My reading life has been upended by my return to work. For the past four years I have been a stay-at-home-mom. I loved it. The freedom it afforded me was awesome. It was also lonely. I don’t live close to family, and my closest friend moved away shortly after we both had our kids. Life changes when you become a parent–and without any statistics to back me–up I would venture to say that for women, the change is greater. Quitting my job was not difficult, but it left me feeling lost. I had never been dependent on my husband financially, so that was new. It was also an adjustment for us both as we reorganized our budget to fit our new situation. It worked out, and we got by without giving up much.
About a month and a half ago I decided it was time for me to return to work. My son is now three and was in pre-school part time. I felt I was ready to test the waters. Once I started to look for work, my reading halted. I was consumed by resumes, cover letters, and sifting through endless job postings. My brain could not settle long enough for me to read. I suspect I am not the only person who can only read when they’re relaxed. Any kind of turmoil in my life puts a block on my reading. I don’t force it either. I don’t want to read under duress. Applications gave way to interviews, and now I am about to start my fourth week at my new job.
I haven’t cracked open a book since I started my job search! This is something that has caused me a great deal of stress on occasion. I love reading, and I love books. What does it mean that I haven’t set foot in a library since early March?! What does the fact that I haven’t read more than an online article in over a month? It means nothing. It means that I have life stuff that has taken precedence. It means that I am an adult who has to prioritize.
This readathon will be especially significant and exciting for me because it will mark the end of my reading hiatus. I am going into it full steam ahead. Ready to read, cheer, and enjoy the community of fellow readers. Even my blogging will be making a comeback. This break from reading and blogging has been necessary, and I think it has been beneficial. However, I am ready to come back to what I love. I am still figuring out how to do it all and learning that I can’t possibly do everything.
For me, reading is a form of self-care. It is something I love doing, and I do it because I love it. Opening up a book brings me joy, and doing things for ourselves is important to our well-being. Letting go of things we love is also self-care. I do not allow reading to stress me out, and when it becomes a source of stress, I drop it. We can’t do that with everything, but when we do things in our free time for the sake of leisure it is important to keep it that way.
Here is how I plan to read-a-thon my way back into reading:
- Take it easy! – I am going to select a few books I’m super excited about but won’t feel pressure to finish any.
- Cheer!- I’ve always enjoyed cheering as much as I enjoy reading. Just reading about all the awesome books fellow readers are talking about gets me in a reading mood.
- Take breaks!- my life isn’t going to pause for a day so I plan on interruptions and chores. Nobody says I can’t throw in a load of laundry in between chapters.
- Plan ahead!- meals and snacks will be prepped and ready to go. I don’t plan on spending much time in the kitchen on Saturday.
- Enjoy!- I plan on reveling in the awesomeness of everything.
Is Dewey’s your gateway back into reading? It could be!
A big thank you to Abby from Falling in Love with Diego and @iron_gall for such a personal, moving, honest post!