On Logging Off and Living a Hands Free Life
I haven’t done much blogging lately, because I’ve been a little burned out from writing my own book. In fact, I really ought to write a blog post on ‘How to Blog When All You Want to Do is Blob!’ But I have been enjoying reviewing books as part of several book review blogger schemes. And a really important read that stands out for me this year is the book ‘Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters” by Rachel Macy Stafford.
Do you ever find yourself saying ‘Hurry Up’ to your kids? I know that I do, even though I know that rushing children doesn’t really work. My middle child in particular doesn’t like to be rushed and she has articulated this to me on several occasions.
“Rachel Macy Stafford’s post “The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up” was an overnight success on The Huffington Post, and it got people all over the world talking about how we can be set free from the insidious trap that we find ourselves in with our overscheduled lives. We are a generation of multi-taskers. We surf twitter while cooking dinner, post a facebook status update while showering the children and send emails over breakfast. Recently a facebook app calculated how much time it’s users spent on there, and the results were rather staggering. We waste time on social media and we have more dates with our ipads, phones and laptops that with our loved ones. Technology is a wonderful gift, but it can add noise and clutter to our already distracted lives. So many of us are aware that technology is the new addiction. I’m mindful of this with my children and I don’t want them to fall into this trap. But what about what I am modelling to them?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In July 2010, special education teacher and mother Rachel Macy Stafford decided enough was enough. Tired of the rat race, losing perspective of what matters most in life, and people asking her ‘how do you do it all?’, Rachel began implementing simple strategies that enabled her to release largely meaningless distractions and engage in meaningful soul-to-soul connections. She blogged her endeavors and soon saw how both external and internal distractions had been preventing joy and her ability to bond with the people she loves most.
‘Hands Free Mama is the digital society’s answer to finding balance in a media-saturated, perfection-obsessed world’. Thankfully, going ‘Hands Free’ doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. I’ve tried that and I only lasted one week! And giving up facebook for Lent each year is quite a challenge for me! Going hands free means making the most of little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. It means making eye contact with our loved ones and giving them the precious gift of our undivided attention, leaving the laundry till later to jump in puddles with our kids in the rain, and living a present, authentic, and intentional life filled with ‘purposeful connections’ despite a world full of distractions.
Hands Free Mama is a practical book that offers simple solutions to one of modern life’s challenges. I don’t want to be glued to my phone. And I don’t want my children to remember me as the mother who was always on the computer. Hands-Free Mama offers many reflections throughout the book, and one in particular caught my attention, and that was simply this – that the further away from childhood we venture, the more the demands and stresses of life increase.
In ‘Kid World’ there is time,
In ‘Kid World’ there is time to dance in the rain.
In ‘Kid World’ there is time to jump in puddles and time to examine daisies.
I also appreciated the suggestion of ‘Do Nothing Moments.’ We as parents today sometimes need a gentle reminder that we don’t have to be achieving something every second of every day. Rather, we can give ourselves permission to just be with our children. We can have a cuddle with our children. we can chill out and play in the autumn leaves, feeling the crunch underfoot. We can sit and listen to their heartbeat.
Are you willing to try going hands-free? I love the anthem of this book. It’s a book filled with wisdom and common sense, and it is one that every parent should read. Much of the content covers what we already intuitively know. It is putting it into practice that is the harder part. But with little steps, we can free up our hands to the possibilities that each moment brings. The principles in this book are specifically related to parenting, yet they are principles that can easily apply to all of life. They are important principles for our marriages, relationships and general health. From the same author is her latest book, ‘Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better and Loving More.’ To follow Rachel’s blog, please see: http://www.handsfreemama.com. Now to go and practice what I preach!