Parenting Books: 7 Titles Moms Should Read Before Returning to Work

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By Lisa Durante

READ MORE: Career advice, Maternity leave, Family, Work-life balance, New moms, Parenting, Working moms, Return to work

The working mom is many things: a parent, a professional, and a woman.

Each role is unique yet demanding. Managing all three—often at the same time—requires a delicate balance, as well as advice and support, inspiration, and strategies to manage the demands of a hectic schedule.

That’s where these seven parenting books and important guides come in. Before you head back to work, and even if you’ve already returned to the office, these parent guides and books for keeping a positive parenting-working life balance will provide a fresh perspective on how to juggle careers, children, and all of life's demands.

Bringing up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
By Pamela Druckerman

Less of a parenting advice manual and more of a story, Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bébé is a witty tale of an American woman giving birth to and raising her first child in France. Through each of her stories, the author explores the French perspective on raising children who are polite, eat their vegetables, and sleep through the night. We also get a glimpse into the lives of French working mothers, who seem to have less guilt and more time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures than American mothers seem to do.

Work Pump Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work
By Jessica Shortall

Returning to work as a breastfeeding mom is not for the faint of heart. With heavy doses of humor and absolutely no judgements, Pump Work Repeat is a survival guide that empowers working moms with new babies with stories from the trenches, hacks, and strategies to make pumping at work, on airplanes, and in between meetings easier. Jessica Shortall shares her personal experiences and those of hundreds of other working moms who have pumped at work. There are also plenty of practical tools like a conversation guide to share your plans to pump at work with your manager.

No Regrets Parenting: Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments With Your Kids
By Harley A. Rotbart

We only have 24 hours in a day. No Regrets Parenting helps busy parents make the most of their time with their children. Reframining the idea of quality time, this guide offers time management strategies and parenting advice that turn the mundane, exhausting routines of parenthood into opportunities to intimately and meaningfully connect with your kids.

The Pie Life: A Guilt-free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction
By Samantha Ettus

The Pie Life rethinks work-life balance. No longer a two-sided scale where work sits in opposition to life and time with families, Samantha Ettus reenvisions the balance by imagining it in the shape of a pie. The book offers ways to nurture each of seven areas, or slices of a pie, to sustain a thriving personal and professional life. To bring lessons to life, the author shares the personal stories of hundreds of women, including Shonda Rhimes, Gayle King, Sallie Krawcheck and more.

The MomShift: Women Share their Stories of Career Success After Having Children
By Reva Seth

The myth that having families destroys careers persists. It can leave even the most optimistic working mom fearful that career success is a thing of the past, and believe that good parenting is not compatible with professional life. Not so. The MomShift explores the experiences of working mothers who achieved more success in the months and years after having children. The stories aren’t glamorous by any means, but they are remarkable. Depicting the demanding schedules and other challenges women face at work and as parents, these real-life experiences also show us what is possible when we negotiate the terms of balance and let go of guilt.

Drop the Ball: Achieving More By Doing Less
By Tiffany Dufu

The dream of “having it all” at some point shifted into “doing it all” for too many working mothers. Such was the case with Tiffany Dufu, who realized her life was unmanageable as she tried to balance her growing career while raising two children and being a “good” wife to her partner. Drop the Ball describes the changes Tiffany made to create a more manageable life for herself. The book offers a mix of strategic frameworks and practical tactics that will free working moms of the unrealistic expectations that we (and others) place upon us.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are
By Brené Brown

Famed social work researcher Brené Brown schools readers on how to stop spending our lives trying to fulfill someone else’s expectations about who we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to do, and what we are supposed to want. Instead, she offers us 10 guideposts that help us build the courage, compassion, and connection we need to be who we really are, all the while embracing our imperfections and recognizing that we are enough just as we are.

BONUS: Novels of fiction

There are plenty of books analyzing niche parenting style subjects and good parenting skills, as well as topics related to mothers who work, but you can also learn about parenting styles and receive other kinds of advice by reading fiction. Novels can give you the perspective you need to be a more empathetic, reasonable, and open-minded parent, colleague, leader, partner, friend, and so much more. Reading is also a great stress reliever. So, before you head back to work, get into the habit of reading (or listening to) novels regularly.

 

Lisa Durante is committed to helping working mothers thrive. She offers working moms training and resources to help them manage the transitions that come with parenthood. She also consults companies to better manage and support employees through parental transitions.

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I just came back to work after getting 6 weeks of maternity leave. I was originally told that I would get the days that we got for Christmas and New Years added to the end of my maternity leave before I had my son but then a week before I was to come back that I would not get those days so I ended up having to take half of my vacation days since I already had appointments made. Also, there are other women at my job that either just had a child or are pregnant that are getting to work from home full time but I am not allowed to. My company does not have much in writing for maternity leave as we are a smaller company that does not qualify for FMLA. Also, now that I am back, things are very different. I do not really feel welcomed back as not many people are talking to me at all including my bosses. I am having such a hard time leaving my son and the whole situation at work isn't helping. Should I look for a new job or stick it out?

I think I'm being mommy-tracked at work and it's incredibly

I think I'm being mommy-tracked at work and it's incredibly frustrating. I'm two months back from maternity leave and putting in the same hours as I used to but I'm getting these subtle signs that I'm not taken as seriously -- ranging from not being asked about wanting to spearhead things to the stink eye when I walk out the door (at the same time I roughly used to leave the office). What should I do?

Related Community Discussions

I'm having trouble focusing on work since coming back from

I'm having trouble focusing on work since coming back from maternity leave. My job is very busy and pre-baby, I couldn't get my work done unless I was 100% focused on the project at hand for the full day. Now my mind wanders to thinking about the baby and everything that needs to get home. How can I manage my full-time job plus my new responsibilities without losing my mind?

Do most women do some work while on leave -

Do most women do some work while on leave - or at least check in with colleagues on what's going on at the office? Or is it better to totally disconnect?

Not sure what to do...

I just came back to work after getting 6 weeks of maternity leave. I was originally told that I would get the days that we got for Christmas and New Years added to the end of my maternity leave before I had my son but then a week before I was to come back that I would not get those days so I ended up having to take half of my vacation days since I already had appointments made. Also, there are other women at my job that either just had a child or are pregnant that are getting to work from home full time but I am not allowed to. My company does not have much in writing for maternity leave as we are a smaller company that does not qualify for FMLA. Also, now that I am back, things are very different. I do not really feel welcomed back as not many people are talking to me at all including my bosses. I am having such a hard time leaving my son and the whole situation at work isn't helping. Should I look for a new job or stick it out?

I think I'm being mommy-tracked at work and it's incredibly

I think I'm being mommy-tracked at work and it's incredibly frustrating. I'm two months back from maternity leave and putting in the same hours as I used to but I'm getting these subtle signs that I'm not taken as seriously -- ranging from not being asked about wanting to spearhead things to the stink eye when I walk out the door (at the same time I roughly used to leave the office). What should I do?

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