Shop Thoughts: This Mother’s Day, the Gift of Time


My husband recently asked me what I wanted from him and the kids this Mother’s Day.  “Do you want to spend the day with us or do you want us to skedaddle?”  My answer is yes and yes, because mostly what I want is the gift of time.  The time to both take a long hike with my family and eat a nice meal together, and a few hours to myself—to read or garden or bake or write or do any of the things we call hobbies, which we do because we find in them joy and fulfillment.

I think of a line from Tillie Olson’s great short story on motherhood, “I Stand Here Ironing”: “And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total? I will start and there will be an interruption and I will have to gather it all together again.”

I would like the time to read that story again.  The gift of time always pairs well with a book.

For non-fiction readers and anyone looking to understand why we always feel like we don’t have enough time, there’s Jenny Odell’s new book, Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock. Odell shows us how capitalism has been dictating how we spend our time and how we can experience time differently—and more enjoyably.  In a similar vein, Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May is a deeply hopeful book about how our (capitalist) society is making us exhausted and how we can live differently by seeking out awe—and how to do that.

And if a book feels like too much, The Nap Ministry’s Rest Deck: 50 Practices to Resist Grind Culture is an even more practical way to reclaim time.  This is a collection of meditations, affirmations, and practices to use rest as self-care and help anyone feeling overwhelmed by life.

And why are mothers feeling so overwhelmed in particular?  Momfluenced: Inside the Maddening, Picture-Perfect World of Mommy Influencer Culture by Sara Peterson explores the rise of the glorification of the ideal mother with humor and hard facts and how we can find our way to more mindful consumption. 

For fiction reading mothers, any extra minutes will be needed for Abraham Verghese’s new tome The Covenant of Water.  Verghese’s previous novel Cutting for Stone spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and was a beautiful epic and ode to the medical profession. Similarly in The Covenant of Water, Verghese uses his experience as a doctor to chart the progress of medicine in the lives of his characters and to explore mysteries of the world and of the heart across generations.

The other night, I was delighted to discover that I had inadvertently arrived early for a meeting.  It was only four minutes, but they were a joyous four minutes in which I took another lap around the block while listening to Happy Place, Emily Henry’s newest rom-com, audiobook narrated by Julia Whelan.  The third Henry book I’ve listened to, I now find them comforting—I know exactly what I’m going to get without knowing exactly how I’m going to get there—and just plain fun.  Moms need that too.


gift shop, english-language films, jenny odell, tillie olson, emily henry, katherine may, sara peterson, petersen, abraham verghese, the new york times, nap ministry, julia whelan