Someone once said that “women are expected to work like they don’t have children and raise children like they don’t work.” Truer words have never been spoken. Being a working mom requires a level of flexibility that many women are still not afforded in the workplace. If you find this rings true for you, you are not alone. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 80 percent of working moms with children over age 6 worked full-time while 75 percent of working moms with children under age 6 juggled a similar workload.
While balancing work and family life is nothing new for many women, it can still be challenging to strike a balance between the two. For working moms and moms-to-be, these four books are must-reads for thriving as both professionals and parents.
The Fourth Trimester
Author: Kimberly Ann Johnson
Touted as a “guide to healing your body, balancing your emotions, and restoring your vitality,” The Fourth Trimester focuses on the period after baby is born. Typically, books geared toward new moms focus on each trimester of pregnancy. However, little emphasis is placed on the postpartum period. This book focuses exclusively on coping with the changes many women face during the postpartum period, which can be further complicated by the return to work. After all, many working moms struggle to find balance between caring for themselves, parenting their children, and keeping their careers afloat.
Why moms should read it: This book is so epic for working moms and moms-to-be that it inspired a hashtag on Instagram! The Fourth Trimester not only provides useful content that inspires women to create a solid postpartum plan, but it also helps women to rediscover their bodies (and themselves) after the baby arrives. For working moms, the guided content is the most helpful: Neat templates outline relationship planning, healthy recipes, a postpartum sanctuary plan, and more.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Fifth Edition
Authors: Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
What to Expect is a series of books that chronicles each week of pregnancy. Over the years, these books have become a go-to resource for working moms, stay-at-home moms, first-time moms, and everyone in between. The fifth edition covers everything from finding out you’re pregnant to welcoming your new baby and managing potential complications.
Why moms should read it: Presented in five key parts, What to Expect is an easy read that provides comprehensive information. The coolest part about this book? It evolves with every new edition. Originally published in 1984, What to Expect includes all the basics needed for today’s moms and moms-to-be, while also staying on trend with tidbits like eating vegan while pregnant. For tips on navigating pregnancy while on the job, skip to chapter seven!
The Fifth Trimester
Author: Lauren Smith Brody
If you were surprised to learn there is such a thing as a fourth trimester, you may be equally shocked to discover The Fifth Trimester. This 2017 book by Lauren Smith Brody is just what you need if you’re wondering how you will transition back into work once your maternity leave is over. Early on, Brody says, “The problem with U.S. maternity leave policies has become front-page news and talk show fodder as the situation gets more and more obviously wrong.” Could she be any more... right?
Why moms should read it: Brody’s way of sharing her own experiences while highlighting this country’s lack of consideration for working moms will resonate on all levels. Not to mention, you’ll walk away with real-life advice from more than 700 working moms who have been there, done that.
The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy
Author: Kimberly Seals-Allers
If you have not read The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy, get into it! In this book, Kimberly Seals-Allers provides a straightforward account of how to juggle motherhood with other responsibilities. After being greeted by a foreword written by Dr. Andrea Price-Rutty, readers will dive into Great Expectations, the first chapter of what many call “the girlfriend’s guide to pregnancy.” Seals-Allers engages working moms and moms-to-be in discussion about adjusting to changes in relationships, handling new expenses, and dealing with demanding jobs.
Why moms should read it: One standout feature of The Mocha Manual is its tone. While some books for working moms focus on instructing women on what to do (and what not to do) during their pregnancies, The Mocha Manual reads like a conversation with a close friend. There’s no judgment; just useful advice that will enable you to digest some of the most challenging parts of pregnancy. What’s more, some women of color feel left out of the conversation about balancing work and motherhood. This inclusive guide counters that by tackling issues that may disproportionately impact women of color, such as handling medical conditions that are more common to Black women.