This article is all about the JOY of books and reading. If you’re a busy Mom and find it tough to find time to squeeze in reading, you’re not alone. This article contains tips for fitting in reading time and also some of my favorite book recommendations.
Below is the podcast version of this article. The podcast explains things so much better than a blog post. I invite you to listen and also hear some examples and enjoy some laughs! You can subscribe to the Podcast by opening your favorite podcast app and typing “Balanced Working Moms” into the search or here’s a link to the podcast on iTunes.
Before Becoming A Mom
Are you like me? As a kid, I could not get enough books. I loved to read. It was my escape to interesting places. It was also my way to learn about how others lived. There was nothing I enjoyed more than sitting down to a great book.
I also craved the quiet and the world of possibilities that the library held. The library was a magical building with thousands of books that I could borrow for FREE! It still gives me a thrill whenever I walk into a library. I can literally take anything home and it costs me nothing!
After Becoming A Mom
After becoming a Mom, I stopped reading almost entirely. My reading life (and also my other hobbies) fell away as I found myself busier than I’d ever been in my life. I was balancing motherhood while working full time and I was exhausted beyond words. Reading was a luxury that I didn’t have time to indulge in.
It All Changed
For a few years after motherhood I continued telling myself the story that I had “no time to read.” Sure, I’d read a random book on occasion, but it was usually non-fiction and the topic was typically on parenting.
Then I found Goodreads.
Goodreads, if you’re not already familiar with it, is social media for book lovers. You can see what books your friends are reading and whether or not they liked the book. You can also record stats on the books you’ve read (or want to read!), such as the date you finished the book, whether you liked it, etc.
While these features were nice, they didn’t get me back to reading.
Setting a Goal
What got me back to reading was Goodread’s reading goal.
In 2015 I set a goal on Goodreads to read 50 books during the year.
This was so much fun!! Throughout the year it became a game, not only for me, but also for my kids! The whole family wanted me to meet my goal! My kids would urge me on, encouraging me to read throughout the year to make sure I hit my 50 books.
But how does a busy Mom also find time to read?
How To Find Time to Read
Here’s how I find the time to read:
always have 3 formats going
I always have three formats going: audio, kindle, and traditional paper. By having a book in all three formats, I can usually fit in extra reading no matter where I am or what I’m doing. For example, if my husband wants to go to sleep, I pull out my backlit kindle so I can read in a dark room. If I’m on a walk, I can listen to an audiobook. I also like to also read traditional paper books since it’s important that my kids see me reading a “book” (and it’s my favorite format!)
Audiobooks. My two favorite sources for audiobooks are Hoopla (free through the library for instant download) and Scribd (about $9 a month)
Make it A Game
Make a game out of reading! My favorite way to do this is to set a yearly reading goal in Goodreads. There are lots of other ways you can make a game out of reading:
- Read a certain number of pages per day
- Read an entire series (ie. Harry Potter)
- Read all the books by a certain author
- Have reading contests with your kids
It’s so much more fun when you involve your kids. Get them in on your game and you’ll be more likely to succeed – and maybe get them reading, too!
Join a book club
Joining a book club is one of my favorite ways to encourage more reading. It’s a two-for-one! Social connection AND reading. If you haven’t given this a try, I highly recommend it. Book clubs also usually pick interesting books to read. If you can’t get out of the house, there are lots of online book clubs where you can chat over Zoom.
Read alongside your kids
If you want your kids to be readers, they gotta see you read. I love snuggling in the living room with my kids while we read separately, but together. I used to feel guilty about spending the time reading (instead of getting things done!) but now I realize that if I want my kids to be readers, they need to see me read. Even if they’re on a device doing homework or playing a game, I’ll sit next to them with a book. It’s a great way to squeeze in reading time while also setting a great example.
Stop reading books You don’t enjoy
When you’re reading a book you don’t love, it’ll take you a LONG time (if ever…) to finish it. Once I learned to give myself permission to *gasp* not finish a book, I was able to read SO MUCH more in a year. When you love what you’re reading, you find ways to sneak in that reading time!
Books I Recommend:
Now that I’ve shown you how to find some reading time, I’d love to share some of my favorite books with you!
Habits are everything. If you have good habits, you can achieve more than you ever thought possible.
James Clear has an approach to habit formation that works in my own life. I’ve mentioned his work many times on my podcast. Below are the blog posts/podcast episodes for your reference
- How to Take Advantage of the Superpower of Habits
- How to Do Big Things By Going Small
- How to be More Productive with Micro actions
The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn.
This book is about women spies during WWI. It’s so good!! It’ll make you feel empowered and happy to be a woman.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman
This book is a fun read. It’s about a woman who struggles with social skills and tends to say exactly what she thinks. She has rigid rules that guide her life. The book is both funny and heartwarming.
How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
by Julie Lythcott-Haims
This book changed how I parent. In the book, the author explains how overparenting our kids is can be detrimental to their success. I had lots of “ah ha” moments when reading this book.
Back to Reading
I hope this article has inspired you to return to reading! There’s nothing like snuggling up with a good book. If after reading this post you still feel like you don’t have time to read, don’t do it for yourself, do it for your kids. Setting an example by reading in front of your children is the BEST way you can encourage them to be lifelong readers.