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Strategies For Meeting Your Annual Reading Goals As A Mother Of Two Young Children

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Beauty & Wellness

Strategies For Meeting Your Annual Reading Goals As A Mother Of Two Young Children

Throughout a large part of my existence, I’ve defined myself as a bookworm. Books possess a special spot in my heart, and few things hold the same enchantment for me as the written word. During my formative years, I even dedicated six years to working at my neighborhood library. However, along life’s journey, I somehow lost touch with my passion for reading. The demands of life became overwhelming. Too hectic. Surprisingly, it was my role as a mother that reignited my love for reading.

For myself — and I’m sure, for many others — the transition into motherhood was quite startling, to say the least. The level of exhaustion and dedication it demanded was beyond belief. My days were filled with nap schedules, feeding routines, pediatric appointments, house chores, and laundry. Even though I never deemed myself to be particularly thrilling, I found myself immensely and exasperatingly bored. While I adored my little one immensely, I craved some excitement. Perhaps an escape. Just a dash of magic. It was during this period that I stumbled upon a newfound belief: If there’s one demographic that truly needs the enchantment of books in their lives, it’s mothers.

Mothers bear a colossal weight on their shoulders. Sure, the work is fulfilling. However, at times, we require a tale to transport us away from the monotony of ticking items off the perpetually expanding to-do list. Occasionally, we need a mental respite from organizing the family calendar. And sometimes, just sometimes, we yearn for a steamy romance or an epic fantasy narrative that makes us feel invigorated and feminine in a manner that diaper changing just can’t achieve. While the idea sounds delightful, I need not remind all of you readers that we moms are severely lacking in spare time to dedicate to hobbies. So, when does one actually carve out some time to read that aforementioned steamy romance novel? Personally, I found it quite challenging to allocate time when I initially resolved to rekindle my love for reading.

Carving Out Reading Time as a Busy Mom

A few years ago, my yearly book count hovered at a discouraging zero. Completing even ten books seemed insurmountable, and I pondered methods to increase my book consumption. Then, the subsequent year — even with a baby at home — I devoured 32 books. I stood proud and astounded. This accomplishment spurred me on. I could indeed rediscover my love for reading! The subsequent year (last year), despite having two children at home, I read 41 books. And this year? I am currently on target to finish 60 before December 31. The progression from these statistics did not manifest overnight. I adopted numerous measures to establish practical reading objectives and reignite a pastime I held genuine passion for, and one that was more feasible as a mother with limited time.

Here are some insights and techniques I gleaned over these past few years to aid you in reaching your reading milestones:

Embrace Audiobooks

I don’t care what anyone asserts — Audiobooks undeniably qualify as books! Frankly, I believe most book aficionados would concur — if you are digesting the content, does it genuinely matter in what format it is being consumed?

Audiobooks have revolutionized my approach to achieving my reading objectives. Unlike physical books that demand my utmost attention for consumption, I can listen to audiobooks while tackling several of the numerous tasks that motherhood necessitates on a daily basis. I indulge in these books while preparing meals, cleaning, and engaging in low-impact workouts, such as strolling on the treadmill. Aside from aiding me in fulfilling my reading objectives, audiobooks also transform these chores into more enjoyable activities, and at times, they even inspire me to complete them. For instance, I abhor cleaning the bathroom. However, I motivate myself to get through it by promising myself the luxury of listening to my latest book while scrubbing the shower.

If you are new to the audiobook realm, I wholeheartedly recommend the free Libby app, widely utilized across library systems. Obtain your library card and follow the steps to enroll. Reach out to your local library if you require guidance or wish to explore alternative audiobook services that may be accessible to you free of charge.

Select Books that Truly Intrigue You

Indeed — titles that genuinely captivate you. Not books that you feel obligated to read. Whether it’s an internal voice pestering you about that unread copy of Pride and Prejudice or FOMO compelling you to dive into the latest romantic fantasy trending on TikTok, cease gravitating towards titles to which you are not fully committed. When you delve into material that fails to pique your interest, you’re prone to reading at a sluggish pace or even evading reading altogether. I recollect a time when I almost felt guilty for my profound love of young adult (YA) literature and persistently endeavored to force myself into exploring more “mature” content. While my literary preferences have evolved since then, I still revisit YA books occasionally. And you know what? I harbor no shame. They are tremendous! Shed your expectations and externally imposed standards. From this point forward, strictly page-turners.

Do Not Hesitate to Abandon Unenjoyable Reads

I previously belonged to the faction that compelled itself through any book it initiated, even if detesting it. At that time, the idea of DNF (an abbreviation for “did not finish” prevalent among bibliophiles) had eluded me. I used to reason, “But I embarked upon it! If I don’t finish, the time invested in this book will have been squandered.” I failed to grasp that persisting through content I disliked was actually squandering more time. If you commence a book and discern several chapters in that it fails to engross you, do not hesitate to set it aside. Apart from reading goals, life is too brief to devote time to books that fail to captivate you. Similarly, moments of respite in motherhood are scarce—do not squander them.

Incorporate Reading Into Your Self-Care Routine

I dedicate time to reading every night before bed. Every single night. Naturally, it aids in unwinding and improving my quality of sleep, but setting aside that time for myself — for something I relish — is also a small gesture of prioritizing and nurturing myself. By integrating reading into my self-care regimen, I am purposefully designating it as non-negotiable.

I am fortunate that once my children are asleep for the night, they remain undisturbed. I have truly been blessed with exceptional sleepers. However, I recognize that this reality does not hold true for everyone. Nighttime is the window I favor for reading, though it need not be the same for you. Select a time of the day that aligns with your preferences, be it listening to an audiobook on your way back from dropping off your child at school or carving out 20 minutes to read during your lunch break.

Utilize Every Available Moment

In sync with my aforementioned point, capitalize on the time at your disposal. As mothers, we seldom have an entire afternoon to commit to reading poolside with a cocktail in hand. Instead, we must make the most of what we have. Keep a book (or e-reader) in your bag to peruse while awaiting appointments. Store one in your vehicle to grab while waiting for your child(ren) during extracurricular pick-ups. Five minutes here, ten minutes there — these snippets of time aggregate. Engaging in reading is approximately 1,000 times more enjoyable and productive than endlessly scrolling through screens.

Engage in a Book Club

This could entail a physical, in-person book club necessitating you to step out of your residence (an added perk for mothers), or it could be conducted virtually. Book clubs prove beneficial as they render reading a social endeavor and imbue a sense of accountability. I relish having my literary horizons broadened by others.

in the shape of a circle, I challenge myself to explore books I wouldn’t typically choose on my own.

While it may not have the element of social interaction, one of my preferred book “groups” is Book of the Month. A few years back, I received a Book of the Month subscription as a gift and instantly became captivated. I appreciated having books brought to my attention that I may not have otherwise considered. I also relish the tasks the application sets, with reading “achievements” digitally granted for various categories, like Page Turner (awarded for reading and reviewing at minimum four BOTM books exceeding 400 pages) or Genre Guru (given for reviewing books from at least six genres).

Commit to Your Objective on Document

When it comes to establishing and achieving reading objectives, jotting down the details is a crucial initial phase. Whether it’s in a scheduler or diary, note down the exact number of books you aim to read within a set period. Personally, I like to set an annual objective at the start of each year. If you prefer digital aids, Goodreads makes monitoring your yearly objective enjoyable with a progress indicator and is an excellent tool for keeping a record of the books you’ve read and those you plan to read in the future.

Monitor Your Progress Along the Way

Once you dedicate yourself to your annual objective, monitor your advancement throughout the year. Besides knowing if you’ve accomplished the said objective by year-end, maintaining a list as you progress can be a delightful way to keep yourself inspired. I personally appreciate tracking my books through Goodreads but also share the titles I’m reading on my Instagram stories. The latter has turned out to be a genuinely entertaining platform for this purpose, with friends and acquaintances often messaging me to discuss recent reads.

Tracking not only holds me accountable but also transforms reading into a more social activity for me, something I actively pursue as a mother who operates from home.

Utilize Your Community Library

As I’ve hinted at several times, I adore the library. I spent numerous hours there as a child and even more as a teenager and young adult. I aim to take my two young children to the library at least twice a month. While this may not directly impact my own reading objective, it unquestionably plays a role. Now that I frequent the library, I feel at ease availing the library’s resources fully. So, I urge you: Familiarize yourself with your local library! Ultimately, you will definitely read more titles if a purchase is not linked to every read. There’s also enjoyment to be derived from borrowing books (no buyer’s regret or home clutter) and gaining inspiration for your To Be Read list as you peruse the shelves.

Begin with Baby Steps, Begin Now

I convey this gently and supportively: You can reaffirm your love for reading right at this moment. Gather your children and head to the library. Install the Goodreads app. Register for Audible or Libby. Read a single page. Start small—perhaps you only manage to read a few books this year. And that’s perfectly fine! Whether you read one or a hundred, I hope these strategies assist in making achieving your reading objective as a mother a tad more attainable. You deserve some time to yourself, engrossed in the enchantment of a book.

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