Sometimes, it is not until we are older that we truly appreciate all that our mothers have been for us and done for us. Sacrifices that went unnoticed suddenly become obvious as we make our way in this world. Words of wisdom that sounded as if they were read from the walls of cave dwellers suddenly become timely and pertinent.
As we begin to appreciate all that a mother is and has been it often helps to read the work of an author who has also come to that realization. Other authors take on journeys through books that help us navigate the paths of motherhood, only hoping we do half as well as our own mothers.
The following ten books are among the most helpful I have found in building a relationship with my own mother; understanding my mother as a woman, wife, individual; and assisting me in learning to become the best mother I can be so that my children can travel even further in this life than I have.
My Mother, My Friend: The Ten Most Important Things to Talk about with Your Mother
Author: Mary Marcdante
Published: Fireside, 2001
When Mary Marcdante’s mother was dying of ovarian cancer she realized that she had not taken the time to get to know her as more than a mother. Marcdante had precious little time to learn more about her mother. The result was a heartfelt book that provides a guide for mothers and daughters to discuss the things in life that really matter.
This is an excellent book that will strengthen your relationship with your mother.
Growing Seasons: Half-baked Garden Tips, Cheap Advice about Marriage and Questionable Theories on Motherhood
Author: Annie Spiegelman
Published: Seal Press, 2003
You’ll find this book hard to put down. Written with earthy wit and wisdom, Growing Seasons, presents an honest presentation of life as a mother, daughter, and sister. If you only read one book about mothers or motherhood, this should be the one. This book is sharp and laugh-out-loud fun, but don’t expect to read through it without reaching for a tissue or two. It’s all about being a woman and tells the real story.
Love You More than You Know: Mothers’ Stories about Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War
Author: Janie Reinart and Mary Anne Mayer
Published: Gray & Co., Publishers, 2009
Mothers who dare to share what sending their children does to them offer their stories in this compilation by Janie Reinart and Mary Anne Mayer. This is a book about unconditional love and unselfish sacrifice and patriotism. It is a gripping work that will break your heart and build your courage.
Moms: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorps
Author / Compiled by: Dave Isay
Published: Penguin, 2010
Barnes and Noble features Moms: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorpsjust in time for Mother’s Day. Based on an ambitious oral history project based on discussions with mothers and their children, the project was conducted by Storycorps, founded and guided by Dave Isay. The book is a recent release, I have not yet read, but will. Some of the stories have already been shared on National Public Radio (NPR). The exploration of motherhood is diverse, personal, and sociological. I am sure that continued broadcasts and the release of this compilation will result in this book becoming an important historical and sociological book about mothers for years to come.
Real Mothers: A Bible Study about Mothers for Mothers
Author: Joyce Long
Published: Crosslink Publishing, 2009
Real Mothers offers a refreshing and realistic examination of mothers in the Bible. You may be surprised to find their struggles with marriage and parenting similar to your own. You will be uplifted as you realize that successful mothers in the Bible were those who were faithful to God.
For You, Mom, Finally
Author: Ruth Riechl
Published: Penguin, 2010
Currently on the New York Times Best Seller list for non-fiction paperback books, For You Mom, Finally, by Ruth Reichl was previously published under the title Not Becoming My Mother: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way (Penguin, 2009). This volume contains the original reflections by Ruth Reichl about her mother’s life, in which she looks back through her mother’s diaries and letters to piece together the woman behind the person she called “Mother.” In the new edition, Ruth Reichl has expanded her after thoughts, sharing what further lessons she has learned along her own life’s journey, as they relate to the lessons her mother taught her.
Bending Toward the Sun
Author: Leslie Gilbert Lurie
Published: Harper, 2009
Bending Toward the Sun is a memoir, written by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mother based on their experiences during the Holocaust. In a new, yet still horrific, work that expounds of the horror of one of the most brutal times in world history Gilbert-Lurie and her mother recount what it was like to give up everything they owned, hiding out as Polish Jews. According to an amazon.com review, you will feel the depth of not only the physical depravity that many Jews endured, but you will feel the mental and emotional tragedy that continues to haunt the world, especially those of Jewish heritage.
Leslie Gilbert-Lurie’s mother watched the death of her own mother, driven to death by a broken heart because her son was smothered death to keep him quiet, a monumental sacrifice to save an attic full of Jews in hiding.
This is a heart-rending, but readable book that offers a perspective of motherhood, survival, and love on a level that many can only scarcely begin to comprehend.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year
Author: Anne Lammont
Published: Ballentine Books, 1994
When a seasoned writer, with a blunt pen and with writes about the realities of mother-hood the end result is a book that touches the heart and head of mother’s everywhere. From those days when we wish we could run and hide, to the days that we know and experience unconditional love for our children, Anne Lammont writes with warmth and power.
This is as much about the life of a woman, with multiple roles, as it is the life of a mother figuring out motherhood during her child’s first year. This book is a good solid read; mother’s young and old will be drawn to the author, her struggles, her triumphs, and ultimately her ability to take upon herself the role of mother.
I Just Want You to Know: Letters to My Kids on Love, Faith and Family
Author: Kate Gosselin
Published: Zondervan, 2010
Reality star, or not, there is no denying the beauty in the raw passion with which Kate Gosselin writes about her journey of faith, love, and family. If anyone knows motherhood with its joys and trials, it is Kate Gosselin. Addressed to her children, this work will provide strength for mothers navigating their own obstacles and triumphs of life as a mother. The centrality of her faith in God is the guiding theme of the book and her life as a mother of 8 small children.
Author: Jodi Picoult
Published: Simon & Schuster Adult, 2010
I debated whether it was appropriate to put a work of fiction among the list of best books about mothers. However, House Rules prods and exposes the very heart of motherhood. It is the story of a single parent, abandoned by a husband who could not deal with a special needs child, who faces momentous challenges with her special needs child and her younger son. The odds seem insurmountable, yet, she fights. A mother’s heart, unconditional love, and tenacity on behalf of her children drive her harder and farther than most would go.
This is a work of fiction, but a beautiful illustration of what it’s like to be a mother. The characters, feelings, and story-line ring true. This book will be especially meaningful for mothers of special needs children, although I would recommend this read for any parent.
It is an amazing book.
There are so many ways to honor your mother and learn about motherhood. Much of what we learn as mothers is through trial and error.
I encourage you to take advantage of these resources, ten great books about mothers, to further educate yourself and enhance your relationship with your own mother. Do it while you can.
Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir, amazon.com
Mother’s Day Books, barnesandnoble.com
New York Times Best Seller List for Non-fiction Paperback Books, nytimes.com