I’d heard people talk about how they “didn’t have time to read” after having kids, and I thought it was complete rubbish. How can one not have time to read? I wondered. Kids go to bed at what…8:00 at the latest? And don’t they take naps? And what about the stay-at-home parents whose kids are school age? They’ve got a fantastic 7 hours to read! I couldn’t understand what was so hard about making time for reading with children. I mean sure, maybe I wouldn’t be able to read in the middle of the day once I had kids, but I could certainly do so after my child went to bed.
I need to take this moment to apologize to all of the parents I judged before having a child of my own. My judgments were made in ignorance, and I apologize profusely. Today, I understand your pain. I know it can take a month or more to get through a book that would have taken an evening or day at most pre-children.
When my child was a baby, I quickly figured out that his nap time was my nap time. And if it wasn’t my nap time, then it was clean-up-everything-I-can-try-to-make-dinner-get-that-strange-stain-off-the-living-room-floor time. My child didn’t sleep through the night until he was over 18 months old, and he didn’t get to sleep until about 10pm. At that point, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t comprehend trying to use my brain for anything more than vegging in front of the television while I slumped down into the couch. Reading? A distant memory of the past.
I thought there would be light at the end of the tunnel when my child reached school age. Still wrong. My son is older now—school age—and I still don’t get to read like I want to. I work a full-time job so when I get home my night is dedicated to dinners, homework, my son’s reading time, bath time, etc., etc., etc. When my son goes to bed at 8:30, I happily pull out my book and get through about 4 pages before I’m dozing off next to my husband on the couch. You see, I read best in the morning or early afternoon, but at that time I’m usually at work, so reading gets pushed to the side.
These days, I’m lucky to finish a book a month. If I finish one book and somehow start another in the same month, it’s a miracle. Still, there are bright spots. Even though I can’t read all the time, I wouldn’t trade it (most days. Ha). Today, I’m thankful for the random Sundays with no plans where my son and I can walk the 6 blocks to the local library. He finds a book. I find a book. We sit in the chairs in front of the big window that faces a small lake, and we read. And then 20 minutes later he’s done reading. It’s those 20 minutes though, that I have a bit of solace, and at the same time, I get to work on fostering a love of reading in my child. Keep trudging fellow parents. These little lives are the world’s next readers.
Photo credit: flickr user Houser