Every mom complains that she doesn’t have time to relax. But sometimes we all want to escape from reality: the laundry, the meals, to organize the homework or the potty training. Escape from reality is often unrealistic for mothers. And yet it is possible.
Forget about Netflix, forget about social media or games like Candy Crush. Take a good book. Go the old school way, and order one or more great books for yourself. Give it a chance and I promise you those few minutes of escape will do you good.
Motherhood is complicated, as if you’ve had a rollercoaster of emotions since motherhood. We can no longer avoid those emotions and I assure you right now that some of these books will trigger your motherhood hormones to cry.
I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.
These ten books definitely belong in your personal bookcase.
1. Van Gin tot pap
From the moment you announce your pregnancy to the outside world you get the most given answer: ‘enjoy it now because your life is never going to be the same again’. Writer Isabel Boons has fully understood, because the way she describes motherhood is funny, humorous and realistic. The moments of breakfast in bed, the nights of partying and the countless hangovers are a thing of the past. Dinner at a restaurant will feel like a battle and the times of a moment for yourself are a bygone fantasy.
As the mother of a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son, Isabel knows better than anyone how difficult motherhood can be. She doesn’t mince her words. Because even though we consciously chose to have children, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have the right to a little self-indulgence and the occasional Gin tonic!
2. Moeder genoeg
The pressure from mothers in the year 2020 is high; we have to make nice trips with our children, have a strong relationship with our partner, organize girlfriend weekends and look our best. Because a mother in leggings and an oversized sweater with outgrowth is so not done. We mothers often put that pressure on ourselves. Unnecessary. Because it soon turns out that we are standing in the way of our own happiness. Taking into account our predetermined expectations, high demands and our search for peace and happiness, writer, and also mother, Florine accompanies us in her book ‘Moeder genoeg’.
“I got me the book and I’m very happy about it. Thanks to the recognizable stories, the tricks and tips, and questions that make me reflect for myself, I found a kind of peace for myself. I was so pleased with this book that I also gave it as a gift to one of my best friends. ‘’ – Stephanie De Vroe
3. Mild ouderschap
‘Mild ouderschap, zelfs tijdens de woedeaanval in de supermarkt’ is a title that is often mentioned in mother groups these days. Not a classic ten-step plan that offers you the answers to perfect parenting, but a book that shows how important it can be to listen to your own maternal instincts and feelings. No more traditional rules and needles. Nina Mouton, mother and family therapist, makes a plea to be a little milder towards your children, the environment and more important: towards yourself.
For the sake of mildness, it is already the delivery boy of 2020.
4. Mama worden
By Bernard Spitz & Sofie Vanherpe, €29.99
‘Mama worden’ is the very first baby bible in our country. The book is the result of a great collaboration between Professor Spitz, UZ Gasthuisberg and Mama Baas. The difference between all the hundreds of pregnancy books is that it is a collection between different institutions and is divided into three major themes: the medical aspect, the emotional aspect and recognizable mommy stories. The reference work offers you answers to the most frequently asked questions, which are reliable. What to do in case of ailments? What do you need to know about childbirth? How do you prepare for life with children?
Because whether it is your first child, your second or third, it will always be an overwhelming experience.
5. EHBK – eerste hulp bij kleine kinderen
Every child has the innate talent to escape under our watchful eye without much effort. For example, my daughter broke one of her upper phalanges under a chair while I was filling the dishwasher next to her. Unfortunately, becoming a mother does not give us the innate skills as a nurse or pediatrician. Although I took a first aid course myself when I became a mother, this book is a must have if you have children. The book is arranged so simplistically that with every ailment you can immediately find out exactly how to react. A wasp sting, resuscitation of a baby or sticking a plaster in the most difficult places, Sofie Vanderoost described it perfectly in this book.
6. The gentle mom – mama zonder roze schijn
By Kirsten Ginckels & Ellen van den Bouwhuysen, €22.50
These two writers have had enough of striving for the perfect picture. Honesty and mildness, the two key concepts that characterize this book. At least one in six women in Belgium suffer from postnatal depression, expectant mothers see their future prospects with glasses that are too pink. Get rid of it, these two mothers thought. Time for honesty and reality. The less fragile sides, the difficult moments, the subjects that are often kept secret, are discussed here one by one. In a light-hearted, delightful and above all recognizable way, combined with incredibly beautiful photographs.
‘‘I dare honestly admit that this book has opened my eyes both literally and figuratively. When I became a mom I often thought I was a mother with postnatal depression, because the way I experienced motherhood was abnormal. At least that’s how I thought about it. Until I read this book on vacation. The pieces of the puzzle collapsed for me one by one and it only made me stronger. As a mother, as a woman and as a human being. The book for every mother-to-be!’ – Stephanie De Vroe
7. Mijn peuter speelt
This original, stimulating activity book for toddlers is also one of Mama Boss’ ‘children’. Thanks to Paulien De Smet, entertaining a toddler is no longer an impossible task. The book gathers no less than 60 creative and fun activities for toddlers in which fun is central. In times of COVID – 19, this book comes at the right time. You’re welcome, moms.
8. Ik ga op reis & ik neem mee de kinderen
Okay, maybe not quite so much needed in times of COVID – 19, but this book is for any parent who dreams of traveling close or far, but by having children scared off. They’re too young, they sleep nowhere better than at home, it’s not going to give us too much stress, is it?!
Lieselot De Smet proves in her book that all those worries are unnecessary. Tips about structure and organisation, the most important must haves, how to deal with possible problems,… You can find them all in the book. Are you dreaming of a faraway trip to Asia or a car holiday to the South of France? Be sure to get the book. But as long as COVID – 19 dominates our country, stay in your room. But dreams never hurt, huh?!
9. Het is een fase
The most reassuring thought since you’re a mother: it’s just a phase. The book offers an answer to every question during the first year of a child’s life.
Although it’s incredibly cute being such a newborn mini-version of yourself, the first year is also often dominated by chaos, uncertainty and doubt. In the end, of course, everything will be all right, but in the meantime, this book can be of great help.
10. Wil je mijn mama zijn?
By Cathy Glass
This book is hard to get online, I bought it myself at a second-hand market, and I can only recommend you to do the same. If you ever come across the book in your life, buy it right away because it’s a wonderful story.
Cathy Glass, a pseudonym, is the mother of three teenagers including one adopted daughter. Over the past thirty years she has been active as a foster mother and cared for more than 100 children. From those experiences she wrote several beautiful ones, including ‘Wil je mijn mama zijn?’
I myself read the book when I was on maternity leave, perhaps not the most ideal situation because I cried tears with spouts.
The story is about eleven-year-old Lucy, who went from shelter family to shelter family in three years. She refused to eat, fell behind in her development and many thought the damage would be irreversible. Because of Cathy’s years of experience, she was the only person people hoped Lucy could be ‘saved’. Of all the hundreds of children that Cathy looks after, Lucy is the one who steals Cathy’s heart.
In a profound way Cathy tells the story of her and her adopted daughter, and proves that the damaged children may as well have a happy life. A hidden gem among the books on motherhood!
If you have some favorites or other books you absolutely love, don’t hesitate to share it with us!