“Little Blue Truck.” “Dear Zoo.” “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.” “Moo, Baa, La, La, La.” My guess is you have no trouble finding time to read these books. If your house is like ours, a small person is constantly clamoring to crawl into your lap and read another book. Every night my son begs for just one more bedtime story. He asks for books before breakfast. He requests audiobooks in the car.
His love of reading is one of the things I’m proudest of as a mother (even though I don’t know if I can take much credit for it), because I also love to read. But I’ll be the first to admit that I have to be very intentional about finding time to read these days between mothering, taking care of a house, actually talking to my husband sometimes, and maintaining adult friendships. One of my goals for this year was to become a voracious reader again, and here’s how I’ve achieved it.
Take a book — EVERYWHERE
Just as I won’t leave the house without my phone, wallet, and keys, I won’t leave without a book. I subscribe to a few email lists that send out the Kindle daily deals, so I can always have cheap e-books stocked — plus, the library is my best friend. We go multiple times a week to play with the train table and read children’s books anyway, so I request adult books to be held for me at the checkout desk so I don’t have to risk losing a toddler while browsing the adult stacks. I also have zero qualms about reading print books while my son plays at the park or builds with blocks. I don’t like to use my phone non-stop in front of him (even if I’m reading a book!), but I actually think it’s great to model reading behavior with print books.
Read multiple books at a time
I’m reading at least three books at any given time (a print book, an e-book, and a non-fiction book). My mind used to boggle at folks who could read multiple books simultaneously, but now I get it. I can’t let logistics stand in the way of my reading. If I need to keep one eye on my child at the park, I read a print copy. When I need to read an e-book on my phone while sitting in the car waiting out a nap, I always have one handy. If I only have a few minutes or don’t want to be sucked into a really compelling plot while my son plays, I turn to a work of non-fiction.
Replace social media and television with reading
Can I admit that this one was the hardest one for me to start? I stopped scrolling Facebook (ever) and just check my notifications three times a day. I only check Instagram once a day as part of my evening wind down. We just cancelled all of our television streaming services because I had gotten so used to picking TV over reading. Do I feel a bit less connected to the world? Truthfully, yes. But I also find that sort of freeing. I read the real news over breakfast, and the sensationalized social media-fueled news that was bringing me down is a thing of the past.
Always have a to-be-read list
Previously, I would hear about interesting books and either read them immediately or not at all. I’m not sure WHY it took me so long to sign up for Goodreads, but it’s changed my reading. (And it’s free!) Now I add books whenever I hear about them, and I have a never-ending list of books to request from the library or hunt down at stores or online.
I gave myself permission to quit a book I didn’t love
Prior to my son being born, I finished every book I started — even if I hated it. It seemed like the responsible thing to do. Now that my reading time is more limited, I ruthlessly quit reading books partway through. Have I probably missed out on some good reads prematurely? Sure. However, I regret nothing. I am squeezing out time to read wherever I can find it, so every minute counts.
What about you? Do you read more or less as a mom? Are you part of a book club (I dream of park playdates where we all discuss a book)? Do you also love Goodreads and your local library?