Why I Avoid Reading


I recently had the opportunity to read a book. As a busy, working mom of six, it was a rare occasion. We were at the cottage for a week and my kid had been nagging me to read her favourite novel, The Hunger Games. Surprisingly, I got really into it and had a hard time putting it down.


It’s difficult to be negative about reading. It is valuable to read to and with our children, and it is important that they see us read. I was raised by an avid reader. My dad read constantly and as soon as one book was done, he was on to the next. It was amazing in so many ways – he had so much knowledge to share and provided us with a home filled with beautiful books. We talked about books and Dad would spontaneously quote from novels, plays and poems whenever he had the chance. He had a love of words. Several of us kids went on to study literature at university.


While I was stuck into that book at the cottage, my kids would buzz around asking for snacks or wanting my attention. I found myself shooing them away saying “Let me just finish this chapter”, hoping they’d be distracted long enough so I could start the next one.


It reminded me of being a child and watching my dad read his books. There were many times he was reading when he really should have been engaging with us. Indeed, there were times it seemed his books were more important. Family game night often meant Mom playing with us, while Dad sat in the other room reading. There were times I thought this was selfish and maybe I was even a little jealous of his books.


Because reading is smart and noble, I think it’s a hobby that is not only forgiven, but praised. If my dad had been on his iPad or iPhone all that time, it would have been unacceptable. There are many times my kids have to occupy themselves because I’m working on my laptop. There are other times I’m distracted by other things. Do I think kids need undivided attention? Absolutely not. It’s good for kids to see parents work and relax. We want them to have the ability to entertain themselves. But it just got me wondering why certain activities are more forgivable than others. The effect is the same.


I kind of didn’t like who I became when I was so wrapped up in my book at the cottage. I think for the next while, I’ll stick mostly to reading with my kids because I get the sneaking suspicion that the day will soon come when I can do all the reading I want and I’ll wish I was being interrupted for a snack.

My DD dressed up as Katniss Everdeen.

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12 Responses to “Why I Avoid Reading”

  1. Linda

    One of my favourite times of the day when my kids were little was bedtime, when we would all snuggle together and read. I started reading to my kids when they were babies (story time was a good way to wean them from nursing right before bed). We then graduated to taking turns reading (they’d read a page and I’d read a page), then they would read to me. I absolutely love childrens books (well most of them) and really enjoy picking out that perfect book for one of my kids, niece, nephew of child of a friend.
    I really, really miss reading to/with my kids.
    I still don’t have much time to read for myself. Usually just on summer vacation and at Christmas…..or late at night when the youngest (and dog) is asleep and I’m waiting up to go pick up the teens from a party/friend’s/boyfriend’s/movie.
    Enjoy reading with your kids. I can’t really say you’ll miss having someone bug you for a snack, but you will miss the times spent reading with them.

    • Julie Cole

      Ok – maybe I can live with the not being interupted for snacks :) I love kids books as well – and it’s so great to do shared reading!

  2. Krista (@kristahouse)

    You definitely have a point. This is the time to engage with our kids, because someday they’re going to grow up and we’ll be wishing they had more time for us. Right now I try to hold tight to each moment!

    • Julie Cole

      and I’m starting to see it with my big ones……they’re little for five minutes – enjoy what we can in all the craziness!

  3. Kathryn

    I rarely read (not really bragging about it) But was told over and over I have to read Fifty Shades so I did. It hooked me in and I could not put the book down! I found every excuse possible to sit outside and read while the kids played on the trampoline. What I found was my daughter grabbed her book (Hunger Games) and read along side me. Now that I am done the trilogy I am back to NOT reading (so bad I know)

    My feeling is as Moms we need some time to recharge our batteries and better it be reading a book or the paper than playing on our phones or iPods (which I am often known for doing) In the end its all about balance and enjoying as much time with our kids as we can.

    • Julie Cole

      Funnily, I took Filthy Shades to the cottage……but I just couldn’t get into it. Plus, my kids would ask what I was reading and what it was about and when I tried to explain in their terms…..yeah, tricky stuff :) But there has been so much buzz about it….feel like I need to try it again!

  4. Kris (@sd_kris)

    I completely agree. As a busy mom of four, who also runs a home based business, I spend enough time at my laptop working away. When I am not working, entertaining the kids, spending quality time with my husband, and household chores are priority (in pretty much that order!) I read 2-3 books a year, and right now, that is enough for me. I figure I will have plenty of time to read when the kids are grown up and out of the house!

  5. Christine

    Great post, Julie! I never thought of it that way, I agree there are more ‘forgiving’ hobbies it seems. Maybe if you ever do feel like some solo reading, or if everyone is interested in different books, you could have ‘family reading time’, where all the family members sit and relax together in the family or living room and read their current books for a half hour or so, stopping whenever they like to talk about their favourite parts or ask questions. My friends and I will do while on vacation and it works out great!

  6. Tanya

    I think it depends what reading does for you, and what it’s replacing. For me, most often, it’s sleep! I have to be careful when I start reading, that I have time to finish it or it will be 3am and I’m still reading with my alarm going off in a few hours!

    Because I work outside the house and only get a certain amount of time with the kiddos, I don’t tend to read with my kids around unless they’re having occasional downtime watching a show, we’re in the car on a longer trip, or they’re in bed.

    I’m an avid reader and am very focused when I do. While I would definitely notice an injury or major fight between them while I was reading, I’d probably miss the buildup to it. So it’s in everyone’s best interest if I read when they’re contained or separated. LOL! (Although they are pretty good and don’t actually try to hurt each other most of the time – they’re 6 and 3, ’nuff said).

    I find I’m happier if I’m reading regularly and more relaxed. It’s like a mini vacation.

  7. Sarah Crowder

    I love reading, but it is hard to find time. Lately we have really enjoyed listening to audiobooks. Whenever we drive the 10 hours to Michigan, we make sure to grab a new audio book from the library, or take one of our well worn Harry Potter Audiobooks. Jim Dale is a FANTASTIC narrator. Anyway, we have started bringing the books into the home :) The last few nights we’ve all been in my room listening to the Percy Jackson books. Fun Stuff. I love when we can do things together :)


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