As a child it was my duty to bring the mail from the box about one-half mile from the house. I would run all the way there and read all the way back. Then I would often keep a book or magazine under my bed. Then when I was supposed to be making beds, I would let my own go unmade and use the time thus saved for reading.
My mother thought reading a very foolish waste of time and, of course, I was roundly scolded for snatching these little times whenever I could. But the habit is not yet broken.
When my first baby was very small I began to read while nursing her. This was kept up until the last baby was weaned. Reading fifteen minutes four or five times a day one can soon get over a lot. It seems we have always lived in houses with cold kitchen floors. I just have to stop work once in a while and warm my feet at the living room grate. Surely, my papers are handy and usually made use of.
Then I am not so strong as I would like to be or ought to be considering my duties. I find that a rest in time saves nine–backaches. I usually read while resting. If I can stop only a very short time, I look through a magazine, marking anything that I want to read and have it ready for the next time. Thus conserving the few precious moments I do have.
While we cannot afford many labor and time saving devices, I try to gain time wherever possible if I can do so without sacrificing something more valuable. I find that very small girls can help mother a great deal at other things besides dish washing which most of them despise. Even small boys can and will sew on their own buttons, make their own beds and sometimes help about the cooking, if they are just treated right. Of course, they can stand a little praise for their efforts. All these things mean just a little more time for me. Does someone say I am imposing on the children to indulge myself? I think not. I aim to read nothing that will not do me some good in some way. And if a few minutes gleaned at a time during the day and spent in reading, make my life a little cheerier, make me just a little better mother, or make me a little easier to live with, I consider it as much a duty as a privilege. Even if my hair hasn’t got the latest wave or if we sleep between sheets that are not ironed every week, I think reading well worth my time.