Are reading and being part of a social unit mutually exclusive?
Why is it that I feel the need to sneak in order to satisfy my reading desires?
I’ve often said that if I didn’t have a husband and kids, I would be most naturally inclined toward the life of a hermit. I can see it now — holed up for hours in my house, just me, a pair of fuzzy slippers, a steaming mug of coffee, and piles and piles of books. I’d come up for air occasionally — hit the kitchen, grab a snack, take a bathroom break — then dive back into the pages of whatever novel happens to be my obsession at the moment. If it’s a sunny day, maybe I’d even take my mug, slippers, and book out on the back porch for a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air. Doesn’t sound half bad, if you ask me.
And yet… I’m a mom, I’m part of a family, and I love all my various and sundry people like crazy. But, for realz, there just aren’t enough hours in a day for work, kid time, homework time, play time, couple time, house time — the list is endless. So where does that leave me and my piles of books?
Consider this scenario from a recent vacation: My husband, son, and I were on a lovely camping trip, and decided to spend the day by the nearby lake. Hubby and kid wanted to rent a motorboat; I most emphatically do not do boats. So off they went, and I spent a very enjoyable hour on our picnic blanket, novel in hand, sun on my face, blissfully reading and relaxing. When they returned, my son’s first comment to me was, “Mom! You’re on vacation! Everyone else here is having fun, and you’re just sitting there reading a book!” It pained me to have to explain to my own flesh and blood that, hey, this is my idea of fun!
And so, I sneak. When I wake up on a weekend morning, I grab my book and read a quick chapter before getting out of bed and joining the family. When my son decides to work on his latest video game, off I head with my book. When he gets in the shower at night, out the book comes again. It’s not until we’ve finished up the bedtime rituals and the kid is safely ensconced in slumber for the night that I can sit down publicly in my own house, put up my feet, and enter my reading zone. No sneaking required.
I wish I could put up a Do Not Disturb sign every now and then, and declare myself temporarily off-limits. When the lights are flashing, do not approach mom! My pleas for “five more minutes”, “let me finish my chapter”, or “wait! I’m at a good part!” would be a thing of the past.
I’m a good mother, try to be a good spouse, but honestly, would a little more time to read hurt anybody? Never mind, don’t answer that.