- Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb - Ronica Vestrit is a mom who is trying her hardest. She's spent years managing the family business while her husband sails around trading, while still trying to raise her two daughters well. Once her husband passes, Ronica is tasked with making some tough decisions, especially regarding her daughters. She makes plenty of mistakes and has a lot of learning to do about her children, but she's willing to admit to her mistakes and to give her daughters opportunities to make their own mistakes and learn their own lessons. Ronica is the kind of mom so many people have (or should have)- tough, no nonsense, and independent, but still humble enough to admit her shortcomings. Ronica's story arc throughout the series helps you (and her kids) see her as an active member of the family, not just as the mom.
- Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki - Told from the viewpoints of a wealthy mother struggling to connect with her children and a young artist trying to emulate her own mother, this story is all about motherhood. Lady Daniels is trying to write a memoir about raising her selectively mute teenage son while struggling to connect with him and tolerate her other toddler son. Esther has just graduated from college and been hired as a nanny by the Daniels, all for the purpose of spending the summer on her most ambitious art project ever - becoming her mother for the summer to better understand the woman who helped raise her. This story tells all about motherhood and learning about yourself, with all it's complexities and difficulties.
Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and Chocolate by Anne Østby - Five friends retire together to Fiji and work to support each other, especially as they all go through the growing pains of growing old. Most relateable is Sina, whose relationship with her adult son is struggling as he continues to mooch off her and she struggles to set boundaries. This story shows some of the difficulties of being a good mom while sometimes having to play the bad guy in order to help your child grow.
- My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck - This lovely and delightful picture book helps children to identify ways that they can tell their mom loves them - and is still an adorable read for adults.
Have you read any of these books? What realistic moms do you enjoy reading about? What books give you a positive look at parenting? What books can you relate to as a parent?