Every month when I do my reading roundup, I get comments on the number of books I read, and at least one person comments on how they need to get moving on their TBR because they haven't read nearly that amount. I have a different take on it.
I read because it's how I relax. I'm fortunate enough to have two very self-sufficient kids who are more than old enough to take care of themselves when I want to relax for an hour with a book. Plus, they are never home in the evenings, and stay up far later than me!
I'm also a very fast reader, and always have been. A category romance usually takes me about 2 hours to read. There have been vacations where I've read 4 categories in a single day. But my husband reads about a book a month. And he's good with that.
Having said all that...
I went through a period of several years where I hardly read at all. I was too busy with my kids, too busy with my job, too busy to interact with anyone, much less have time to sit around reading when the house needed to be cleaned, the dinner needed to be cooked, the laundry needed to be done, kids needed to go to play dates or one sport or another... oh, and a marriage to keep on the front burner. Sound familiar to anyone?
At some point in the last few years, I realized that I need to take some time for myself, and that makes all the other relationships easier to manage. Of course, it didn't hurt that my boss actually wrote it into my yearly goals that I needed to work less and take more family time. Cool boss, no? But it's an indication of the kind of time I was devoting to my job and not to my family or myself.
I never, ever pay attention to the number of books other people read. As long as they feel happy and are satisfied that they get some "me" time in their busy lives, then I think whatever they read is awesome. In addition to not paying attention, I also never compared my reading quantity to anyone else's. Yes, I missed reading. A lot. But I found ways to sneak some in.
When the kids hit a grade in school where extra reading became required, we had family reading time. Everyone would grab a book and we'd all sit in the family room and read for a half hour.
When sitting in the stands waiting for a baseball, basketball, football, volleyball (fill in your sport, although they all apply to me) game to start, I snuck in a few pages.
When I got to school to pick up my kids and I had 15 minutes to wait, I read a little.
I don't think a day has gone by when my kids haven't seen me with a book in my hands. But some of those days, I was lucky to fit in a chapter in total.
But back to the comparison thing... I love books. As I know all of you do. But I also love my family. As I know you all do (ok, your own family, not mine! But why don't you love mine?!). There's a time and a place for every priority. And once I stopped to realize I needed me time, I slowly began reading more. And the more I read, the more I realized how much I had missed losing myself in a great story. I also think that while I will finish out the year with my monthly wrap-ups, I doubt I'll do it again. I'm only going to review the books I felt strongly enough about. I don't need to track my reads, I've come to realize. I just need to know that I'm reading enough to make myself feel good.
So my hope for you is this: that you are able to read enough that you feel you've satisfied your "me" time - even if it meant that the dishes went undone until morning. That you feel good about taking the time for yourself, even if it meant that your child needed to entertain themselves for a half hour. (Honestly, that's ok. They need to learn how to do that, and they need to realize that while you love them more than anything, if you're happy, they're happy, too.) That you feel like you've done enough to recharge your batteries, even if it meant instead of watching TV with your hubby one evening, you buried your nose in a book.
Whatever it is, it's not about how many. It's about why you read, what you read, and making yourself happy.