I sit here with the cursor blinking at me as I try to start this post about a book I recently read.
Two of my children are in the other room, playing with each other. The oldest and his father are at my son’s karate class. It is 9:15 on a Saturday morning and I just need to get this post started. I say it that way because, well, it is sort of hard for me to talk about…
Today we have a birthday party for my little girl’s friend, in which I will take her. Tonight my husband and I have “date night“. I booked a baby sitter and a dinner reservation so the two of us can have time, just us. In the middle of this day we also have room-cleaning, lego-building and hamster-petting and bike-riding will probably be in there somewhere too. We can also add workouts and lunch and some hugs and kisses here and there.
This last week was a bit hectic and I didn’t feel so well mid-week so we skipped a ballet class and I didn’t accomplish everything that I wished I had in regards to a big project I am currently working on.
Even though, I know I said, “Just a minute” too many times. I know I probably missed a few “Sunset Moments” (I’ll explain) and that I was probably too impatient with myself or the kids or my husband a few times. I know for a fact I was on my computer too much. And probably distracted by my phone as well.
The fact is, I live a distracted life.
That is hard to admit, but it is true.
Thankfully, since reading Rachel Stafford’s book, Hand Free Mama, I feel less so but there is still much work to be done in this department. I am much more aware of my actions and my reactions. I do try to take more time to be with and listen to my family members by putting my phone away or stepping away from my computer. I think I am doing well but there are times that I regress.
In the book Rachel gives us the idea not to miss “Sunset Moments” – those times that if we would just look up from our phone or iPad, we would see our children playing quietly or a beautiful sunset out the window. The funny thing was recently, (and while reading the book) my husband called me out to the back porch to do JUST that – see a gorgeous sunset over our back fence. We stood out there as a family of five taking in the amazing pinks and oranges and blues. It was gorgeous, in so many ways.
And I want to have more of these moments and more connection with my family. I do want to be less distracted and not miss things.
Well, it is a daily commitment, that is for sure.
Here are some take-aways I garnered from Rachel’s words:
- Living a distracted life affects my relationships in ways that I may not want it to.
- We create our children’s memories, let them not be of us constantly on the phone or at our computer
- It is OKAY to be late sometimes
- Carve out specific time to “be” with family members by doing “talk time” with your children before bed and/or create a family ritual such as Family Game Night.
- Put down your phone while waiting at the doctor and color with your kiddo instead. Or ask fun questions.
- Don’t try to Do it All, instead Love All You Do
The subtitle of Rachel’s book is “A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!”
I mean, how amazing is THAT statement?
And I get the first two but that last part? About Perfection? That is where I struggle. And I did not even realize it until reading this book.
In one of my favorite segments in the “guide” to leading a less distracted life, Rachel talks about how she started wearing a hat over her not-washed hair and let go of feeling like she had to look perfect everywhere she went. She also says that it is okay to let the kids help with day to day chores like laundry and putting the dishes away. No, it may not be our way or perfect, but not only do they learn to help, but you also may get some bonding time out of a kid helping you dust. 🙂 I struggle with this because (oh yes, turns out I’m type A!) I love for my things to be “perfect”. Perfectly folded, perfectly put away, perfectly perfect.
This quote begins chapter 9 of the book: “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~ Anna Quindlen
Pretty sure that is where I am RIGHT NOW.
I urge you to read Rachel’s book. I know that you will find something inside that will resonate with you. The truth is that in today’s world we simply DO live distracted. We have so much going on and our phone is constantly buzzing at us and well, the internet is ALWAYS on. Time with our loved ones is precious and we cannot get it back. I am doing my best, with this guide in hand, to TRY to be more available to them and to listen and just BE with them.
Now here’s the fun part!! I have one signed copy of Rachel’s book, Hands Free Mama to give away to one of you lucky ducks!
And if you do not end up the lucky winner you can purchase her book on Amazon!