Admiration and Advice: 3 Books for Moms Who Return To Work

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Many—if not most—of the women in my social circles are having babies. They are in various stages—newly pregnant, moms for the first time, moms welcoming younger siblings into their brood. Some moms-to-be are working outside of their homes (or from home for their outside of the home jobs—strange times!) until almost the moment they give birth. Other moms are choosing to take time to be with family and not returning to work outside of the home in the near future. Some moms are single. Some moms have partners. Some moms are in between, deciding what could be best for them and their little ones.

As a single woman who has chosen to not have children, all of these scenarios fascinate and inspire me. I can’t fathom what it’s like to have to make these choices. Little lives depend on them! Books help, right? Here are books that can be helpful to moms and also to those of us who would like to know more about the kinds of decisions they encounter.

The Working Mom's Handbook Cover

The Working Mom’s Handbook: A Survival Guide for Returning to Work After Having a Baby by Ali Velez Alderfer

This guide is labeled as a handbook for surviving that time period when parents shift back towards working outside of the home. It has insights into legalities like time to take care of post-pregnancy medical issues and dealing with discrimination in the workplace. It discusses budgeting time as well as budgeting money. I love that it includes ideas about handling pressure from all angles. Stress can arise from work and from family and from society all at once, not at a pace we choose. This book focuses on self-care as a way to survive the return to work in addition to the work of being a mom.

Full disclosure: Ali Velez Alderfer is one of those aforementioned women in my life whom I admire. She had a baby. She returned to work outside of the home. She wrote a book about it. Yowza.

The Art of Good Enough Cover

The Art of Good Enough: The Working Mom’s Guilt-Free Guide to Thriving While Being Perfectly Imperfect by Dr. Ivy Ge

Perfection is simply a word. It’s a concept that is perhaps unattainable. Yet, humans strive for perfection. This book allows moms to recognize that perfection and happiness are two different words, concepts, and goals. In offering solid logic and caring advice, this guide shows how being a mom who works outside of the home is inspiring, not a place of guilt. Dr. Ge sheds light on emotional challenges as well as practicalities like time management. There are also some sections about raising children to find their own strengths in the way moms find their own, too.

Working Moms How We Do It Cover

Working Moms How We Do ‘It’: Maximize Success at Home and Work by Rojan Robotham

Here’s a book that’s a bit more anecdotal with essays about successes at home and work. It offers interviews that reveal how real moms have balanced work and home life. Additionally, it acts as a guide with advice for building communities of moms as a support system and life-hacks to save time and energy, two precious aspects of a busy life. I also love how the book from the title and throughout puts ‘It’ in quotation marks—that word ‘it’ refers to so many challenges, pathways, endeavors, and triumphs in two little letters.

As a yoga instructor, life coach, and reiki practitioner, I’m constantly stressing balance and self-care. The authors of these guides show different ways for moms to take care of themselves at work and at home, as women and as moms. They also encourage happiness and strength as keys to create an atmosphere in which their families can thrive.

For more books, fiction and nonfiction, about motherhood, check out this list.