Wednesday, April 1, 2015

6 Ways to make time to read as a mom

I love to read, and I wasn’t quite ready for this prediction from fellow moms – “You won’t be able to pick up a book till your child is in high school, let alone when he’s a baby/toddler.” These words can easily come true, what with a whirling bundle of energy clinging onto you or tumbling around you 27 x 7 and your attention being demanded on various levels all the time.

But strangely, I’ve read more books between pregnancy and now than in any other stage of life. I don’t get to read them in one long, luxurious stretch, but in bits and pieces, during stolen moments and in scraps of time. My Kindle is bursting at the seams with all kinds of tomes that I’ve been reading – fiction, non-fiction, ebooks. And if I’m lucky, I’m able to fit in a magazine or two from the library too.

photo credit: Mikhail Pavstyuk

Now I tell you this not to brag or blow my trumpet in a “look I’m so smart that I can make time for books with a toddler at home”. No, never. I’m just as surprised as you or more, and grateful that I haven’t had to let go of this hobby, this little nugget of nurturing. I haven’t been able to paint much or write as much or sew or craft in this season of motherhood. But, if there’s one thing I’ve been able to hold on to, it’s books and my love for the printed word.

So, how? Not by being the world’s greatest time manager (that I’m absolutely not!). Not by hiring a fulltime babysitter (that I don’t have). Not by staying up through the night (ok…I’ve tried doing that sometimes, but I can’t sustain that).

Here are my ‘secrets’. I’m writing this for all moms out there, who look at books wistfully, waiting for the day when they can pick one up and submerge themselves in the story. I’m sharing my own little methods, so maybe, you can tuck into the odd moment, the leftover minute, the lesser part of 10 minutes to fit in a page, a chapter, a story into your life as a mother and let the words nurture you.

Use those nap times to pick up a book. When my son naps, he still wants me around, in the same room, in the same bed, and right next to him, our heads touching. He is one of those ‘contact babies’ with a super sharp antenna that alerts him every time I try to leave the room to work at my computer or cook the evening meal. So, whatever I want to do while he naps, I must do while sitting next to him. And that’s when I break out a book and read till he wakes up.

Read while breastfeeding. During the first year, it seems that you’re perpetually on the couch, nursing a newborn for a 100 hours. I used to go brain dead with boredom, just sitting it out for hours endlessly, feeding my son at the weirdest of hours. That’s when I started bringing my Kindle to the couch, and read more books in that year than in any other.

Grab a 15-minute short of time after putting your child to bed. How I look forward to that time of quiet when my son nods off for the night. That’s when I whip out my book from under the pillow and read for a little while.

Mine those stray minutes. Even in a mother’s life, there are a few stray minutes through the day. Like when you wake up a few minutes before your kids, or in that sweet but short time when your toddler busies himself with a toy or when the husband’s home. I use these little interludes to get some reading done. Maybe just a page or two, but that’s how reading is like in a mom’s life.

Try some short ebooks. I’ve been hooked onto the world of ebooks for the past year or so. I love how moms around the world are sharing their words through this medium. And how some of these ebooks are such a treat to curl up with.  The other great part is that these are short and easy to finish. So, while I still read novels and non-fiction tomes, I like to download a steady pile of ebooks on my phone and Kindle for the extra-busy moments.

Get your toddler in the habit of ‘reading’ his own storybooks. Start by reading lots of picture books to him. As he starts getting used to the concept of stories and books, he’s sure to ask for a few books to thumb through. So plonk him next to you with a stack of storybooks and read your own book as he looks at pictures of his own. I do this every afternoon and we spend the better part of 20-minutes reading our own books.

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#books #reading

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