Words, words, words

I love reading.  I love it a ton.  I crammed in a bunch of thousand-page Russian novels before C was born because I figured I wouldn’t have much time for that sort of thing once she arrived.  I saved up some popular page-turners for after her birth because I knew that I would still want to read, but that I wouldn’t have much time or brain power.  So, since I had her, I’ve managed to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games trilogy.  That’s it.  In nine months.  Sigh.

More than anything else, I’m really struggling to find the time to read.  I can find a few minutes to pick the banjo, I can take C out to exercise with me, and I can do some evening baking, but lately, I just can’t seem to finish a book.

I think there are a few things going on here:

1)      I like to read in long sessions.  I should try to just get over this and get used to reading a page or two at a time, I guess.  Changing is hard.

2)      I need sleep.  I know people who stay up late reading in bed and I just can’t do it.  When I’m in bed I’m sleeping.  End of story.

3)      I don’t like to speed-read or skim.  Case in point: I read the farming chapters in Anna Karenina.  Thoroughly.  I did not skim those suckers.  Ask me about 19th century Russian farming practices.

This pretty much sums it up.

4)      When I’m reading and Pete is puttering or working, I feel lazy.  And he is always puttering or working, so I end up puttering or working along with him.

I may have to just change my reading habits for a bit while C (and hypothetical second child) is little.  I’m thinking that I should just set some small daily goals for reading.

Busy readers, do you have any tips on how to squeeze some literature into my day? 

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47 thoughts on “Words, words, words

  1. Get over that feeling lazy thing. You NEED to read! Tell yourself this daily 😀 I have two littles and it can be a challenge. But sometimes I read aloud whatever I’m reading. It generally gets them to hush and they see that mommy is actually doing something. She’s not just staring into a book and flipping pages. Good luck 🙂

  2. You’re so right. I have to remind myself that reading isn’t a pointless leisure activity (I don’t think it is, of course), and that I do need to keep reading for my sake and for the baby’s. And that’s a great tip about reading out loud. Thanks so much!

  3. It would be hard not to feel unproductive while Pete putters. As a putterer myself I recognize his superior puttering skills. But reading is one of your hobbies, and just as “productive” in a sense as Pete’s biking. It makes you a better person in many ways. Even fluff novels, since that would relax you and help you better enjoy Big C when she wakes up from her naps. Who knows when your knowledge of Russian pig farming might come in handy?
    Maybe you could enjoy just a few pages each night before bed. That’s what I do. Big C won’t be little for long, so enjoy now and know that you’ll be able to indulge (and invest in your arcane knowledge) in years to come.

  4. Those are valid points. Pete is a good putterer, and I’m a good reader. Different strengths. And fluff is definitely good right now. I’m trying to tackle a giant book about Mallory’s expedition to Everest and it’s not going so well. Thanks for reading!
    P.S. I think you may have skimmed those farming chapters. I’m pretty sure Levin didn’t have pigs. 😉

  5. Pingback: Bike, Banjo & Baby - The SITS Girls

  6. I’m a huge reader too so I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s difficult to set a hard time limit to sit there and read because most of the time you get so sucked in you lose track of time, knowing you have only 5, 10, 15 minutes makes it more of a watching the clock activity instead of staying engaged with the story!

    • I know exactly what you mean. I love to get engrossed in a story and it’s so hard with those time limits. But since I wrote this post I’ve managed to read quite a few more books, so I’m making progress. 🙂

  7. I’m exactly the same way!!!! I don’t like to skim, I like to read in long sessions and I have lost the time to read lately. I’ve been reading just a few pages at a time and feel like I’m getting no where on my books. And I always feel like I should be doing something “productive.” But I have to remind myself that having a little time to myself is just as important sometimes. 🙂

    • Ugh, I know that feeling. But then when I do finish a book that I’ve loved and has been really thought-provoking, I think “that was a much better use of my time than doing an extra load of laundry or scrubbing the baseboards.” Reading is time well-spent, I think. 🙂

  8. So many things change for a while when our little ones are small. So tough to change things that we love but it doesn’t last forever. Hoe you find a way to bring back this thing you love to do so much!

  9. I love to read, too. I used to read voraciously, often in bed at the end of the day, but I can’t keep my eyes open for very long lately! I’ve been reading Molakai for a month, and should have finished it a week ago. Sometimes we are just in a season in life, and that’s okay, too. It doesn’t mean you will never read again, it just means that there are more important things to do right now 🙂

    • That’s true. I was never able to read in bed and I certainly can’t now!
      I agree that things change as kids get older and I’m even finding I have more time for reading since I wrote that post. I just finished Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene and I managed to do it in a (fairly) respectable timeline.

  10. I love to read, too. And, yes, it hasn’t been the same since I had children. I don’t like to read in small snippets, but most of the time that happens anyway, because I start to fall asleep when I start to read a night now – which is pretty much the only time I can pick up a book! Hope you find a time and balance that works for you and your reading. 🙂

  11. I’m a big reader, and like you’ve suggested – I find myself reading pages here and there where I can. And then, during naps. Guys like to putter – let him putter, and YOU read! 🙂 Happy SITS day!

  12. I’m an enthusiastic reader who is also a teacher. Not a lot of reading goes on during the school year. Lesson planning, grading, etc. So, what do I do to sneak in a little reading. I read a few pages before tossing the book on the floor before conking out at night. I read in the bathroom while otherwise occupied. This may only be tiny bits versus long chunks which is what I prefer. Finally, when pressed I read what I call candy novels that have short chapters. James Patterson is great if you love that genre. Enjoy your baby. There are 6,000 new books published each year and you’ll never catch up. Enjoy what you do read.

    • I do the little snippets of reading now, too. I get longer stretches when the baby naps, but I do the same thing you do most of the time. I agree completely about just enjoying what you read. I just finished a Graham Greene novel and I loved every page of it. Thanks for visiting!

  13. I’ve just gotten back into reading after not making the time once I had kids. My problem is that I feel like an “all or nothing” kind of reader. I am not good at putting in a bookmark. If I start a book, I get lost and don’t easily put it down until I’m done. Big problem when I’ve got three kids, a job and a household to take care of!! I am working to find a balance that lets me read a few chapters and still interact with the real world!!

    • Are you me? I’m the same way about reading. I want to just get lost in a book for hours and not have to stop. I’ve had to change that since having a baby, but someday I’ll go back to those habits. Good for you for making time for reading with three kids! You’re a good role model for them.

  14. I always have grand visions of reading, but like you I want hours at a time!! I also feel like I am being luxurious when I read, so I work around the house instead so I feel productive. Long gone are the days of a lovely long reading session! Visiting from SITS!

  15. Ah yes…long gone are the days of luxurious reading hours!!! I too feel the need to “work around the house” as I feel more productive doing anything other than reading. I miss it sooo much. And reading blogs now takes all my time! Visiting from SITS!!!

    • It’s really hard. My husband has been trying to read Catch-22 in short bursts for months and months, and every time he goes back to it he has to re-read sections because he has forgotten plot developments. If only babies were more tolerant of five-hour reading sessions!

  16. I’m with you. My daughter is almost 3 and I may have only completed no more than 10 novels since her birth. She keeps me busy doing the things she wants to do. Oh well…lol. Happy SITS day!

  17. Well I offer little help here – I hardly read and my kids are 14 and almost 18. But it’s all about priorities and not feeling guilty. Reading is not a waste of time at all. I chose to start my food blog and that takes up much of my free time and often I am reading other blogs or learning about social media. But you learn so much from reading including how to be a better writer. So lower your expectations on quantity but don’t stop stealing away when you can for a reading break. And happy happy SITS day!

  18. Stopping by from SITS… I’m with the gal who said to get over feeling lazy. I work with women all the time as a coach who simply need to let themselves love what they’re good at and what they already love. We fight ourselves so much! If you get life done and you get some quality reading in, too… that sounds pretty awesome!

  19. I used to read a ton. I got sick a few years ago and have a chronic headache. One side effect is that I often have blurry vision and difficulty focusing mentally. For a while I had to give up reading. Now I do audio books. They are fabulous! Audible.com is my new best friend. Our library also has a wonderful selection. The reader makes a big difference so if you find one you don’t like, try another one. It’s a great alternative. I put them on my mp3 player and can listen while I clean or work in the yard. Whatever.

    If you really want to read, you will find a way. It might take time to find a new strategy, but you’ll get there. One thing about raising kids — things are always changing. Good luck.

    • I’m sorry to hear about the chronic headaches. That’s awful. Headaches can be so debilitating.
      I used to commute an hour to work and I did audiobooks sometimes. It was great to feel like I was using my time well in the car.
      You’re so right that things change with kids so quickly. Whenever she’s in a challenging phase (right now it’s molars!) I remind myself of this.

  20. I love to read as well and have definitely made more time for it this past year. I used it as a way to de-screen before bedtime because i know staring at the ipad/computer/tv was causing me to have trouble sleeping. I blog book reviews I have done and a couple reading challenges I signed up for. Hope you will stop by and give me your thoughts on what I should read! I would love to hear your suggestions! Stopping by from SITS!

    • I had sleeping issues too, and de-screening is a huge help, isn’t it? My husband is all up in his screens until right before bed, and he doesn’t seem to have a problem sleeping, which kind of annoys me, haha. I’d love to read your book reviews. Thanks for visiting!

  21. I was struggling with this recently too and decided that I needed to take 30-60 minutes at least to do something just for me that wasn’t cooking or cleaning or exercising. I miss reading and just doing something low-key for me. I think that there’s so much pressure on all of us to be go-go-go all the time but really we need to allow ourselves a break too. Hope you get to fit in some more reading! Happy SITS Day!

  22. I can so relate! Since having my son, I bought the nook color to help with finding time to read and actually, it has made things easier. Since I don’t have to carry a book around or turn pages, I can easily bring it with me to read here and there, but I still struggle with finding long stretches of times to read, too. I used to love to read before bed (prior to my son being born), but now I’m so tired, I end up just reading a page and falling asleep!

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