We all have the same amount of time in a day, but that doesn’t mean we can all use our time in the same way. I’m continually amazed at women like Modern Mrs. Darcy and Money Saving Momma who reads TONS of books in the midst of having children and managing a successful blog. For me, tackling ONE a week was a true challenge. Nevertheless, the question I most often get concerning my love for reading is-
“But when do you have time to read?!”
1. After kids to get bed
This is where 80% of my reading happens. Kids go to bed between 7:00 and 8:00 and I go to bed around 11:00 (well, that’s my goal, often it ends up pushing midnight). That leaves a lot to time to do whatever my little heart desires! I have some general guidelines for my evenings:
- No chores. We try to make sure that the necessary chores (dishes, sweeping, tidying) are done right after dinner with everyone helping out. The day-to-day chores happen during the day, sometimes with kids helping me, sometimes not. Chores are not for nighttime. Rejuvenation and personal hobbies/writing is for nighttime.
- I have a plan BEFORE the night begins. This is huge. I can’t take 30 minutes figuring out what I want to do. Time is too short for that. Instead, I know what I want to do as soon as I turn on the music and shut the kids’ bedroom door. Ready, Set, Go.
- I try to read at least 30 minutes before falling asleep. But sometimes my whole night will be earmarked as “reading” and that’s 3 hours logged!
2. During naptime/rest time.
From 1:00-2:30 I can almost guarantee time to read, if I so choose. At 1:00 Anaya goes down for her nap, and Ada has a quiet time in her room. She’s a rockstar quiet-timer, so I can generally count on her being in her room for almost that whole time. Admittingly, I mostly use this section of the day for emails, blog writing, planning kid activities for the week, household management stuff, or even a nap, but occasionally I’ll read too. So, I’d say I fit 10% in here.
3. With my kids
Somewhere along the way, our family started listening to books, and it’s a favorite pastime of ours. We will often listen to books that are for kids (A to Z Mysteries, Calendar Mysteries, Mercy Watson, Fudge series, and Nate the Great are some of our families’ “go-to”), but we’ve started venturing out into books that Jake and I actually really like too. We’re on the 5th book of the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins (it’s FANTASTIC), and so those are books I would read even if the kids weren’t around. I look forward to doing this more with the kids as they get older– just think about all the good stuff we’ll be able to listen to and discuss!
4. Listening by Myself
This past year I listened to a couple books (from the library) and this was pretty great for me! I would download the books on my phone and then listen while I was folding laundry, doing dishes, taking a walk, and grocery shopping (with headphones, of course).
5. In the Midst of Everyday Life
I’ve just begun to read in the midst of the chaos of life. I read somewhere that it’s important for kids to see their parents read and love books in order to keep their love for reading strong, and this made total sense to me. Do my kids know I like to read since they never see me do it? Do my kids know how much I LOVE to read? Or do they think that I LOVE to clean/Facebook/etc.? I’m sure there is no question in my kids’ minds (books are littered all over our house), but I decided to use this excuse to read a chapter here and there while my kids are reading their books, or even during a time when the kids are playing kindly with each other. I just plop myself on the couch or in the playroom and read while they play around me. I’ve discovered they often really desire my presence with them in the room, but they don’t necessarily need me interacting with them the whole time.
A few more “tips” that I find useful:
- Always have a book with you. Even if you think you won’t have time to read it, bring it anyway.
- Have a stack of books ready. Use your local library. Borrow all kinds of books that you think you might like. Don’t be afraid to have 5, 10, 20, 100 books checked out at one time (or whatever your library’s limit is). I typically read about 25% of what I check out and return the rest unread. I like to have a variety of books available, depending on what mood I’m in (fiction, christian living, comedy, memoir, biography, parenting, etc.).
- Have a pen and paper ready at all times for recommendations. Or your phone (or both). I love getting book recommendations from people. Sure, I might not actually read them, but I can at least check them out online to see if it’s something I’d be interested in.
If reading is something you love and want to make more time for it, I’m convinced there is a way!