I’ve always been a bookworm. Childhood summers meant weekly trips to the library to carry home the maximum number of checkouts. You’d find me under an umbrella at the pool after swim practice with my nose buried in a book or holed up in my bedroom with a window AC unit blasting while I read a new novel.
As an adult, I find that work slows down just a bit in the summer, which means reading time is back on deck. So as you’re packing up the family pool bag, consider tossing in these titles. They’ll make you think, smile, laugh and inspire as you continue the working motherhood juggle.
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Read this if … You have no idea why you can’t get through your to-do list.
In a nutshell: Drawing from experiences and interviews from women across the globe and in her backyard, Schulte explains exactly why you feel so, well, overwhelmed. Spoiler alert: it’s not just you. We all feel this way. Here’s how it can get better.
Why I love it: You’ll recognize yourself in so many of the relatable anecdotes, making you feel not so alone. Understanding the “why” behind the crazy helps you figure out how to make this life work for you.
Read this if … You’re in a leadership role (or hope to be).
In a nutshell: This step-by-step guide lays out what presence is — that “it” factor often missing in women — and how to get it.
Why I love it: With so few of us in leadership positions, most women never hear this direct, sage advice. This is how you show up, communicate and influence people. And while this is a “work” book, it can apply to your home life too, say if you have a strong-willed toddler who refuses to get dressed when you’re already 15 minutes late for work.
Read this if … You’re stretched for time.
In a nutshell: You already know that timing is everything. But this book draws on economic, psychological, biological and neurological research to help you optimize your schedule.
Why I love it: Working moms know their most precious resource is time. Reading this book may just return a few minutes of free time to your day. Plus, it includes a step-by-step guide to the perfect power nap. Try it! It works!
Read this if … You’re exhausted all the time.
In a nutshell: This comical memoir of working motherhood will have you laughing out loud and nodding your head with an enthusiastic “preach, girlfriend!”
Why I love it: Written in alphabetical format, this book can be broken into short reads for when you really need a laugh, or for the 13 seconds you have to read before you pass out from exhaustion each night.
Read this if … You hate getting dinner on the table every single night.
In a nutshell: Part-memoir, part-cookbook, these beautiful stories will inspire you with new but accessible ways to sit down with your family every night for dinner. Even after a nine-hour budget meeting.
Why I love it: Although I’ve long held family dinner as a nightly priority, this was a gift from a friend who saw how frustrated and bored I was with my normal dinner routine. It’s beautifully written and illustrated, and it includes countless strategies for getting a good meal on the table after a busy, long day.
Jennifer Folsom is the chief of corporate development at Washington, D.C.-based data analytics consulting firm Summit LLC. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband Ben and three sons, 17-year-old twins Josh and Will, and 12-year-old Anderson. Her practical guide to modern working motherhood,"The Ringmaster," will be out this fall