What are the best books for mums which aren’t about motherhood or parenting?
So many mums I speak with share how they lost themselves as a mother, have no time and don’t pursue their own interests anymore. Their health, hobbies and needs are second to everyone else in the family. Often, they feel exhausted, worn out and overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be that way! These are the top books all mums should read (in my opinion) to improve their lives and take steps for themselves. When we do that for ourselves, the whole family benefits. Learn what you want, who you are, what makes you tick, outsource stuff you don’t want to do and create the life you want.
Before you say you have no time to read, how much time do you spend watching TV? How much time do you spend doing things the kids could realistically do? Check out 18 tips for saving time as a busy mum here and see how much time you can free up to do things including reading.
Disclosure – some of these books have swearing and reference sex. Also, some may be affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.
1. The Kickass Single Mom – Emma Johnson
This book is not just for single moms/mums. While most of the content is geared to single mums, really, mums, in general, can take a lot of the advice in here and apply it to their lives. Why is it so many of us feel we need permission to do things? It’s as if mums (especially single mums) can’t have a life. Emma lays it all out for you, what she did after her husband suffered a severe brain injury and she found herself as a single mum. She is making massive changes in the US for gender equality and definitely someone you should check out further. Her book is refreshing, honest and exactly what every mum, single or not, needs to read.
2. Get Rich, Lucky Bitch – Denise Duffield-Thomas
Aussie Money Mindset extraordinaire, Denise Duffield-Thomas, wrote Get Rich, Lucky Bitch, a must read to change how you are with money. Clear your money blocks, learn more about yourself and your relationship with money, why you do things the way you do and prepare to make more money! While it might seem a bit ‘woo woo’ to some, it’s worth reading and doing the exercises. You can check out Denise’s site for more resources too.
3. The Barefoot Investor – Scott Pape
For anyone needing to get control of their finances, The Barefoot Investor or The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey are books you need to read My personal preference is The Total Money Makeover, but it is American, whereas The Barefoot Investor is Aussie. Both provide simple steps to follow to improve your finances. Build a baby emergency fund ($1,000 to $2,000), clear your debt, streamline your finances, get a proper emergency fund, buy a house. While it all seems pretty straightforward, clearly most of us aren’t doing it given the billions of dollars of debt Australians have! Get your act together easily with either of these books or read both for a double whammy!
If you want more on paying off debt or getting your finances in order check out the 21 Day Money Challenge (free), how this couple paid off $90,000 worth of debt in 12 months (starting out unemployed) or the 5 day fast money boost.
4. The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks
This blew my mind. I normally hate it when people say that about something but The Big Leap was something else! It had been recommended so many times but I resisted because the cover seemed so plain, the book is so thin, how could it possibly help? Every single person I know who has read this book says it changed their life. It’s so simple to read, yet profound. Learn more about yourself, how you self-sabotage and stop it!
5. Smart Girls Screw Up Too – Bella Zanesco
Bella lays it all out for you in a funny, moving and compelling way. I like to keep motivated and books such as this one help me. While many books like this are geared more to the single ladies who aren’t mums, we can still learn so much from them. Smart Girls Screw Up Too goes over different areas of your life, the hierarchy of needs, health, finances, everything. Do the exercises in the book to truly make changes.
For me, this book prompted me to revisit my goals and change other elements of my life.
6. Unf*ck Yourself – Gary John Bishop
Get out of your own way! This book was a game changer. How often are we so caught up in our own thoughts that we talk ourselves out of something? The mantra “I am willing” from this book and everything he said about it was the kick up the butt I needed to commit to working out, taking care of myself and focusing on the things I want in my life.
I listened to it as an audiobook and have since ordered a print copy from Book Depository. My aim is to have an incredible bookshelf of books I want my kids to read. Growing up my parents had books including The Richest Man in Babylon, Think And Grow Rich, The Magic Of Thinking Big and so many more which I read as a teen and they helped steer me in the right direction. We’ve started our collection, but I add to it regularly.
Unf*ck Yourself is the sort of book that slaps you into action.
7. Not Just Lucky – Jamila Rizvi
I was given this book because I always say how lucky I am and my friend wanted to show me it’s not just luck. I’ve overcome domestic violence, homelessness, paralysis and won international awards. Whenever I was asked how I did it, I would share my tips but also said I was lucky. It irritated my friend to no end because it wasn’t just luck, yet as women, we downplay our resilience, our hard work and say we’re lucky.
No, you worked your butt off to get to where you are. You ate crap for breakfast and did what you had to do. I know I did. On top of that, one thing I had no idea about was how much my looks impacted everything. White privilege anyone? Seriously, in the book the ‘ideal’ or ‘luckiest’ woman, was described. When I looked into the research from various universities about this I was mortified. Why? Because it described me.
Basically, if you’re caucasian, blonde, my height (172cm), attractive but not too attractive, slim but not too slim etc. You are ideal and will have it easier with everything from wages through to how you’re treated at meetings compared to other women. I speak more about it in this interview (question 7, it’s a long). Do yourself a favour, read this book and share it with every woman you know. Change the future for our kids!
8. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck – Mark Manson
Why do we care so much about what others think and allow it to dictate so much of our lives? If you’d prefer a female author, Sarah Knight has a similarly themed book called The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F*ck which was actually published first. Your life is yours, stop letting others dictate what happens or letting them get inside your head. What do you want your life to look like?
Both books take you through the process of clearing out the junk in your head, your fears and worries, getting you to a better place. One where you put your own needs first, while still being a nice member of society. You don’t need to be a doormat to be liked! Nor do you need to say yes to everything everyone asks of you.
In our house, if it isn’t a hell YES, then it’s a hell NO!
9. The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
Knowing how you give and receive love as well as how your loved ones do will profoundly change your relationships. My daughters love this book and the test you can do to check your love language. 5 love languages rule so much of how we behave and why we do what we do. They are gifts, quality time, physical touch, acts of service and words of affirmation.
Learn your love language and the languages of those you have relationships with such as your partner, kids and parents. It will improve them.
10. Unleash Your Inner Money Babe – Kathrin Zenkina
I love a challenge and the idea of creating $1,000 in 21 days appealed to me. If you liked Get Rich, Lucky Bitch and are into manifesting, you love this book. Each day you have things to do which help with your money mindset and bringing in an extra $1,000 within the 21 days.
One of the things I love about this book is the fact it doesn’t focus on your income as there are so many ways money can come to you. Each time I’ve done it I made way more than the $1,000 (I tend to aim higher in general). Outside of business income, I found more money on the streets, was given gift cards, cash and other things randomly and even had a lump sum back payment from years prior I was not expecting. With the business, income increased dramatically as well. Definitely worth trying this book out.
11. The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
Surprisingly, this was a book I read with my 9 year old daughter. I was reading it on the bus and she asked what it was about, so I told her and she asked me to read it to her. The conversations we had around it, the way it prompted our thinking and in general, the reviews of this book are why I would recommend it to all mums.
We want to think we’ll live forever, but we won’t. My mother died at 37 from cancer so Randy’s book and stories hit home for me. It wasn’t until I faced my own health scares with paralysis and testing positive for bladder cancer (cancer my mum died from) that I really appreciated my life. Since that time, I have actively worked to ensure my daughters and I have the life we want, that we have memories, not just things.
The Last Lecture is a wonderful collection of his life stories with lessons for all of us. Professors are often asked to give a ‘last lecture’ at universities. For Randy, it really was his last lecture.
12. You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero
Super popular in many groups I am in, You Are A Badass does contain swearing and is along similar lines to others mentioned above. We, as women, clearly have issues with self-doubt and letting others dictate our lives. Books like this help you take control, define a life you want and get more confidence.
13. Whatever appeals to you
No list is going to have the answer for everything for you. Instead, find books which have meaning for you or is something of interest in your life. For example, many women I know lately have loved Women Who Love Too Much (great for anyone who has been in a relationship with an addict, is codependent or simply does everything in the relationship), The 4-Hour Work Week I recommend to all business owners. Tools Of Titans is another great book based on the podcast interviews of incredibly successful people by Tim Ferriss. Anything by Brene Brown, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, The Miracle Morning was a game changer for me recently to really set my day up right (read how here). What area of your life do you feel is lacking or you need help in? Find books to help with that.