Currently on my nightstand, Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford.
I have been becoming increasingly aware (frightfully aware) of what a distracted world we live in more and more all the time. One day last month, I got out of my van to pump gas and was surprised to find that there was a television screen on top of the gas pump. What?! Gas Station TV - television programming to keep you entertained at the gas pump. What is this world coming to? I need entertainment for the couple of minutes I'm pumping gas?! I need another distraction?! Some may find it clever, but I was disgusted.....not with the idea itself (as I'm sure it offers great advertising opportunities) but I was disgusted that even the simple act of getting gas had become "screen" time. We are so heavily engaged in screens ALL THE TIME! Email, texts, video games, televisions - and not just in our living rooms! Is it so awful to be present - to give our attention fully to the people in our lives? Is it so awful to be alone with our thoughts sometimes? Is quiet becoming obsolete? Society has become so "plugged-in" to THINGS that we are missing the connections we should be enjoying with PEOPLE.
Around the same time I made this Gas Station TV discovery, I had ordered this book from Amazon. The author, Rachel Macy Stafford, is a former special education teacher and now, mother of two daughters. This book is filled with practical, simple ways of shifting your focus, reconnecting with your loved ones, and truly being present each day. Stafford speaks very candidly about the mistakes she made in the past, about her regrets, but also shares how she is learning from the past to live fully in the present! I feel like I can identify with her so well as she is a mother and teacher, like me. She knows. She knows the rush to get out the door on weekday mornings. She knows the pressure to expertly balance work and family. She feels the cloud that hangs over all of us - the cloud saturated with hurry and productivity and efficiency and to-do lists. But then we have these precious little people God has blessed us with....
and we remember....they are only little for so long. They are only in our laps for a short time. And this time with them is so much more important than any screen time we think we need or any to-do list we think needs to be completed. In this book, Rachel Macy Stafford reminds us to put our families first. She reminds us to look them in the eye when they are talking, to give them our undivided attention as much as possible, and to be fully present in each moment.
I am guilty. I am guilty of saying "just a minute" or "later" at simple, innocent requests. I am guilty of allowing "hurry up" to anxiously come rushing out of my lips on busy school mornings. I am guilty of thinking, "I will read the next chapter with her after I sweep the floor" and "I'll play trains with him after I respond to this email." Ugh. Guilty. Right here. This mama is distracted. I must put it all down for they are only little for such a short while. God gave them to me because he knew I was the best mama for them. So I want to do all I can to BE the best mama for them.
Hands Free Mama is $11.43 on Amazon. Worth every penny. Her website www.handsfreemama.com is another great resource. You can subscribe to her posts via email. Like the content of her book, each post carries a meaningful message that really speaks to the heart of a busy mom.
Technology is great. But relationships are much more valuable. I've heard it said, "Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present." I must say good-bye for now. I am going to unplug and go snuggle my lovies!