For the past few years, I have been sharing book reports on the blog. They are one of my favorite things to write, mostly because I get such great book suggestions in the comments. But one question that always comes up is... "when do you have time to read?"
And I get it. I have a toddler and I work from home. But I also have hobbies that are tremendously important to me! And reading is my absolute favorite hobby. I'd pick (and do pick) books over television, movies and human interaction. (Though, thankfully, not always.)
But that answer isn't enough. So here's a bit more detail...
I try to only read books that I really enjoy. Life is too short to waste time on a book you're not connecting with. I have found that going to the library REALLY helps me stick to this rule. I often check out 5-10 books at a time. That way, if I'm not loving something a few chapters in, I can move on to the next book. It doesn't cost me anything and so I don't feel like I "wasted" money on a book that isn't interesting. When you love a book, you don't want to put it down.
I stopped reading books on my iPad. For a few years, I was using the kindle app almost exclusively. But I found that it was WAY too easy for me to "just click over to IG really quick" and suddenly I was down the rabbit hole of competitive cheerleading rivalries. Switching to real books (another reason to thank the library) has helped me be less distracted and therefore get more reading done.
I would rather Ellerie see me reading than scrolling my phone. Don't get me wrong, I still scroll my phone PLENTY. But I'm trying to make an effort to read a book while Ellerie does something else (draws on her whiteboard, drives her car around, reads her own books, watches Daniel Tiger with breakfast, etc) to set a "good" example and because she's way less interested in Mama's books than she is in Mama's glossy screens. I'm not saying I get a lot of reading done while she's in the room, but a few pages is a few pages.
So with those rules in mind, here's an exact breakdown of when I read (Outlander) last week. (That sheet of paper was from a notepad from Happy Mail.) It was sort of an abnormal week - Paul was working the evening ER shift (2-10pm) so I had more "me time" after I got Ellerie to sleep. Ellerie and I also flew up to Sacramento on Friday morning so that was a little different. But with our work schedules, no weeks are "normal" so this is as good as it gets.
You can see, for the most part I read on the couch after Ellerie is asleep and then right before bed. Even when I'm tired, even after getting home from a wedding at midnight, I read for a bit. It's how I help settle my mind. It's how I calm things down. I never realized just how important those 10-30 minutes were to me until we were in Hawaii. Ellerie refused to sleep in her pack-n-play which meant we were co-sleeping and going to bed at the same time as her. I didn't get my time to read and by Friday night bedtime I felt like I had lost my mind. I NEEDED that time. Paul saw my crazy eyes and took over while I went out on the couch and got 30 minutes in with my book. It was like my world had reset. Good thing (for me) to keep in mind.
Overall, though, reading is like any habit. It gets easier over time to pick a book instead of Instagram. Or to pick a book instead of television. Or to carry a book with you in case of delays or unexpected waiting. It's just habit. That's it. But you have to work at it.