So you want to read more but don’t have the time?

As a working mother I live by my schedule. I’m a full time counselor, a part-time yoga instructor and full time mom and wife. I also have to fit in exercise which is no longer for vanity but for optimal health. And let us not forget that the short person and my husband want to eat. I like to say that I don’t watch much TV but the truth is I have no time during the week and the weekends are for family. Even though I teach folks to stay present, I often feel nostalgia for the times when I could finish reading a book in a day without interruption.

I know myself well enough to know that reading is important to me. Even though I feel like I have less time to do the things I enjoy, I have to figure out a way to make it happen. Prioritize joy! Click To Tweet Here are some ways I was able to fit more reading time into my life.

Read during your lunch break.

Sometimes I sit in the break room and fraternize with my colleagues but at least 2 times out of the week I go to my car to read my book and eat my lunch. The silence is blissful. I am currently reading You Are A Badass. I highly recommend it.

Keep books in the bathroom. 

My son has been known to follow me into the bathroom but he is quiet as long as he is near me. There are also times when I lock him out because sometimes you just want to shit in peace. Depending on how your colon is set up you can get 30-45 minutes of reading in. And for you super regular people who BM in 10 minutes; stay on the pot nobody knows what you are doing.

Take the train instead of flying.

This is a twofer. You save money by taking the train and you gain time to read because it will take you longer to get to your destination. This is a perfect way to get more reading time in when traveling for work. Train rides are my favorite way to cuddle up with a book. Click To Tweet 

Read during your pedicure.

I get regular pedicures. I spend a lot of time barefoot as a yoga instructor and I want something pretty to look at. I use this time to relax and read. I purposely leave my cellphone in the car. Gasp! So that I am not tempted to get on my device. This time is specifically for reading. I have also had to tell the lovely lady removing dry skin and ingrown nails to stop talking to me. I know she is being chatty because she wants a nice tip. Ma’am its unnecessary, shut your pie hole. Your tip is the same no matter what.

Try audio books.

This is kind of cheating but moms have to create short cuts all the time for our sanity. I have a nice commute to and from work. Big Magic is kind of thick and I need something inspirational playing in the background as I navigate traffic. There is also a better chance that I will finish it as an audible book. There are at least four unfinished books sitting on my nightstand. Summer break is coming, so maybe I’ll be able to finish a book or two.

Working moms, how do you prioritize reading?

5 Books that Affirm Brown Boys!

Happy Black History Month! As an educator and a mother it is important to me that my sun sees his reflection in the books that he reads. Many studies have shown that children who see themselves in the books they read, toys they play with and television they watch; have better self-esteem, less behavior problems and higher tests scores. Here are a few books that have black boys as the main character, the books also have positive character themes and teach healthy social skills.

1.  Pretty Brown Face by  Andrea Davis Pinkney

pretty brown face

I love this book because it affirms blackness. It is appropriate for babies up to 3 years old. The brown boy in the book appreciates his curly hair, his african nose and his dark eyes. At the end of the book is a mirror where brown boys can looks at themselves and smile. We cannot forget about the self-esteem of our boys. I also love the fact that it uses the word pretty in relation to a boy. Society teaches boys that the word pretty is effeminate. Words have the power and the meaning we give them. In my opinion handsome and pretty should be used interchangeably regardless of gender. Machismo taught as a cultural norms starts early. Think about that the next time your boy child falls and cries. Do you tell him to suck it up and stop crying? If so, why? Why don’t we teach our suns that it is ok to express their emotions, cry and/or ask for help. Healthy men know how to do these things.

2. Good Night Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson

good night baby

The main character of course is a brown boy. The book is appropriate for a baby up to 3 years old. The book takes you through a typical toddler’s day. The book teaches good sleep habits, which I found particularly helpful when I was attempting to sleep train. Check out the trauma that ensued trying to sleep train my child. The book reinforces reading to your child every night which has been shown to improve verbal skills and comprehension.

3.  Whose Knees are These? by Jabari Asim

whose knees are these

The graphics in this book are outstanding. The images appear 3D. My sun was scared of the pictures at first but now he enjoys them. He hi-fives the protagonist who appears to be waving in the book. This book is appropriate for preschoolers and is a helpful tool for learning body parts. The rhyming aids in making an ordinary day magical. The book also reinforces a positive self-image.

4. Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora

peekaboo morning

The main character in this book has a carpet fro’ or budding baby locs.  As a nappy* hair advocate, this warms my soul. The toddler plays peekaboo and identifies things in his surrounding. This book is for preschoolers and assist with naming objects. Isadora is known for her multicultural books. She is fascinating because she is not a person of color. Isadora was a professional ballet dancer and when she retired (the career span of a professional ballet dancer is short) she became an author. She is also a visual artist. Having lived for 10 years in Africa may have influenced her decisions to tell stories with brown people at the center.

5. So Much! by Trish Cooke

so much

This book is aimed for children 3-7 years old. It is a little lengthy and requires a longer attention span. What is awesome about this book is that it explores the colorful personalities of family members and their relationship with the protagonist. The family is large and the readers gets to meet cousins and grandparents. They all love and dote on the main character. This is what we want for our children; family members who protect and love on them. Lastly, all of the books have one spectacular thing in common. Every family has a loving and involved father included in the family structure. I’ll take that. All day, I will!

What are your children reading?