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              Author Zibby Owens sitting on a couch surrounded by stacks of books

              Book Nook

              Zibby Owens on "Moms Don't Have Time To: A Quarantine Anthology"

              Zibby Owens is a mother of four, writer and the creator and host of the award-winning podcast Moms Don’t Have Time To Read Books. When the pandemic struck, she envisioned a website where busy, overwhelmed readers could find solace in stories—and wielding her extensive literary community for good, created an online magazine called We Found Time. While she could think of a zillion things mothers don’t have time to do, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic, she narrowed the list to five: Read, Work Out, Eat, Have Sex and Breathe, and commissioned authors who had been guests on her podcast to write on the topics. The result was a collection of deeply felt, relatable and inspiring personal essays that have now been compiled into the anthology "Mom’s Don’t Have Time To", which debuts today. There is a wealth of wisdom in these pages, organized in delectable, bite-size pieces you might actually have time to consume. (As if the stories themselves weren’t gift enough, Zibby is generously donating all proceeds from the book and launch event to COVID-19 Vaccine Research). I recently caught up with Zibby on her favorite parenting books, her best advice for those of us trying to make it through these groundhog days and the pandemic read that is closest to her heart.
              Interview By
              Liz McDaniel

              There is so much parenting knowledge in this book. Are there specific essays you would recommend for the mom who really doesn’t have time to read all of them?

              As you said, a lot of them do touch on the parenting angle. One that is kind of about parenting is an essay by Janice Kaplan where she takes a trip to Japan with her grown son. It is one of that has stayed with me because you realize what it is that we’re all working so hard towards, and it is getting kids to this independent stage where one day you can meet them in Japan and have them tour you all over the country. So in a way, that’s sort of shining a spotlight on the finish line for the moms like you and me who are in the thick of it. I also loved “Lessons from My Origami Failures” by Nicole Kear because that was about one of these days which I could just as easily be having today when your kid asks you to do something that should be easy and she was having to teach herself origami and she just couldn’t get it right and she wanted to quit. And actually it was her daughter who said, “You can’t quit, you told me not to quit!” so she stuck with it. So that’s another one. Just not giving up. For anyone who struggles with YouTube tutorials, as we all have, that’s an encouraging one to read.

              Having been able to accomplish so much in quarantine, I am wondering what you’ve learned over the last year and if you have any advice for parents in this be-all-the-things-to-all-the-people-moment?

              I’ve learned to just keep my head down. That’s what I say to myself everyday when I start panicking about the future. I used to be a total planner. I had trips booked a year and a half out and everything was planned and that gave me a lot of security. Of course now I’ve learned that’s all a complete joke and we have no control over life. But to sort of mitigate that anxiety and to deal with my kids more effectively, I just continue to remind myself to keep my head down. Stay where I am today. Focus on the kids. Focus on what I have to do right now. And try to look up at their eyes ever so often, but look down in terms of what we have to do today. 

              book cover of Moms Don't Have Time To with Mom and two kids reading stacks of booksbook cover of Moms Don't Have Time To with Mom and two kids reading stacks of books

              Now I want to tap into your superior book-recommending brain. First, books about parenting?

              One of my favorite books is by Carla Naumburg “How Not To Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids.” That’s one of my favorites because it’s all about managing your own emotions. And I really love Rachel Bertsche’s book, she’s in the anthology, called "The Kids are In Bed.” It’s just a great testament to using time wisely and how to get all of these other things into your life in a great way.

              Any books coming up that you're excited about?

              Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, who wrote "The Nest", has a new book called “Good Company.” It’s about a couple that’s been married for twenty years and they were in an acting company and they move to LA and it’s all about what happens with their friends and family.

              And books that you have turned to again and again during the pandemic?

              I have a special place in my heart for “Writer’s & Lovers” by Lily King. That’s the one I think about the most and talk about the most because I’m so grateful to it. I also loved “The Vanishing Half” by Britt Bennett . I’m just really grateful to books where I lose all sense of time and place.

              Finally, can you speak to what inspires you to do the work that you do, connecting authors and readers?

              Stories are how we all connect. I don’t know why I made this my mission, but I just feel this overwhelming calling to do what I’m doing, which sounds so hokey, but I just feel like I’m the one who is supposed to be doing this, so I just keep doing it. Personally, I’ve gotten so much out of books and reading and writing for my whole life. 

              And I really want people to know that you can read a page and you still get the benefits of reading. You can still immediately snap out of your own life much more easily than if you were to run yourself a warm bath, which I don’t know which moms are doing this, but it’s not me. If I need a reset, I can just crack open a book and it’s so easy. I just want everyone else to try it if they haven’t or get back into it. Or spend a few minutes that you’re on instagram—and mind you, I’m on instagram at least an hour a day so I’m not saying don’t do instagram. But take ten minutes and read. Read an essay. Read one of these essays. Read something and learn something and feel and just experience more of life.

              For a full list of virtual events, visit Zibby's website.