I used to be a voracious book reader. I’d speed through whole tomes in a day or two, lost in a fictional world or engrossed in the details of travel or health or culture.
And then I had kids.
Actually, that’s too trite. First, I went to grad school, which soured me on non-essential reading (would you want to read more after reading hundreds of pages in a book called something like “Deficit Budgeting”?). And then I had kids, and somewhere along the way I apparently lost any ability to focus on one topic for more than 10 minutes, let alone the days and weeks (or months, let’s be honest) that finishing a book takes me these days.
I still have lots of books on my reading list, and I’m sure that some day, I’ll read one again. Until then, though, I have no shortage of things to read, thanks to the incredible volume of compelling newspaper and magazine articles, and blog posts, out there.
I’ve been a big blog reader for a while, but I started following dozens — maybe more than a hundred? — new bloggers in the past year as I did more with my own blog, connected with other bloggers through Listen to Your Mother and blog linkups, and visited more sites that publish bloggers’ essays, like Scary Mommy and Coffee + Crumbs. (I do always wish I had a latte and a muffin while reading Coffee + Crumbs.)
I find far more that I want to read every day than I’ll ever have the time to, but there are some of these new (to me) blogs that I find myself routinely carving out time for. They make me laugh, they challenge me to better myself, and they often have me nodding (and sometimes sniffling) along in shared experience. Did you list among your resolutions this year to read more, to read better? Look no further than this list.
In no particular order:
1. Sarah R. Bagley. The first (but not the last) of the blogs on this list that I found through Listen to Your Mother. Sarah Bagley was a fellow 2014 cast member, in the Baltimore show, and she writes a blog on her life as a recovering perfectionist that my decidedly Type-A personality is drawn to like a magnet. Also fascinating: her series of posts from last year on the ground-up construction of her new house, and her weekly blog series with other writers about their own perfectionist stories (and I’m not just saying that because I’m going to be on an upcoming episode. But hey, I’m going to be on an upcoming episode! Stay tuned for more on that.).
2. A Mothership Down. You might already know Liz from “They Break, You Know,” her viral post about a child she knew as a social worker in the foster care system. Much of what Liz writes about is more gut-busting than gut-wrenching, though no less engrossing, than that one (though her most recent post about her son’s evolution from a baby to a toddler got me good). Also: another series of home improvement posts. There seems to be a theme here.
3. Absurd, She Wrote. Another blogger I found through Listen to Your Mother (she performed in the Portland, OR show). Jessica Payton Roberts’ blog called to me through her honest, compelling — and oh-so-familiar — posts about her recovery from disordered eating and difficulty getting pregnant; more recently I have been loving her posts about welcoming her daughter Olivia home and adjusting to motherhood.
4. Raising Humans. Tricia chooses just the right words as she shares honestly about the joys and challenges of parenting. I always take something away from her posts about motherhood, children (hers are just a couple years ahead of mine), and the craft of writing.
5. Considerings. I found Lizzi through the Ten Things of Thankful weekly blog linkup that I participated in in the fall (and hope to someday return to). So much about her writing keeps me coming back: the picture of her life in England; her willingness to share some heartbreakingly difficult events and her related search for gratitude; her support for cancer fundraising through her writing; and her passion for boxing. Really. Just check her out.
6. Where My Heart Resides. Ashlee was a guest on Sarah Bagley’s podcast last year, and after listening to her episode, I couldn’t stop reading her blog. Beautiful words, beautiful pictures. And, if things had gone as planned, a second baby who would have shared a birthday with Katie…only her son arrived a few weeks early, which has meant that I’ve gotten to see what lies just a few weeks ahead for me with the infant + toddler combo at each step. (Anyone who’s done the newborn/toddler juggle with a spouse should read her post, “The Ratio.” It’s as if she was eavesdropping on my life when she wrote it.) You can also find her writing at Coffee + Crumbs, where she’s the editor.
7. A Design So Vast. Lindsey’s several steps ahead of me in parenthood, but I still find lots to commiserate with in her posts. I admire her ability to pack big meaning into sometimes short posts, and I envy her reading habit (see, above). Maybe once my kids are as old as hers…
8. An Inch of Gray. I met Anna when she hosted the DC Listen to Your Mother cast and alumni party last year. I didn’t know her story of losing her son Jack before that night, but in the time since, I’ve learned much from her honest writing about motherhood and grief and faith and love. Rare Bird, her memoir about all of that and more, is really and truly at the top of my reading list. Also, home improvement alert: she just finished an amazing mud room/garage reno project.
9. Whatevs. I found Pam through Sarah’s podcast, too, and her discussion of being a recent second-time mom who had managed to find her way back to running had me searching for her blog before the podcast was over. (She’s also another LTYM veteran and produces the Boulder, CO show.) Now if I could just channel some of her exercise energy…I keep reading with the hope that her fitness tips and tricks will one day rub off on me.
10. Hands Free Mama. I haven’t done as well on my own hands free journey as I’d hoped I would a year ago. But Rachel Macy Stafford continues to inspire and challenge me with her writing, and if nothing else, she has opened my eyes to just how much I can improve my ability to be truly present in my life.
I could go on and on, easily extending this list to 20, or to 30…or more (this list doesn’t even include my LTYM DC castmates’ blogs, because they would have filled the whole list!). I bet you could, too. Who are you reading regularly? Who should I add to my list for 2015?