advice please: reading and parenthood

I need your advice. As has been mentioned, one of the things I’m most looking forward to about 2009 is adopting our first child.  Just last night I spent some time on our adoption profile (a collection of photos and text about ourselves) for birth mothers to look at.  We were supposed to meet today for our first home study interview, but the adoption social worker is home with a sinus infection.  All that to say, we are definitely moving towards adoption.  Exciting stuff.

Our lives will obviously change dramatically once we become parents.  This is where I need the advice of those signs of life readers who are parents and book-lovers.  You know how much I enjoy reading and can foresee the amount of reading dropping significantly once parenthood begins.  I get that.  But here’s my question: How did you maintain some amount of reading once parenthood began?  Were there times/days/places that allowed you to read a few pages here and there?

I’m OK with the massive changes parenthood will bring (at least I think I am!), but I do look forward to hearing how fellow bibliophiles have made this transition.

11 thoughts on “advice please: reading and parenthood

  1. Yup, you have analyzed this well. I find that I have been more disciplined about getting up to extend my devotional time in the morning (before anyone else is up) to make time to include other stuff I want to read. I have also started reading during my lunch breaks. Mostly I have just started consuming audio books and other audio media while I do chores or exercise.

  2. yeah, that first year is nearly impossible. i had to sneak away to get any long-term reading done. i also spent a lot of time (but not nearly as much as i should have) reading parenting/baby books. but pretty much, i would suggest bringing along a book with you wherever you go, preferably with a bookmark; i was only able to read a few minutes at a time – less if the baby was/is with me.

  3. Well it also depends on how young your adopted child will be. If it’s an infant, then reading will be interrupted, but still easily done. It’s easy to read or watch television or do any other “sitting” activity with an infant on your shoulder, or in your lap. It’s just an adjustment. 🙂

    But if you’re adopting older, say a toddler, then no, you will not have much time to read. It’s probably going to be a matter of late-nights and worktime-lunches (what I do, more often than not) to get important reading done.

    Glenn W. reads the bible every morning and it has ended up (unintentionally) being a great testimony to his kids. As the kids wake, they see (and now, join him in) reading. So it’s a great example. But I’m not a morning person, so I read at work or late at night, when I can focus better.

    Overall, for me, I read at night more than anything else. Cup of tea, a snack, and a good book help to set the world at rights as well, after a long tough day. 🙂

  4. This has been a huge issue for me. I imagine it varies greatly child to child, temperament and sleep habits are so variable in children. I would say prepare yourself for huge sacrifice, and then you can be pleasantly surprised at all the moments you can sneak for yourself.

    I made it through hundreds of pages of grad school reading every week from Mara 10 weeks through 2 yrs old. But I had to give up a lot of other personal time to make it happen.

    And don’t forget the daily commitment chore/joy of reading with your child. There are so many amazing books, every for age 2-3, that you get to know very intimately when you read them 300 times a week…

  5. and sleep…. you will likely be getting used to great changes in your sleep habits, so as you adjust maybe you can build in late night reading… I remember so clearly pouring through books while sitting in the rocking chair and humming.

  6. As you know, I’m both a parent AND a huge book lover. Before my first was born friends would say “oh, I haven’t read a book in years…not since my kids were born. You won’t have time to read either, once you have kids.” At the time I believed they were wrong – I figured I might never sleep, shower, see a movie, or any number of other things – but I would never be able to live without books.

    And I was right. I now have two – a toddler and an infant – and I still manage to read everything from novels to ancient spiritual texts to NT Wright (and blogs, sometimes!). But that’s ONLY because its such a priority to me. I read while nursing (something you won’t be doing. 🙂 or while rocking for hours upon hours in the middle of the night. And they do nap eventually, and even have nice, 7pm bedtimes eventually too (though I am still longing for both of those with my second).

    You can do it! Your free time will fly far, far away when you have kids; but if you want to read, you’ll still manage to make it happen. Just maybe slower, and with one hand. 🙂

  7. Oh! and my husband got me a subscription to audible the year my son was born as well…that made a huge difference. I listened to books instead of reading them. You can listen while bouncing, etc.

  8. Good stuff. I’m particularly encouraged that reading and being a parent of young children are not mutually exclusive. I like the idea books “on tape” and setting aside a lunch break. Larisa pointed out the pleasure of childrens’ books, which reminded me of the Children’s Literature class I took in college thinking it would be an easy A. It was not.

  9. I read about 30 minutes to my two young girls and then another 30 to my two older boys 365 days a year. As the kids get older the books get better. I bet like me you will especially enjoy searching the bookshelves for books to read with them. My eleven year old son still looks forward to our nightly reading time. The reading is different but in some ways better. Your love of reading will be a great gift to your child.

  10. My husband and I have been reading to our daughter since… well, since before she was born. Now that she is 2 and a half, she loves to read “myself” often. In the evening, I read aloud to her first. Then we cuddle in bed, me reading my book of choice, she reading hers. She’ll “read” to herself for a good half an hour, which gives me a nice chunk of time time to read my own.

  11. Currently I am taking a 10-month once-a-month class called Mastery Academy. As part of it, each month we are given a book to read on leadership or related topics.

    The instructor maintains that if one reads for 15 minuntes each day, they can finish a book a month. His goal is to get us to read some everyday.

    It may be difficult now, but 15 minutes is not long. Hang in there.

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