Sometimes the kids and I have conversations about favorites. Favorite thing to do, favorite toy, favorite color… we discuss them all and regardless of the fact that the discussion typically ends with at least two of them arguing over who likes green more, I always hold my breath a little when they volunteer answers for me.
Please, please, please don’t say my cell phone. Please can the picture in your head of your mom not include me with a phone in my face.
Usually I can exhale because they say my favorite thing to do is play Candyland or make dinner which is mildly delusional but I’ll take it.
I’ve been reading 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!. I didn’t read the whole thing at once, I’ve read a chapter here and there when I need to refocus and remind myself that defeating level 176 of Candy Crush is not an important goal in life.
I like my phone and my laptop and being a blogger and a writer, social media is a huge part of my life. I don’t plan to give them up, but reading The Hands Free Mama did give me the reality check I needed. I’ve found parts of my day when I wasn’t focused enough on what is important and made changes. Not big, monumental changes but small shifts in what I do that make a difference.
My favorite change has been our morning routine. Before reading Hands Free Mama’s book, our mornings were a mindless routine of get dressed, eat, in the car, out of the car, pick up dropped glove, back in the car, drive home for forgotten lunch, rinse, wash, repeat.
I made a small change that made a huge difference. I turned off the car DVD player on the way to and from school. No automatic hitting the play button when we get in the car so the kids will be quiet and I can talk to myself. Initially there was panic. Where’s Barbie? What happened to The Chipmunks? Where are we? Someone let me/you/us out.
But after a day or two we settled into a nice, no where near quiet, ride. Everyone was sort of bored with each other since we were all tuned in instead of focused on a screen or the running to-do list in my head so I had to do the work to keep the peace. Grappling to keep the subject off of who can drive who crazy first, I started asking questions. And I finally found a good one:
What are you most looking forward to about your day today?
The answers came rolling in… eating lunch with Nathan… playing trains with Daddy… polishing my nails pink with purple. Some days the answers are predictable or not remotely going to happen (buying all the toys!). But some days the answers are ones I never saw coming but I can make happen anyway, a chocolate frosted donut after school or coloring two pictures just with you.
Five minutes of connecting and asking and listening has changed the course of our days. They tell me what they’re dreaming of and I see what I can do about it, as long as it doesn’t involve unicorns or clearing out a toy store.
So all of this to say, 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! is truly a book for every parent. Whether you’re ready to throw your cell phone in a lake and pull the plug on your laptop or you’re just trying to reduce your text messaging from “unlimited” to “not while I’m walking or talking to my children”, you can pick up this book and take a look at how your living and what you might like to change. A quick stop for donuts after school is much more rewarding than three more texts in a trail of messages that will never end.
What’s one thing you would like to change about your day to make you more present? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Hands Free Mama.
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