I spent one evening last year curled up on my couch with a pen and a notebook, dreaming up my next New Year’s Resolutions. Usually, I skip the resolutions and throw a Vision Board Party instead, which has had some fantastic results. However, last year I made a traditional list as well and of all the resolutions I made, this is what turned out to be the most life-changing resolution for me: Try listening to podcasts and audiobooks.
It sounds so simple, but it really set the tone of this past year, helped me to achieve several of my other resolutions and has fueled with me new motivation and energy for this coming year, as well. I know podcasts and audiobooks have been around for some time now, but I had never listened to one. Not one! I had been one of those hardcore “believers” in “real” books. As if I had to “pick a side!” Truthfully, I wasn’t even quite sure what a podcast was… like, was it some sort of strange version of the radio? If so, then I was on the side of “real” radio. Ha!
One of my other New Year’s Resolutions was to “focus on minimalism”–to declutter my house and make it a peaceful, non-stressful place. So I typed in “minimalist” into the podcast search bar and lo & behold! There was a podcast show called “Minimalist Moms” that popped right up.
I opened the dishwasher and pressed play on my phone. The next thing I know, my kitchen was spotlessly clean and I walked out feeling as if I had just chatted with some great like-minded girlfriends. I felt like I had some new knowledge that I wanted to both ponder and put into practice.
It had been so long since I felt this way!
As a stay-at-home-mom, I usually felt like crying when doing the dishes. This was my most dreaded part of being a housewife. It was so boring, so mundane, and so yucky…and it was the same thing day in and day out. The isolation of motherhood was the scariest part that this social extrovert was so unprepared for.
As sad as it may sound, hearing these women chat on podcasts or interviewing other interesting people made me feel like I had a social life. I ended each podcast with the same feeling you get after you’ve had a really deep and meaningful conversation with a best friend. And the chores were getting done on auto-pilot as I listened, so there was no more dread as I entered the kitchen. Indeed, I actually looked forward to doing the dishes, because it now felt like “me-time” where I got to learn something new or “catch up with friends.”
I really didn’t have time to read books, nor would my toddler ever give me more than one minute of peace to focus on one. I kept checking books out at the library, only to return them unread and it saddened me each time. So after spending half a year listening to free Apple Podcasts, I finally decided to figure out this audiobook thing.
In St. Johns County, it is surprisingly simple to create a free audiobook account on Hoopla. Via my desktop, I visited our public library’s website, clicked “E-Library” at the top right, then selected “Hoopla,” and created my account by setting up a username and password. Then I entered my library card number and ‘voila!’ I now had access to an unbelievable amount of books I could listen to and many of them are brand new and top-selling books!
I then downloaded the Hoopla app on my phone for free, entered in my new username and password, and my free account was now ready to be used on both my phone and my desktop. Many library systems do not have this type of resource available yet, so I’m incredibly grateful that St. Augustine moms are able to take advantage of this opportunity!
Most books are around two to four hours long, so it only takes me a day or two to complete a book when I’m simply just listening to them while I do the mundane tasks around the house. I have continued to listen more to the “self-help” type of books thus far, as opposed to fiction because I love the feeling I get after finishing my chores and feeling like I have progressed and educated myself in some way.
Another added bonus to all of these podcasts and audiobooks is that I finally have something of interest to chat about at dinner time with my husband beside only talking about the kids. It’s so refreshing!
One day, when the children are more grown, I’ll be able to read “real books” again, and happily lose myself in a fictional world. One day, I’ll return to work and have my own stories to tell again. But in this season of life, I’m on the go. I’ve got a household to run and that includes a lot of mundane tasks. And in those moments, I can listen to positive people, expand my mind and educate myself on a new topic. I can press ‘Pause’ and be present with the kids as they need me, and ‘Resume’ when they are settled into their own games.