Recently, I was talking to my mom on the phone, and she told me she didn’t think I was in a reading slump. “You’re still reading a lot,” she said, “you’re just reading children’s books instead. And you’re enjoying your baby.” Mom told me that she thinks it’s just the stage of life I’m in at the moment – there’s less time for reading, and when I do have free time I want to spend it playing with Peanut (and soon Nugget) and watching them grow and learn and explore.
All true statements. There is definitely less time for reading. I’ve been swamped at work since before Thanksgiving, and when I’m not at work or ferrying Peanut back and forth from school, I’m making dinner, trying to stay on top of an increasingly chaotic housekeeping situation, and doing the bath-stories-bedtime routine (which can stretch on for two hours or more if Peanut is feeling frisky). When, exactly, am I supposed to sit down with a book?
And even on the weekends, it just hasn’t been a priority. I’d rather play with Peanut, as my mom pointed out, and that’s a normal thing right now. We’re spending our time on family hikes, or snuggled up reading stories, or destroying the playroom. I’ll have my whole life to stick my nose in a book. What I want to do right now is snuggle my baby while she’s still a baby.
But I do think I’m in a reading slump. Maybe it’s no big deal, and it’s just where I am right now, but the fact remains that even when I have those rare pockets of free time – when I’m not working, cleaning, caring for Peanut or enjoying family time – I just haven’t had much of an attention span lately. It’s embarrassing to admit, because I’m trying to be a book blogger here. But I just don’t seem to have the head space or patience for many books lately. Once I’ve staggered downstairs in the evening, after sitting in Peanut’s (increasingly uncomfortable) rocker for an hour or more, I don’t want to switch on the table lamp and take out a book. I’d rather snuggle up under a blanket with hubby and watch TV. (We’re working our way through Ken Burn’s The National Parks on Blu-Ray.) Or scroll through my phone, catching up on social media. Or stare blankly at the wall. Sometimes I can’t even make myself crack the spine of a book – and that’s why I still think I’m in a slump.
Maybe it’s just not as bad of a slump as I thought. I mean, I just whipped through As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, the latest Flavia de Luce mystery, in about three days. That’s not bad. Once upon a time, I could have torn through a Flavia mystery in a day or less, but I don’t have that kind of spare time at the moment. So just wanting to read was refreshing. And now I’ve started The Romanov Sisters, which – okay – is a hefty non-fiction chunker, but I’m actually excited to read it. Excited… I haven’t felt excited to read a particular book in months (until Flavia, that is).
So yes, I do think I’m still in a reading slump. But I also think that my mom has a point and that it’s mainly just life, right now. Really, it seems to be a combination of lack of time, other priorities, and a slumping attention span. I’m sure that it’s a season that will eventually pass. Until then, I’ll give myself a little bit of credit for the fact that I read Star Wars ABC eleventy-seven times yesterday.
Do you notice that your reading ebbs and flows with different stages of life?