Hey baby girl… I hope you like stories.
I expect life to change in many ways when baby arrives. Date nights will be rare, meals will be quick and simple, and travel will be more kid-friendly than cathedral-heavy. I’m ready for those changes, and I welcome the new adventures that parenthood will bring.
But there’s one thing I’m hoping doesn’t change too much: I still want to read. As much as possible.
I can imagine my life – at least the foreseeable future – without the fancy dinners, nights at the symphony, and days spent rambling around European cities (on vacation) or my own little town of Washington, D.C. But I can’t imagine my life without books. I know that it’s going to be a challenge, and that my reading will be dropping off sharply during my baby’s early life. I probably won’t be pounding out as many blog “book reviews” or churning through eight to ten tomes every month. For me to hope that my reading habits would stay the same is just unrealistic, and I’d be setting myself up for a major disappointment.
The fact is, I have NO IDEA what my life will look like when October rolls around. I could get a great sleeper that gives me uninterrupted evening hours for reading… or I could get a challenging baby who won’t go to bed no matter how much I beg and plead. Sitting here, on the mom-to-be side of the great divide, I just can’t tell you “Here is when I plan to get my read on, and that’s how it’s going to be.” Because I really don’t know, and I won’t know until I’m in the thick of it. One thing I do know is that it’s going to be hard to squeeze books into life with an infant. Right now I read on my commute while hubby drives – but I expect to spend most of my post-baby commute making sure the kiddo is comfortable and entertained (anything to keep her from screaming in the car, right?). And on my lunch hour – but once I’m back at work, I’m planning to go over to our daycare at lunchtime to see the baby as much as possible. And while I make dinner – well, no comment on this one; I’ll be lucky to get a reasonable dinner on the table at all for awhile, I expect. And after dinner – when bathtime and bedtime rituals will take over. Where does that schedule leave room for books? I’ll have to get creative, it seems.
That said, I REALLY want to be a reading mom. And I’m committed to making that happen. Here’s why:
…For my own sanity… Yes, it’s hard for many moms to get their Me Time in. There’s always something to do. My own mom used to say “A mother’s work is never done.” (Maybe it is now that my brother and I are both independent and out of the house.) But I hope and pray that I’ll be able to cut myself off from housework for at least a little while each day – if the baby helps me out by going to sleep – and sit down with a book. I haven’t experienced motherhood yet, but I have experienced tough jobs with long hours and I know that reading – even just a little bit before bed – helps keep me sane. I firmly believe that moms need to make at least some time for themselves, to do something they enjoy – for one thing, they deserve it, and for another, I think that keeping up at least one of my own interests will make me a better, more well-rounded mom.
…To set an example… This might be even more important. I want my baby to grow up surrounded by books, and to live in a world where stories and reading are a part of life. That’s the childhood that my own mom gave me, and that’s what I want to give my little girl. Along those lines, it’s going to be important for me both to read WITH the kiddo every day (stay tuned for our favorite bedtime stories to be featured on the blog), and for the kid to see ME reading to myself – to see that I make reading a priority in my own life. Whether that’s sitting with a book in my lap while I keep an eye on my offspring on the playground a few years from now, or picking out my own book when we motor by the library for story hour, I want the kid to understand that books can enrich her life – and what better way to get that message across than to embody it?
…To educate myself… Oh, I’ll never stop reading fiction; I love it too much. But since getting pregnant I’ve also been all about reading books to help me make sense of this pregnancy-and-mommyhood journey. It starts with “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “Your Pregnancy Week By Week” – my two pregnancy bibles – but I’m planning to read a LOT of books about early child development and parenting. I know that every kid is different, but I want to be armed with all the information I can be. Like I said, I really don’t know how things will shake out when the baby is born. But I hope I can be a reading mom. I plan to set an example for my kid by eating well and living an active lifestyle, but also by reading. I hope to instill in the baby the same love of reading that I’ve had since I was a toddler myself.
Do you have any tips for me, to make the transition from “reader” to “reading mom” easier?