We know, we know. Your life is crazy busy and you barely have time to read the instructions on the macaroni box. We get it. But you can sneak in a little reading time for yourself if you come prepared. We know you can’t afford to waste precious time on a book that’s going to leave you disappointed, so here are a few books, non-fiction as well as novels, recommended by your fellow mamas. Toss one of them in your car or tuck it in your purse or diaper bag so you’ll be ready the next time you’re stuck in a dentist’s waiting room or in a long line-up of cars at school. And don’t forget to check out what we’re reading to the kids, listed at the bottom of the page.
Eat This, Not That
By David Zinczenko
This book has made it to the bestseller list and has been featured on the Today Show a few times, too. Once you pick it up, you’ll see why. It gives you the facts and it gives them to you straight. No complicated food science explanations. And this book is perfect for those mamas like me who have a weakness for eating out. Most of the book is made up of double-page spreads, each one focusing on a different national chain restaurant. On the left side, you’ll see the “Eat This” list. At McDonald’s, that list includes my beloved Quarter Pounder (no cheese). On the right side, you’ll see the “Not That” list, like the Premium Grilled Chicken Club at McDonald’s. The book gives calorie counts, fat gram counts and sodium levels for specific menu items. And it’s not just fast food. There’s info on sit-down places like P.F. Chang’s, Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse. I also loved the list titled “8 Foods You Should Eat Everyday.” I posted that one on my fridge. Great little book. Quick read. Super helpful information. Your thighs will thank you.
What You Wear Can Change Your Life
By Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine
You may have seen the authors on the Oprah show, doing surprise makeovers on unsuspecting women in the mall. Their fashion advice is solid and the writing style is funny, funny, funny. If you like their show on BBC, you’ll love the book, too. I laughed out loud (which made everybody else waiting in the DMV lobby stare and wonder what was so funny). The book helped me figure out which colors work best on me and which styles work better on my body type. The authors don’t assume that everyone is built like Elle McPhereson and they’ll coach you on how to dress a body with big boobs, no boobs, saggy boobs, cellulite booty, saddlebags, flabby tummy – all those anatomical nightmares none of us want to think about. In photographs, they even bare their own “problem areas” to prove that we’re all in this thing together. It has a section on maternity wear, too!
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
By Marc Weissbluth, M.D.
A fellow mama recommended this book to me shortly after my firstborn was born and began an all-out strike against sleep. He had colic, wouldn’t sleep anywhere but on my chest, and I was just about at the end of my emotional, post-partum rope. I was reading everything I could get my hands on about how to get a baby to sleep. This was the book that helped the most because it helped me identify those critical windows of sleep opportunity. When I got that part down, a semi-recognizable schedule started to develop and things began to improve. It doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t easy. But if your kid has sleep issues, knowledge is power and that’s what this book gave me. I’m on kid number three, and this is still the first book I grab when a sleep issue crops up. Hope it helps you, too.
My Sister’s Keeper
Picoult can be addictive, so dive into one of her books with caution. She goes deep. When I finished My Sister’s Keeper I went online to learn more about the author, what other people thought of the novel (which is not particularly new, her books just weren’t on my radar) and how to pronounce Picoult (according to online inogolo the phonetic pronunciation is PEE-koe. An inogolo computer-guy voice will also pronounce it for you if you still aren’t sure. Raising hand.) Picoult takes on very sensitive subjects in her books, including euthanasia, teen suicide, and, most recently, school shootings. My Sister’s Keeper is also a doozy. The book focuses on the ethical dilemma a family faces after parents conceive a child for the purpose of creating a donor match for her older sibling with leukemia. You might work up a good cry, but that can be cathartic, right? By the way, I read somewhere that when Picoult’s daughter finished the book she stomped into her room and refused to speak to her mother for quite sometime.
What We’re Reading to the Kids
The Best Pet of All
By David LaRochelle
This is a great picture book with a sense of humor, too. My 5-year-old used to request it at bedtime over and over again. I read it to his kindergarten class one day and it got big laughs there, too.
Drat that Fat Cat
By Pat Thomson
A story about a cat with a big appetite, this one is a hit with the 3-year-old crowd. The pictures are funny and it has a repeating line that your little one will chime in with once he knows the story.
Where Does Maisy Live?
By Lucy Cousins
This is a short board book with the same type of illustrations you see in the Maisy cartoon on the Noggin channel. My 1-year-old daughter loves this one because it has flaps you can lift to find animals underneath. And who doesn’t love it when their baby girl learns how to say “dog” and “woof, woof, woof”?
By Grace Maccarone and Sam Williams
A board book with a sweet little bedtime rhyming prayer that helps kids count their blessings. Sure to be a favorite with babies and moms, too.