My life as a mom includes cherished memories of making pancakes and reading storybooks with my kids. I watch them learn things – big and small, introduce them to new experiences, and enjoy seeing them grow up before my very eyes. It is amazing and it is a blessing.
However my life is also noisy, exhausting, and – many times – challenging beyond expectations. There are tantrums, frustrations, misunderstandings, uncertainties, and all the rest of it. Sometimes I just want to get away and have a break.
But no matter how hard it gets, embracing the joy and pain in life… and not trying to distract myself from it… is the only way I can truly experience it all. There is no way to just get the “easy” and “joyful” moments – every single moment is part of the journey.
I can’t escape into a movie any more than I can forget my troubles by checking Facebook… but that doesn’t mean the temptation isn’t there.
There is an art to training our mind to being present, and a balance to living in our media-saturated world. Spending time doing things we enjoy and love is great – but there is a need to find detachment and moderation, acceptance and resilience.
I have learned this lesson again and again throughout the years. But what makes me take this message even more seriously as a parent is this:
Our children are learning from us. Yes, they are learning from what we say to them and from our reactions to daily situations we face. But they are also watching how we interact with our phones, with our computers and our TVs.
They are learning about what is important, about what is worthy of attention, and about how to respond when times get tough. And they will most likely copy us.
Would we be content for our kids to act like us when they grow up?
I’m thinking about the daily distractions… the media, the news, the work, the to do list, the entertainment at every place we turn… would I want my own kids to spend their time and energy as I do?
I want my kids to be excited for “game night” before they think of “movie night” when we have time together. I want them to enjoy a birthday party without being worried about getting the perfect photo. And I want them to go to bed without worrying about the emails sitting in the inbox waiting for answers.
If I want them to be this way… I need to model this behavior myself.
I need to be detached from whatever “perfection” is in my mind… and live life with my arms and mind wide open to blessings that sometimes come in disguise.
I need to sit back and watch the kids play instead of checking for notifications on my phone. I need to relax and take a walk with my husband without being worried about getting back to do more computer work. I need to give myself time to lie in bed and think about life – instead of trying to get on top of all the things I put pressure on myself to do.
If you are worried that you have become distracted by the screens and the self-imposed stress – I know I personally go through phases of this – then I would like to share a book that offers inspiring words and practical advice for moving beyond these habits and embracing your life and relationships wholeheartedly.
Hands Free Mama (Amazon affiliate link) guides readers through a series of 12 chapters focusing on a quality (such as awareness or gratefulness), with stories, reflections, and weekly intentions to help you live free of distraction.
I have been inspired by Rachel who blogs at Hands Free Mama through her many posts (you may recognize this one or this one, which are hugely popular). I highly recommend her new book for heartfelt reflection and practical ways to act on the wisdom shared. Her message is soul-stirring and so relevant. I cherished every chapter and learned so much about myself through reading.
You can order your copy and read more on Amazon here: 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!.
This book has given me some much needed inspiration to put down the smart phone, and ignore the computer when my work hours are done… to work smarter, not longer… and I will be forever grateful for this.
Are you sometimes distracted from fully living in the moment? What helps you stay focused on the present?
This is not a sponsored post, but a few months ago I was grateful to receive an advanced reader copy of Hands Free Mama. I am so excited to share this book with my readers, as I believe it offers an extremely important and healing message for our time. To read more about reviews on my website, visit this page.
Hands Free Mama
Oh my friend! I am so touched by your beautiful review of my book! I see you as a role model for intentional living, so to know you found value in my book makes me feel very happy! Your support along this journey has meant a great deal to me. I hope one day I can help spread the word of your book! You have so much insight & wisdom to share.
With love, Rachel
Chelsea Lee Smith
Just wanted to send a big thank you for your encouragement. I’m looking forward to sharing your second book as well 🙂 xo
Bek @ Just For Daisy
I absolutely love Rachel’s blog and facebook page and the inspirations that she shares!
Chelsea I love how honest and intentional you are here on this blog and I can see that shines through in your family also!
Thank you for this reminder – I am constantly keeping myself in check with this.
We do not have commercial TV and I am thankful for one less distraction in our lives! It’s coming up to two years and I do not miss it at all!
The computer and phone are another story though and something that I’m constantly aware of as a distraction and an insignificant aspect of my life which somehow creeps it’s way into my mind as a priority. Thank you again xx Perfect reminder and perfect timing!
Chelsea Lee Smith
Thanks Bek – we don’t have a TV either and love it 🙂 We do watch DVDs a few times a month… but like you say, it’s more the computer and (now that I have one) smart phone that I have to keep in check. What an age we live in, eh? 🙂
Kate Laughing Kids Learn
Loved reading this Chelsea and a great reminder on how important it is to be a constant good role model for our children because they do learn so much from us. My 2 year old is saying things (not offensive) that makes me realise she has heard me talking when I really didn’t take much notice.
Like you say, it’s important not to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect either.
Thank you for this and ‘Hands Free Mama’ sounds like a good read.
Chelsea Lee Smith
Yes Kate, it’s crazy what they pick up and hear! My two year old has been surprising me a lot lately too. 🙂 I’m sure you will love the book, it’s really a treasure of wisdom and inspiration.