Podcaster Nikki Sims-Chilton on suburban mum summer reads

At Summer Stories, we've asked our favourite changemakers for their best summer read.

When I think of summer stories or beach reads, I think of books which take my mind offline for a little while, allowing me to indulge in something which I don’t need to think too hard about. The Instagrammable shot of painted toenails in white sand, book in hand and water in the background is very unlikely to be me… A. Because I have pasty white skin and burn within minutes of looking at the sun, B. Sand and I are not the best of friends and C. I have kids… and reading while supervising kids on the beach is impossible… so while I didn’t read this book on the beach, if you were thinking about lying in your rashie and hat by the pool (or on the beach in your bikini) – this book would be perfect! Reading on the train or in bed at night is about as glamorous as I get.  

How to be Second Best is Sydney-based author Jessica Dettmann’s debut novel. It was exactly the type of book I love! Light-hearted, funny and relatable in so many ways. It's the story of suburban mum Emma who discovers her husband is cheating on her with a pilates instructor. When both she and Helen, the pilates instructor find out they are pregnant at the same time, Emma discovers what it’s like to parent a blended family. The book touches on many themes such as divorce, co-parenting, romance and school-mum-life in a such a funny and relatable way.

My school-mum friends will appreciate the humour around the fun run… I am ‘the Suze’ – hopefully not quite the same, I managed to retain and attract more people to our committee second year-round!

Tell us about your podcast In Mum's Good Books.

When I first had children, my reading took a back seat and I felt like all I read was parent forums, baby food recipe books or non-fiction books on parenting which all highlighted in one way or another what I was doing wrong with my kids. When I finally got back to sleeping normally (whatever that is these days) I started reading a bit more. I often had friends ask me for recommendations as they didn’t have time to trawl through reviews of books and didn’t have time to waste reading a book if it wasn’t good! From there I decided to start In Mum’s Good Books, a podcast and blog, to share these recommendations. I launched the podcast in May 2018 and managed to record and release 10 episodes throughout the year – interviewing other Mums about their top book recommendations.

In 2019 I started a new job and had many other things going on that I couldn’t devote the time to podcasting and blogging – I did however manage to read 35 books and release 2 episodes. I often get asked how I find the time to read…. I generally read before I go to sleep – it’s my way of relaxing (which isn’t for everyone) and I know how good it is for me. So, the next time you are sitting in front of the TV with phone in hand multitasking between The Bachelor and Facebook, think of the great books you could be reading!

Find In Mum’s Good Books on Facebook and Instagram as well as in your favourite podcast app.

Thanks Nikki