I’ve been a reader my whole life. I devour books in stacks and that has always been my way. Then a little over a year ago, I found out that I was going to become a mother. While a million and one other things crowded their way into my mind, it never even occurred to me that my reading habits might change through pregnancy and into my child’s first months. I had heard plenty of people say they never had time to read after their baby was born, but I’d also talked to enough people and read enough articles to know that this isn’t always the case.
My son is now eight months old and I still read a lot. But my habits have changed dramatically since my pre-parenthood days. It’s not better or worse, just different. These tips come from my own experience and I hope that they help you keep some stability during some of the wildest months of your life.
1. Your reading habits will change and that is okay
When I was pregnant, reading triggered my morning sickness. This included all formats, even audiobooks. I never figured out why that was the case, but that made it very difficult to read. So I just didn’t. For someone who always had at least one book going, this was very strange. But after a few attempts at reading just made me sick, I had to stop.
After my son was born, I began swinging between moods of wanting to do nothing but read and not picking up a book for days. If you find that your reading modes are shifting around like this, go with it. A few weeks (or months) away doesn’t mean you’ll never get that enthusiasm back. And the books will be there waiting for you when the mood returns.
Also remember that your habits might have to change even if your moods haven’t. You probably won’t have the ability to sit and read for hours anymore, at least in the beginning. Try to train yourself to read in little chunks throughout the day and you’ll be less frustrated when a diaper change tears you away from your book.
2. Embrace eBooks
The Kindle app is a lifesaver for new parents. I don’t always have a physical book on me, but I almost always have my phone. If your baby won’t let you put them down or you’re too exhausted to get up and get your book out of your purse, eBooks are a perfect way to squeeze in some reading during this not-quite downtime.
3. Read to keep yourself grounded
It’s easy to lose yourself in parenthood. Even though you’ve had the whole pregnancy to anticipate it, it’s impossible to fully prepare for ways in which a baby transforms your life. But it’s important to hang onto yourself as a person, not just a parent. Read the books you want to read. You might get through them a little more slowly now, but they’ll give you something to focus on that isn’t baby related and your mind needs that break.
4. Go for comfort reads
Comfort reads vary both from person to person and different situations. Over the past eight months, I’ve torn through several local history books when I felt my responsibilities getting too overwhelming. You might want something fluffy in order to give your brain a rest or maybe something meaty to give it something to do. And that might change by the day, so don’t try to force yourself to read something that you aren’t into. Like I said before, it’ll still be there when the mood returns.
If reading is important to you, you’ll find a way to squeeze it in among your responsibilities. So, of all the things you need to worry about with your upcoming arrival, you can cross off whether or not you’ll ever read again.
Do you have any other advice to add? Let us know!
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