How to fit in reading as a parent

Guest post by Rohani Alexander: As a reading snob, I feel my book geek status is low when I catch up on Reading Is Bliss (Karen note: aww, shucks but also - NOT TRUE!), because I often don't know the books mentioned, especially the newer ones. Being well read has involuntarily dropped far down my list of priorities. Sleep thieves, night guzzlers, humanity's great time wasters - whatever you want to call them, and by all means call them adorable biology projects - children rob parents of the time and energy to expand their intellectual horizons.

I don't know anyone with small kids who stays on top of current affairs and the latest must-reads, while remaining well-rested, well-nourished and well, sane. Don't get me wrong. I still manage to read books. It just takes a hell of a lot longer to finish them and the stakes if you sacrifice precious sleep for reading are higher. 

Now I fear my powers of comprehension, expensively acquired at university, are being irreparably dimmed. With fellow Mummies recently, the discussion turned to movies due out. Someone mentioned Catching Fire. Someone else said they hadn't read The Hunger Games and had no idea about it, what was it about? Pause. "It's about revolution in a post-apocalyptic society," I ventured, relieved to have blagged the books off someone. 

Finally, a real conversation I could contribute to! Then I noticed a sea of blank expressions. "It's about children killing children," someone else said. A collective "ooh, aah" of understanding arose, leaving me cowering in my Smug Boots and wondering if this is where I'm headed - sparing only enough mental wherewithal to recognise plot, not theme.

As with anything about parenting and children, suggesting that kiddy-wrangling costs you the brain power to adequately digest a book is bound to cause offence, controversy and argument. All I know is this - I read nothing like as much as I want to and pay a lot less attention to what I do read. Many Mummies might consider a couple of hours at the gym or even a trip to the bathroom alone an impossibly blissful dream. Mine is to be locked in the house of a friend who happens to own a particularly heavenly couch, with a book. The non-reading hubby says he even considered giving this to me as a birthday present.

Do you think being parent has made you less of a bookworm? Where do you fit reading into your life?

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