I used to read all the time. In my twenties, I would keep a notepad with all the titles of books I had read. I loved to look back each year and recall authors I liked, and keep track of how many books I read. Reading was something I immensely enjoyed. I love learning or getting lost in a good story and talking with my husband or friends about what they are reading.
Once I had kids, I didn’t know how to make time to read anymore. When they went to bed, my brain was done for the day. Plus, I tend to be old fashioned and was adamant that I only ever wanted to read a hard copy book, and not on a screen. Add that to the fact that my first born got up for the day at 5am for his first several years of life, I just could not motivate myself to get up before him to read. So, I just gave it up. And I really, really missed it. Not only is it something I love, but as a stay at home mom, I realized how much I needed to be mentally challenged or engaged in thoughts, stories and ideas outside of my home too.
So, in the last year or so, I really prioritized reading again and no longer made excuses.
I gave up trying to read hard copies all the time and tried listening to books. As much as I thought I wouldn’t enjoy listening to books or even have any quiet time to do so, I actually do. My kids talk nonstop in the car, so my dreams of being able to listen in the car are not a reality for me. But, I learned I actually do have pockets of time where I can listen to a book. I discovered the Chattanooga library has a free app called Libby and it is surprisingly easy to use. You link it to your library card and can check out books for two weeks. I turn it on to listen while I’m cooking dinner, doing dishes, in the shower, or folding laundry. I find myself looking forward to these otherwise mundane tasks to pick back up in my book.
Another thing I’ve started this year is waking up an hour before my kids. I feel like this makes me officially old, but I absolutely love it. I now have one glorious hour of quiet time (relatively quiet — I do have a six-month-old as well and he sometimes doesn’t get this memo yet). But for the most part, I can make my coffee and breakfast, and sit down for personal devotion and to read a chapter in a hard copy book. I typically save more thought-provoking, deeper, and books that challenge personal growth for the morning time. I truly look forward to waking up early!
It also helps to read with friend groups. I have been a part of book clubs that motivate me to read more, and am currently in a text group reading a book with some mom friends through my son’s school. It is fun to discuss what we are learning or thinking about together. I also follow Reece Witherspoon’s book social media page to see what her monthly recommendations are. I don’t always love her choices, but I often have enjoyed her picks which aren’t typically something I would choose myself. Currently, I’m on a huge Nicholas Sparks’ kick, reading all his new titles from the past seven years on my Libby app. I also love a good mystery, so I am really enjoying Colleen Coble’s books as well.
I try to take my hard copy book with me in the car when we leave the house. There are inevitably times throughout the day in which I am waiting. Waiting at appointments, or to pick up a kid from school, or waiting for sports’ practice to be over. I’d like to try to teach my kids to be readers too and one way to be intentional with this, is for them to see me reading a book rather than always reaching for my phone.
As moms, we really do have 100 valid reasons why we can’t make time for reading, but I want to encourage you to think outside of the box of how you can get back into making time for it!