Readers are leaders! Whatever your single-mom related questions, issues, joys or challenges are, there is a single mom book for it.
In fact, I wrote a book for you, too! Here is my list of vetted titles of books for single mothers, designed for you in whatever state of your journey, in no particular order... *cough*
This is my baby.
The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), is my #1 bestselling baby, and I am so proud of it. It is all about my own experience becoming a single mom, the details about how much pain I went though, how I got back on my feet financially, thrived professionally and in my motherhood, and came to enjoy dating, sex and romance.
It includes lots of incredible stories from other, kickass single moms, research, and tips from incredible moms and experts. Hundreds of readers have told me it changed their lives in incredible ways, and it was endorsed by the NYT, The Doctors, Fox & Friends, Oprah.com and dozens of other media.
Follow-up to the classic tome, this is a quick-and-dirty guide on tackling every important aspect of your personal finance: Saving, debt, earning and growing your dream career, investing like a pro, budget and credit and, arguably most important: your single-mom money mindset!
The Whole-Brain Child
It doesn't take a neurologist to tell you that kids' brains don't finish developing until their early adult lives. But knowing exactly what to do with that information is key. Cue neuroscientist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson, whose book, The Whole-Brain Child helps parents understand differences in children's brain development patterns and use this knowledge to raise calmer, happier kids.
Their crystal-clear explanations and age-appropriate strategies will help you teach your kiddos important life skills in ways they'll understand now. This New York Times bestseller is a must-read for moms looking to corral their kids with compassion.
How to Talk to your Kids About Your Divorce
Dr. Samantha Rodman, author of How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Divorce, knows there's no easy way to discuss the tricky subject of divorce with your kids. But whether you're breaking the initial news, or helping your children cope with their changing environment following yourseparation, it's totally possible to have open and effective communication with them.
Dr. Rodman teaches moms how to help kids express their thoughts about the divorce and validate their concerns and emotions. Her sections on answering questions in age-appropriate ways is a big favorite for a lot of moms, and the expertise in both psychology and relationships is obvious after reading only a few pages.
Anyone who reads my blog, listens to my podcast, follows me on YouTube, or knows me in general, knows that I'm a HUGE proponent of co-parenting. However, it's still a largely debated matter for many families. Karen Bonnell's book, The Co-Parenting Handbook, is a buoy in the sea of questions about exactly what "co-parenting" means and how to make it happen.
The book addresses practical and logistical questions of how shared parenting works, plus strategies for parents and children that help make this method work for your own family unit.
Shared parenting is critical for women, as involved co-parents, both inside and outside of marriage, mean women have far more support at home, which allows us to thrive as parents, professionals and earners. After all, we can’t be equals at work, if men are not equals at home!
Janet Lansbury, author of No Bad Kids, is a four-leaf clover among other professional parenting and family relationship experts. She studied under one of the first and greatest child specialists, Magda Gerber, which means her advice and techniques aren't the product of formal studies and research trials; she's got actual hands-on experience helping parents and toddlers.
The book addresses solutions for the common issues of punishment, cooperation, boundaries, disobedience, testing, tantrums, hitting, and more. Moms, if you're at your wits' end and your toddlers are testing your limits, this book is definitely for you.
Money & Business
From Passion to Profit
It's never been easier to start a business, and yet, getting all of your ducks in a row is a seemingly daunting task at times. From Passion to Profit takesyou step-by-step through starting a profitable online enterprise in less than six weeks.
Creative mamas and makers of all sorts swear by this book for its no-nonsense tips and advice for everything from developing your products and services to branding yourself and getting traffic to your online store.
Are you a mom struggling with work-life balance? Who isn't?! Lisa Liberatore gets it, and her book, Power of Transparency, offers a solution: creating transparency in all you do. Her sections on navigating life's obstacles, staying on track with goals, and communicating openly are hugely empowering.
Learn how to find meaning and clarity in both personal and professional life, manage expectations, and GET FOCUSED. This book's impact cannot be stressed enough!
#1 New York Times bestselling author Jen Sincero's You Are a Badass at Making Money has quickly become a cult favorite – and for good reason! Her story is incredible: she transformed her life from broke to bountiful over just a few years.
Using her sass, wit, and real-world solutions, she helps readers unleash their earning potential, see money in a new light, and uncover what's been holding them back from making money. Her bite-sized concepts and strategies make this book truly memorable and, more importantly, actionable.
Dig this: in 1998, the average woman earned less than $25,000 annually. Now, in 2018, over 15 million women make $100,000 or more – and that number is growing at a faster pace than men!
What makes these women able to pull these incomes, even in varied industries? Barbara Stanny was curious, and her research became Secrets of Six-Figure Women, an Amazon best-selling book. What she found is that, though these women came from different backgrounds and have vastly different careers and work experiences, certain characteristics remain the same.
Sex, Romance & Relationships
Pussy: A Reclamation
If you listen to my podcast, you'll already know I'm a huge fan of my friend's book, Pussy: A Reclamation. Mama Gena lays it all there for us, ladies. From helping your daughters to nurture their own femininity and sensuality, to what the word "pussy" (really) means to us, it's all there. No holds barred.
Check out the podcast, hear what Regena has to say on the magical topic of pussy, and learn to embrace what makes, well... us.
She's one of us, divorced young with a small daughter, yet she found the means to build a business which boasts seven figures!
This one is just a staple for every woman (and man) to read. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts is such an impactful book because it shows us how we can all give love, and receive love, in the most powerful way unique to us. You think you know someone, and what makes them tick?
You may want to think again. Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the 5 Love Languages, puts love and relationships into a whole new perspective, one which might just flip your world on its head.
Never did it occur to me there was more than one kind of unspoken love language, but here we are. And, admittedly, Chapman digs right into you and those around you. If you're anything like me, expect one of those "Aha!" moments, maybe more than once.
This #1 bestseller for the NYTimes is here to stay. Make sure the people you care about are, too, and learn their language.
Parental alienation is real, mamas. It’s a subject I’ve written about in the past and one I’m particularly passionate about. Richard A. Warshak discusses this form of abusive behavior in depth in his book, Divorce Poison.
He explains how to deal when your ex-spouse bad-mouths you to your kids, portrays you in a negative light, and/or attempts to turn your children against you. You’ll learn powerful strategies to preserve and rebuild your relationships with your kids, and what to do from legal and mental health standpoints to prevent longer term repercussions of these negative situations.
With a two-part approach, Rossana Condoleo’s Happy Divorce shows readers how to turn their divorce into the most empowering and transformative opportunity of a lifetime. Part One offers support and comfort for women coping with the stress and pain of separation and divorce. From there, she moves into helping uncover and embrace the readers’ visions, true Self, dreams, and purpose, setting goals along the way.
Part Two is very practical advice for everything from managing social life post-divorce, helping children cope and understand the shifts, taking care of a home on your own, choosing and dealing with divorce lawyers, and many more guides. Anyone looking for a one-two-punch of compassion and advice in the wake of a divorce should grab a copy ASAP!
Mira Kirschenbaum’s book, Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, is the perfect book for anyone who finds themselves wondering, “Should I get a divorce?” As an international bestseller and well-respected therapist, her years of relationship counseling make her well-equipped to answer this troubling question.
Her techniques and questions are meant to promote self-analysis and get to the root of relationship and marital issues, which she follows with no-BS, practical advice for relationships – new or old – delivered in a clear manner.
Sure, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love is about divorce and separation, but more importantly, it’s about the journey that happens after divorce – the inspiration, self-actualization, raw vulnerability, acceptance, and humility – the empowerment. Gilbert’s autobiography of coming to terms with her desire to leave her marriage, her journey over one year in Italy, India and Indonesia, and her exploration of love after marriage are all relatable, beautiful and full of hope.
This book is amazing and bright, whether you’re divorced or not. But it takes on a much fuller meaning and comes alive with so much more color if you’ve gone through it. Eat Pray Love is a perfect pick-me-up for a girlfriend who’s going through divorce.
Kids Books About Divorce
Kids books about divorce can be a little tricky to come by. Claire Masurel’s book, Two Homes, handles the often-sensitive topic of divorce with the perfect measure of optimism and sensitivity. The book describes main character Alex’s favorite elements of life at both parents’ homes – “At Mommy’s house, Alex has a soft chair. At Daddy’s house, Alex has a rocking chair.” The words are simple, positive, and reassuring, and Alex’s place is firmly established in both homes with loving detail.
Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown has been a learning and coping tool for families for over 25 years. Through basic storylines and lovable dinosaur characters, it helps young children understand basic concepts like divorce words and what they mean and why parents divorce, plus what to expect after divorce, like telling friends, meeting parents’ new friends, and living with stepparents and step-siblings.
It even helps kids know how things will change once divorce takes place, such as celebrating holidays and special occasions. Knowing why divorce happens and what to expect has made so many kids feel more comforted and secure, and I highly recommend helping them learn with an age-appropriate book like this one.
Moms love this Llama Llama series by Anna Dewdney in part because seemingly-solo Mama Llama is so freaking relatable! She teeters on the edge of blowing her stack as her little Llama Llama gets grumpy during holiday shopping, refuses to share with his playmates, takes all his frustrations out on the poor woman, and will not stay in bed already. She’s also sweet and giving and rounds out a whole, real mom in a way so few children’s books do. Stay strong, Mama Llama!
Inspiration & Motivation
#1 New York Times Bestselling author Brene Brown is a social scientist who has built her platform by sparking conversations about love, courage, creativity, self-acceptance, and joy. In her book, Daring Greatly, she helps her readers understand one of the least-valued traits: vulnerability.
She explains that vulnerability and the willingness to trust without guarantee of success, is the key to living a brave and meaningful life. Through countless interviews with people of all walks of life, Brene helps us make the connection between allowing ourselves to fall, get uncomfortable, gain footing again and rise with more identity, truth, and an appreciation for the process.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, is no stranger to inspiration, as proven by Big Magic. In this book, she digs down into her own creative process and reveals her unique perspective on the art of inspiration – managing it, growing it, and embracing it.
I love her explanation of creativity as “strange jewels” that are inside each of us, which we each have to uncover for ourselves. Whether you’re looking to start a business, write a book, advance at work, or simply find a higher level of inspired existence and passion, this book is just what you need.
Just when you thought this self-help book list was getting too woo-woo and fuzzy – BAM! In comes Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. This has to be one of the most refreshing and unexpected books to hit the inspirational book circuit in quite a while, and it’s 100% worth the read.
Manson himself is a blogger, but his approach to “living the good life” isn’t covered with Instagram filters and emojis. Instead, his book teaches that being positive all the damn time isn’t really helping us become better, happier people. His raw, real, and honest perspective is the opposite of coddling – he wants us to stop running from painful truths, fears and limitations and start seeking the honesty, responsibility, curiosity and strength we need to build the lives we want.
It’s not a true self-help book list for single moms if Brene Brown isn’t in here at least twice! In Rising Strong, she discusses the importance of resetting yourself in order to live, love, parent and lead more effectively. She empowers her readers to allow themselves to transform into whatever they want to be, and to embrace their process.
This is a perfect book for divorced single moms, or anyone trying to get back on the horse. Brene’s ability to be comforting and encouraging while also being influential and motivating is a true gift to those of us who need a little grace, a little self-acceptance, and a whole lot of healing.
The Slight Edge
The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson, is a life-changing book. It’s about processing information and about thinking in a way that leads to a happier, more successful life. It’s incredibly impactful for something that sounds so simple: tweak your daily habits and activities and create powerful results that ripple throughout your life.
The book includes insight into how we process information and think about things on a basic level, and what impact those little actions and thoughts have on our interpretation of absolutely everything in life. If you’re into hacking into your psychology to make small changes that really make the difference, this is your kind of book.
Year of Yes
If the name Shonda Rhimes sounds familiar, that’s because she is the executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal, and Grey’s Anatomy. In her New York Times bestselling book, Year of Yes, learn how saying “YES” changed her life. For as bold as Rhimes’s TV shows are, it’s pretty shocking to learn how much of an introvert Rhimes is. So, for one whole year, she decided to say “YES!” to everything that scared her.
In this part-memoir-part-inspirational book, see how drastically her life became once she started opening herself up to new opportunities, shutting down self-doubt and self-sabotage, and exploring her newly empowered self. By the end of this book, you’ll be putting on your shoes and getting out to try something new, ASAP!
Lots of single mom books in the self-help genre claim to be able to help you “live your best life.” But few are as effective and memorable as Jen Sincero’s blunt how-to guide, You Are a Badass. This book has rocketed in popularity since it was released, and it’s all because of the bestselling author, speaker, and world-travelling success coach’s refreshing tough love approach.
If you ever find yourself too busy to get anywhere in a book (hello, raise your hand, single mamas!), this one's for you. Sincero’s 27 snackable chapters are chock-full of inspirational, gut-bustingly funny stories, sincere insights, easy exercises, and – my fave – gratuitous swearing.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.