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I know what you're saying: "I'm sorry. You're telling me to read books? When do you think I have time to read a book - before, during or after the millionth diaper change/midnight feeding/cry sesh?"
You're right, but hear me out. You need time for yourself, and you need encouragement. These books gave me that during the first few months of Dax's life. Dax would only sleep when being held (and still does, don't judge!). It often feels like a curse, but it can be such a blessing. Otherwise, I don't think I would ever stop to breathe. During his naps, I grab a book (sometimes the remote, don't judge!) and some encouragement.
1. The Supermom Myth, by Becky Kopitzke: One of the moms in my play group recommended this book to me, and I'm so glad. The title speaks for itself. Blogger Becky Kopitzke breaks down eight "villains" we must conquer in motherhood, but not the ones you might expect (i.e. sleep habits, feeding schedules). She covers the real stuff like resenting your husband for getting to go to the office and comparing yourself to other "pinterest perfect" moms. It is relatable, honest and comforting. Read this for sure.
2. Comforts from the Cross, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick: This month long devotional was given to me at the end of Little Legacies, the 8 week mommy and me group hosted at my church for first time moms. I love it. I had forgotten how important it is to focus on the gospel! What a terrible thing to forget. This book encouraged me every day by reminding me that I am a sinner. Nothing I do can change that, so I need to come to God and rest in his glory and the magnitude of what he has done for me. I found myself thinking I could do this parenting thing on my own, and then feeling like a failure when I would break down. We need to be reminded of how human we are, and how God provides. This devotional was the perfect prescription for my ego.
3. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, by Gloria Furman: This is very similar to Comforts from the Cross, but specifically written for mothers. I love that you can go awhile without reading a page and easily pick up right where you left off. It is immensely encouraging and got me through so many of the times I thought exhaustion was going to overtake me emotionally.
4. Stuff Every Mom Should Know, by Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss: This book is sort of an extension of Heather and Whitney's blog, Rookie Moms, which I recommend. It has practical advice about all sorts of things like how to meet other moms (very important to me) and types of parenting. I most appreciate that they present the topics without judgment and with a little humor. I definitely recommend this one for a little pick me up too.
5. Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman: I have to put a disclaimer on this recommendation: in my opinion, there is no one way to parent, all children are different, so I recommend reading everything (short of the Bible) as simply one person's opinion, take it or leave it. However, the sheer volume of 5 star reviews of this book should be enough to tell you it's worth reading. Though the author references medical and professional studies, but I would need to visit France myself to actually believe French parenting to be a thing at all, let alone such an amazing thing. (Think my husband would buy this as a legit excuse for a vacation?) I still very much enjoyed the storytelling in this book, and as for some of Druckerman's observations I may even choose the "take it" option.
Whether or not it is with a good book, find time for yourself and find encouragement anywhere you can. Motherhood is hard, and you're not alone!