Call me selfish, but I decided to do something for me this year. Give myself a little me time. Every day. Just like my Little Thing asks for Quiet Time every day, this mama deserves some, too. Every day.
You might take your me time in the form of luxuriating in a bubble bath until it goes cold every night, but that’s not my particular glass of wine. If you really know me, you know that a) I loathe bathing b) my particular glass of wine is from a $12 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc; and c) I’m happiest with a book.
Therefore, I decided to take my Quiet Time in the form of reading more. Every day. An easy enough New Year’s resolution. Somehow that simple goal catamaraned into a different ship after the first month: read 100 books in 2017.
Lucky for me, I love to read, but I neglected reading for a long time like dusting my ceiling fans and cleaning the kitchen tile grout kind of cold-sholder.
Why wasn’t I reading much anymore? A plethora of scapegoats. Little Things can be very demanding. The dishes. I grabbed randomly off the library’s shelves and therefore wasn’t always engaged nor compelled to finish my haphazard book choice. Laundry. Teaching 8th Grade ELA requires reading books you’re going to teach and student essays until cross-eyed-ness levels you didn’t know were possible are unlocked. Books are expensive. Dusting the ceiling fans? Taking a bath? Washing my hair? All valid reasons, but nothing more than excuses.
What has transformed my reading habits?
- At nearly five, my Little Thing isn’t nearly as time consuming as she used to be. The mom guilt for taking some time for me isn’t nearly as strong. Mom guilt is the worst. The MG and I are barely on speaking terms. I tolerate it, but I refuse to let it be the culprit of my own unhappiness.
- Pinterest. I pin those listicles from BookBub and similar sites. Anything really that catches my eye. That way I can peruse them whenever it strikes my fancy (and by striking my fancy I mean when my Little Thing is watching The Wizard and Oz Kate and Mim-Mim episode on repeat) and decide which books speak to me based on what I like to read.
- The online library catalog for my local library. Before last year, I had no idea that such a magical thing existed. It’s a virtual Hogwarts for readers. From the comfort of my couch, I split screen my Pinterest book board (for inspiration) with the library website, and I type in the name of the book I want to read. Most of the time, the library has it at one of their locations. All I have to do is click a button, and it places it on hold for me so it can be delivered to my prefered branch and picked up in a timely fashion. Hermione might even label this as muggle magic herself. Free modern fiction at your fingertips, no wand required.
- The Overdrive app. As soon as I’m done with the physical three or four books that I’ve checked out from the library, I download a digital one on my phone through the aforementioned app that’s linked to my library account and then I click on the option to have it sent to my Kindle. Sometimes, I even finish two ebooks before my books on hold all arrive at the library.
- I stopped bringing things home to grade. There, I said it. Declare I’m a terrible teacher from the roof of your cookie cutter Acadian, rambling three story farmhouse, or whatever the French toast you live in. In fact, I stopped bringing school work home with me a couple years ago. Teacher guilt and mom guilt can go backpacking together in Europe for eternity for all I care, but they always manage to come home and surprise the bananas out of me.
- Every single book I’ve read this year has been a library book–except for one that one of my coworkers lent to me.
- I write down everything I read to hold myself accountable and told myself if I hated a book I would stop reading it. Much like mom guilt and teacher guilt, reader guilt does exist.
It is June 30. I have read sixty-three books and abandoned two since the beginning of January. Fiction and nonfiction. New fiction and a few that I had always wanted to read and never got around to because there are so many books out there. Two of those sixty-three were accidental rereads (How could I not remember that I read We Need to Talk about Kevin until halfway through?), and two also nearly ended me, but I decided to push through and finish them because I respect both of their authors.
My child and I play together everyday, work gets worked when it’s not sum sum summatime, I hit 10,000 plus steps a day, I cook dinner every night (well almost every night), and Candy still gets Crushed.
Who cares about the dust on my ceiling fans anyway, right? Let alone how dirty my hair is.
I am happier now than I was in December. Don’t think I was unhappy. I was happy. I’m a bit shinier around my edges because of my choice to do something for me. Because I decided it was time. And because you can never underestimate the power of a library card.