Staying Sane: Read

“We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.” – Henry Miller

I remember several years ago when Big Bro ALWAYS had problems going to sleep at night. He would either fight with us or play or talk or sing himself to sleep. That issue seemed to fix itself when he stopped taking afternoon naps and now, falls into bed exhausted. He often is snoring as Red is still awake. I remember my mother talking to him about it and saying that she sometimes reads books to help her relax to go to sleep. He replied back to her that “I guess I’m just going to have to sing until I am able to learn how to read.” I thought that response was so cute. And now we’re on the cusp of him having to be able to do this… he’s reading beginner books from school and is also busy learning how to write. I’m excited that we have books to rely on if he becomes difficult at bedtime. And maybe I’ll get him a booklight for his birthday in May.


Well, now Red has been our “problem child” in terms of transitions and sleep. I’ve been writing about this for several days/weeks now, since it’s hard to ignore when you feel like you’re dealing with a newborn again – one who refuses to sleep at night and also wakes up in the middle of the night. It’s difficult trying to manage this while co-parenting since we likely have different approaches. She got used to holding a hand (which did not come from me, but was still something that I’ve had to deal with). Over time Red and I have started with a consoling “rock” to sleep and have migrated to a quick “rock” and then me watching her, and then leaving her to come back and check on her, to last night….. I suggested that she look through a book to help her relax. She decided on a “princess” book and she obliged my request. She lay in her bed, quiet and still, while holding and leafing through a book looking at pictures and likely re-telling the story to herself inside her head. She drifted off to sleep by herself. She is having a problem with nap time now and I again suggested a book. So sweet. She is flipping through the pages, relaxing her body, and is close to sleep. [Update: She is now snoring. Books by her side.]


And I’m sure many if not all of us have instituted a nighttime ritual with our children of reading a short story or book before their bedtimes. It winds them down. It signals a break from their day. It is quiet and engaging and peaceful.


So for working mothers: When is the last time YOU’VE actually read a book? I mean from beginning to end? And not an article about baby food or pediatrician advice or anything baby related, child related, or pregnancy related? Or even Blogs. I mean a good old fashioned hardcover, softcover, or maybe iPad or Kindle version of words into sentences into stories…..???!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I know that our time during the day is an issue. I recognize that. But for those that are not imbibing in the written word maybe there’s a way to make the time at the end of the day? Or maybe sneak in some time during a commute to work? Maybe the trick is to find books with short chapters, or short sub-chapters, or simple easy to digest books? Or are downloadable books really the way to go?

Over the last two years I’ve read lots on kids, babies, even some People mags…. but there have been a few books that have made my list as well:

– The Twilight Series. All four books. A very easy read and I personally love vampires. The only thing about this was that it was extremely difficult to relate to the high-school characters. I had a hard time dealing with the petty drama that came along with the characters but overall, it was entertaining.
– The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson. I highly recommend these. Short chapters. Interesting story. Interesting, likeable characters. You can squeeze in 10 minutes at the end of each day and make progress through the books since the writing is easy to follow and the sub-chapters are short and manageable.

– Ann Rice Vampire books – these were heavier in terms of writing style but extremely enjoyable reads. Again, my vampire facination is coming out a bit so you’re seeing a part of me that is new.

I’m thinking about looking into the True Blood novels next.

So anyway, I’m finding through my kids and through myself that reading does relax. It obviously transports you into a different world which can be a godsend when times seem too difficult to navigate. Escaping in a good book, or at least an easy book, might be the cheapest medicine (and therapy) one can buy.

What are you Mamas out there reading? Any suggestions for other Mamas on books that you think are easy to get through and worth a try to keep you calm and centered?

Thanks for listening –
– Mama K

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