Have any other former bookworms struggled to read since having children?

(67 Posts)
Mrsfrumble Thu 28-Aug-14 05:23:50

And how did you overcome it? Was there a book which reignited your passion for reading, or was it a gradual thing?

I was an avid reader from early on, and I used to tear through books. As an adult I always had a novel in my backpack and would read on the bus, the tube, through my lunch-hour at work and in bed into the small hours when I should have been sleeping. If it was a particularly engrossing book I was one of those dozy pedestrians who would wander along the pavement with my nose buried.

Then in 2010 I had a baby, followed by another in 2012, and since then I've... Struggled. I've started so many books, sometimes with plenty of enthusiasm which has fizzled out about half way through. The only books I've managed to get all the way through are The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (not my usual thing, but MIL recommended at as good hospital reading and I was in for 4 days after having DS), Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and collections of short stories by Grace Paley and Alice Munro.

I've started and abandoned so many I can't remember them all. They've included many highly recommended books and some classics like Birdsong, The Poisonwood Bible, Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel and The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch. I start a book, enjoy it, then get distracted by children and housework and life and don't pick it up for a few days, and when I do my enthusiasm is just gone.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Will it get better when the children are older and more independent and I'm less knackered? And can you recommend a book that is so amazing and compelling I'll be able to stick with it? I miss my old self. Thanks!

Rummikub Thu 28-Aug-14 05:30:34

Hi I'm exactly the same, though you may not want to know how long it's been since I've read a proper book! (10 years ish). I feel that my concentration has gone. Like you I would read all the time, get totally absorbed in a book.
I can just about read a magazine these days. I have managed a couple of light books (chick lit) and Harry potter. But that's it.

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Thu 28-Aug-14 05:38:26

I'm the same too. I read a lot when I went back to work after dc1 but only during my commute and even then I couldn't cope with highbrow books, just trashy novels.

I'm on mat leave again now and can barely sustain concentration to read a magazine.

I expect it to pass at some point!!

whatsagoodusername Thu 28-Aug-14 05:41:05

I'm the same too. My DC are about the same age as yours. I've managed to read the Hunger Games books, but during post-Christmas jetlag (visiting family abroad). I've managed the occasional children's book like Ballet Shoes I love older kids books but nothing substantial or that I haven't read a dozen times before.

I fantasise about reading. But anytime I have an opportunity rare I just can't summon the enthusiasm or concentration. DS2 starts nursery two mornings a week in September and I'm hoping I'll find the time and energy then.

Until then, I guess it's old favourites I don't have to pay attention to.

Same here, just about cope with Hello magazine and then io mostly look at the pictures.

I used to spend most of my life reading before DD so it feels as though I have loads of time on my hands.

Have you tried maybe audiobooks?

Dirtymistress Thu 28-Aug-14 05:51:43

Me too, and books are how I make a living! Two babies in quick succession, 2011 and 2013, and I struggle to find a minute to myself. I feel I should always be doing something else.
I have managed to finish books on some long train journeys I have had to take for work.

joanofarchitrave Thu 28-Aug-14 06:01:11

I was more alert (and much more tired) after ds came along, less able to lose myself underwater in a book. But i joined a book club when he was a few weeks old so i must have had some spare attention - he was a fairly good sleeper tho so maybe thats why.
I would go with it, develop a magazine habit eg new scientist, prospect. Books will return to you in time.

MyGastIsFlabbered Thu 28-Aug-14 06:10:03

Me too. Had one child in 2010, another in 2012 & I can't follow a plot anymore. I've re-read old favourites but can't remember the last time I read a new book. I really miss it but don't have the concentration anymore. I'm hoping it will come back in the future.

Panicmode1 Thu 28-Aug-14 06:14:07

I have four children, and it's only since my youngest turned 3 and started sleeping, that I have been able to start reading again. You will do again - and love it again I'm sure, but you may just have to be patient!

DuchessofMalfi Thu 28-Aug-14 07:59:53

I didn't read much when either of the DC were babies - just too busy changing nappies, feeding etc and the whole day was gone and too exhausted to pick up a book.

Things picked up a lot more when DS started sleeping better, and then started nursery and I had a few hours to myself. Now things are back to normal. Both DC are in school, and I have time to do housework, listen to audio books, and read. It does get better smile

SixerofthePixies Thu 28-Aug-14 08:09:11

It's only since my youngest was about 4 that I have started reading again. To be honest only light stuff. It needs to be something where it doesn't matter if I only read a few pages, or go a few days without picking it up again. Or if get interrupted every five minutes! Or fall asleep grin

beccajoh Thu 28-Aug-14 08:09:18

I had two babies 18 months apart (they're 2.1 and 7m now) and have struggled to read anything much since DC1 was born. Not lacking in motivation at all, just too tired most of the time. I have read a little bit lately, but it has to be easy-going and entertaining as my baby brain just can't cope with anything that requires a bit of concentration! I read 'The Rosie Project' and 'You had me at hello' recently. Both easy reads but entertaining.

Hoping things improve as the kids get older to be honest!

couldbeanyone Thu 28-Aug-14 08:26:59

Yes I've really struggled since having DD. I pick up loads of books in the library but can only get into maybe 1 in 5 of what I choose. Generally I have defaulted to page turning thrillers /crime fiction which I do usually finish even though many aren't particularly well written. I have managed to find some good authors this way but picked up some duds too. I struggle to get through a chapter or two then when I finally manage to pick it back up I forget what's happened so far!

Rockinghorse123 Thu 28-Aug-14 08:36:17

So glad it's not just me. DS is nearly 2 and I still can't concentrate to finish a book. It's such a shame because it's something I really enjoy.

Maybe we could start a book club where some one suggests a book and we agree to discuss at certain points (eg every 5 chapters) would encourage us to get to a point in a time frame and by discussing plot we may be more encouraged to finish the book?

DownByTheRiverside Thu 28-Aug-14 08:48:06

Several years of reading poetry, short stories and books I'd read before.
It gets a lot easier as they get older, teenage years are fab for long periods of time on your own, especially early morning.
I found scuttling around bent over quite hard as well. smile

ChilliMum Thu 28-Aug-14 09:00:15

Me too, all chick lit and gripping thrillers now. I thought it was just me this thread is great. I miss that wow feeling and satisfaction I used to get at the end of a great book.

My youngest is now 3 and I have been trying and failing to read wolf hall for over a year. I feel like reading is a skill I have lost ie it feels like work rather than pleasure.

I sometimes wonder if it is a skill I need to re-learn?

Sorry for long post but this has been really playing on my mind recently.

PetraArkanian Thu 28-Aug-14 09:04:41

Another one who thought it was just me!!!! I read masses on holiday then lost it again when I got back. Partly for me it's being a sahm and always thinking there is something I should be doing instead (cleaning/tidying/cooking/going to gym) in child free time...

DownByTheRiverside Thu 28-Aug-14 09:05:21

It returns, panic not.
The only thging that hets in the way of a full recovery to bookworminess id if you start feeling guilty and self-indulgent, that you sould be doing something more beneficial to the household or for your children.
Suppress the idea that your life has become communal property and establish the concept that mummy is a human being too and entitled to a hobby for herself and you will all be fine.

DownByTheRiverside Thu 28-Aug-14 09:06:10

'thinking there is something I should be doing instead (cleaning/tidying/cooking/going to gym) in child free time...'

Ha!
Exactly!
Think of it as important for your mental health and well-being.

DownByTheRiverside Thu 28-Aug-14 09:07:26

I can spell, I just can't hit the right keys and so I need to proof-read more carefully. grin

susannahmoodie Thu 28-Aug-14 09:08:34

Erm Im kind of embarrassed to admit his but yes I do read just as much. I've read 30 books so far this year, I had babies in 2011 and 2013. I'm back to work next week though so I'll probably slow down a bit!

My kindle links to my
Facebook and so everyone always asks how I manage to fit it in, but somehow I do. I read for at least 20 mins each evening while I'm bf ds2 to sleep. I also read at naptime, bf time, I don't watch tv and I'm lucky enough to be able to read in the car (as a passenger obv!) without getting sick. My house probably isn't as clean and tidy as it should be either wink.

But I need to read. Books are honestly like oxygen to me, I get irritable if I don't have one on the go. I really wouldn't know who I was if I didn't read, and I feel like enough of myself has already got 'lost' in motherhood iyswim.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 28-Aug-14 09:09:17

Nope. I even managed to keep reading when I had four children under five. It's a matter of priorities. smile They all know my current novel comes first. grin

Hassled Thu 28-Aug-14 09:10:44

I'm in the same position as Mrsfrumble but I don't think it was having the DCs, as mine are all quite old - it seems to be as I've aged. I can't be arsed with persisting with a book that I'm not engaged with anymore, and I read more slowly, and my concentration is shot.

MyFirstName Thu 28-Aug-14 09:21:22

I am just back into it. DD1 is 8. My mental health has suffered a bit I think from not reading as reading is my "switch off" if you like. My meditation - no other way can I forget the jobs, the things to do and get absorbed in something.

not2nitedarling Thu 28-Aug-14 09:39:22

It depends doesn't it?
On whether the book is any good in the first place. When u r a mum you have so much more stuff to do than b4 dc. So now if a book does not grab my attention I don't persevere as much as I would have done. I get out a book from the local library when I take my dd who is 4. Prob about once every 3 weeks. I also download free books to my kindle. What a revolution that is. But I can't stop visiting our library cus it is under threat to close and I would hate that my dd didn't have access to such a wonderful resource.
It also depends on whether u feel that you don't deserve a bit of me time. I know I felt like that earlier on. Now I don't like pp said .. it's for my mental wellbeing.

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