Rosie is eight months old now and I think I finally got the hang of this whole parenting-a-baby thing. Not parenting in general, just keeping a baby happy and healthy and growing and all that, while taking care of myself and my home. In general, things are starting to look like normal again, and this includes reading.
I read over ten books per month over the summer and it’s been amazing. I’ve mostly liked them too! This is because I have absolutely no mercy anymore and will DNF on page one if I feel like it. And maybe 10 doesn’t seem like a whole lot to read in one month to you, it’s pretty significant to me. I haven’t read this much at a time since before I got pregnant last spring.
I’m lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. Mike works 12 hour shifts and is out of the house 13 hours on days he works. Most of the baby duties fall to me, while we split the housework. (This is 100% the way I like it, btw, no patriarchal Gender Roles to be seen in my house.) When Rosie was a newborn, I was overwhelmed. But since then, I’ve figured it out mostly, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about my process, just for a record for myself and also for any new moms stumbling their way into my corner of the internet. These are the steps I’ve been taking to get my reading done since I had Rosie in December.
- Reading aloud. This is especially sound advice while the baby is still in blob form and sleeps or cuddles most of the time. When Rosie was a blob still, she wanted nothing other than to be held. So I held her and I read aloud. I read her parts of Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Last Harvest which aren’t exactly baby appropriate stories, but it’s not about the stories. Their teeny brains are soaking up your cuddles and your voice. I even read some of A Wrinkle in Time to Rosie this month.
- Audiobooks. So if you’re busy doing dishes and folding laundry and sterilizing bottles and bouncing tiny baby around during their witching hour, you can still read! There are also a ton of audiobooks with music and sound effects that Rosie really likes.
- eBooks. My Kindle app has been my life saver these last months. I know this is definitely an accessibility thing and not everyone can do this, but I put the app on my phone and now I read so much more. I can read in the dark when I’m cuddling Rosie as she sleeps. I can read in the car – since I have to sit in the back seat with her. I can read while I’m holding her for nap time. Since she absolutely must be held and cuddled while she naps.
- Nap time. Most babies will nap in their crib, their swing, their rock’n’play, basically somewhere other than their parents’ arms, like my kid. I suggest you take that time to take care of yourself. For me, this means getting some reading done since I’m stuck in the bed anyway. The housework absolutely can wait, I promise.
- A little bit of sacrifice. This is the hardest one. It takes a little bit of prioritizing. I no longer have cable because Mike and I decided we’d rather spend our entertainment time on books and video games. And as for Netflix? We still have it, but use it much more often for kids’ movies with lots of singing than for any binge purposes. For instance, I still haven’t seen the latest seasons of OITNB or iZombie. Eventually I will, I guess, if I get into a reading slump or something.
So, that’s how I do it. It took some learning and reworking of expectations after Rosalie got here, but I finally feel like I’m back to my old self as far as reading goes (these hormones, however, are another situation entirely.) If you’re a parent, feel free to share some tips in the comments!