Today we have a lovely guest blogger, encouraging us all the read – and as she knows, I am determined to take her up on the challenge. I WILL find time to commit over the next few weeks, particularly now I know that she is on my case! Jacqueline is the Editor of the BritMums Book Group. She blogs at www.bestandbeyond.co.uk about the pursuit of the best, from books to food and everything in-between. She has two children who now sleep through the night but she’ll never forget what interrupted sleep feels like. You can also find her on Twitter @bestandbeyond.

Jacqueline enjoying a good book – make time for yourself, go on!

I read a lovely post from Andrew Peck on KiddyCharts about 10 things you didn’t know about being a Dad. In the post he writes about the importance of giving the mum some time out. I couldn’t agree more. We are all excited, exhausted and a bit overwhelmed a lot of the time with young children and juggling a lot of other things as well.

Recently, my daughter asked why I was always encouraging her and her brother to read.

“We never see you reading.”

 

“Oh err, good point”

Looking at their sparkling Christmas box-sets of Winnie the Witch and Malorie Blackman I had a quick think. From being an avid reader pre-children, I’d become one of those parents who are “do what I say, not what I do”. Yikes. Time to reconnect with books publicly, not just late at night or for rereads of Wonderful Winnie/Mrs Pepperpot. Reading books is a great relaxer, and it makes me realise how much I’ve been missing out. Plus it launches many inspiring conversations, as well as suggestions I’ve learned from local and digital friends and even strangers, who readily discuss their favourite reads (and ones they’d avoid too).

So that one little prompt from my smart daughter has made me commit to reading every day, and not just books I’d like to read i.e. safe options. Over at BritMums the digital collective for Mum and Dad Bloggers, we’re into our first month of the BritMums Book Club. First off: Join the Book Group in the communityhttp://community.britmums.com/group/bookclub so you can be part of the conversations and announcements. If you are a parent blogger and haven’t signed up for BritMums membership, this is the time!

The first 100 BritMums Book Club Members with UK Postal addresses registering for each month’s title receive a free new title chosen by the BritMums team and it’s even posted to you. Who doesn’t love a present in the post? Then we host a weeklong discussion three weeks after the copies have been posted, which gives everyone the opportunity to discuss the book before registration for the next great read opens.

I now feel much more comfortable sitting down and reading in front of my kids. I don’t regard it as a luxury. Doing that has also reminded me how important that bedtime story is for kids. It’s the signing off at the end of the day. Last week, I went to a new West London Book Festival and the speaker Sasha Wilkins spoke encouragingly about Legacy Books for your children. What books would you recommend to your children when they are adults as inspiring reads? William Dalrymple, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel, Marian Keyes, Dickens? I’d love to know what your reads will be so feel free to comment below to tell me what your inspiring reads are.

The Book Group discussion started three days ago and it’s been a great relief to learn there are lots of kindred spirits in the digital world who all felt they needed a little push to connect with their past interests, take time out and be inspired even if they are really exhausted.

The enlightened, challenging comments about the first novel Honour by Elif Shafak, an award-winning novel focussing on a Kurdish family living in 1970’s London is already shaping up into an interesting discussion because everyone has absorbed different aspects of the novel. (See what everyone’s saying on the blog post www.britmums.com/2013/04/book-club-discussing-honour/ )The best thing about the book group for me is that you don’t have to dress up or go to anyone’s house to discuss the book which saves so much time – you can even do it in your PJs. If you’d like to join in, just register at BritMums.