She forgot to pick you up once (or twice). Fed you Doritos for breakfast. Cursed a lot. And was always the first one to remind you that you didn’t come with a manual.
Until now. Put the old adage to bed (with breakfast) this Mother’s Day and give Mom the greatest gift of all: the written word.
From a laugh-out-loud memoir to a self-deprecating celeb autobiography, the following personal accounts of parenting are just as relatable to those celebrating the holiday as to those who are being celebrated. She’ll laugh, she’ll remember when, and she may even cry—in a good way.
Motherhood, by Erma Bombeck
Erma Bombeck spent nearly three decades chronicling the frustrations and victories of parenting in both her newspaper column and numerous books. Resonating throughout Bombeck’s observances are the superhuman qualities it takes to not only care for a family but for oneself. In this timeless collection, she presents everyday motherhood, as it should be—insane but glorious.
A Fine Romance, by Candice Bergen
She made waves more than 20 years ago with her controversial role as a single mother on Murphy Brown. In her recently released memoir, Bergen, though a celeb going on 50 years now, addresses everything from her hit television show to love, loss, and being a parent to very relatable effect. As she navigates her feelings raising her daughter, she also grapples with the challenges of a life in an often-unwanted spotlight.
The Dog Stays in the Picture, by Susan Morse
A parent’s work is never done, as Morse discovers in her memoir of an empty nest gone awry. Recovering from the loss of the family dog and faced with her children heading to college, Morse and her husband adopt a retired racing greyhound. Although lovable, Lilly is a handful, and Morse finds herself reliving all the moments she thought were long past. For those with children and fur babies, Morse tells a tender story of new life and soul mates.
Bad Mother, by Ayelet Waldman
Reflecting on the changing status and paranoia of parenthood, Waldman reflects on the impossibility of being a good—much less perfect—caregiver in the modern age. With a mix of advice and humorous anecdotes, Waldman encourages both young and old parents to stop fixating on right or wrong and enjoy the experience of raising a family.
Are You My Mother?, by Alison Bechdel
Fans of Bechdel’s brilliant graphic memoir, Fun Home, which detailed her coming-of-age story complete with her closeted gay father, are treated to the next chapter in Bechdel’s life: the retelling of her relationship with her mother. Bechdel struggles to understand the difficult and distant relationship the two endured, and uncovers a woman similar to herself—an artist—whose talents were unfortunately stifled by an unhappy marriage and her unwavering commitment to her children.