Whenever the topic of books or book clubs come up, one of the most common refrains I hear from other women is "Oh, I don't have time to read." But what they usually mean is, "I don't make it priority to read." After all, we're all busy. If you enjoy reading, that time can be found somewhere.
I asked a few of my favorite reading moms when they read:
Shauna Niequist (author and mom of two young boys): The question before that one, for me, is why do I read? I read because I'm not myself when I don't. I read to gain perspective, to connect, to be soothed and challenged by beautiful language. I read because I can't make sense of life without a steady diet of stories. I've always been that way. The same way some people desperately need to put on their running shoes and hit the trail on a stressful day, when life gets scrambled, I need a story to keep me company, and to help me make sense of things. My mom is an avid reader, and she read to me voraciously as a child, and I think something got ignited in me.
As a child, I read under the covers with a flashlight. I read with a paperback in one hand while I practiced scales on the piano with the other. Vacation, to me, is less a change of venue and more a wide-open opportunity to read…until I had kids, of course. The iPad changed my life, because for the first time, I could carry all the books I wanted in one place, instead of paying extra to ship books to a vacation location and lugging multiple hardcovers in my carry-on just in case.
When I miscarried twins, my second miscarriage in two years, my mother picked up our three year old son, and I curled up on the couch and read and read and read until I could face my own story once again. I read every night before bed. I read on flights and in airports. I read backstage before I speak at events and if the kids fall asleep in the Trader Joe's parking lot, I'm delighted to put off my shopping for a few minutes and read on my phone. I read novel after novel while nursing both our boys--again, technology! The light of the iPhone made it possible for me to read without turning on a light during night feedings and there are so many books that bring me back to those nights, dark and sacred, stories unwinding above my nursing baby's head.
Books are my friends, my guides, my path to other worlds, my number-one go-to in terms of sanity and self-care. I know this sounds crazy, like being a book person is just one short hop from being a cat person or an alien conspiracy theorist. But it's true. I'm a book person.
Sarah Bessey (author and mom to three under six): I am a happier mother when I'm reading. I'm an introvert with extroverted tinies - I need my evenings to decompress, to escape, to learn, to be myself all over again. I feel most myself when I'm reading and writing. So, due to stage of life, most of my reading is after the tines go to bed. (I do always carry a book in my bag, and my one criteria for a purse is that it must be large enough for a hardcover. But reading while running errands doesn't always work.) Even if it's not a pristine experience of utter focus, I do try to snatch a bit of reading during the day here and there, as much for me as for the tinies - I want them to see me reading and know I enjoy it. We also read aloud every night as a family. But my main reading is for an hour or two nearly every single night after the tinies are in bed. And if it's the Best Night Ever, there will also be a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine involved.
Maja (work-at-home mom of one toddler and due with baby #2 this month): I read while I eat. I read the paper during breakfast and if I'm alone, I read fiction during lunch and dinner. I also read while Nelle watches TV, while she naps, and before bed. On Sundays, Ben and I sometimes get a sitter in the morning so we can watch our favorite news shows and read the NYT Sunday edition, and anything else on our to-read lists. A flashback to our life before kids… I read mostly but not exclusively on my iPad.
Jessica from Quirky Bookworm (mom of a toddler and book blogger): The short answer is "naptime" :) The long answer is I'm a fast reader, and I listen to tons of audiobooks. Also at least a couple of evenings a week I read while my husband watches tv.
Jessica from The Mom Creative (working mom to a four-year-old and a one-year-old, blogger): This year I committed to reading 30 books, which is a huge leap from how many I read last year (less than 10). To achieve that goal, I am being more intentional with my time each day. I mostly read at night, but I have also found myself reading on the bathroom floor while my kids play in the bathtub and in the morning before everyone is awake. Those stolen moments of reading are such a gift! I also take advantage of traveling time. If I am going to be in the passenger seat, I bring a book with me.
photo by Zitona