Sunday, August 16, 2015

The power of reading.

A few months ago I had an awakening, a rebirth, a complete change of heart. And it has changed my life. I was a really "gifted" reader as a child, according to standardized tests, but throughout my schooling I would refer to Spark Notes more than I would read an actual book. It seemed daunting and unrealistic to read through a whole book. As I've ventured into motherhood, I put reading into a fantasy cloud of my middle-aged future. "I don't have time to read." I would say. About a year before 

"Super Nutrition for Babies"

literally changed my life and spring-boarded me into the world of whole foods and nutrition, which has become a great passion for me and it many ways has led Jude on his path to healing and health.

I also read the first half of 

"French Kids Eat Everything" by Pamela Druckerman 

and it showed me a new reality of how we don't have to have spoiled, "picky" eaters for children. It taught me a LOT. (And I didn't even have the gusto to finish the whole book!)

Then my reading hiatus begins again after Abraham was born. I had "no time."

Then my epic change of heart and mind occurred where I decided to make time for myself, start reading and expand my mind.

It started out with an inspired text from a friend around this same time recommending a few books to me. I focused in on

"Hands-Free Mama" by Rachel Macy Stafford.

It was written for me at that time. She eloquently and clearly expressed so many thoughts I had felt but didn't know how to articulate (or even think) in a concrete way. It gave me hope and inspiration and ideas and tools and everything else I didn't even know I needed. It was EPIC.

I was so thirsty for more. I was super bummed when I finished the book so we scurried over to the library and I picked up 

"How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm" by Mei-Ling Hopgood and then

"100 Tips for French Parenting" and then 

"Bringing Up Bebe" and my mind was

Ba-Lown.

These books showed me how my definition of "a good mother" was completely cultural and there were a hundred incredible ways to really be "a good mother." I was already a mother all my own and did what I felt was best for my children, and then reading and expanding on these ideas rocked my world. This probably doesn't make a lot of sense because I'm not getting into everything specifically. But it was incredibly refreshing and guilt-abandoning and refreshing to learn about raising children in other cultures and what works for them. 

The American "culture" of bringing up our babies is far from my ideal and I now feel so much more confident in who I am and how I raise my boys. It is okay to be a different kind of mother than everyone around me. It's refreshing. It's how we learn from each other and grow.

I'm so grateful that I have overcome my non-reading ways and have realized the power and growth that comes from reading good books. Now I can't read enough. There are so many people to be inspired by and so much to learn. I recently read 

"Camilla" 

the biography of Camilla Eyring Kimball (President Kimball's wife). This woman was a powerhouse of faith, but she was also a REAL woman who went through trials and had many insecurities of her own. She is so honest and shares her struggles from sore nipples in breastfeeding to being lonely and missing her busy husband. It is so INCREDIBLY refreshing to me to read about the lives and times of others. I am drawn to and intrigued by other time periods and absolutely love learning details about the lives of inspiring women. I highly recommend all these books and if any of them sound interesting to you, grab a copy at the library! 

And let's not fail to add, "The Magic of Tidying Up - The Japanese Art of Decluttering." See blog post below for more that one! But it once again - changed my life! (I don't throw that term out loosely, people. My life has literally been changed and these books have helped!)

Side note: My boys and I can't get to the library enough! We loved going to the library every week or two and borrowing 20, 30, or even 40 books!! It is so fun for us to have new books to read and we always learning. As I have started to read more (and read around the children), I have noticed a significant increase in their desire to read. I will find them both flipping through books on their own. Jude will look through interesting books and come running up to me asking me questions about what it means. Abraham will waddle up to me with a little board book and say "book! book!" It's been beautiful to watch ten develop a love for reading and I hope to continue to nurture and encourage that. Reading is a gateway to anything and anywhere and is the most important skill one can attain! If you can read, you can learn anything!