Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hands Free Mama - Awareness - Part 1 of 12

I recently finished a book that I had been reading on and off for months called “Hands Free Mama”by Rachel Macy Stafford.  I love to share book reviews here on my blog but this book was so much bigger than a quick summary!  I’ve decided to do my very first blog series, taking you through the book and sharing what I’ve learned, going chapter by chapter.  

{It's impossible for me to share all that I learned so these are just highlights.  Please, please get the book and follow Rachel's blog if you have any desire to spend more time IN life and OFF your phone!  She is soooo inspiring!  Ugh... just look at my face above!  It's so miserable looking and that's what my kids see?  I don't want them to remember THAT!}


I’m doing this, not only to share but also for my own records!  This has been so convicting to help me live better and I hope someone else might grow from this too, plus I want to read it again anyway!  With summer coming, I want to spend QUALITY time with my children and be a better example for them!

The book is called Hands Free Mama with this on the cover: “A guide to putting down the phone, burning the to-do list, and letting go of perfection to grasp what really matters!”  Personally I’d call it, “Paying attention to people around me”!!  It’s about engaging in purposeful connections, {p.45} and no longer living distractedly. {p.69}  

It’s not about making you feel guilty for using a cell phone; it’s about being intentional about when you are using them, and when you are not.  

I want to stop this halfway living I feel I've been doing!  I'm tired of being distracted!

I have been trying to live more intentionally for some time but this book pointed out what I need to work on… things I glossed over and ignored.  Things I accepted as modern living, and some things I honestly had no idea were an issue.  Why oh why do I seek to be entertained by the internet when there are people right in front of me willing to talk and spend time with me?  I claim I love my kids and husband more than anyone else in the world but why am I consistently choosing others over them?  I have NOT been giving my family the best of me.

Just in the introduction, I realized that I was very distracted by many things – mostly online.  I need to address the issues I have {ie confess them} and ask God to help me focus on things that really matter.  I actively need make effort and change the way I live each day.

Chapter 1
“Acknowledge the cost of your distraction – Awareness”

Welcome to part 1 of 12

What I learned
I had a persistent feeling of unease because I’ve been living so distracted. {p.19}
Going “hands free” doesn’t mean giving up technology.  It means controlling when and how much you use it.  It means giving life a conscience effort. 

I love this book because she gives actual tips on how to be more focused and intentional and got me thinking with questions like: “What daily distractions prevent me from being fully present with the people I love?  What actions can I take to reduce or eliminate one or more of these distractions?”

I am definitely distracted by social media especially Facebook!  It has a weird time-sucking feature I can’t figure out!  Ha!  I decided to change how I use it in two ways:
 1) It’s not good for me to simply say that I’ll go online when my husband’s at work and the kids are at school.  I want to get things done around the house while they are gone.  Then, when they are home, I can give them my rather than catching up on things I could have been doing earlier. 
2) I realized that the time between supper and the kids’ bedtime is very precious to my family.  This is really the only time in the whole day we can all truly connect.  So my husband and I are working at being completely gadget-free during that time.  It’s much harder than you’d think and it’s only a short 1.5 hour window most nights.  But we MUST give our kids full attention; they don’t raise themselves!  Rachel helped me see that far too often, my body was present but my mind hasn’t been.  And you know what?  Just about everything that distracted me was not urgent and could wait.
{I shared a little extra observation about this family time in the video.}

At the end of each chapter there's a section she calls “Reflection Questions”.  My favorite for this chapter was “Have your distractions taken an undeserved position on your priority list?”
I realized that the things that became automatic were distracting me from life with my kids. 
I want to watch movies WITH them and not NEXT to them with a cell phone in my hand.
I want to listen to their stories without muttering “uh huh” and nodding while rushing them so I can get back to what I was doing.
I want to be a good example to them so when they get gadgets one day, they don’t treat me the way I was treating them! 

I love that this book outlines potential problems, ask self-reflection questions and gives ideas on 
how to be more intentional.

I hope that someone reading this might see themselves in what I’ve written.  If you at all enjoy this post, please share the link with others to spread the message.  I'm on Facebook and Pinterest {links are the ribbon tabs on the top right of my blog}.  

Please stay tuned as I continue and take you through the book chapter by chapter and share what I'm learning!  I appreciate you taking the time to read my post.  Truly.

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