In theory, we love to do read alouds. I follow Sarah McKenzie of Read Aloud Revival on all mainstream social media platforms. I bought her book, The Read Aloud Family (which still sits about 10 books down on my to-read list) and I love the concept of a family gathering together to share in the magic and imagination of story.
Here’s the thing. I’m a perfectionist.
I want the setting to be just right. I want us all to be calm and snuggly. I want the lighting to be cozy; the blankets draped just so… with a steaming mug of peppermint tea at my side, or maybe a cold brew coffee, depending on the season and time of day. I imagine the children eager, pressing forward in anticipation of the next word, the next paragraph, the next chapter.
It’s ridiculous, really. I’ve built this up in my head to an event of epic proportions. An event that could make or break their childhood. It’s ridiculous, because you and I both know, that all it takes is sitting down for 10 minutes and reading a book, any book. Spending less time on Instagram, as a perfectionist homeschool mom.
I’ve been missing out on the good, while waiting for the “perfect”, which doesn’t exist anyway.
How did I move past this block? Last night, at the end of a day of hard mental work, with the dishes half finished and laundry spilling out around us, we sat down on the couch. I’d called the kids up from the basement and in bewilderment they came, expecting chores and were instead beckoned to the couch where I held a shiny new copy of Little House in the Big Woods.
With the exception of my lanky 15-year-old, they were all quick to snuggle in and listen, crowding closely around me as I turned the pages so they wouldn’t miss an illustration. It took me… you guessed it… 10 minutes. No coaxing, no fighting, no whining. But also? No favourite beverages or perfectly scripted scenes from a Norman Rockwell painting. Just a mama who loves her kids more than life itself, with a desire to connect them with quality fiction.
We all went to bed a little calmer, a little more connected.
It’s likely not read alouds for you. It might be learning a new skill, or maneuvering a relationship. Make that decision to start, not overthinking, not holding back for fear of rejection, but just diving in and enjoying the good. To heck with the perfect.