how do you find the time to read?

I was chatting to Daniel a few nights ago about my efficiency around the home. I don’t consider myself an efficient person by any stretch of the imagination but, in saying that, I do recognise that I’ve come a long way since we first moved out together ten years ago.

And for what it’s worth, I know exactly what I need to do in a day to keep the house ticking along. I’m one month into a stint of solo parenting during the week. Daniel is away 3-5 nights for the foreseeable future and I’m running a tight, albeit pregnant, ship. I’ve got a bit of a rhythm to my days; school drop-offs, household chores, a morning coffee with Percy, dinner prep, grocery shopping…all the usual. But I make sure I also pepper my days with the non-essential things that generally make me happier – a nap (some days it’s absolutely essential), unproductive pottering, sitting and looking out the window, reading.

I lost my reading rhythm for a few months there – sleep always took priority over books. But a few recent trips to the library have rectified the situation and I’m back to paper pages.

One of the catalysts for my return was the feeling I experienced when I lay in bed one night, having spent a few hours on my laptop and my phone. When I shut my eyes it felt like they were scrolling on their own accord; a sure sign that I’d spent far too much time looking at a screen. Needless to say, I didn’t experience a settled sleep that night.

The next day I bundled the kids into the car and headed straight to the library. Granted, it’s not the most peaceful of endeavours with Percy in tow (he hasn’t got the “quiet” memo yet) so peacefully perusing the shelves isn’t an option. But I find that often the books that I want/need to read are in plain view and, if not, I simply reserve them to collect at a later date.

While I’m not a read a book a day (or even a week) kinda person, I do carve out time every day to pick up a book and read a few pages…sometimes a few chapters. It settles me, relaxes me, expands my mind and my vocabulary. And it gets my head off social media and away into a world that isn’t competitive or showy or success-driven. I need more of that nourishing contentment right now and I’m finding it, as I often do, in the shelves of the library.

And so, while I may be revelling in my efficiency around the house, I’m also mindful of stopping and reading at least once in my day. Finding that balance between the go-go-go of my daily mothering life and carving out time to do something necessary…something that’s just for me.

I posted about my current reads on instagram this afternoon and there’s some fabulous suggestions in the comments over there if you are planning your own library trip someday soon. Next on my list is Between a Wolf and a Dog, Lucky Us and The Museum of Modern Love. 

And you? What are you reading?

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Showing 8 comments
  • Reannon

    Gosford library was the first library I was a member of! I spent SO MANY days there with my dad as a little kids lying on big bean bags reading & then many an afternoon as a teenager studying. God I loved that place…
    Right now I’m reading The Art of Frugal Hedonism before that it was Finding Francesca & the week before that it was Blueberry & When Night Comes.
    Reading has always been my first love & it’s a very rare day I don’t pick up something to read.

  • Elizabeth

    Ah yes! Reading is a must. When I feel my mind spinning too fast I know it’s from too much time on the interwebs and I need to get back to my books! Right now I’m reading Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman and No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury. Both pretty good and what I need right now 🙂 Would love to see some of your book recommendations in a post. Thanks!

  • meli

    I recently finished Between a Wolf and a Dog and really loved it, as well as Dying, a Memoir by Cory Taylor (making my way through the Stella Prize shortlist). I’ve also binged recently on everything Elizabeth Strout has written, and I can’t wait for her new one to come out in a few week’s time. I’m also forcing myself to read The Natural Way of Things, although that one is not exactly relaxing. Oh, and next is The Good People by Hannah Kent. I do a lot of my reading on my kindle as in Norway it takes time to source paper copies…

  • Torrie

    My reading list lately is a bit of a nightmare because allllll my books on hold at the library came in at the same time (of course), so my apartment is getting a bit neglected in the process of trying to finish up all those 🙂

    I’m currently reading The Year of Living Danishly, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, Hillbilly Elegy, and The Story of a New Name (part of Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan series). Pretty soon I’ll be starting The One-in-a-Million Boy and Wild (I know, I know—way behind the times!).

    I actually read The Course of Love a few months back, so I’ll be curious to see what you think of it.

  • reanna

    Hi Jodi, I can relate to so much of this. Like you my partner is away for work and I’m parenting 3 kids. Every day is full of lists and chores…and reading! Having grown up with my head always in a book its something I am so grateful for-the feeling of getting into a great book is so much better than getting lost in the world of scrolling through social media. (I recently deactivated my fb and insta. I found it mentally draining and all that comparing actually found me feeling jealous of people and their picture perfect lives- when in actual fact, I have a pretty good life happening too!)
    Anyway I read between a wolf and a dog last week (I’m motr of a speed reader,especially if I really enjoy a book) and just over the weekend read All the light we cannot see, by Anthony Doerr- which I highly recommend.
    I think the key to finding time to read is actually MAKING time for it-turning off the telly/computer/phone once the kids are in bed and enjoying the quiet time for reading…same goes for day nap times. I also read book reviews and book catalogues then reserve them to collect at the library. Much easier than attempting to browse the shelves and keep my little people quiet!
    Thanks for your blog. X

  • Cathy

    A beautiful post – I love reading to relax and am currently reading a book called ‘The Idea of You’ by Amanda Prowse and am loving it.

  • Zena

    Reading Hector and the Search for Happiness. A very quick and easy read. Most people get disappointed when they see a good book ruined in film but i think this book is written for film. Otherwise I’m going through a 1940’s Fiction phase. As a librarian and a mom of young children, I’d recommend the online catalogue and reserving books, talking books, dvd’s and kids books so you can pop in, still have a look around but not walk out without anything when the kids are mucking up! Also I had to stop looking at my computer and phone at night because the scrolling would disrupt my adrenals and then I had trouble falling asleep. It got so bad I needed to see my integrated doctor about it. I’m on melantonin at the moment, taken an hour before bed and I only use a lamp and read just before bed. So now I read books but I do love NF too like cooking, crafting books. So do take care at bed time especially as your hormones are all over the place with a new baby and sleepless nights.

  • Lotus

    Oh yes I’m a much happier and calmer person when I have a book on the go. I loved All the Light You Can Not See by Antony Doerr and I’m reading The Little Paris Bookshop at the moment which is an entertaining read. We head to the library most days if the weather is yuck and little one just has such a great time x

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