17 Books by Moms That Nail What Motherhood Is Really Like

Devan McGuinness | Jul 31, 2020 Being a Mom
17 Books by Moms That Nail What Motherhood Is Really Like
Image: Amazon

Books by moms that talk motherhood

Parenting is hard, and in the age of social media, it can feel like we're the only ones who don't have our stuff together. No one wants to curate their social feed with meltdowns -- from the kids and the adults. Or bare our souls with the truth of how much we struggle just to get through the day. It's not easy being a mom and that's the truth for every parent, whether they make it look simple on social media or not. It's important for our mental health to remember that and to find the parents -- whether IRL or online -- who don't sugarcoat anything.

Those moms are out there! The ones who embrace their messy and are here for all parents in that they air their ugly so we can feel more at peace with ours. Being able to see the truths of parenting, that momming is hard and no one knows what they're doing, is cathartic. Even at the times we can't admit it, we know that's the truth and finding the other moms who embrace that will make everyone's life better.

We know moms don't have a lot of time on their hands, but if it's possible to carve out some time to read a book (yes, audiobooks count), we've rounded up 17 books written by moms that give the whole truth -- a real picture -- of what motherhood really looks like. The good, the bad, the hilarious, and the hard.

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  • 'I Heart My Little A-Holes' by Karen Alpert


    The title of this book alone is enough to put parents at ease, and the words and stories inside are, too. The book is a collection of deep thoughts, hilarious true stories, and lists that all parents need, paired with funny and charming illustrations that nail the good and bad of parenting little kids. One person's review on Amazon said, "I read it out loud to my mom and we were cracking up at these realistic discussions of the 'joys' of raising children. This is NOT a book for people looking for sweet stories of perfect children." And that's exactly why it's perfect. 

    I Heart My Little A-Holes by Karen Alpert (Amazon, $16)

  • 'I Just Want to Pee Alone' by Stacey Hatton


    This book is a hilarious truth to a statement no mom realized she was going to say until she was deep in the middle of parenting a 3-year-old who never stops and is always tugging at mom's shirt. The phrase is probably one we've all uttered at one point, and this book is full of those hilariously honest parenting truths. One person on Amazon who reviewed the book said, "Because I am sick and tired of listening to women talk about their perfect trips to Disney, their perfect children and their perfect homes. Finally, a dose of reality, albeit in a hilariously snarky and over-sharing way." 

    I Just Want to Pee Alone by Stacey Hatton (Amazon, $15)

  • 'Whoa, Baby!' by Kelly Rowland and Tristan Bickman, MD


    We may know Kelly Rowland as one-third of the super mega group that once was Destiny's Child, but she's a mom doing the hardest job like the rest of us. This book gives the truthful account of a mom who was surprised by how much motherhood changed her. For the good, and for the dark struggles as well. One person who reviewed the book on Amazon said, "Tells it like it is with the backing of a professional doctor! She asks the questions you want to know and gets smart, straight forward answers." 

    Whoa, Baby! by Kelly Rowland and Tristan Bickman, MD (Amazon, $3)

  • 'Mom Babble' by Mary Katherine Backstrom


    Mary Katherine Backstrom isn't afraid to speak the truth in her book Mom Babble, where she touches on living in the trenches of parenthood through humor, hope, and inspiration. An Amazon reviewer said of the book, "This book will make you laugh, cry, then let out that sigh of relief when you realize you aren't alone in this crazy game called parenting. The joys of parenthood along with the fears and real life troubles are captured perfectly in this book." 

    Mom Babble by Mary Katherine Backstrom (Amazon, $22)

  • 'Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures' by Amber Dusick


    How the author, Amber Dusick, describes her book perfectly showcases why it's one that should be read by all parents. "This book won't make your frustrating moments any less crappy. But these stories about my Crappy Baby, Crappy Boy and my husband, Crappy Papa, will hopefully make you laugh," she wrote. And add in the charming bad pictures she draws along with the stories, and it's everything need. 

    Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick (Amazon, $5)

  • 'Ask Me What's For Dinner One More Time' by Meredith Masony


    This book is on pre-order until September 1, 2020, but given the popularity of Meredith's previous books on parenting, this one's going to be a good one. Through humor, she tackles and shines the light on the harder struggles of parenting with humor and truth. "Meredith shares her collection of witty essays on the universal frustrations of being a mom in today's world, presenting her laugh-out-loud perspective on sex, aging, anxiety, friendship, and much more," the publisher wrote.

    Ask Me What's For Dinner One More Time by Meredith Masony (Amazon, $14)

  • 'Confessions of a Scary Mommy' by Jill Smokler


    "In a culture that idealizes motherhood, it's scary to confess that, in your house, being a mother is beautiful and dirty and joyful and frustrating all at once," the publisher wrote about this book, and that's what it gives the reader. The truth, even when difficult and reminds us that we're not alone in this struggle -- even when it feels like we are.

    Confessions of a Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler (Amazon, $16)

  • 'Cat and Nat's Mom Truths' by Catherine Belknap, Natalie Telfer


    We've come to love mom BFFs Cat and Nat for their honest way of telling us what to expect and it's no different with their book. "Cat & Nat's Mom Truths shares everything no one will tell you about having kids," is what the publisher wrote about the book, and that's what it delivered. One person on Amazon wrote, "It's sooo funny and made me laugh out loud more then I can count. Their real life stories and sense of humor will make you keep coming back for more."

    Cat and Nat's Mom Truths by Catherine Belknap, Natalie Telfer (Amazon, $12)

  • 'Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay' by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor


    This book of parenting truths and mom advice is given in short essays so busy moms can pick up and read when they have time and not get too lost. Using humor, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor isn't afraid to show the truth of parenting and to give real tips to make life easier for other moms. One person reviewed the book and said, "I found myself laughing out loud so many times as I was reading this book." 

    Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor (Amazon, $14)

  •  'My Brown Baby: On the Joys & Challenges of Raising Black Children' by Denene Millner


    This book isn't so much as a cover-to-cover read, it's more a compilation of meaningful essays from Denene's popular blog, My Brown Baby, "A collection of the website's most important and insightful essays offering perspectives on issues from birthing while Black to negotiating discipline to preparing children for racism."

    My Brown Baby by Denene Millner (Amazon, $11)

  • 'Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us' 


    This book, written by Mary Ann Zoellner, Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, and Alicia Ybarbo is a parenting-how-to with advice in every chapter. It doesn't talk down to new or seasoned parents, though. Instead, it infuses humor and truth into guiding parents through sleep deprivation, baby fever, and everything else in between. 

    Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide For The Rest Of Us (Amazon, $19)

  • 'How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane' by Johanna Stein


    Johanna Stein is not afraid to go where no other parenting book has gone before. With humor, she tackles some tricky parenting situations and answers some strange questions she came across in parenting. It's the laugh every mom needs. One person who reviewed the book on Amazon said, "Absolutely love love love this book! I totally relate to every inch of this person's personality and parenting tactics. Would recommend to any of my new mom friends."

    How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane by Johanna Stein (Amazon, $16)

  • '#IMomSoHard' by Kristin Hensley, Jen Smedley


    This book, written by best friends Kristin and Jen, touches on all parts of parenting and they aren't afraid to share when and how they get it wrong, which is often like the rest of us, and they lean on each other for support and a good laugh. One person who left a review on Amazon of the book said, "I can't tell you how much I truly love this book. As a mom of 2 children under the age of 3, I'm always at my wit's end. I related to every chapter of the book. These ladies wrote a book that is so hard to put down because it is heartwarming, downright real about motherhood, and brought on such a range of emotions."

    #IMomSoHard by Kristin Hensley, Jen Smedley (Amazon, $12)

  • 'You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom' by Leslie Anne Bruce


    Leslie Ann Bruce says she's a "mom who has seen it all" and she lends her experiences and support in this very real look at what parenting is like. She encourages the reader to give grace to themselves, "embrace the chaos" and to stop putting so much pressure on themselves to "get it right" -- whatever that means. "Thanks to her willingness to share the hurts and heartbreaks and what felt like insanity of the first few months of her postpartum journey, and have been able to let go and forgive myself for many things I had held in to," one person said in the review section on Amazon.  

    You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom by Leslie Anne Bruce (Amazon, $15)

  • 'Hold On, But Don't Hold Still' by Kristina Kuzmic


    "Full of heartwarming and authentic stories about the author, Kristina's journey from depression and low self-esteem to a complete sense of self and life that she loves," said one reader in the review section of Amazon for this book. And that's exactly what Kristina gives with her book on motherhood and life -- her truth, full of gems of advice and hope and humor.

    Hold On, But Don't Hold Still by Kristina Kuzmic (Amazon, $16)

  • 'Confessions of a Slacker Mom' by Muffy Mead-Ferro 


    There is so much pressure to be the "perfect mom" and to have "perfect kids" whatever those two phrases mean. This book tackles that idea and gives parents permission to let go of the guilt and the pressure from a mom who used to feel it and decided it's better to let it go. One Amazon reviewer said, "I laughed out loud in places where I even recognize myself and while I don't agree with every single thing this woman said, I enjoyed her perspectives and thoughts."

    Confessions of a Slacker Mom by Muffy Mead-Ferro (Amazon, $18)

  • 'How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids' by Jancee Dunn


    This book tackles a subject that most parenting books won't touch -- how our relationships with our partners change after bringing kids into the mix. This book is "part memoir, part self-help book with actionable and achievable advice," that touches on relationship shifts in parenthood. One person who left a review for the book on Amazon wrote, "This book is full of little gems of advice and insight. From division of labor in the home, raising the kids, organization, money, to sex. I found many of the author's stories relatable and humorous."

    How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn (Amazon, $11)

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