Don't Lose Yourself in Parenthood
Reading was my favorite
I’ve been an avid reader my entire life; I started with horror and crime novels in early grade school. While my classmates were reading the Goosebumps series, I was toting around my older sisters’ copies of Stephen King. I wanted to be a badass, crime-solving medical examiner when I grew up, just like Dr. Kay Scarpetta from Patricia Cornwell’s novels. (And now that I’m drudging up memories, I remember having horrible recurring nightmares as a kid - about clowns, abandoned hotels, and an ax-wielding old lady who forced me to write a book. Perhaps there’s a correlation!)
... And then it wasn't
Then, as it often goes, I had kids and my priorities changed. There was a couple year period when all I read were parenting books: books about baby sign language, potty-training, how to raise good sleepers, what to do with strong-willed kids… anything I could get my hands on. I was obsessed with being the perfect parent (haha, isn’t that adorable!), and it sucked the joy out of reading.
That’s not to say there aren’t hella amazing, life-changing parenting books. But after reading dozens of books, I’ve learned a couple things. Be choosy of your time, and take advice with a grain of salt. A bit of guidance is good, but I firmly believe that we as parents know what is best for our kids. By all means, figure out how to have the happiest kids on the block, but don’t forget to consult your intuition.
And I'm back to it!
Nowadays, a couple times a week I abandon my mom and biz duties and get in a piping hot bubble bath with my kindle. And a piece of chocolate. And sometimes a glass of wine. My best escape and favorite hobby is mine again! Occasionally I’ll grab a paperback book on parenting that I can keep on my shelf and loan to clients or friends, or I’ll listen to a book on audio while in the car or on a walk. But my kindle is my private space where I can take in a classic I’ve read a billion times, or the National Book Award winner everyone is talking about, or a trashy memoir written by a Real Housewife of somewhere.
The moral (sorry)
I’m not going to get preachy, but there is a moral to be had here! Well the first is, don’t let your 8-year-olds read horror novels. And the second is, you don’t have to forfeit those things you love, and those things that make you happy and you when you have children. Kids are demanding, of our time, energy, bodies, money... everything. As parents we give so much of ourselves so that they are cared for and loved. Don’t give up you: your yoga practice, your knitting club, your amateur photography, your kindle full of books that have nothing to do with parenting. Don’t lose your spark. Now, excuse me while I sneak upstairs - I have a tub and a page-turner calling my name.