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As a mama to a nine-month-old and a three-year-old, life is hectic. Most of the time, reheating my coffee or brushing my teeth feels like a win (honesty time!!). Learning how to read more as a mom and make time for it is tricky. But I’m a reader. I love reading, and I try my hardest to make time for it.
Does that mean I’m thriving in my reading life and reading more books than ever before? Absolutely not. But I’ve figured out a few tried and true ways to read more books as a mom to little kids, and I’m hoping my tips to read more will help you, too.
Why Prioritize Reading as a Mom?
Point blank, reading is like a superpower that helps you be a better mom. Okay, that’s kind of dramatic, but still, these are some of the benefits of reading books and why you should prioritize reading as a new mom.
- Reading helps you relax and unwind
- Reading reminds you to enjoy something for yourself
- Reading comes with health benefits (like lowered stress levels!)
- Reading helps you sleep
- Reading inspires you or helps you learn new things
Notice how I emphasized reading as a priority, not reading X number of books in a year. For some people, numerical goals are motivating and wonderful. But for a lot of new moms trying to figure out life in a different season, numerical goals just aren’t it.
And here’s the thing: I still think focusing on the habit of reading rather than reading a certain number of books will ultimately lead to reading more books—because you’ll enjoy your time more, and you’ll remove some of that unnecessary pressure.
How to Read More Books as a New Mom
1. Make reading a daily rhythm.
I encourage new moms to remember that in this season, creating rhythms and habit stacking is more effective than creating routines. Sometimes, parenting is unpredictable.
Even still, try to set aside some time each day for reading, whether it’s in the morning, during naps, or in the evening after they’ve gone to bed. Making reading a habit will help you stay consistent and make it easier to find time for it.
2. Create your reading list.
If you’re a mood reader like me, it can be hard to stick to a reading list or TBR pile. I’ve found it’s more about having a new book to be excited about and less about sticking to a list that feels limiting.
If you’re in the mood for something light and fluffy like a cozy middle grade book or you need a good thriller to keep you turning pages, don’t feel trapped by the stack of hard-hitting literary fiction on your nightstand.
Even so, prioritizing your to-be-read list will help you focus on the books that are most important to you and ensure that you’re not wasting time on books you’re not interested in.
And during those early postpartum days as a reader, you want to eliminate choices whenever possible.
3. Take advantage of audiobooks.
This. Advice. Is. Everything. Audiobooks are a great way to read while you’re doing other things, like feeding your baby or going for a walk. I personally listened to so many books while washing bottles and pump parts.
You can listen to audiobooks while you’re doing housework, cooking, whatever. I even listen on a higher speed (1.5–2) once I’m invested in the story and, weirdly, have found that it helps me focus more.
4. Join a book club.
Joining a book club can help motivate you to read more and provide a community of people to discuss books with. Sometimes that accountability is all you need to pick up that book even when you’re sleepy!
This is a great idea for moms looking to fill their schedules with “me” time. I’m a big believer in finding time that’s just for you as a new mom.
Motherhood can be overwhelming. You can join an in-person book club or an online book club, depending on your preference and schedule.
5. Make reading a family activity.
This is a personal favorite reading tip, especially as my toddler has gotten older and we’ve started chapter books. I really treasure reading out loud, and I totally count reading kids books as a reading benefit in my life.
Reading can be a fun activity to do with your child! In our house, we do DEAR time (drop everything and read or relax time). I try to read as much as possible while my toddler has her “quiet time” and my baby naps.
You can read books together, take turns reading out loud, or have a family reading time where everyone reads their own book. You can read a few pages at the table after dinner, read before bed or nap time, or listen to audiobooks in the car.
If you want to raise little readers, they have to see you reading, too.
6. Use e-readers and tablets.
E-readers and tablets make it easy to carry multiple books with you at once, which is especially helpful when you’re on the go with your baby.
You can also adjust the font size and screen brightness to make reading more comfortable, which was such a plus for me when I was in the trenches of newborn life.
Similarly, I love to have the same book in different formats to switch it up. Options, options, options.
7. Embrace the DNF.
Sometimes you have to DNF (did not finish) a book, and that’s okay. Embrace the fact that it could be the wrong book or even the right book at the wrong time.
It makes me laugh, but sometimes I trick myself into thinking I’ll pick up a book in a month or two. And hey, sometimes I return to it and love it, and sometimes I don’t.
As a mom, your time is precious. Don’t waste it on books you aren’t loving just because you want to finish something.
8. Pockets of time are your friend.
I used to be the kind of reader who would lounge in bed for hours reading a book. I would binge a book and then not read for a week. Let me tell you, this doesn’t work anymore.
As a mom who reads, I’ve had to learn to take advantage of small pockets of time. Reading two pages in a carpool pickup line is better than not reading at all. Reading for five minutes before you fall asleep is better than not reading at all, even if you end up reading the same words over and over.
I genuinely believe that. If you stop focusing on the number of books and focus more on the habit of reading, you’ll end up with a more enriched reading life.
For me, these are the biggest tips for how to read more as a new mom in a busy season of life. Knowing how to read more books and how to make reading a habit in your everyday rhythm is not easy, and it requires tweaking and revisiting your goals and energy levels.
If what you need is to zone out in front of the television or sleep when you could be reaching for a book, honor that too. Be gentle with yourself. This is just a season!
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