...or just four kids.
If there is one thing I think all moms universally long for (besides babies who sleep through the night and a cyberoptic forehead readout that tells you the optimal way to raise your particular child) it’s that we all wish we had more time to read.
My mom used to find me hiding under a giant pile of laundry or stuffed between the beds feverishly trying to consume a book on the down low. After oh so gently fussing at me, she would say something along the lines of, “Just wait until you have your own kids…”. Well... Cough Cough. She seriously underestimated my ability to get sucked into a new book. And since necessity is the mother of invention, consider this a trade secret swap because you can never have too many ways to sneak books into your life. Here are a few tried and true strategies.
Read in the car
Buckle everyone in and then read 5 min before you pull out of the driveway, and another 5...er...10 min in the grocery store parking lot.
Make Tacos for dinner
Or something else that can be mindlessly done on auto pilot. I have found flipping tortillas is the most mutually beneficial dinner strategy. You can easily do that and brown ground beef while also flipping pages.
Get an Audible account
This one is boring, but effective. Everyone has mental “muscles” with some working better than others. For the sake of evenness I try to exercise the auditory ones because they don’t work as well as my visual processing ones, but it’s difficult. Still, laundry becomes so much more interesting when you’re listening to Diana Gabaldon's reader say “Sassenach”.
Lay on the floor
Debut as a human jungle gym. Kids usually just want to be around you, they don’t always need you to follow them around describing things like an interactive preschool app “Yes, ball...roll ball….good roll ball” (although let's be real, we all sound like therapists these days thanks to Daniel Tiger). Sometimes the most serviceable solution to buy yourself a chapter is to lay on the floor and let your spine become a deck and your feet a rudder as you’re tossed to and fro on a sea of fishy crackers. While the wee pirates sail on grand adventures, you can consume a few precious pages.
Spontaneously declare a 15 min “Super Secret Book Club”.
Solemnly inform your kids they need to clean their rooms, empty the trash and wash the dishes. Then freeze, cock your head like you’re listening to some invisible messenger and say “I’m getting an incoming order from the Interplanetary Secret Reading Order and they need us to drop everything right now and read for fifteen minutes….hmmm...can we? should we? Perhaps we have no choice but to put off chores and attend this very important super secret club meeting.” Reluctantly set the timer for another fifteen minutes afterwards when everyone clamors they’re not quite ready to go clean yet.
Of course all of that assumes you haven’t been banned from your local library and have a healthy relationship with Amazon. Ahem. But what say you? What are you reading and how/where do you read it?