Congratulations! You are embarking on an exciting and overwhelming journey all at one time. There are so many books out there to read but not enough time to get them all in before the baby is born. This list is a compilation of some books that will get you started in the right direction from the beginning.
This was one of the first books I read early on and it definitely challenged me to think about my role as a parent. We know that we are going to be parents, and that role requires some work, but how many of us thought about the idea of being a “conscious” parent? Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. begins her book with a crossroad between two potentially valid points of learning with her own child: teaching her the value of a dollar or celebrating her daughter’s “willingness to be so generous with her one and only dollar” (1). Instead of just picking one and running with it, Tsabary carefully weighed the importance of each one and ultimately chose to reward the innocent and honest intent of her daughter’s heart. Tsabary challenges us as parents to consider the spiritual and emotional aspect of our children in our responses, evaluate our perception of perfection and control, and to actively engage with them.
The premise of this book by Catherine Hickem, LCSW, is being intentional in your parenting. It addresses 7 principles, many of which are completely applicable to every mother regardless of their religious beliefs. Among the seven principles is addressing your own fears, emotional intelligence, knowing your purpose, and standing your ground when the kids aren’t happy with you. I love how principle 5 specifically addresses the fact that “[h]appiness is a transitory state” but a relationship built on love and respect has the “lifetime potential for them to navigate the later years with greater ease and trust increases dramatically” (Hickem 128-29).
Now this one is a devotional by Michelle Senters, and if you’re not religious, you may choose to skip over this one. However, even if you’re not religious, you might consider reading this book and seeing how finding a religion or something to believe and hope in might help you. This book right here is for the single mother (though married mothers may also benefit). In my emotionally charged and tumultuous year of 2018, I fought with everything to get back into a right place spiritually and this book ministered to be like no other. I was not ready to put it down when it ended, and as I type this out, I’m thinking of starting it over again soon. Senters founded SEEN which is a ministry for single mothers. More about that can be found at www.seenministries.org.
This book was written by Lee Nienhuis. Don’t ask me how to pronounce her last name, I have no clue. This book isn’t specifically for single mothers. It quite often references both parents. However, it is still relevant to the parenting journey. It is also religion based. The first two parts of the book addresses the mother handling her fears and dealing with her own doubts and shortcomings in preparation of the third part, which is teaching the children about different important traits. These traits are important in developing your children to be incredible adults impacting the world for a greater cause. I was personally convicted and challenged by this book and will be re-reading it as well soon.
5. The Single Mother’s Book: A Practical Guide to Managing Your Children, Career, Home, Finances, and Everything Else
This book is more of a practical guide for dealing with major (and some minor) issues that single mothers face. It is not religious based. I skipped a number of sections dealing with the ex-partner and his family and all of the legal concerns around that as it doesn’t apply to me, but for many of you, it will. The author, Joan Anderson, was a single mother as well. The book is pretty comprehensive dealing with redefining the family, legal battles, dealing with ex’s, finances, teenagers, potential romantic partners, remarrying and more.
I know the title of this post says 5, but I couldn’t help but include this one. Whether you know you’re going to breastfeed or not, maybe you’re on the fence, read this book. Ina May Gaskin provides a wealth of knowledge on the health benefits of breastfeeding, how to fix the baby’s latch, and contains all sorts of interesting stories of women across multiple cultures and how their society views breastfeeding. You can make your own choice for you and yours, but you can’t hurt for reading this whether you decide it just isn’t for you.