I set out to read 52 books in 2019. My goal was to average one book per week. My hope was to give myself much needed self-care by getting lost in another world, flipping pages instead of channels.
It felt impossible when I started. How would I read a book EVERY week? I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I was willing to try. I figured it would help me rediscover my love for reading.
What surprised me, though, was how reading made me a better mom.
Put the Phone Down
When you have to crank through a book in a week, you snag any free reading minutes you can. If I had 20 minutes to kill before picking up my son from basketball practice, I read. While I ate my lunch, I read. When I was waiting at the doctor’s office, I read. When I was relaxing in the evening, I read.
The time I normally would have spent mindlessly scrolling through my phone, I now spent reading. At first, it was driven by the panic to reach my goal. But then it became a habit.
I began spending less and less time on social media, eventually giving it up altogether. This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have a book ready to take its place. Reading became my new escape, my new form of fun and taking it easy.
Food for the Soul
Reading breaks relaxed my brain and slowed my pulse. Instead of email adding to my to-do list or social media luring me into the swirl of comparison, reading gave my soul the recharge I needed to enter back into my real life with a smile on my face. Suddenly I had the capacity (and the will!) to listen to my kids tell me all about their days. I could make dinner and fold the laundry with renewed energy because I had cared for my soul earlier with a delightful book.
Readers are Leaders
When my kids saw me reading, they started reading. My youngest son has never been a big fan of books or reading (or sitting still in general). He’s an active kid who would rather play outside or play video games, the keyword being PLAY.
But I noticed over the course of the past year, he began picking up a book more often. Was it because of my reading challenge? I don’t know. Did he still prefer kicking a soccer ball around in the yard? Yes. But he read more books in the last 12 months than in his entire life before that, so I’ll call that a win.
A Whole New World
The books I read this year expanded my mind. I learned about different cultures, different ethnic traditions, and different life circumstances. Through the pages of books, I was transported into different worlds, time periods, and mindsets.
Stories move us and my heart was moved into compassion over and over again. I engaged new ideas and perspectives giving me better tools for parenting, and I modeled to my kids what it looks like to be a life-long learner.
First Things First
Through the journey, I discovered that we make time for what is important to us. Since reading was a priority, I fit it in. Sometimes it was on-the-go with an audiobook. Other times it was sneaking in a few pages during a lull in the day.
My kids saw me prioritizing reading, but what I was really prioritizing was myself.
I rediscovered the love I have for books and stories and was reminded that a book can lift you out of the nitty-gritty of daily life, giving you new perspective and deeper gratitude when you enter back in.
PS: I ended up reading 61 books in 2019 and have a new goal of reading 70 books in 2020. Check out my complete 2019 reading list, including favorite authors and top picks, HERE.