10 Ways Being A Mom Makes You Fall In Love With Reading All Over Again
I've always been a book lover, and fail to remember a time when I was a kid and didn't have a book in my hand or somewhere on my person. Reading was a way to escape a toxic childhood, a way to travel without spending money and a way to feel understood by complete strangers. Unfortunately, school also "killed" reading for me, in a way. When you read for academia, it can be hard to continue reading for "fun." Thankfully, there are ways being a mom makes you fall in love with reading all over again; Ways that I am experiencing now, as a mom to a toddler who happens to love books just as much as I do; Ways that have made me realize that reading is the best and such a big part of who I am as a person, a woman and a mother.
That's arguably one of the best aspects of becoming a parent; you really do get the opportunity to rediscover yourself. While you don't lose every part of who you used to be (or really any part at all) you do gain something new; another facet of your person; another part of your personality that evolves so that you can take care of another human being. This also means that you get to be a "kid" again, as you play with toys and watch old movies you grew up on and, yes, read your favorite childhood books.
I have my son to thank for so many things already, but giving me the opportunity to fall in love with reading all over again is definitely high up on that list. Thanks to his affinity for reading, even if what he's reading is another story about Elmo that I could so do without, I have rediscovered reading for myself, and it's wonderful.
You Get To Read Out Loud
Until I started reading to my kid on a regular basis, I honestly couldn't remember the last time I read out loud. I am sure I read some stuff out loud in college, but it was an excerpt or two of a novel we were studying and that wasn't, you know, as fun. Reading out loud is so underrated.
You Get To Buy New Books, Regularly
My kid literally memorizes his books, so we're constantly searching for new ones. I was honestly a little shocked. He would act out sentences from a page or two ahead, and my partner and I looked at one another and said, "Yep, we need to buy him more books." Going to a book store regularly is, well, magical, and just as romantic as the movies make it out to be. (Buy, you know, ordering books online definitely works, too.)
Seeing Your Kid Get Excited About A Book Makes You Excited About Books
When my son brings me his favorite book (or as many books as his little arms can carry), climbs on my lap and asks me to read it to him, I'm just freakin' happy. Seeing his eyes light up when he gets a new book, makes my eyes light up. There's something about experiencing the world through your children that can make you feel rejuvenated and new and, well, excited about things that adults tend to downplay.
You Get To Read Your Favorite Childhood Books Again...
I would argue that by far, hands down, one of the best parts about having a kid is being able to buy your favorite "kid stuff" again. Sure, revisiting your favorite childhood movies is always a plus, but getting to read those classic childhood books is just the best. My bookshelf has Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein on it again. I get to thumb through The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, The Story of Ferdinand, and The Giving Tree, again. I get to read kids books without the problems of being a kid. You guys, that's the dream.
...And Plan Books You'll Read To Your Kid, In The Future
My kid is just about to turn two, so there are so many books he can't read yet (or comprehend) that I am beyond excited for him to, one day, dive into. I mean, those Harry Potter books aren't going to read themselves, right? In an attempt to curb my excitement and not push my kid to read material that is beyond his development level, I am re-reading those soon-to-be favorites. #Winning.
When You're Reading To Your Baby (Or Baby Bump) You Can Basically Pick Whatever Book You Want
Research suggests that reading to your kid while they're in the womb will improve their brain development and eventual academic tests scores. I just read to my baby bump because I love reading and, well, giving my kid a leg up on Algebra (because he'll get zero help from me, in that department) sounded like a fantastic idea. This meant, in the name of "good parenting," I was able to re-read some of my favorite books, out loud, to my baby. It's not like kid is going to understand A Million Little Pieces, or care that the author lied.
All The Kid Books Makes You Crave "Grown-Up" Books...
Children's books are great, don't get me wrong, but I can only read about Thomas the freakin' Train for so long (and for so many consecutive days) before I lose my damn mind. Sorry kid, but no. I don't want to hear about the crack in the track. Again.
In an attempt to "even the reading field," so-to-speak, when reading time is over and my kid is sleeping, I'll open up a book of my own. I get to keep reading (yay) and have that reading be something much more intellectually stimulating than a train or Elmo or pooping in a potty.
...And Before You Know It, You're Reading Every Day (Or When You Can)
Now reading has become a habit, again, and it's awesome. I used to read every day when I was a kid, but high school and college killed the appeal of opening up a book for fun. When reading is an academic necessity, it can be difficult to continue reading for pleasure. Now, that's exactly what I do. I'm reading at night and I'm reading on the train to work and I'm reading on the train back home and it's so awesome to have books be a normal, everyday part of my life again.
Reading Is Like A Mini-Vacation...
Nothing takes away the stress of work or motherhood or bills or being in a relationship or just being a responsible adult, like reading. I mean, I wouldn't turn down a trip to a remote beach, but I hear those are pretty expensive. When I need a break, I can just put open up a book and I'm instantaneously transported somewhere else. When I don't want (or feel like I can) "mom" anymore, I can be someone else who isn't a mom or who doesn't have a job or who is going through a struggle that makes mine look like child's play. Reading is rejuvenation, and every mom needs that.
...So When You Need Some Time To Yourself, Picking Up A Book Is Like Booking A Flight (Just Cheaper)
You don't need to spend money on a spa day or a vacation or a night out with friends (although I also highly recommend doing all those things if you want and are financially able to), all you have to do is take a trip to the book store. Motherhood isn't synonymous with martyrdom, and you need and should be taking care of yourself, too. Reading can facilitate a great deal of self care, which just adds to the already long list of why reading is the best.