In honor of mothers everywhere--including stepmothers, godmothers, mentors and anyone who helps to nurture and teach a child--I thought I'd write about the first book I read after becoming a mother a little more than two years ago. Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions is her journal of her son's first year and it's a book I recommend to any mom, especially a new mom. A good friend gave me a copy at my baby shower and I've now started giving it as a shower present as well. I didn't start reading it until my son was born, and the short journal entries proved to be the ideal reading material during late night feedings and the other very random times throughout the day that I found time to read. That the entries mirrored just what I was going through -- learning how to respond to my son's cries and various myterious needs (including his seeming lack of a need to sleep, or at least it seemed that way at the time) -- only enhanced my love of the book. Lamott perfectly captures the "other world" experience that is the first few months of motherhood.
Last year on Mother's Day I wrote about another book that has taught and sustained me, this time as a stepmother: A Career Girl's Guide to Becoming a Stepmother. Author Jacquelyn Fletcher has since started a monthly newsletter that I find invaluable. If you are a stepmother, I urge you to sign up for it here and if you know a stepmother, please send her the link. She will thank you for it, I promise!