Reading More as a Busy Mom


As a child, I was a voracious reader. Books were my constant companions and I would read multiple in a week. Then came college, which drastically decreased the amount of reading I did. Now, I work full time outside of the home, have a toddler, a husband, and a never-ending list of tasks to complete. What was once my constant is now my special occasion.

However, last year I made the decision to incorporate reading into my everyday life. I didn’t need to read a book a day, but I didn’t want it to be years before I picked up another book. Reading will always be extremely important to me and even though I am a busy mom I know it was possible to keep reading.

Here are my top tips for incorporating reading into a busy life.

Spend Less Time on Social Media

Back in August of last year, I decided to take a break from all social media. I turned off notifications, closed apps, and dedicated 30 days to spending as much time with my daughter as possible before the school year started. I couldn’t believe how much more I read since I wasn’t mindlessly scrolling on my phone. Now I still use social media, but try to keep a healthy balance between scrolling and reading.

Give Different Reading Formats a Try

At one point in time, I believed the only way to read was with a physical book in my lap. I was one of those people who would rather tote a 600-page hardcover around rather than use an ebook.

However, as an English major in college, I was constantly reading dense classics. As a way to cope, I would listen to children’s books on audio while I commuted to class. I learned to love listening to a fun, lighthearted story and it kept me sane in college. Suddenly I was listening to any book I could check out at my public library.

When I had my daughter, a similar experience led me to start checking out ebooks on my phone. I no longer had the space in my bag (hello, diaper bag!) or time to tote giant books around. I did have a phone however. And instead of mindlessly scrolling while one more episode of Sesame Street droned in the background, I read a book instead.

Now I advocate for reading, regardless of format. Reading is reading, no matter how you do it.

Read Short Books

Nobody said that a person had to read thick novels in order to be a reader. Find collections of poetry, novellas, and other shorter pieces of literature to enjoy. The other beauty of shorter titles is that you can read them faster. So instead of spending months on larger titles, opt for shorter titles that can be completed in a quicker time frame.  

Read as a Family

Find audiobooks your whole family enjoys and listen to them on the way to school each day. Institute a family read-aloud before bed. Even if other members of your family aren’t so excited to read, you can find ways to enjoy reading that also allows your family to enjoy it too. You can even play games like Scrabble. 

I still don’t read as much as I did as a kid, but I do read at least 15 minutes each day. That is a considerable amount in today’s nonstop world. I’m hoping that my daughter grows up seeing that one doesn’t have to give up a childlike love of reading when they reach adulthood.

How do you keep reading despite your busy lifestyle?

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Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.


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