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A perfect day? Curled up on the couch with a good book- or several, some snacks, and definitely comfy pants.
Needless to say, as a mom of five this fantasy does not happen. Oh sure, there are some days when I do get several hours of uninterrupted reading, but that's pretty rare. It's happening more these days than when the kids were smaller, but I still need to help them with enough tasks that hours of reading don't happen.
But so far in 2018 I've read over twenty books. Almost all of them were fiction but I fit in a couple non-fiction. Non-fiction take me significantly longer because I'm trying to absorb and process information, not just get drawn into a story.
So how, as a wife, mom of five, blogger, and ministry leader, do I find time to read?
1. I carry books EVERYWHERE.
I almost always have a book on my Kindle or on my phone via Overdrive or Hoopla. Both are apps that allow you to check out digital copies of books using your library card. I can check out up to five books per month from Hoopla and an unlimited number, though only five at a time, from Overdrive. It's fantastic!
And this is why I have books stashed all over my house so I can grab one whenever I have a moment - or more. If I'm walking out to the yard with the kids, I've got a book. If I'm picking up the kids from school, I've got a book. Occasionally it's digital, occasionally it's physical - but I've always got a book with me. You never know when you have a few moments to spare... which brings me to my next point!
2. Never underestimate spare moments
How many of us reach for our phones and mindlessly scroll through Facebook or Instagram but swear we have no time to read? I do it too, sometimes! But since embracing ebooks (despite LOVING real books) I can get so many more books read because I open up my book instead of social media and get a few pages read.
One of my favorite chances to read is waiting for the kids after school. Some days I'm lucky to get through a page. Other days I can knock out a few chapters!
If I've got a few minutes before an appointment or while waiting for the coffee to finish brewing I'm probably reading. I've been spotted reading while stirring a pot at the stove or while marching in place in the living room to get in my daily steps on my Fitbit. Yup! No shame in my reading or walking game!
3. I find books that make me excited
I have ditched loads of books over the years because they simple don't make me excited to keep reading. I had to drag myself through WAY too many books in college English courses that I hated and I'm determined to not do that to myself anymore. Life is too short! Reading should be fun or helpful to me and yes, I could end up missing out on something amazing but if I hear enough good things about a book after I've ditched it I can always go back and try again.
In January I randomly picked up The Pawn by Steven James. I enjoy suspenseful books but I flew through this one in a couple days and immediately set out on reading the whole series... all ten books that were available. Within a matter of weeks I had read nine of them but had to wait on book ten because the library didn't own it. And now I'm waiting for the final book to be published this fall. It's so far away!!
That's what I want to find. Books that make me want to keep going, that get me excited to turn the page and see what else they have to offer. I had the same experience with More Than Just Making It and Never Unfriended so it's totally possible with non-fiction as well.
4. I schedule time to read
As part of our daily routine, I have reading time scheduled - for all of us. My boys walk in the door from school, unpack their bags so I can look through their school papers, and they go have quiet reading time. After I've paged through their planners and checked over any assignments I read as well. Some days I get in twenty to thirty minutes, other days I manage to read a page. It simply depends on how long the other tasks take, but I allow time without feeling guilty that other tasks are still on my list.
We have a no screen-time after dinner rule on school days so this means after dinner until bedtime can make the kids get a little restless. I do allow exercise videos so they can find Just Dance Kids on YouTube but otherwise after dinner is time for cleaning up the kitchen, showering, and reading.
It's a good way to start calming down for the night when we can curl up together and read. Some nights I'm reading Sesame Street books and not something for me but other nights we all have our own books and I can knock out a few more chapters.
5. I know I'm setting an example
This is one of the major reasons I make such a big deal about finding time to read. I love reading and I want my kids to know what a great past time reading can be. Like so many things, what our kids learn is caught, not taught. I can scream the benefits of reading from the rooftops but if I'm not doing it, what will my kids learn?
One of our boys is already carrying books through every room of the house and into the car for just about any ride. The other enjoys reading but gets a little nauseated in the car so we are okay with him keeping the books for times when he's not in motion ;)
How do you find time to read in your life? Can I challenge you to find ten minutes each day to read?
Share your favorite books or what's on your reading list in the comments!