I’ve always been a big reader, but since starting a family, it’s been very difficult to be consistent and I’ve had to get more creative in making time for them, from embracing technology and the benefits of audiobooks to being more disciplined with how I do spend my free time.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by books. It seems to be a family thing. I have three older brothers who love to read and they’ve passed this habit on to their kids too. I really hope to raise a couple of bookworms of my own.
Throughout my adult life, I managed to get through about a book a week. Mostly fiction but I also enjoy reading non-fiction based around the film industry and popular culture.
When I had Alex is 2016, reading took a back seat for a while until I managed to get to grips with being a new parent. I started to read more again but between family life, work and my other blog, I was lucky to get through a book a month. Because I had very limited time to read, I began to play it really safe too, sticking to genres and authors I’d read for years. I just kept saying to myself that I would get back into it when Ava was out of the baby phase, but then lockdown hit and I realised just how much I relied on reading for stress relief.
Making Time To Read
I noticed that when I did have any downtime from the kids, I would either fall asleep in front of the TV or look at my phone, scrolling through social media and reading articles on medium. I don’t feel too bad about the TV as I have to watch it for my other blog but it just seemed to take less effort than reading. So I decided that I would try and get away a couple of times a week for a nice hot bath in the evening, and anyone who knows me knows that my favourite place to read is in the bath.
Not only does this get me a little bit of alone time, but having a nice hot bath helps me wind down for the night too. I just need to summon up the energy to remove all the plastic bath toys first.
I used to be a book traditionalist and said that I would never buy e-books over physical ones. I always said that if I won the lottery, I’d have a huge library with thousands of books in it. Then, when I was studying for my marketing diploma, I didn’t want to carry huge text books around in my handbag so I downloaded them onto my iPad Kindle app.
Then, when Scott and I moved in together, space was really tight as we were in a two-bedroom flat, no library for me. So I began buying more and more e-books and it meant that I didn’t haven’t to compromise on what books I could buy and I didn’t like the idea of buying them and then selling them on. This way I could still have a library, it was just really small.
A few years back I took out an Amazon Prime subscription and for a while, I kept receiving emails about a free trial to their Audiobook service, Audible. At that point I hadn’t been particularly bothered about audiobooks, preferring to read from a page or screen, but then again, kids happened. I initially started using it to get Alex interested in stories. He goes through phases of wanting to read books with you and then wants nothing more than to play with his Lightning McQueen toys for what seems like an eternity. While he was playing I would put a kids audiobook on the Alexa speakers and after a while, it would catch his attention and he would want to curl up and listen to it with you. It sparks his interest to go and get a book from his bookshelf for us to read together.
Then I thought that I’d give them a go myself. I listen to podcasts on our Alexa speakers a lot so it’s a great way to be able to dive into a story. It also means that I can do other things at the same time, like housework or emails.
Like most people, I have my favourite genres and authors but I will be making an effort to read more widely in the future.
I will also read more fiction written by women. I do read a lot written by women, but it tends to be around the non-fiction areas of film, culture and marketing. I’m actually pretty embarrassed by the amount of women’s fiction I read. Not sure if it’s because I have what’s considered to be more of a masculine preference for certain things. Someone once asked me why I only watched ‘men’s films’. I couldn’t decide if it was an insult or not. Either way, I’m going to be reading more fiction written by women.
Encourage my children to love books as much as I do. It’s very important to me that it’s a skill they pick up and carry with them through their lives. If they see their Mam and Dad reading regularly at home, it will become normal for them to do it too.