• Rachel Penate

5 Ways to Read More as a Mama

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

It's a warm, quiet afternoon and the sun is streaming in dreamily through the half-drawn curtains. My newest read is within reach as I sit down comfortably on the crumb-eaten couch, pillows tossed haphazardly around me.

It's time ... In the blissful quiet of this sleep-riddled house, I will read.

So, I go prepare my fourth cup of coffee for the day, pick up that perfectly un-caressed book, and ...

"waaaaaaaaaaaaa" (insert subsequent loud noises down the hallway).

Cultivating Hobbies as a Mom

Let's be real, if motherhood were easy, we'd be raising robots. Little kids are beautiful and special and cute but really stinking messy and hard. When I became a mom, I expected it to be difficult, but that somehow I'd have it together unlike the "other" moms. And, while this (totally embarrassing) naivety isn't lost on me, I think it inspired in me the desire to avoid fulfilling the "status quo" that being a mom means we sacrifice everything we do for ourselves in service of our kids.

If you are a mom and love to read, you do not have to give up your love for reading! Repeat after me: "I DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE UP MY LOVE FOR READING!"

Just last December, I had a baby (making our 2-year-old a big sister), and in the five months since, I've read 28 books. So many people have asked me how I do it. I'd like to chalk it up to talent or skill ... but really, I'm just totally and completely stubbornly opportunistic.

So ... drumroll please ... here are my 5 ways to be stubbornly opportunistic ... eh ... I mean, read more as a mama.

The Five Tips

1. Create a Goal for the Year

What do you want to accomplish out of your reading? Do you want to read ten new books, finish all the unread books on your shelf, or simply read five books all the way through? Whatever it may be, goals ground us and give us something to reach and plan for.

2. Maximize Your Down-Time

Alternatively named: "Avoid distraction." This is just a simple lesson in productivity. It's amazing how much we can get done when we name the activity at hand and avoid any distractions. Obviously this means reading while your kids are sleeping or out of your house, but that's just one part of the equation. Commit to your reading time like you would commit to time with a friend — don't stand her up! Recently, I've given up social media on the weekends to invest in time with my family, blog, and reading goals. It really has made a huge difference in how rested I feel come Monday.

3. Don't be Afraid to Capitalize on T.V./Play Time/nursing

Whenever our daughter is watching T.V. or playing on her own (and the baby will allow me to put him down), I ALWAYS crack open my book. I may only get in a chapter or two, but capitalizing on all the little moments here or there add up over time. I highly recommend e-readers (or the Kindle App on your phone) for moms with babies. You can nurse and hold those books so easily!

4. Go On a "Self-Care Date"

I recognize that achieving #3 without pulling out your hair is not the easiest for many people, nor is it preferred. If that's the case — and even if it isn't — give yourself permission to get out of the house and read. Whether that means going to the park, a favorite coffee shop, or your local library, it's OK to take some "you" time for nothing other than a little self-care!

5. Get Comfortable with Audiobooks

If I'm being very honest: this is my secret weapon when it comes to finishing books. I listen on my commute to work, while doing dishes/chores around the house, on walks with the dogs, at airports/on planes holding a squirmy child (I highly recommend bluetooth headphones for that one). Our libraries make it very easy to download free digital content (check out the "Libby" App!) and cheaper streaming services like "Scribd" make it easy to download audiobooks at a fraction of the cost.

Stay Grounded

In the end, reading should always bring peace and joy. It should be an outlet for learning and rest. It should never isolate, but rather always draw us closer to one another in compassion and experience. If, at any point, if feels divisive or laborious, reevaluate, set a new goal, and start over.

Know, I'm here with you on this journey and cheering you on every step of the way!

If you have any ideas on how to read more as a mama, sign up to the top right and comment! Or if you'd simply like to see more articles like this, please head to my homepage and subscribe. Happy reading!

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