Have you ever read some sort of brilliant advice about how to do/be awesome at things and in the back of your head you realize you don’t quite live up to those standards and then you feel insanely guilty for doing it wrong?
I’m not sure if this just pertains to Mom Guilt or it also comes with other run of the mill other activities that we’re all failing at as well.. But sometimes it just hits us. Generally I don’t really care about all the awesome crap people are apparently doing all around me because I think most of it is for show and not real.. All the Pinterest creations? Nope, they don’t bother me a bit. But every once in a while that pesky Mom Guilt gets me and gets me hard.
The other day I was flipping through the book, The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease. First of all it’s brilliant (hence the Mom Guilt). The book discusses techniques on how to make life long readers of your children. The book offers both suggested reading for all ages as well as techniques to do with your children to make them better readers, such as the importance of reading aloud to them. The book offered some insight that I hadn’t thought of, in particular the idea that your child’s reading level and listening level probably isn’t the same, meaning they can listen and comprehend and absorb vocabulary of a book or story that they probably can’t read to themselves and comprehend. For instance our five year old’s reading level may barely be approaching Dr. Seuss books but their listening level may be reaching longer length chapter books and we actually may be insulting their intelligence if we continue reading the simple See Spot Run type stories and not move on to more entertaining complicated stories. According to the book a child’s reading level and listening level will converge at about 8th grade. And I hadn’t thought about this, hence the further guilty feelings that I’ve been doing it all wrong thus far.
We aren’t really a nation of readers, Only about 17% of adults in the United States read for fun. In a country that isn’t really known for great public education and passing on a love of books, a big hope of mine is to pass my love of reading on to my kids. I actually say that with a bit of guilt because although I consider myself an avid reader, my time dedicated to reading books (lately) has dwindled. I get distracted by the glow of the internet and also dedicate a lot of my free time to my own writing, so I don’t get to read as much as I want to. Stephen King claims he reads four hours a day to become a better writer. Well shoot, that’s not going to ever happen.
I do read to my kids and they do read to themselves and they do all love books, but I also admit I don’t read to them as much as I feel that I should and certainly not as much as the above book suggests.
I suppose when you know better, you do better.. but sheesh if you know how to combat the guilt that you get when you feel like a failure, let me know. Also forget my guilt – read this book, it’s great.