How Busy Moms Can Find Time For Reading

 

Morgan Parks is an optician and Office Manager at her husband’s optometry practice, where I am a
patient. This spring I’ve had recurring issues with iritis which required several visits in quick succession. On each visit, Morgan and I would chat (One time I broke down in tears in response to the question “How are you doing today?”) and gradually discovered we have many shared interests. She is an avid reader and writer, as well as a photographer. On top all of this, she’s also a mom to four kiddos!

Morgan with her children

 

I asked Morgan to collaborate with me on a post addressing readers who have children, since I don’t and I’m not able to write to their experiences and questions when it comes to reading and other creative (i.e. self-nourishing) pursuits. Of course she said yes because she’s cool like that, so I sent her some questions and she answered them readily.

What’s your history as a reader/writer/creative type?

I first majored in Speech & Hearing in college – I had worked for speech therapists and special education teachers throughout high school and college, but once we entered the world of anatomy and physiology, I was lost – and a bit bored.  I had been journaling and writing poetry on my own for as long as I could remember, and decided to switch to English and Writing as a major.  My parents were horrified – what was I going to do with this degree?!  I had no idea, but I knew it was something that I would enjoy and do well at, and that’s what I needed for my confidence.  Changing my major and realizing I was good at something, because I was never good at sports, was a huge confidence booster for me.  I later developed a love for photography and photographed weddings, portraits, and boudoir photos for about 6 years with an active blog before I had to take a step back to take care of these little creatures!

Image courtesy of pixels.com

 

How many books do you read per month, on average?

I’d say I’m ALWAYS reading one fiction book and one non-fiction book at a time, so maybe 8 per month?  Lately I’ve been into psychological thrillers, which is not my traditional style, but I feel like it gets me hooked super easy, and takes me away from the thoughts that go with the stresses of being a wife and mother and the anxiety that, for me, has gone along with it.

How do you share reading with your kids? Do they enjoy books/readiing?

I really wish my older daughters loved reading as much as I do, but unfortunately with the way technology has taken over, they don’t reach for it like I used to.  My oldest daughter was never a strong reader, so I have to remember and recall that she probably doesn’t love it because it never came easy for her.  My 5 year old loves to be read to, but more than anything, they love to be told stories by their dad every night, of his childhood and what he experienced.  I think those are far more priceless if you’re willing to tell them.
Morgan’s family

What’s an average day like for you?

Tuesdays and Thursdays I wake up at 4:45 and go to an amazing spin class with a friend. Any other morning, I’m up about 7 to send the girls off on the bus, make a pot of coffee, and head to work to help my husband with his optometry practice.  Some days we don’t have to head in until noon, so we will hang with the boys while we work through chores, grocery lists, and a workout if we’re motivated.  We absolutely love to cook, so a grocery store run is usually in the mix, and we love to casually cook dinner while we visit with the girls, play with the boys, and enjoy this spring air that’s finally creeping in!  I stay up way too late on a daily basis, but my perfect evening ends with a good book, a hot bath, and a couple glasses of wine before I turn in.

 

How do you make time for reading? And why is that important to you? And how does it affect other areas of your life?

My boys have a very strong sense of routine, as do Joe and I, so in the morning, they LOVE to have a cup of apple juice and watch a cartoon.  I take this time to read a chapter or two and find that it sets the tone for the day in that I did something for myself first and foremost, and something that I really enjoy.  It calms me, relaxes me, and takes my mind off the stresses in my world.  It’s almost a meditation practice, if you will.  Of course I get interrupted and there comes that time we have to put those things down and get outside and run around, but with a good book . . . I can’t wait to get back to it, and I’ll grab it again first chance I get.

What’s your response to people who say things to me like “I wish I could read more, but I have kids?”

Honestly, I admire those moms, because maybe they’re spending time playing with their kids and connecting with their kids in ways that so many of us aren’t, because it’s so easy to turn on a show or throw them a device for them to get absorbed in while we do what we need/want to (and sometimes I’m so grateful for that!).  But my gut advice to those moms is, get your kiddos to bed on time, and take that book to the bathtub!  Pour in some Epsom salts, pour a cup or tea or a glass of wine or water.  Another thing I’ve done is purchased a Himalayan Salt Lamp and put it in my bedroom.  The nights I know I want to snuggle in and read before bed, I’ll pull back my covers and turn on that lamp and my bedside lamp as if I’m giving myself permission to do this for ME when the kids go to bed.  It’s a beautiful ambiance to enjoy a good book.
Morgan with her boys

 

 

What’s your advice to moms who want to make more time in their busy lives for reading and creative pursuits?

When I learned when I started my photography practice is that, as far as creative pursuits go, you have to treat it like the business it will become.  Dedicate yourself those office hours if you are in the business of starting a business – it will all manifest itself to work out so beautifully financially and personally.  I have something going nonstop, and it’s always encouraging me and reminding me of what I really want to do with all of this knowledge.  Pay attention to the types of books you’re attracted to, what you always want to learn, and think about creating something for yourself from it, whether it’s a hobby or financial means.

Morgan’s blog is currently down for construction. Once it’s back up, I’ll add it here so you can check in with her creative pursuits.

1 Comment

  1. Lea

    May 23, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Reading as a meditation practice, yes please! I’ve always said reading is my self care. Thankfully, my family is supportive of that! Nice blog ladies!

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