One thing I have always been concerned about is this loss of connection with the people sitting in front of us from being over connected to people a million miles away. Social media/the internet/texting has always been a double edge sword for me. I wrote about it before, here. Since Malakai was born I vowed to show her the importance of real human-contact relationships as well as being present in this ever distracted world of ours. But how could I possibly do this if I myself was so dependant and very much addicted to this distracted way of living? I couldn’t! I would be a total hypocrite. Like when parents tell their kids not to smoke in between inhalations of their export A golds. And so, not knowing how to approach this, I do what I always do when in doubt – ask Google. (A very positive side of the double edge sword 😉 )
I started reading this book that google recommended (thank you, Google <3) by Rachel Macy Stafford called Hands Free Mama about a month ago now and have been practicing (TRYING to practice) her weekly intentions of living a “hands free” life. Basically a Hands Free way of living is throwing out any distractions that cause you to lose sight of what really matters in life such as favouring your phone/computer/work/to-do lists over your relationships with the people around you. BINGO – this is exactly what I needed!!
I bought a cute little basket specifically for our phones that sits in the kitchen by my coffee pot and our family rule now is that the phone goes in the basket during every meal time and no matter if it rings we ignore until we are finished eating together. I gotta say, I was the one that initiated this – telling Nick everything I was reading in the book – and he totally jumped on board and has become even more vigilant than I am with this rule! Which can be annoying when he’s reminding me to put my phone away when he used to be worse than I was with it!
A few other things we’ve been trying is zero use of the phone while driving (this has been surprisingly easy), putting the phone away (in the cute lil basket) when someone is visiting, and not going on social media when the girls are awake. This has been super hard for me but this book asks you to reflect on each attempt at living hands free and to count the things you would have missed if you were distracted by your phone/to-do list etc. such as your child’s smile as she/he stacked that one last block atop a swaying tower, the look of excitement on your child’s face as she/he slides down the slide, an intimate talk with your husband/friend/brother/sister that could have been ignored except you noticed the look on their face that day and were present long enough to ask them what was wrong and to truly listen.
These moments are so simple but so important. It’s the little things that make life so incredibly great, isn’t it?!
Yesterday, we were at the indoor play park and there was a mother of three that was on her phone the entire time. Her children were older, but they were begging for attention with “look-at-me”‘s and “mom-mom-mom”, and at one point the youngest even slipped hitting the back of her head so hard it echoed through out the place and both Nick and I were completely shocked when we glanced over at the mom, who did not even look up from her phone once, and watched as the little girl picked herself up holding her head and walked over to her mom to tell her what happened. Now, I don’t know the woman’s situation and quite possibly that could have been me a few months back, but it just filled me with so much sadness and anger that I know with all my heart living hands free is the right thing for me and my family.
If you’d like to join me on my hands free journey, order the book or see if your library has it and we can talk about all the ups & downs along the way together! Or if you’d like to do this on your own, feel free – I am rooting for you!
Just a warning – this book will stab you in the heart with all it’s truth and make you feel guilty as F but it’s the truth that sets you free, right? And, I wanna be free! Hands free! 😉