Books About Being a Working Mom

Monday, September 9, 2019

As my maternity leave winds down, I find myself impatient with long fiction and more compelled to seek out books that might help me navigate this new aspect of my life.

Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Motherhood
Allyson Downey, 2016

Even though I read this book late, and thus skimmed through chapters that no longer applied to me, I’m glad I found this one. From information about planning to take leave and being pregnant at work to discussing the division of household chores and balancing work and childcare, this book is full of concrete advice delivered with good humor.

It covers the bases without getting too far into the weeds in a style that’s breezy enough to read when somewhat sleep-deprived. The narration is peppered with personal anecdotes, examples, and quotes. It’s definitely targeted to white-collar office workers, but that works for me.

My favorite part of this book might be a brief section about research into “mommy brain.” The takeaway: sleep deprivation is real, busyness and shifting priorities are real, but the cultural idea that pregnancy causes memory loss, etc. causes many pregnant and postpartum people to perceive that they have lost much more function than is actually borne out in research.

The further reading section looks to be full of interesting titles too.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book


Work. Pump. Repeat. The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work
Jessica Shortall, 2015

This short, targeted text is exactly the kind of practical, friendly manual that this topic needs. I found it at just the right time, too, when I was having trouble with feeding and low-key panicking about being ready to go back to work.

The section on pump technology is already a little bit out of date in terms of brands and models, but I already had all my equipment in hand, so that didn’t make a difference to me.

After reading this book, I feel both ready to take on pumping for a while and ready to adjust the plan depending on how it goes. After slogging through so much advice online or in other books that seemed only for stay-at-home moms or breastfeed-or-die die-hards, I loved so many parts of this book. The funny-sad stories of the lengths people go through to feed their child breastmilk; the section on when and how many people balance pumping with supplementing; and especially the section on keeping perspective and dealing with your emotional reactions and pressure from others.

5 Stars - An Awesome Book

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