I Used to Read Books…And Then I Had Kids

Our What Mamas Have to Say segment that asked our panel of moms to name some of their favorite beach reads made me laugh. It let out of the bag a secret that we moms all know – we don’t really read…not much anyway. Well, that’s not true. I have heard of some underground groups of women who get together from time to time to talk about a book…they call it…book club.

I’m not sure how these women find the time to read. Yes, yes, I know that they will tell you it is the promise of getting together with friends for adult conversation, but I think it may be more that the book club is run by a hard-core, Queen Bee, book club overlord. In my head, she wears an apron and wields a wooden spoon to keep order among the worker/reader bees. “Have you read this month’s 350,000 word book?” she would ask while aggressively tapping her wooden spoon against her palm. “No?!? That’s it! No bakery-fresh, decadent dessert for you!” Tears would flow forth from the non-reading offender. The other worker/reader bees would want to comfort her, but they would hold back out of fear of the book club overlord…and their desire for a piece of bakery-fresh, decadent dessert.

Okay, yes I did make all of that up. And yes, once upon a time I was a member of a book club. It was when I was working crazy hours at the White House, and I had about as much time to read a book as I do now. That’s not true actually, because I could have read while on the Metro, but I digress. Our “book club” met every Wednesday at a local Irish bar that is no longer there (insert dejected sigh here). The key to our book club’s success was that we never actually read any books. It was merely an excuse to get together to have dinner and a couple of drinks with the girls. And what happened to this book club? Someone proposed that we read an actual book – and it wasn’t a fluff book either. None of us could get into the book, so we wound up never meeting again. The moral of the story is that book clubs and reading don’t really mix. But again, I digress…

So back to my original thought for this blog, which seems to have gotten lost somewhere between the book club overlord and an Irish bar. Isn’t it funny how even the most voracious readers can be taken down by children? Something that was once taken for granted can become a treasured – and infrequent – pastime.

So how do we dig ourselves out of this hole? Maybe there is simply no hope, since the time I would normally spend reading is spent writing. Or maybe, I need to join a book club with a very powerful overlord. Better yet, perhaps I could start my own book club. Only the book club I would start would likely be more in line with the one I was a member of before, which wouldn’t contribute to the cause. So my quest for a more literary me will continue – and likely will not be achieved until all of my kids are in school…or I am retired…

And what about you? Are you a mom who breaks the trend? Are you a voracious reader who makes time to read? How – and when – do you do it? And more importantly, what’s the last good book you read? Because if ever I do start an actual book club, it’s going to go on my shopping list…along with an apron and a wooden spoon…and of course, a bakery-fresh decadent dessert.

Shannon Hembree is a stay-at-home mom with a kindergartner and twin toddlers. She is also the co-founder of Mamas Against Drama. You can follow her on Twitter @shannon1hembree and Mamas Against Drama @MamasAgnstDrama.


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