As a kid, I would plow through so many books. (Some classics, but a lot of twaddle too. 😉 )
I’d stay up late at night, immersed in a story.
I couldn’t eat without a book in hand or at least SOMETHING to read.
My mom would let me delay doing my other school work if I was really into a novel.
College made reading work, and while I still did plenty of it, a lot of the pleasure was robbed from me.
When kids came along, it became nearly impossible to pee in peace, nonetheless read a book!
The baby stage was extremely rough on me (read my post partum depression story HERE)
and I was hanging on to sanity by a thread. I felt like a machine that was being used up and worn out. My intellect was dying a slow death and I felt utterly consumed.
The idea of adding anything to my to do list, especially something as reading for pleasure, seemed out of the question.
But about four years ago, I decided that I simply had to make reading a priority.
And I had no idea how much it would impact my life.
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Why Moms Should Read
Every mom is told that she needs to take time for herself. In fact, we feel guilty that we don’t take care of ourselves. UGH! But I didn’t find most people’s idea of self care to be fulfilling. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy bubble baths and massages like the rest, but within 2 minutes of the relaxation being over, I was utterly stressed yet again.
But when I started to read seriously, I began to feel alive again. My brain had something to mull over during the monotonous parts of the day. My mind had living ideas to contemplate and discuss with other people. Honestly, I felt human again.
I had bought into the lie that I was at my intellectual height in college and that I was forever doomed to “mom brain”. Guys, our prefrontal cortex hasn’t even finished developing by the time most of us get out of college! Don’t sell yourself short.
At first, I was extremely intimidated by lofty, deep classics. I felt stupid.
Finally I convinced myself that it’s ok to be completely lost and confused when you read a book, just keep at it. Each book will still have something to teach you, another stone in the foundation.
One of my favorite podcast is called “Close Reads”. When I first started listening to them discuss a book, I was convinced that I was out of my element. So many things went over my head. But I kept at it, and as my arsenal of books kept accumulating, so did my understanding. References started to click. I started making my own connections. I became confident enough to disagree!
Am I some sort of genius? No. Am I well read? Not yet. But my confidence in my ability to learn has grown tremendously.
I’m so glad I didn’t let my education end in college. Yikes!
Tips for Finding the Time to Read
Overcoming Road Blocks and Lack of Motivation
Have you ever started a book and somewhere around chapter 5, you just start to drag? Your pace and interest slow and reading suddenly becomes a chore?
Have you ever decided to read a book, but when you actually get a chance to read, you’re not in the mood for that type of book?
My answer to these two issues is to read a variety of books at the same time. It might seem chaotic and counterintuitive, but I always have at least four books going at once.
I picked four genres of books that I often read and at the beginning of every month, I make a selection for each category.
My four topics are:
Some days I’m just in a get stuff done mode and can only stomach non-fiction, practical stuff. Other days I just need to chill with a fun book. When my mind is hungry, I dive into classic and spiritual books. They all get done eventually and the variety keeps me eager for more.
(I resisted this idea for a long time, but when I tried it, I was suddenly reading A LOT more.)
Use Your Time Wisely
If you are picturing me reading books with a quiet house and a warm cup of tea with my feet up in a clean home, you got me all wrong. While I wish my life could look like that, it’s very far from reality. Instead, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will rarely get a big chunk of time to read. I HAVE TO use the little snippets of down time as much as I can. And they will add up. Believe me. I don’t know how I ever finish books when it seems like I only read a page at a time, but somehow, it still gets done!
(Does your phone keep track of how much time you spend on it? What if you replaced half that time with reading. Imagine the growth and mental health you could achieve!)
Prepare yourself to utilize the time you have by having multiple formats and locations for books. I have one of my four books by my bed, another down stairs, usually in the kitchen so I can read at grab a quick bite to eat. The other I keep in my purse for all those times I’m stuck waiting when away from home.
Then my big secret…
I devour audiobooks. When I’m cleaning or walking the dog or driving, I’ve got a book going.
I strongly recommend using Bluetooth Headphones like these that I use so that it doesn’t have to be quiet for you to be able to hear your book. 😉
Many libraries have apps for renting audiobooks. But those are often limited and you have to wait to get a book. So while I use the library when I can, we use Audible for most of our audiobook needs. As homeschoolers, (especially with a student who has dyslexia) getting an Audible membership has been one of the best investments in their education. They have every obscure book on my kids list of books to read aloud. I know I never would have made it through massive books like “The Count of Monte Cristo”, “David Copperfield”, or “Crime and Punishment” without it being read TO me by fantastic narrators.
With Audible, you pay for the equivalent of one audible book a month and get a credit (which will roll over if you don’t use it). But where I really save money is the SIGNIFICANT price cut on all audiobooks when you’re an Audible subscriber (usually at least 50% off what non-members pay). You can also use the app across devices, which makes it much easier for all of us to listen to quality books.
Try Audible FREE for 30 Days AND Get Two Free Audiobooks through this Link and see if you don’t read substantially more than without it.