Another tip then? These have been fun.
A note on tips from this side of town-they might not work for everyone. And that's okay-one shoe doesn't fit any and all mamas. But, hopefully, these will open your eyes to the ways that you, yes you, tired and feeble and weak and (did I mention) tired, are doing a good job; really. These are the small moments in the long long days where I sit back and say with a soft laugh, hey, this is where I did good today. This is the good stuff. My hope is that you have similar small victorious moments through your days, too.
So, Mama, here's a tip: Read with your babes, yes, but with a twist.
Believe it or not, I'm not a big fiction reader. I failed—literally got an F—in English when I was in sixth grade. Then I turned to dark and twisted books about drug addicts and the like...I'm sure it was some kind of cry for help or in relation to my traumatic childhood but, eh. I digress.
I have a love for Scripture and its poetic books (Psalms, namely), and non-fiction books. But when I lost the boys the first time, I started reading A Wrinkle In Time as a light distraction. Here I realized that classic fiction was a beautiful thing I needed to make time for.
When I was nursing Scout—instead of queuing up the next Netflix binge (...oh how I do love a good binge), I started reading A Little Princess out loud to her. We kept going through bottle feeding and solids and finished when she was close to a year old; those memories of reading a beautiful book on triumph in trial, and gentleness in both grief and persecution blessed my heart as much as I hope it fed into a love for reading in her.
After T came along, it obviously was impossible to read a chapter book, nurse, and chase a toddler around all at once, so don't roll your eyes just yet—I won't paint an unrealistic picture of perfect peace for you. But now that Tennessee is active and loves exploring and pressing buttons in her sweet independent ways, my hands are a bit more free. Come 5 p.m. on Saturday nights, my girls and I turn off the screens and head upstairs to their playroom. I put Tennessee on the floor, free to roam, and Scout grabs her vintage copy of Little Women, and then I grab mine, and we sit in our rocking chairs side by side (the only difference is that she has her "lanky" aka blankie, in tow, as well). And we read—it takes an hour to get through ten pages, but we're doing it. And most days, these are the only moments Scout will snuggle up on my lap and remind me that she is still a baby, my baby. And she's learning that we don't touch the pages of our special books and that she has her own copies (collected from Flea Markets and used stores over time) to flip through; because is there anything better than flipping and folding the pages of an old book?
We still read baby books and board books and practice our animal sounds, but reading a classic, thick novel, a story, has given me a confidence boost as a mom—a feeling of, well, I may have burnt the eggs today, but hey, I've read 50 pages of Little Women to my daughters in ten months and that's a win.
Don't be afraid to pick up that classic Austen novel to read two pages then putting it down because someone decided to start eating yesterdays forgotten spinach off the floor (just me?).
Here are some books on our list to get you started: