must-read books for SAHM
Motherhood,  Parenting

Must-Read Books for Stay at Home Moms

Are you a stay-at-home mom looking for some new great books to read?

When you stay at home with your kids, your life can quickly become consumed with household chores, prepping meals, and running kids from one activity to another. 

While much of your life is about your kids right now (and rightfully so), you should also be taking time to feed your mind some good stuff. It’s part of self-care. 

I know you’re probably sick of hearing it, but if you want to be the best version of yourself, you need to be taking care of yourself. When mom runs on fumes, it’s not good for anyone.

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Reading as a Stay-At-Home Mom

Do you feel like it’s difficult to find time to read when you are home with your kids? 

We all have unique situations and I don’t know what yours is, but I would encourage you to try to find a way to make time in your day to read— even if it’s just for 15 minutes. 

Here are some ideas for how you can fit in reading time as a busy stay at home mom.

  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier to read in the morning
  • Read in the school pick up line. 
  • Read for 15 minutes before bed.
  • Read while your kids watch a movie, color, or play.
  • Have a family “reading time.”
  • Ask your husband to give you time to read each evening.
  • Listen to books with Audible while you drive or clean around the house. (Click the link below to get a free trial month.)

 

 

The Importance of Reading When You’re a Mom

Making time to read as a stay-at-home mom will help you in several ways. Reading time is time for you. Like I said above, it’s a type of self-care. 

Reading books about parenting, home, finances, or other types of personal growth will encourage you to stretch yourself each day. They will keep you motivated on the days when you just feel “off.” 

(If you’re a Christian, I hope you’re making time to read the Bible each day. That should be first priority.) 

Plus, reading in front of your kids sets a wonderful example. 

You can tell them about the benefits of reading, but there’s no better way to encourage your kids to be good readers themselves than to model it for them.

Here are some books that feed your mind and soul while encouraging you to be the best stay at home mom possible!

9 best books for stay-at-home

 

Books That Are Perfect For Stay At Home Moms

 

1. Raising a Grateful Child in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch

This is the book I’m currently reading and let me tell you— it’s fabulous! 

I finally decided to read it after hearing it recommended by several different friends. 

Kristen is a mom who freely admits that she isn’t a parenting expert (like I do), but she’s a mom in the thick of motherhood sharing what’s working for her family. 

Every mother wants her child to be happy, right? But many are realizing now is that happiness is not a byproduct of an ivy league education, successful career, or a big house. 

Happiness is a result of circumstances, but instead, it’s a mindset. 

If we can raise our kids to be grateful, well-rounded, loving, people with integrity, then they are more likely to end up being happy no matter what life brings them. 

We can’t make circumstances perfect for our kids no matter how hard we try, but we can help shape their mindset and attitude toward the challenges of life. 

Raising a Grateful Child in an Entitled World will help you learn how to nix entitlement in your household (including your own) and give you some great ideas about parenting with the intention of raising grateful kids.

 

 

2. The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy by Edward M. Hallowell, MD

I randomly picked this book up a few years ago. A few pages in, I was so glad I did.

Like the book mentioned above, this book also addresses some of the misconceptions of our culture. (Note: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is written with a biblical outlook; this one is not.)

So many of us are fighting for our kids to be “successful,” when— at the core— what we really want is for our kids to be happy. 

Problems occur when we start believing that “success” (often defined by academic success like acceptance into a prestigious school) will necessarily lead to happiness. 

Even if we can guarantee this kind of success for our kids and they grow up to have rewarding careers, we can’t guarantee that they’ll be happy. 

Fortunately, there are ways we can increase the chances of our kids growing up to be happy. Dr. Hallowell leads through steps to cultivate joy in your kids by encouraging “connectedness.” 

Feeling connected is critical, he argues, while play, practice, mastery, and recognition also play key roles in an overall feeling of wellbeing.

This book has tons of practical advice that you can implement immediately. I underlined advice I wanted to remember or return to later. (As a result, I’m pretty sure that half the book is underlined.) 

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, this is another book I’d recommend we all read and read again! 

 

 

 

3. Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia

I read this book after feeling like I had become an angry mom. I was yelling more than I’d care to admit. 

I wanted to be a patient mom. I knew that much of what I was angry about was not my kids’ fault, and it destroyed me to know that I was taking my frustration out on them. 

Through God’s grace, I found Triggers. This book is 100% what I needed. It helped me to find the source of my anger and learn to deal with it in a healthy way. 

This book is all about responding in a biblical way to our triggers (and we all have triggers, don’t we?). 

Sometimes our triggers are about our kids and sometimes they aren’t. No matter what they are, we need to be sure that we are handling our emotions in a healthy way that doesn’t damage our family life.

If you’re a Christian stay-at-home-mom (or working mom) who finds herself yelling more often than you’d like, pick this one up! It will help you to respond with grace, deal with your anger, and become a more peaceful mother.

 

 

 

4. Hands-Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

This book is a must-read if you (like most of us) find yourself on your phone way too often. 

When you’re a stay-at-home mom, you might see your phone as a quick escape or as a connection to the outside world. And that’s OK! 

The problem comes in when your phone takes an unhealthy place in your life. Our phones can become crutches and even addictions if we aren’t careful. Mostly, they are distractions.

Let’s face, distraction is part of life. But, if we allow ourselves to operate in a state of constant distraction, we’re in trouble. We are missing out on time with our kids, time with God, time with our husbands, and time with other friends and family. We can’t get that time back. 

 

 

Hands-Free Mama was the wake-up call that I needed to help me put my phone down and offer my full presence to my family. 

My kids don’t deserve to have a mom who half-listens. They deserve a mom who is curious and engaged, and who wants to know more. That’s the mom I’m still working on becoming for them.

You can read Hands-Free Mama all at once or slowly throughout the year. I chose to focus on one chapter at a time to ensure I’m truly implementing the strategies I’m reading. No matter how you read it, you’ll find loads of value here!

 

 

 

5. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, Ph.D.

Emotional intelligence has been getting a lot of press lately. Emotional intelligence has been recognized as an important aspect of work, family matters, and life in general. 

Emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to manage their emotions. It sounds simple, but it’s easy to miss this aspect of parenting. 

For example, when your child is sad, do you find yourself trying to do anything to cheer them up and distract them away from it? It feels natural, right? 

I get it because I’ve been there.

But the thing is, sadness is part of life. And sadness is healthy. So is anger. 

best books for stay at home moms

Our kids don’t need us to distract them away from these difficult emotions; they need our help navigating through them. 

This doesn’t mean we need to accept all behavior that comes as a result of emotion. With emotion coaching (as taught in Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child), we guide our kids to appropriate responses to negative emotions. 

If our child is hitting a sibling as a result of anger, we can’t accept that behavior. But telling them “you shouldn’t be mad about that!” isn’t helpful. Anger is unavoidable. (And telling someone they shouldn’t be mad usually makes them angrier, doesn’t it?)

Instead, we should aim to understand their emotions and help them find an acceptable solution. Dr. Gottman calls this “emotion coaching.” You’ll find everything you need to know about it in this book!

 

 

 

6. The 5 Love Languages and The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman

Have you already heard about love languages? 

I came across them a few years ago when I read The 5 Love Languages. The concept helped my husband and me to understand each other better than we ever had before. 

In case you’re not familiar with the love languages, they are: 

  1. Quality time
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Acts of service 
  4. Physical touch
  5. Gifts

When we understand that we all receive love in different languages, we can express our love in the ways that it will be best received. 

And like all people, our children have their own love languages. It’s crucial that we find out what language each of our children “speaks.” If we don’t, we risk leaving them feeling unloved, even when we are making every effort to show our love. 

For example, if we try to express love to someone with gifts when their love language is quality time, we won’t get the results we hoped for. 

Sure, the person may appreciate the gift, but they won’t feel as loved as if we had chosen to spend some quality time with them. 

The 5 Love Languages and The 5 Love Languages of Children will teach you all about the love languages, how to find out what your kids’ love languages are, and how you learn to speak their languages (even if they don’t come naturally to you). 

Every parent should read this book!

 

 

 

7. A Simplified Life by Emily Ley

Emily is the genius behind “Simplified Planners.” Her book A Simplified Life will guide you through simplifying every area of life including your house, meal planning, finances, wardrobe,  and schedule. 

Honestly, I love this book because I feel like it’s the kind of book I would write. 

Here’s why I love this book— I believe that one of the reasons moms feel so overwhelmed is that we overcomplicate life. If we could just simplify everything, how much easier would our lives be?

books for stay at home moms

If we followed simple schedules with margin built in and had simple routines to run our household, wouldn’t everything just flow better?  

If we stuck to simple budgets, got rid of clutter, and planned out our meals, wouldn’t we be less stressed? 

If you’re agreeing with me but not sure how to simplify, pick up A Simplified Life. It will help you move from overwhelmed to well and balanced. 

 

 

 

8. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

I don’t care if you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or work-outside-the-home mom, this is a book I would recommend to you.

Actually, I recommend this book to everyone with an income. 

The Total Money Makeover also made my top ten list for books that have drastically changed my life

Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom who had to make a lot of sacrifices to be home with your kids. If you struggle with finances in any way, this book is for you!

Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom in a family that doesn’t struggle financially. That’s great! This book is still for you!

Dave Ramsey takes a no-nonsense approach to finances. He breaks through the myths that we believe as Americans (such as “debt is a part of life”), he will give you tangible steps to work toward financial freedom. 

Finances were always a stressful part of my life, but following the principles found in The Total Money Makeover made a world of difference. If you get this book and do the work, it will change your life too

For more on how this book changed my life, check out my post: How I Paid Off $40k in Debt as a Young Mom

 

 

 

9. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

As a stay-at-home mom, do you ever find yourself stuck in a perfection trap? 

You feel like your house should look perfect, your day should go perfectly, or your kids should act perfectly?

OK, maybe we don’t actually expect perfection, but many of us are competing with our own unrealistic expectations. The struggle that ensues then stresses us out and makes us miss out on life. We aren’t the present moms we wish we could be.

Present Over Perfect is the one book that helped me to let go of my need to make everything just right. The phrase “present over perfect” became my mantra for a while. 

Every time I prepared for company to visit, for example, I would repeat to myself “present over perfect.”

After all, my friends and family don’t really care what state my house is in or how we’re dressed. They care about spending time with us. Our presence is the best gift we can offer to our loved ones. 

Present Over Perfect will help you to draw boundaries in your life where you’re overstretched while encouraging you to pursue a more “soulful” way of life. 

(Bonus: Shauna Niequist is an amazing writer. So, if you enjoy beautiful words, you’ll love this book twice as much!)

 

 

 

Now Get Reading, Mama!

I hope you feel inspired to pick one (or all) of these books up and get reading! I promise you’ll feel better as a mom and as a person for doing so. 

Do you have a book that you would add to this list? Share it in the comments below! 

Related posts for stay-at-home moms:


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9 Great Books for SAHMs 

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