Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

January 6, 2014

The Path Towards Thriving | Living Hands Free

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Throughout 2014 I’m planning to blog about my One Little Word journey as I investigate what it means for me to thrive. I don’t have a set schedule in place but will share as I identify areas, recognize strengths or weaknesses, ask questions, learn lessons, and hopefully make life-affirming choices along the way.

No. 1 | I believe that for me to thrive I need to live a less distracted life.


“You know we’re going to have an intervention about that soon right?”

We were sitting on the couch after dinner, chatting and getting ready to play a couple rounds of Mario Bros on the Wii.

Darn it (that’s not really the word that came to mind but you get the point). “Yes,” I replied and felt a wave of shame wash over myself.

My connection to the phone and the online world is powerful. It’s where most of my work-life exists (I’m on the type-A, take-care-of-this-right-this-very-minute, obsessive end of the personality spectrum), where many of my friends exist, and to be honest, sometimes some of my self-worth is mixed in here too.

I put my phone face-down on the couch next to me and turned to face him, “I know.”

In my head I could rationalize it. I was waiting for him to get things set up. I was probably checking my email one more time because I’m responsible and I pride myself on being accessible and taking care of stuff immediately or I was peeking at Facebook seeing if any responses were needed or if there was a comment on a photo I’d recently posted on Instagram.

But I knew he was right.

I need a major iphone boundary check.


Another evening we had a discussion about parenting after Anna refused to put her coat away. She was exhausted and defiant. I was exhausted and not ready for battle because it seems like battling is all we do lately. During the discussion he said he thought she was mean to me. He had watched, unsure where to step in and when to step away.

It was a good talk about who we are and who we want to be as parents. I listened carefully, trying hard not to take anything too personally, listening instead for suggestions I could implement the next time an opportunity arose. It was hard and easy at the same time because I know what he was saying was coming from a loving place and that he was right.

As I reflect on how Anna and I have been interacting lately I think so much of it comes down to me being a distracted parent. Distracted by my work, distracted by the dishes in the sink, distracted by the running list in my head, distracted by pressures both real and imagined, distracted by a million other things.

Damn.

I don’t want to be this person. I know there are times when I’ve been less distracted but over the last couple of years I’ve become that person again and it’s definitely time for a re-alignment.

I have lots of excuses for my distractions but really none of them matter more than my relationship with my kids and those closest to me.

It’s time to start living that way.


I wrote out the above stories a few days ago as I started working on this post.

Since then I’ve taken a few steps forward and a few steps back. The simple act of acknowledgement – and for me this has been a growing acknowledgment over the past few months – is starting to result in me actually taking action.

One of the first things I’m doing is reading Rachel Macy Stafford’s new book Hands Free Mama. Rachel runs a blog of the same name that you might have seen me mention or link to in the past. She’s a wonderful story teller and truth teller and is really inspiring life-changes by encouraging people to get connected to what really matters. I reviewed an advance copy of the book last year but feel like I’m really reading it for the first time now. And PS – this book isn’t just about creating meaningful connections with your kids – it’s about removing the distractions that keep us from deeply connecting with the people we claim to care about most.

One of the suggestions from Rachel is to go public about your intention to live Hands Free so here I am.

Hi, I’m Ali and I’ve been living distracted for far too long and I’m ready to let go and make a very meaningful change in my life.

Tonight I started reading a chapter book out loud to both kids in the evening. It’s an opportunity for the three of us to do something together that doesn’t involve a screen.

We’re starting with Charlotte’s Web.

Comments

  • 1.
    Jan From Canada living in Australia said…

    By far one of the best posts you have ever written Ali… You seriously touched my soul tonight.. I am a professor and completing a degree… I am a distracted mother far too much… I feel like one day I will turn around from this screen and grown adults will face me.. I too have made an intention to free myself from the world outside this house and concentrate more on the world inside.. the world that fuels my soul…

  • 2.
    J3SS1C4 said…

    Love this! I get distracted easily as well, and I think this is an amazing challenge to implement! I stay up too late on my phone, spend too long in bed on the weekend checking out things online, most of my social time is gaming with my partner… Doesn’t help that he works in IT and also spends a lot of time online as well!

    My word for the year is balance, and this is one of my aims for the year… Getting away from the computer and phone for longer, trying new things, spending distraction free time with my favourite people and really working on balancing out my life online.

    Thank you for sharing, Ali!

  • 3.
    Robin said…

    Great choice.

  • 4.
    Laura said…

    Have you seen the TedX talk by Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan? She talks about a similar thing in her talk, I think you might like it, it’s at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hFimIczB0s. I’m planning on doing the same for my word, ‘build’. I hope that by going public with my intentions I am more likely to really work on them.
    Thank you for sharing :)

  • 5.
    Laura said…

    There were no cell phones when my kids were little, but I do get so angry when I see parents,mostly moms, walking, shopping, at the park, etc…on their phone instead of interacting with their children. Equally bad is when I see little children in carts either chewing on a phone, or playing a game. I fear that day to day leaning and interaction and bonding will be lost on an entire generation. Cheers to you, Ali. The hardest job is to be a parent. So much to navigate. We tried hard to be parents, not friends to ours. They are now adults and we all have wonderful adult relationships and we can NOW be friends. Follow your gut. You can reflect their words and behavior back and ask them how they would feel if you treated them the same way. It really helps.

    • ….
      Courtney said…

      “but I do get so angry when I see parents,mostly moms, walking, shopping, at the park, etc…on their phone instead of interacting with their children”

      Please be kind. It may be infuriating to you, and seem like the mom is ignoring her kids. But, for every mom that is, there are more moms that aren’t. I have a phone in front of me at the store because it holds my grocery list. I’ve pulled my phone out to send Daddy photos I just took of my kid playing at the park. I’ve had my phone out changing a song that’s playing while walking with my child because he just requested to hear “Call Me Maybe” again. I’ve escaped for a few minutes to play Words with Friends, because all day I’ve been catering to my toddler, and he is playing with someone else right now. I’ve pulled my phone out to pay a bill.

      As “Fried Okra”, a blogger, succinctly puts it: “You use your phone to do all the things our Moms did with paper and pens, stamps, recipe files, checkbooks, clocks, timers, typewriters, fax machines, calculators, calendars, phones with cords, newspapers, books, thermostats, televisions, radios, and cameras.”

      Maybe she is running a business from home so she can be home with her kids. Maybe she is regaining sanity after answering “Why” for the hundredth time and it’s only 10am. You are only seeing one single glimpse of her life, and since you aren’t walking in her shoes, don’t get angry. Give her the benefit of charity and love.

    • ….
      Michele said…

      Courtney makes some good points

    • ….
      Laura said…

      Please don’t get me wrong. I understand technology and times have changed. What I am talking about is obvious social use, people ignoring their children who are trying to interact with them. I appreciate that many people are working from home now, multitasking, trying to do it all.

  • 6.
    Brooke said…

    Charlotte’s Web is a great place to start. Santa bought my 5 year old an easy chapter book. I read it to him, he has been reading it to me, reading to his little brother and to his Nan. Awesome bonding and so cute to watch.

    So happy to be in your class and on a better journey this year.

  • 7.
    Holly said…

    Ali,

    Finding the balance between family and work is always a struggle. I wanted to be the best mom I could be, and yet I have a strong work ethic and desire to be successful in my career.

    For me, it’s knowing that I tried my best with the resources I had on any given day. Some days are better than others at balancing those resources…it’s ok. I wanted my children to see me trying to balance my life…not struggle with it. So I let go of the need for perfection, both at work and as a parent.

    My children are young adults now, and each one of them have a strong work ethic of their own, and the absolute knowledge that they are loved.

    I am more than ok with that.

    • ….
      Laura said…

      Amen.

  • 8.
    Charlene said…

    It’s so hard to find the balance especially when you are a single mom type A like myself… I too have an addiction to technology and always feeling the need to respond to everyone immediately. My word is centered and I am practicing deep breathing with my eyes closed many times during the day visualizing my picture prompt to slow me down and find my center of balance.

  • 9.
    Nancy said…

    So, so awesome…

  • 10.
    Jane said…

    I love how you bare your soul for us all to share – so brave. I’m now in a different stage of parenting – caring for an elderly parent- and I’m finding this just as difficult and allow myself to be distracted by my phone, laptop, crosswords, sewing and knitting (to name just a few) rather than giving him my full attention. My OLW is ACCEPT and I’m trying to accept that I’m not a bad person for allowing these distractions, it’s just my way of coping and not loosing sight of me. Parenting is tough on all levels.

  • 11.
    janie said…

    Ali, for what it is worth… I have a daughter (15 now) that sounds like Anna. What worked for her was… a “time frame” so instead of telling her she had to “do it now” she was given until a specific time that something needed to be done (some things were non-negotiable). It worked very well for us and ended up being a win-win. I wasn’t the bad guy then… the clock was. Just a suggestion from a mama who has been down that road! Happy New Year!

    • ….
      Julie said…

      Oh great idea – my miss three is like this – I will try this suggestion as if we tell her to do things we get a battle ! She doesn’t seem to be cajoled along like we could with her brother and I already worry that food is going to be an issue – if she doesn’t want something there is no way she will even try it ! So ill try the clock thanks ;) julie

    • ….

      Right now it appears like Drupal is the top blogging platform out there right
      now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  • 12.
    Sandra said…

    Hi Ali! In the last days of December I was thinking about my word for 2014. The first that came to my mind was “Patience”. But then, another one was repeating in my mind on top of patience: “Time”. And I stopped. That was so true… Time is my word for 2014. Why? Because I have a two year old baby boy that needs my time. I am so busy at work (8:30 to 5:30)… I have to leave him at day care at 8:00. And I only go pick him up at 6:00. I have a big house that needs constant cleaning. The dinner has to be done… Clothes that never end are to wash and dry and iron. And I don’t spend time with him. Because I want to read the news. I want to check my e-mail. I have to check facebook… I need to do my errands and I can’t because he is screaming and I don’t have the patience to calm him down! This last few weeks I understood why… Don’t know how, but I really have to find more time. I have to stop and define priorities

    • ….
      Christa said…

      I had also chosen patience as my word mainly for interacting with my three year old son. I also have a 3 month old and like you mentioned work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and things that I want to do. I realized that I needed to slow down and truly live my days instead of them just flying by. I changed my word to pause. Best of luck on your journey.

    • ….
      Sandra said…

      Thanks Christa!! I wish you and your family the best!!

    • ….

      I have 4 young daughters and my word is today – similato yours as I’m trying to focus more on what’s happening now ie really living the moment, looking at my girls when they talk to me, getting into their games, noticing the sunshine & shadows rather than always thinking ahead, rushing into the next thing – I am acutely aware I can’t make more time – just wisely use what I to have with them :)

  • 13.
    Nora said…

    My one little word this year is “CHANGE”…it will take a lot of work on my part and I’ll admit I’m scared but it is so needed. This post helped to make me think…thank you for your words.

  • 14.
    Michelle t. said…

    Thank you for sharing this. You are a brave and awesome person. My situation’s a little different. I’m a stay at home mom. I’ve beennlucky and blessed. My twin boys are 14 and my daughter’s 9. My challenge is that I’m fairly seriously ill and have been for a few years now. There are big distractions with that. The days I’m stuck in bed or in the bathroom. The guilt for what they’ve seen is terrible and how I’ve tried to shield them. But I try and remember that they’re caring, empathetic people. And I love that. Far removed though from loving myself or even accepting the situation. Some days are just too hard for that.

    We all do our best with what we are handed. You do too. Thanks again for sharing. Michelle t.

    • ….
      Trish said…

      I am sending you healing thoughts and prayers Michelle. i am so sorry for your challenge of illness

    • ….
      Michelle t. said…

      Thank you. You are a very kind person. I appreciate that. I’ve run into amazing kindness in the couple weeks I’ve been coming here. Thanks Trish. Michelle t.

    • ….
      sharon said…

      I am so sorry Michelle to read of your ordeal. Coping day by day is often so much harder than people realize. I was diagnosed with a neurological disease 18 years ago and have vacillated between anger and acceptance over the years as my health deteriorated. Luckily, two of my children are grown adults with children of their own. Unfortunately, my only son has Down Syndrome and my husband is suffering from Alzheimer’s and I am becoming less and less able to meet their needs. I often try to pretend nothing is wrong, especially around my grandchildren. Every now & then I allow a pity party to emerge, usually late at night while in bed. And then another day dawns and we just move on. One day at a time. Heartfelt Blessings to you as you maneuver through your world.

    • ….
      Michelle t. said…

      Thank you. You’re right. We all have our low points, and then pick ourselves up come morning. I wish you well. Michelle t.

    • ….
      Tonya said…

      Praying for you, Michelle.

    • ….
      nancy faith said…

      Wishing you healthier days!! Everyone has a struggle in their life, whether obvious or not. Some people are dealt a harder hand to deal and I believe your children will see that you are a brave soul in a sometimes unfair world. blessings to you..

  • 15.
    Mel said…

    Great post. Honest and open and so beautifully written.

    From the heart, your heart.

    Thanks for sharing. x

  • 16.
    orange gearle said…

    OMGoodness. You are talking about me. I think I probably better read that book. Ugh.

  • 17.
    Julierose said…

    Wonderful posting, Ali. And so true…my word for this year is “Listen”–and I mean by that to remove all other distractions and really hear what the other person is saying. Pay attention (as our parents so often said to us!) Sometimes after you have lived so many years with the same person, their words kind of melt away into your over-occupied mind. I want to really “LISTEN”. After all, I want someone to listen to me when I speak…and so often you can see that faraway look in their eyes…anyway; that’s my take for this year. Thank you for sharing…after 70 yrs I am still learning…hugs, Julierose

  • 18.
    Sue P, said…

    Ahhhh, now if Charlotte and Wilbur can find a balance I know you can too to thrive. So proud of you Ali for always exploring and taking the risk to make changes. My word will be Risk as I am not that type of person and it holds me back from really living!! Thanks for the honesty and the “push”"!
    p.s. My ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOK!!
    (You may want to try the original Boxcar Children next)

    • ….
      nancy faith said…

      I agree on Boxcar Children. I did that series with both of my boys…

  • 19.
    Tina said…

    I spend way too much time on my phone since a I got a smartphone a year ago. It is so bad even I notice it! My word this year is “cultivate.” I am really excited to find out what that will mean in my life.

    I will be starting an online Bible study called “Intentionally Focused” in a week and a half. It will be 8 weeks long and cover different areas like- marriage, children, friendships, health, etc. I knew I was going to participate in this group study before topic was announced. Sounds like I am supposed to be getting a hint.

    • ….
      Mary Bartolotta said…

      Tina, where did you find the online Bible study? I’d love to do something like that. Thank you!

  • 20.
    Julia said…

    I’m inspired! Even though I don’t have kids. I would love to read more about how you really do it, not updating your “onlineworld” on the phone…because I want to have it with me, to take photos and notes about the memory made that day. :) thank you for starting this :)

  • 21.
    Jan G. said…

    Wow. I read about myself in your words. An eye opener to say the least. Thank you for sharing.

  • 22.
    Mel said…

    Wow- spoke to me LOUDLY- thank you.

  • 23.
    Fanny said…

    Thanks for your honesty and authenticity Ali. I always admire that on you.
    We read aloud Charlotte’s web with my kids this past summer and they (we) totally loved it!
    Go!!

  • 24.
    Lu said…

    Oh, woman, I feel you on being a distracted parent. I have let go of a lot of things that took away from my time of being the kind of parent I want to be for my kids. I also had to come to terms with why I was using online living to satisfy what I was not getting in real life. It took a minute, but I can honestly say the internet does not miss us as much as we think. And, my relationship with my children is better than ever because I made the decision to deal with what was going on inside of me, leaving the internet right where it was and living my real life fully.

    Blessings to you and yours. I know things will improve with your girl the way you want very soon. Don’t become discouraged, you can do this.

  • 25.
    Marge said…

    aahhh, speaking to my heart! “Distraction….a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something/someone else” This is my battle EVERYDAY! “Multi-tasking”…we’re expected to be so good at this, when in fact, it’s a form of distraction! My word this year is FOCUS — on individuals, on individual task, on goals, etc. It’s hard to accomplish anything when you are trying to do everything!!
    Love your post Ali and I thank you for driving home what’s been on my heart for months!!
    Blessings dear one!!

  • 26.
    Paula said…

    Great post. We are all learning that everything is give and take because there are only so many hours in a day. My word is Whole, and at the end of each day, when I am reflecting on “the sum of all it’s parts” – I realize that my “pie grid” is uneven because if I let it, I can spend 2/3 of my time working. And if I let it, I can spend too much time online or too much time worrying. I am trying to visually picture what I want the slices of that pie to look like each day, or as often as possible. On the “whole” I want a slice of work and online, but what I want even more is a slice of quiet time to pray or think, a slice of physical activity – better yet shared with my hubby, kids or a friend, I want a slice of learning time – it can be reading or creating/scrapbooking, learning something new (I have endless recipes I want to try), I want a slice of nourishing time – doing something fun with the family and our pets, enjoying/taking care of my home. Then I look at all these slices and think – it’s too much. I can’t do all this every day. So I am now calling this a weekly pie – and I plan to reflect a few minutes about once a week to see how large each slice was. Based on the slices that are my priorities, I am going to work on getting the right proportions to each slice. Hoping that the heaping slices of pie will be the most meaningful to my heart and soul, and the “distraction/tasks” will end up being the smaller parts of the Whole.

    • ….
      Honoré said…

      I like your metaphor. Think this is a great way to approach each day.

      Cheers~

  • 27.
    Elisa said…

    Did this ever hit a chord with me! Thank you.

    • ….
      Anjii said…

      Good points all around. Truly appeeciatrd.

  • 28.
    Cathy Zielske said…

    Wow, Ali. This is good stuff. You know, when my kids were little—and let’s face it, I’m that much older than you that there is a kid generation gap at work—I had my ways of setting up life to get more work done. Oh, look at me! I’m a stay at home mom! What BS that was, in some regards. I just worked at home and found ways to distract Cole from his babyhood on, so I could get more done, bill more hours, and so on.

    It is one of the biggest regrets of my life, being that tuned out from both of my kids. Of not being the parent they really needed. It took me starting therapy to figure all this out (as you well know) but just because I didn’t have an iPhone in hand, didn’t mean I wasn’t complete disconnected to my life with my family in those years.

    Just felt compelled to share that this morning. I love your honesty and when you share like this.

    • ….

      Cathy l find you and Ali so very inspiring. Your willingness to be so open with your thoughts and feelings is loved by many. I take the advice of parents with older children very seriously and see an element of me in both yours and Ali’s words.

    • ….
      Fanny said…

      Dear Cathy, thanks for sharing you too! We love to hear from more experienced moms!

  • 29.
    Janet said…

    My 2013 Word Adapt lead me to begin to understand how distractions have let me hide. Some are important: work as financial necessity, dinner on the table, etc. But when I read 5 romances in a weekend I can use the excuse it is relaxation, but they are an absolute assurance that I don’t have to identify what is hurting my heart. Retirement eradicates many real-time distractions, and I’m too introverted to pretend I can distract myself with meaningless busyness. This year I am grasping to Embrace who I am. One of the great things about OLW is that it gives me permission to over-think. Which I do anyway, now with permission. You are carrying Open with you, Ali.

  • 30.
    Christin Dukes said…

    Ali this was an incredible post that struck a chord with me. It’s not only me that is distracted by electronics but it is also my children. I have teens and pre teens. Everyone is always plugged into their phones, iPods, and iPads. The technology we have in these times are amazing as to how much we can do with it but at the same time it is a curse. Kids nowadays don’t know how to actually have a conversation with each other. It’s all about sending texts. They lose out the most. It’s kinda sad.

  • 31.
    Gisele chastain said…

    Wow. Thank you for this.
    Just subscribed to your blog yesterday and am so glad I did.

  • 32.
    Kimberly said…

    Yes, yes, yes! This post touched on so many things I need to work on right now. Thank you for being so honest in your writing.

  • 33.
    Jennifer said…

    Lovely. Honest. Thanks you.

  • 34.
    Scrapstorian said…

    I needed this today. My word for 2014 is connect. I’ve realized that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all been attempts at looking for but not finding real connection. They are preventing me from connecting fully to the people most important to me. Thank you for this honest, hopeful post.

  • 35.
    Louanne Collins said…

    I subscribed to the Hands Free Mama blog some time ago after a posting of one of her stores on your website. I find her stories really hit home and like my OLW over the past few years, they make me think twice about those “in a minute” responses or distractions. Change is good. I wish I could get my teen to be less “connected” to his iphone!

  • 36.
    Tashia D said…

    I think this is fantastic! I’m always telling my husband that we are too distracted by our phones. I feel like we pick them up anytime we have a few free minutes…seconds. It’s totally out of hand. I would have an easier time letting go than he would (he’s a tech junkie). I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to get us to focus on something more important during those down moments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s always nice to know others feel the same way!

  • 37.
    Laura said…

    This post resonated so much with me! I had the realization that I am also distracted when my 14 month old little boy said “phone” as his third word, right after daddy and mama. I preordered Hands Free Mama from Amazon and it should be delivered tomorrow. Thank you for such an insightful post.

  • 38.
    Jackie said…

    Ali,

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Through your blog you are able to touch many lives. Wow, I was a single Mom for 6 years and the hardest thing for me when I was in a relationship again was someone else having input on disciplining my children. That is hard, sounds like you handled it gracefully, not so sure I would have. In my head, no one loves my children like I do. I tend to take things personally, so awesome you knew that Aaron was coming from a loving place. I need to work on that. I have been married again for 16 years but I sometimes forget he really does love my kids as I love his. You are doing this divorce thing with so much grace and mercy that I admire you immensely. Blessings to you and yours!

  • 39.
    SarahJane said…

    I feel like a hypocrite by leaving a comment FOR YOU to read when you are trying to LIVE IN THE MOMENT with less distractions like these (comments), but think that THIS was an AWESOME POST. Sounds like a FANTASTIC BOOK (Hands Free Mama) as well as an EXCELLENT CHOICE for your bonding time with the kids (CHARLOTTE’S WEB).

  • 40.
    Katie Chapman said…

    Awesome post Ali! Thanks for sharing. I need this reminder too…

  • 41.
    Sara said…

    When talking about our New Year’s resolutions my 6 year old told me, “you should not be on your phone.” It was a huge wake up call to me.
    I stopped using Facebook a few years ago and it was so wonderful. Once you step away from Facebook you start to see how crazy of a thing it is. I will talk to people and everything they tell me is stuff they saw on Facebook. If a friend’s child is sick or they are on vacation or whatever else it may be, I want them to tell me. I want to sit and look in their eyes and hear about their life. I don’t want to read about it on a social media site.
    I know you use it for your business so quitting Facebook probably isn’t an option for you.

    There is a book by Thich Nhat Hanh called You are Here. It is a great book. A few quotes that hit home with me were….
    “….live every minute you are given in a deep way….The only way to deal with insecurity, fear and suffering is to live the present moment in a profound way. If you do that, you will have no regrets.”

    “…make this the most magnificent and wonderful moment of your life. This present moment must become the most wonderful moment in your life. All you need to transform this present moment into a wonderful one is freedom. All you need to do is free yourself from your worries and preoccupations about the past, the future, and so on.”

    I am a huge work in progress. I need to repeat these quotes to myself all the time. I have a terrible time letting go of what needs to be done and just enjoy the moment.

    Good luck, Ali!!

  • 42.
    AnnieB said…

    Thank you.

  • 43.
    Daphne said…

    I cant wait to get her book! I preordered so I should have it very soon! Thank you for this great post; I love it and it really hit a chord with me and confirmed the fact that I need to make it public and act on it!

  • 44.
    Desiree said…

    Reading that, gave me goosebumps and one of those “seeing your life fly by” moments before you crash. I’d do a repeat if I could with my kids too. I’m 55 and didn’t have a cell phone until this year but I had a job and I was a single Mom. That was my distraction and we all paid a price for that. Great, honest words. You will thrive! xo

  • 45.
    Evalyn said…

    Beautiful, honest post.

  • 46.
    Robyn G. said…

    Great thoughts! It’s so sad when I see parents on their phones and their kids are just sitting beside them or playing on iPads and no one is interacting. Maybe you are starting a new movement! Good Luck!

  • 47.
    Jennifer K said…

    Awesome sharing. Reading a chapter book with your kids at night is a great habit! Sometimes kids are bad listeners and it’s easy to get frustrated, but if that happens, don’t give up! (and sometimes it turns into some great talking/connecting time.) My boys are 10 and 13 and still usually want me to read to them. I try to make sure the book is something I can stand so that I won’t resent the time, and I have enjoyed many adventures with them over the years. I have shared some of my favorites also. Reading to my kids is one of those things I love about parenthood that took me by surprise. Enjoy!!

  • 48.
    Trish said…

    Ali, this post has resonated with me! I understand the parenting age with distractions, different than yours, but distractions just the same. Now that I have adult children my challenges are distractions in many forms that prevent me from being the daughter, wife, mother, friend that I want to be. As one commentor said, the key is finding the balance so that we don’t lose ourselves in the care of others. So my word of the year,CONNECT, is directly related to yours. I strive to get past the distractions and connect with my loved ones in a more meaningful way. Thank you Ali, for this heartfelt blog post and the dialog that it has generated with your readers.

  • 49.
    Amy said…

    Good for you Ali! I could stand to do that in my daily life, too.

    Chapter books are a great way to spend some quiet time together in the evening. We read Charlottes Web last fall, and loved it. My oldest son will be 12 and so oftentimes he finds himself in the same room as me and my younger son (who is almost 5) doing “something else” but still very actively listening and enjoying the story. We are currently reading the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary and they are fantastic.

  • 50.
    Heather H. said…

    This is amazing and I need to get that book. Thank you for being honest. I am SO distracted. All I ever seem to want to do anymore is spend time with my kids…because that seems to be what I do the least. The chapter book idea is a good one. I keep saying we’re going to do that and don’t. Because they’re busy…and distracted…too. I think we’re going to start it anyway.

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