On Reading: New Job, New Reading Habits


Having been in several levels of employment during my eleven years of motherhood, from full-time employment outside of the home to a full-time stay-at-home status, I’ve had a lot of practice finding ways to fit in my own interests in different manners. Of course, the biggest leisure activity in my life is reading, and I swear that I get into a major funk when I can’t engage in it at least a little bit each day.

For the last four years, my life as a stay-at-home mom was certainly hectic, but there were some natural periods of downtime in which reading could occur. During the blessed hours of one and three each afternoon, the children napped and I was free to choose between the lure of blogging, Facebook, or grabbing my book. Quite often, choice number three prevailed, and the time would fly by. I’ll even admit to bringing a book along to the playground on some mornings for those snippets of time when the children played together conflict-free, and I could breeze through five pages or so. I’m not going to minimize the amount of work that I did as a stay-at-home mom, but it did have its advantages in the reading-here-and-there department during the day.

Now that I’ve returned to full-time work, teaching preschool at a university-based laboratory school, I can no longer grab a few minutes of reading at random times during the morning. In the middle of the day, I do have a period of time when I’m out of the classroom, and when I can stop doing work, I try to grab whatever book is the current read for at least ten minutes or so. There’s also the joy of commuting on public transportation, which ideally would provide the best time for reading, though the preschooler and kindergartener who commute with me sometimes put a nix on that. When it’s successful, I enjoy every little minute I can get.

Thankfully, being a mother has prepared me well for reading in short spurts. Back in my breastfeeding days, I eventually found a comfortable position that allowed me to both feed the baby and feed my reading habit. Sometimes that lasted for thirty minutes, other times it was a short five. That was just the beginning of this long path of parenthood, and as my children have grown over the years, I’ve learned that nothing is ever guaranteed. Working or staying home, it doesn’t matter, making the time to read has always taken a bit of effort. Right now, I’m trying to accept the new reality and find what works best.

In any case, reading is, and always has been, my favorite habit to indulge. How do you fit it in?

Editor’s Note: Dawn is also a regular blogger over at the She Knows Real Moms Guide. A recent column that I think our readers will find interesting is Reading Together Every Day, Really. Check it out, as well as Dawn’s other daily blogs for the site.

Dawn is getting better at this whole balancing work/home/family/blogging/reading thing, in tiny increments at least. When she’s not sneaking a few more pages, she might be blogging away at my thoughts exactly.


  1. says

    It’s not easy, but I’ve learned to take my nook with me to grab a quick read whenever there’s a little downtime. For instance, I was surprised how much I could read while in various waiting rooms! And I’ve been tempted to pull out my nook in line at the grocery store, but the cashiers are too darn fast! I also read at lunch and walking back and forth to the gym, as well as when I’m on the exercise bike. People look at me funny, but I can totally read and walk at the same time! :)

    • says

      I’m not an e-reader kind of gal (yet? who knows…), but I do like to keep a book with me at all times, and yes, I’ve read in line! If I ever get back to going to the gym, I liked reading on the treadmill, too. Walking, of course. Not sure I could keep my eyes in place if I was running. (Not that I run, but hypothetically speaking.) :)

  2. says

    I read while waiting for my laptop to boot up (the one bad thing about a new laptop, it boots faster!), during lunch, and if I’m waiting for a process to finish sometimes I’ll take out my book then too. I find it harder to squeeze in reading time when I’m not at work!

    • says

      That sounds great, Nancy! In the classroom, I don’t get much time to read (other than the story time when I read to them!), but I do try to take a bit of time during nap to read. I need the quiet time before going back in the room for the afternoon!

  3. says

    1. Audio books! That way I don’t feel guilty about reading while my house needs cleaning. :)

    2. Naptime.

    and 3. while making dinner. I often let my daughter watch 30 min of tv while I’m cooking, and I can easily stir a pot one-handed…

    • says

      Jessica–I’m with you on audiobooks. I am up to 2 or more audiobooks a month that I listen to when I’m out driving around and mostly doing chores around the house.

    • says

      Yeah, I’ve done a few audiobooks, but I’ve learned a couple things… I’m not really good at auditory processing, my attention wavers sometimes, and most of the time I can’t hear over the constant din in our small house! :) That was using the kitchen CD player though… maybe someday I’ll have an iSomething to listen to books in earbuds, and that might help.

  4. says

    I remember the beauty of that couple of hours of naptime! For me, I have wide open days with my kids in school all day, but I have to be conscious about making that choice to read as opposed to messing around on the computer or vegging in the computer.

    But as any mom of school kids know, things are still busy, so I find my days pretty full. I find myself binge reading on lazy Saturday mornings, on weekends away etc.

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