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.
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.