Sam Powell


Chandler Baker’s Reading List for Exhausted and Fed Up Women

stores on Aug. One of my greatest joys in life is long talks with my girlfriends. Five minutes in, we were doing pushups with toddlers on our backs, squats with kids hanging off our thighs, crunches with children sitting on our stomachs.And although the dads did attempt to shepherd the kids away, they surrendered with protests of, “We can’t help it! And wow is it so much easier to hear all these life details from a friend, nod your head knowingly, and say, “You’re doing a great job. Mundane minutia is our social currency. Part of that, I think, is because there’s this burgeoning idea that women having-it-all means women needing to do All The Things in order to feel self-actualized and fulfilled. INSERT LINK HERE. Female friendships are so special in part because women feel close by sharing the details of their lives. 26074156

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Bodyby Roxane Gay

  I love all of Roxane Gay’s essays, but I think this one in particular speaks to women who will feel a kinship in examining the exhausting emotional and psychological struggles women are too-often saddled with as it pertains to food and body image. As in Enough Enough. They can make me feel seen and remind me that other women are exhausted and fed up just like me. You’re crushing it” than it is to speak kindly to yourself. Perfect for any mother who needs a break (which I think is probably all of us, right?)


Where’d You Go, Bernadetteby Maria Semple

  Bernadette is a frustrated artist, mother and wife, who is so fed up that she’s basically opted out of everything in her life, hiring a remote personal assistant to take care of it for her instead. 25325781

Where the Wild Mums Areby Katie Blackburn   and   Sholto Walker

  This is an adorable Australian picture book and nod to Maurice Sendak’s classic about the day an exhausted mother didn’t get dressed and went on strike only to find herself crossing time and space to where the Wild Mums live. 3, we asked Baker to recommend books for anyone who feels that having it all just means doing it all. I hope that if you’re reading this, you might find a knowing head nod from these books precisely when you need it. To shovel the more onto ourselves so that no one can accuse us of not being enough. It’s to take more. I’m out there trying to do all the things women are supposed to—pursuing a career, negotiating for higher pay, practicing self-care, dating my spouse, exercising, keeping passably up-to-date on fashion trends—but I’m so loaded down. Once there, both dads fell asleep for a midday nap and we, the moms, decided to let them sleep while we watched our collective four children.When the dads woke up, we mentioned our plan to get in a thirty-minute at-home workout and asked that they wrangle the kids during that time. Women are full!We hear over and over that we aren’t enough. The women in my life just GET IT and they do the same for me.But, let’s be real, sometimes trying to schedule a call or—if you can imagine—a lunch with a friend is next to impossible, what with trying to get dinner on the table and sticking to nap times and online shopping for that blue-of-any-shade bridesmaid dress you meant to order three months ago.So what I’ve been grateful to find is that certain books can be that sounding board, too. They want to be with you!” And I thought: Wow, this is a perfect physical manifestation of how life feels right now.     54860592
Not long ago, my husband, kids, and I piled into the car for a weekend trip with another family. Unlike the mothers in this book, I didn’t hit snooze on my career for the first ten years of my children’s lives, but I can still deeply relate to having been told that our generation would have it so differently than our mothers, that we truly would have it all, and the resulting frustration when the reality falls short. We “fulfill” ourselves to overflowing. Not thin enough, not pretty enough, not stylish enough, and now we’ve added to it—not successful enough, not professional enough, not tough enough. INSERT LINK HERE. 38647406

Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forwardby Gemma Hartley

I discovered Hartley’s book through her excellent essay “Women Aren’t Nags.” If you need a wise woman to lend vocabulary to the frustrations you’re feeling about the division of domestic labor and the draining toll of the emotional component of that, then, in my opinion, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than to read Hartley’s work. 55835474

Nightbitchby Rachel Yoder

  This is a brilliant, unnerving novel about an artist turned stay-at-home-mom who, during early motherhood, believes she is turning into a dog and struggles to control her new canine impulses. 50997643

What Kind of Womanby Kate Baer

  I have given this extremely accessible collection of poems to many women in my life, women whom I wish would see themselves the way I see them.  

Chandler Baker is a mystery writer who knows how to deftly turn sly observations of women’s lives into…well, murder plots. Bonus: The novel was later turned into a movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker. We slip. Some of my favorites include, “Like a Wife” and “Moon Song.”


The Ten-Year Napby Meg Wolitzer

  I’m pretty sure no list about the modern woman experience would be complete without including at least one Meg Wolitzer book. And I think where so many women are right now is: Enough! Share your picks in the comments below!Check out more recent articles:INSERT LINK HERE. Fresh from her corporate thriller The Whisper Network, which was selected   by Reece Witherspoon for her book club, Baker is back with a Stepford Wives-gender flip pageturner, The Husbands. Extra credit for reading Maria Semple’s follow-up, Today Will Be Different, which I loved just as much. Meanwhile, I find myself thinking: wait, what—fulfilled? Need I say more? Baer’s poems examine the many roles of women—partner, mother, and friend. 39045

I Don’t Know How She Does Itby Allison Pearson

  Kate Reddy is a working mother who is suffering from a severe time shortage and trying to juggle all the glass balls in the air, praying none of them will break. Do you have any book recommendations like these for your fellow readers? In honor of her new book which hits U.S. We spill. posted by Cybil
on July, 12 This book is achingly relatable and also hilarious—because sometimes we just need to laugh about how ridiculous trying to do it all is. What’s the natural reaction to hearing “not enough” over and over and over?