There are so many parenting books on the market today, covering topics anywhere from positive parenting (as opposed to negative parenting) to early development and even "aware parenting." Some parents are looking for a beginner guide, and others simply need a survival guide. No matter where parents are at, there’s likely a book to help.
Giving birth is a big deal, and so is keeping a tiny newborn alive. But after those hazy early months clear, at some point for many moms there will come a time to return to work following maternity leave.
I’m a birth doula by trade, which means that I support parents during the ups and downs of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood through the means of compassionate support, education, guidance and reassurance.
About six years ago I began checking in with my clients when their babies turned one year old. I was genuinely curious on how they were doing, and I wanted to wish their babies a happy birthday. I had no idea what was going to happen next.
I started getting really honest updates on how things changed after maternity leave.
One client shared how she developed postpartum depression shortly after returning to work, and how miserable her job was working long hours in television production. Another client shared how challenging pumping was during her busy work day that was filled with in-person meetings.
At the time, I didn’t have child myself, so I wasn’t really clued into the challenges working moms face when they return to work. (I currently have a three year old and two businesses… but that’s another story!) Because of this blind spot, I began to educate myself and assemble resources for moms preparing to head back to work following maternity leave.
Raising kids is no easy feat. Good parenting? What does that even mean? The answer is that it means a lot of things to a lot of people. And, because of that, there are a slew of parenting advice columns out there all about starting families and raising children. The internet is teeming with mommy blogs and some lifestyle news organizations have entire sections of their websites dedicated to parenting. But the parenting advice on the internet can be incredibly overwhelming. Where does one even start?
What most new moms want is a go-to parent guide that offers a lot of parenting advice all between two covers of a book... or all in one spot on their Kindle. Through my years of research, I’ve gathered a list of books that are written with the returning-to-work mama in mind. With these books, you'll be able to raise your kids and go back to work with confidence.
Below is the list, in no particular order, of books that help in micro and macro ways to prepare and support working new moms in their careers.
1. Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu
4. The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Big Success After Baby by Lauren Smith Brody
5. Work, Pump, Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work by Jessica Shortall
6. Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave by Lori Mihalich-Levin JD
7. Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink by Katrina Alcorn
8. The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home by Arlie Hochschild and Anne Machung
9. Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter
10. Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
The above list covers a wide variety of topics useful to both parenting and having a career as a parent. I hope they are as useful and inspiring to you, as they were for me.
Jennifer Mayer supports parents through pregnancy, birth, new parenthood and the transition back to work. Shes the founder of Baby Caravan, a birth & postpartum doula agency and Baby Caravan at Work, a corporate consulting practice based in New York City. Jennifer lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.