A Feminist's Guide to Motherhood by Poppy O'Neill - a guilt-free parenting guide

Advice that covers how to know and grow your power as a mother? We're in.

Woman reading a book on the sofa
(Image credit: Future)

Love them or loathe them, it's hard to avoid the huge number of books that have been published about parenting over the years. 

Mother Power: A Feminist's Guide to Motherhood by Poppy O’Neill is an empowering read that encourages mums to put their own well-being front and centre alongside caring for their family. If Jerry Maguire had been a mother who penned a parenting book rather than a memo, I think it would have looked a little like this book.

But my favourite thing about this book is how deliciously digestible it is. It's divided into 10 easy-to-read chapters - my favourite is the one on compromise - but you could literally open it on any page and gobble up some wisdom without feeling like you need to start at the beginning. 

It's also peppered with pithy, powerful quotes and printed on red, white and black pages so you feel more like you're browsing a magazine than reading a parenting tome. It's the perfect book to keep in your bag and delve into during those precious 'stolen moments' of motherhood. You know what I mean - when you've got one eye on the swimming lesson or you're waiting for a car-seat nap to finish. Feed yourself in those moments with a page or two of Mother Power. You won't regret it.

Poppy O’Neill is the author of multiple books on children's and parents' mental health including Amazon bestsellers Don’t Worry, Be Happy and You’re a Star.

Poppy O'Neill, author of Mother Power: A Feminist's Guide to Motherhood

Poppy O'Neill, author of Mother Power: A Feminist's Guide to Motherhood

(Image credit: Summersdale)

Drawing on research from parenting psychologists and feminist thinkers, Poppy shows us how to prioritise our own wellbeing as well as that of our children, so that we can honour our own needs and not lose ourselves to the many demands of modern motherhood. 

What jumps off the page is Poppy's passion for developing a positive, guilt-free attitude to your own self care. She also champions setting a positive example of self-care to your children for the future benefit of their lives and relationships.

'Practical, reassuring, and kind – every parent should read this.'

Viv Groskop, author, comedian, podcaster

This book is for all mothers, no matter the age of their children, and is inclusive of every kind of mother, from adoptive, single, and divorced mums to those in blended families and same-sex relationships.

Mothers can often be expected to consider themselves last in order to best care for their children, often at the detriment of their own wellbeing. In Mother Power Poppy demonstrates how looking after your own well-being makes you a better parent and sets up your children with a good example for developing their own self-care routines in their future lives and relationships.

Mother Power: A Feminist's Guide to Motherhood

(Image credit: Summersdale)

Using techniques developed by psychologists and researchers such as the Gottman Institute, Poppy explains how to put into practice parenting strategies and philosophies that respect the whole family’s needs and emotions - not just your children's - so you can create a life that brings you happiness, fulfillment, and agency.

The topics explored in Mother Power: A Feminist's Guide to Motherhood include:

  • How to stop caring what people think of you and your parenting
  • How to stay calm when your kids are acting up
  • Why you need to be ok with looking like a 'bad mum'
  • Having a messy home doesn't make you a bad person
  • Emotional resilience and how to cultivate it in yourself and in your children
  • Setting boundaries - an uncomfortable but vital part of parenting 
  • How to nurture a positive, guilt-free attitude to self-care 

Covering everything from boundaries and consent to work, relationships, and finding your identity outside of your family, Mother Power challenges you to unpick the ways you’re 'supposed' to be and guides you towards truly respecting the unique human being that you are.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Want to join us in this month's GoodtoRead book club? it's easy to take part; beg, borrow or steal a copy if you can and read along with us.

And don't forget to share your thoughts with us on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #GoodtoRead. You can also submit a review for the chance to have it published here next month.

Mother Power: A Feminist's Guide to Motherhood by Poppy O'Neill is published by Summersdale in paperback on 9th February 2023, priced at £10.99. It's available to buy on Amazon now. 

Heidi Scrimgeour
Deputy Editor

As a parenting specialist for more than 15 years, Heidi has written for most national newspapers and for a wide range of consumer magazines, including Mother & Baby where she was the Shopping Editor for six years, looking after regular consumer features including buying guides and gift roundups.