This is a 12-part series and you can read them in order:
#FridayReads: Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford (Part 1 of 12-part series)
#FridayReads: Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford (Part 2 of 12-part series)
Being deliberate means choosing what matters most to you. I have spent the last two months reducing my screen time and just when I think, “Good job, Sheryl!” then Rachel is there to remind me of all the nooks and crannies of time missed.
It all started at the 2Cellos concert…
You DON’T know WHO 2Cellos are? Omgosh – watch this, then continue with the story. I’ll wait. It’s worth it – trust me.
Ok, as I was saying, it all started at the 2Cellos concert. My sweet man took me to see them for Valentine’s Day. He bought tickets just a few rows from the front and I was so excited! Then it happened – the distraction.
Chapter 3: Choose What Matters
We had only been sitting in the seat for 45 seconds – surely it was less than a minute. My cellphone was tucked away, zipped up in my purse, and I was caught up in all the details of the gold trim at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. It was the glow that caught my eye.
Everywhere – literally EVERYWHERE – mobile devices were out and it would be one thing if they were being used to take selfies or pictures with loved ones, but they were on Facebook, checking email, Instagram, Snapchat, and you wouldn’t believe how many people were playing games! I turned to say something to the man who brought me to this wonderful concert, but I couldn’t – he was engrossed in his phone.
So I sat there. Alone.
Alone in a beautiful theater of gold trim and lions roaring from the walls with the little blue lights lit up all around, faces engrossed in whatever the device told them was going on, and very few people were talking to each other. For the few of us who were looking around, you could see a kindred thought of, “Are we the only ones here?” in a sea of a thousand people.
Tweetable: “Living Distracted causes you to miss priceless moments of connection that cannot be retrieved.” – Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama
I grew so aggravated with my beloved – and you know what? It wasn’t even his fault. I felt gypped out of my special date night. My time stolen away by a digital lover who was more seductive than I could ever be. This thief offered so much opportunity.
It wasn’t until we were through the opening band that I could control my discontent. In the days that followed we talked and it wasn’t until I read this chapter to him that he got a better idea of what happened.
Exercise 1: Engage in Household Tasks Together
I tend to be a chore martyr. Yep – that’s me. You cannot do laundry better than me…or dishes…or dinner…or vacuuming…or sweeping…or dusting…but I’m cheating myself in doing these things alone. I’m also cheating our 11-year old at home who is able-bodied and needs to learn these things. What to do…what to do?
Invite your kids to HELP you:
- Get the mail
- Empty the dishwasher
- Clean up toys
- Cook a meal
- Fold laundry
It doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to get done and with a little fun.
“Today, my child stands before me wanting, needing, and hoping to be chosen. Tomorrow might be different.” – Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama
Exercise 2: Turn Wait Time Into Connection Time
Whether it was me and my man waiting before the concert or you waiting with your child to see the doctor, use this time to chat with your loved one(s). It’s a lost art anymore.
- With kids, bring coloring books and color with them.
- Ask your spouse what they are most excited to see at the event you’re attending.
This time is only idle because you’ve not filled it with intention.
“Because being fully present and active in the life of someone you love is the best gift anyone can offer.” – Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama
Exercise 3: Become Fully Submerged in the Passions of a Loved One
I read this part of the chapter and it hit me so hard – I cried. I don’t do this. I don’t do this at all.
There are things Darrell loves to do that I do not even try to appreciate. For example, he loves to camp. Darrell knows all kinds of sea animals. He appreciates history and reads every single thing in a museum. (Emphasis is strong on the EVERY SINGLE THING part, friends.)
I have my reasons:
- It’s boring.
- I’m not interested.
- I’m scared of insects.
I have missed so many opportunities to connect with Darrell because I selfishly decided that this time was only about me. How ridiculous?
“This week, set aside your distractions, reservations, and insecurities, and participate wholeheartedly in a loved one’s activities.” – Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama
What you really part with from this chapter is not only putting your phones down, but looking at the people you interact with and decided to be fully present. I will have Part 4 of this 12-part writing series coming up in a few weeks for April. Now – go change your day with a few tweaks and modifications! Let’s hear how it goes!