Between what’s available on the Internet and the vast number of (often contradictory) parenting books coming out each year, information on child-rearing has never been more readily accessible than it is today. Further, the latest research shows that there are over four million mommy bloggers in North America alone, according to eMarketer, bombarding readers with endless photos of Pinterest-perfect play rooms. Despite the influx of inspiration and advice, new books indicate that some mothers are as inexperienced and frustrated with child-rearing as ever. This season, religion and spirituality publishers are swapping high expectations of parenting with the messy, imperfect, and sometimes exasperating realities associated with mothering.

The Magic of Motherhood: The Good Stuff, the Hard Stuff, and Everything In Between

Ashlee Gadd (Zondervan, Apr.)

Gadd, one of the contributors behind the parenting blog Coffee + Crumbs, collects the website’s most popular essays on topics such as friendship, marriage, and the heartaches of motherhood. The book lays out methods for self-care and words of encouragement to do the “holy work of motherhood” as told by “12 imperfect mothers, figuring out the mystery of parenthood one day and mistake at a time.”

UnSuperMommy: Release Expectations, Embrace Imperfection, and Connect to God's Superpower

By Maggie Combs (Broadstreet, May)

“Imperfections are opportunities to receive God’s unending strength,” writes blogger Combs in her first book, in which she reflects on the many ways social media and society can influence ideas about motherhood. Incorporating lines from Scripture, Combs makes a case for how serving God instead of trying to measure up to outsiders’ standards can lead to freedom and joy.

Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer Closet: Finding Grace and Laughter When Motherhood Gets Real

By Jessica Kastner (David C Cook, July)

Journalist Kastner reflects on her experiences as a single parent in a Christian culture that values marriage and motherhood. Kastner eventually married and had two more children, but she admits to being an “un-mom,” or lacking a “maternal chromosome beheld by other moms Instagramming their perfect dinners.” Drawing on her faith, Kastner writes, “I choose to laugh at the ridiculous rather than attempt a false sense of perfection or feel hopeless when things get real.”

A Woman Overwhelmed: Finding God in the Messes of Life

By Hayley DiMarco (Abingdon, Aug.)

DiMarco, an author and co-founder of Christian media company Hungry Planet, shares biblical insights and personal experiences with the stress, uncertainty, and isolation that can come with responsibilities in many women’s lives, including motherhood. A companion six-week Bible study, A Woman Overwhelmed: A Bible Study on the Life of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is also available from Abingdon.