9 mums share the books they found great to read - even when the kids are around

Kinderling News & Features

I saw a mum at the park the other day, juggling a book while pushing her toddler on the swing.  

On closer inspection, I saw it was a Martin Amis book - couldn’t see the exact title … 

I was completely in awe and utterly impressed. What a genius idea, I thought to myself! I could see how she had planned this out in her head: a couple of sentences in exchange for a couple of pushes on the swing. 

Problem was of course, by the end of the hour we were both at the park, I saw her pick up her book once. 

Such a nice idea, I wanted to say, better luck next time? 

The frustration is real

If you love reading and also have small children, the frustration is real. There is very little time where you can actually get away with having a book in your hand - let alone read it - when your children are around. 

They want to “read the story too, Mummy” and helpfully snatch said book from your hand, promptly losing your place while you’re at it. 

And while you may entertain the notion that your toddler observing your reading habits will inspire their own one day (which may well be true), in the present moment it’s just kind of frustrating! 

So what if there were books that you could read and enjoy as a busy mum? 

Mums don't have time to read

In her podcast, Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books, Zibby Owens discusses the latest books so busy mums can “listen” to them. Another genius idea! 

In the past two years I have become a huge fan of Audible and podcasts generally, for exactly this reason.

But that doesn't stop me from buying books and swapping them with my friends and family regularly.

I guess I remain ever hopeful that I will find some time to read them, which funnily enough, I always do. Like magic!

9 uplifting books to read on the fly

With that in mind, here is a list of nine books shared by mum friends that they found helpful/uplifting/energising during early motherhood. 

My top pick starts with Maggie Alderson and ends with Maggie Alderson!

1. Shoe Money by Maggie Alderson

In the very early baby years I could not read anything heavy or long. It wasn’t until my second baby came along and I was gifted a Kindle that that really changed. And I discovered Maggie Alderson. Her writing was witty, escapist and just long enough for a chapter or two a night. Still love her, Shoe Money is a firm favourite. 

2.Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson

Mum of two, Kylie says: “Anything by Bill Bryson is easy to put down and pick up. As a travel junkie with zero opportunity for a getaway (with small kids), Bill’s books took me away on adventures and had me laughing out loud. If you can get them as audiobooks with Bill reading them himself, all the better!

3. Life by Keith Richards

Mum of two, Kate says:  "I’ve tended to love biographies over the past few years for some reason. As well as Keith Richards' book, some biographies I’ve loved are Open [Andre Agassi], Lily Allen’s book, and Michael J Fox’s second biography.”

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

Anna, mum of three: “When I want to pull myself out of a reading slump, I’ll go back to Pride and Prejudice or something ... I started reading that when I was stuck in a three-hour glucose test with Evie and it pulled me out of the slump.”

5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Mum of one, Katie says: “The character is so unique she’s stayed with me for a year. She’s funny and it’s absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time to go on the journey of developing relationships with her.”

6. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie 

Mum of two, Jem says: “Fantasy novels. Escapism and entertainment in bed. What could be better? I loved Joe Abercrombie. The Blade Itself is the first of a trilogy. I read all three books in under three weeks. I completely lost myself and it was glorious."

7. Anything Liane Moriarty 

Mum of one, Donne: “The problem with these books is that they f*cked with my head! The characters were so likeable and relatable, but then there was always a murder, so …"

8. The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante 

Mum of two, Caroline: “It’s a four book saga about the lifelong friendship of two women. So honest, rawly relatable. Enough in there is about motherhood to feel relevant but then history and feminism and the intense love and jealousy, respect and hate in a very complicated friendship. And the beauty of a multi-book saga is that it doesn’t end for ages!”

9. Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn (The Minimalists)

Mum of one, Huia says: "I found it totally inspiring to pare back one's life to focus on the things that really matter - people. Since reading the book, I've started to simpify parts of my life and I feel like I don't need to have all of my answers right now but that I have a direction, a focus. I feel like a weight I didn't even know I was carrying has lifted."

Have you read any great books lately? Head over to Facebook to share your faves with us!