Mother's Day is fast approaching. This year, I’ve asked my kids for a new mop. It has been quite the quarantine. Like the rest of us who aren’t bravely fighting the virus on the hospital’s front lines, I’ve been in my own constant state of triage. With four kids at home and endless homeschooling and housework, is any day these days not Mother's Day?
Unfortunately, Mother’s Day this year won’t look any different than every single other day for the past six weeks. (You know, we’ll be at home.)
So instead of thinking about my own celebration, I’m finding meaning and joy in hopefully delighting other mothers who mean a lot to me. My mom. My mother-in-law. My 96-year-old grandmother. My best friend in Philly with three teenagers. My preschool mom friend struggling in Florida with three tiny tots.
And I’ll be sending them books. Not because they’ll necessarily have time to read them (as my podcast says, “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books”) but because even the thought of escaping into them… someday… might get them through this moment of fear and uncertainty.
Plus, there’s really no more thoughtful gift than a book. Except, perhaps, a mop.
Here are a few books for all the moms on your list. And if you don’t have a list, start making one now.
For the consummate caretaker
'What We Carry: A Memoir' by Maya Shanbhag Lang
Maya learns her brilliant physician mom has Alzheimer’s soon after she has a daughter herself. Caught between caring for her mother -- consequently uncovering some family secrets -- and her child, Maya writes in absolutely beautiful compelling prose about what it means to be a daughter -- and a mother -- today.
For the fiction lover
'The Imperfects' by Amy Meyerson
When their grandmother dies, the Miller siblings discover a 137-carat yellow Austrian gem (think: “Titanic”) that hasn’t been seen in a century. What they unearth about their family after their initial discovery is almost as shocking. A page-turning family saga, this book will entertain readers of all generations.
For the mom in the trenches who could use a good laugh and the single mamas
'Tiny Imperfections' by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans
Written by two former private school admissions counselors, "Tiny Imperfections" is a hilarious parody of the #momlife you can’t believe really exists. A debut novel, this book is also a meaningful look at single motherhood and the power of a grandmother to shape the family.
For the mom who counts down to bedtime:
'The Kids Are in Bed' by Rachel Bertsche
Rachel outlines all the steps to reclaim time and use it wisely while still parenting. She encourages 20-minute breaks to clear your head, shares her own relatable experiences like writing this book sitting on the floor outside her daughter’s room, and gives moms a survival guide to still being themselves, even with kids.
For the new-ish mom:
'You and I, as Mothers: A Feel-Good, Live-Well Guide for Moms' by Laura Prepon
Actress Laura Prepon of "That 70s Show" and "Orange is the New Black" happens to be a relatable, great author who shares her innermost insecurities as a new mom. Although this book is for moms of any age (after all, my twins are almost 13 and I think I’m still suffering from the post-partum anxiety she discusses), it’s a must-give to any new mom.
For the mom who loves to eat/bake/cook (I mean, who doesn’t?!):
'Procrastibaking: 100 Recipes for Getting Nothing Done in the Most Delicious Way Possible' by Erin Gardner
Erin Gardner used to procrastinate from constructing her award-winning cake masterpieces by baking simple, fun treats like funfetti cookies. She coined the term “procrastibaking” and now has an entire cookbook filled with easy-to-follow recipes for the home baker who can’t face what’s really on her plate.
'Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes and Stories' by Fanny Singer
This lyrical, beautifully written memoir and cookbook hybrid by Fanny Singer, Ph.D., is an ode to her relationship with her mother, the famous food pioneer, chef and restauranteur, Alice Waters. Sensual and vibrant, this book will delight all your senses, give you a sneak peek into the Chez Panisse world, and make you drool over food you might never cook yourself.
For the mom who has had more than her fair share of pain:
'There I Am: The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing – A Memoir' by Ruthie Lindsey
This sensational and inspiring memoir about Ruthie Lindsey’s life will help anyone who needs to look on the bright side. After a car accident in her teens led to chronic pain, Ruthie turned to narcotics to dull the terror. How she pulled herself out of the depths of sorrow and agony is truly captivating, as is her southern Louisiana charm, her close relationship to her daddy, her candid thoughts on marriage and her unique, important way of now seeing the world as a true healer.
For the mom on Instagram:
'Pretty Things' by Janelle Brown
New York Times bestselling author Janelle’s Brown latest novel is going to be an Amazon TV series starring and produced by Nicole Kidman -- which will come as no surprise to anyone who has read this page-turning, thought-provoking book. It will also make you think twice about what you post on Instagram. And who might be watching. Closely.
For the empty nester -- or any mom who will become one:
'Aren’t You Forgetting Someone: Essays from My Midlife Revenge' by Kari Lizer
Kari Lizer, the creator of many TV shows, including “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” has written a collection of funny, poignant essays about her children leaving home. With funny scenes like her five-hour unappreciated journey to pick up her daughter at the airport, complete with a running inner monologue, this book will stay with you long after your kids are gone.