of these ideas and expectations are.

Now, in her discussion of topics including “pregnancy,” “identity,” “work” and “social media,” Grose describes both her own experiences and those of other mothers. Despite the “wholly unsustainable” expectations of mothers that Grose points out, all is never lost—while things may seem bleak, there is always a way forward, and Grose ends her book by sharing the potential we have to create something better for mothers in America. 

2. Cat and Nat’s Mom Truths: Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood

By Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer

Some mothers may already know authors Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer, hosts of the Cat & Nat Unfiltered podcast and stars of their own live show. With seven children between them, the pair are intimately familiar with motherhood. Over the years, they have used their platform to unravel the unrealistic depictions of motherhood presented to us via social media and create a community of like-minded, perfectly imperfect mothers.

Now, Belknap and Telfer have written a book, Cat and Nat’s Mom Truths, to delve deeper into the subject that built their current careers and share their message with a wider audience. From what you actually need to pack for the hospital and discussing worries about germs, to how to deal with tantrums and let yourself have bad days, the authors share the realities of motherhood and stories of their own experiences, all imbued with the humor and dash of inappropriateness they are known for. 

3. Detoured: The Messy, Grace-Filled Journey from Working Professional to Stay-at-Home Mom

By Jen Babakhan

Sometimes the path we decide to take in life isn’t the one we expected, or even the one we’re encouraged to take. Author Jen Babakhan’s decision to become a stay-at-home mother wasn’t an easy one, but it was the right choice for her. Now, she offers advice and encouragement for other mothers who have decided to take the same journey.

Babakhan recounts the honest trials and joys of becoming a stay-at-home mother while inviting readers to learn from her story. With chapters including “Making Room for Honesty,” “More Than Motherhood” and “The Beauty and the Balance,” Babakhan shares the isolation that can come from being a stay-at-home parent, the need to discover an identity outside of work and the encouragement and comfort she wishes she’d had when she started her journey. 

4. Becoming

By Michelle Obama

Author Michelle Obama has lived an extraordinary life: She was a lawyer, then the first Black first lady. Now she’s an advocate for healthy living and for women around the world.

In her memoir, Michelle Obama shares the story behind that life, from her childhood in the South Side of Chicago and the trials and joys that occurred during early motherhood, to the presidential campaign and her time as first lady. While this is not a book of tools for your proverbial motherhood toolkit, Obama’s story has the power to motivate and inspire anyone who reads it, encouraging us to strive toward the potential that comes with risk and a willingness to push yourself.

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