#41 - Voices of Aro: How one mom realized her phone was causing her to be resentful towards her babies

November 16, 2023
Annie Grassi

Episode Summary

Voices of Aro is back with Annie Grassi, a wife, mom of two, mindfulness coach, podcast host, and Aro Ambassador! In this month's episode, Annie opens up to Joey about her experiences with feelings of resentment towards her kids, which she realized stemmed from times she was on her phone. She shares how she used to blame the lack of 'time' for her unfinished tasks, and on the flip side, how having Aro helped her recognize the time she actually has. Annie also provides valuable advice for parents on navigating the challenges of smartphones in their homes, emphasizing the importance of truly noticing your kids. If you're a member and interested in sharing your own Aro story, please reach out to us at stories@goaro.com. We'd love to hear from you!

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Episode Transcript

Joey Odom (00:03):

Welcome back to Voices of Aro, brought to you by the Aro podcast. This is Joey Odom, Co-Founder of Aro. I'm so glad you're here. This is our second episode of Voices of Aro. This month we have one of my absolute favorite people, Annie Grassi. I've gotten to know Annie since she joined Aro. We didn't know each other before and we've gotten to know each other. Annie is a spark of joy and life Wherever she goes, she has a podcast herself. It's called the Unrefined Joy podcast. I'd encourage you to listen to that. We were actually just guests on there and had a chance to talk with Annie a little bit more about Aro. But Annie has come on Voices of Aro to talk about her experience. She is a mom, she's a health and wellness expert, and she found herself missing moments tied to her phone, missing moments, whether it was just for her personally and her personal focus, or with her kids and her family. And she goes into that. She's very open, very vulnerable about her experience and then what it's been like for her to gain an awareness of that have Aro in her life. And our goal for you here is to feel seen, to relate to Annie's story. And then if you want to follow the path she's taken in joining Aro, we would love that. But even just to be inspired by her and hear her, we would love for you to sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation with my friend Annie Grassi.


Annie Grassi. I mean, just one of my favorites right here. Just live looking at the screen at one of my favorites. Annie, it's so good to have you here.

Annie Grassi (01:39):

I'm so beyond pumped to finally get to chat with you.

Joey Odom (01:44):

Well, I'm very pumped. We're really excited. You have been such, I'm sure that you're just like this with everybody. Just such a spark of joy for us and an encouragement, and we didn't know each other a couple months ago and who knows how the heck we got connected, and we'll get into that. But you've been such an encouragement to us. So I wanted Annie, tell us a little bit about you and your family, where you live, your spouse, your kids all. Just tell us all about Annie Grassi.

Annie Grassi (02:16):

Oh man, that's so kind of you to say that. So currently right now I'm living in Houston, Texas. I grew up in the northeast in Boston. Both my husband and I came from the northeast. We actually met here in Houston in the golf business, the

Joey Odom (02:32):

Golf business,

Annie Grassi (02:33):

The golf business. We were both teaching golf professionals and you get more golf in the south, which now it's like, we've got almost 30 days of a hundred degree tents right now. And we're like, well, neither of us are in the golf business anymore. So met, we're here, this is home. Texas has been home for us for about 12 years now. We have two little ones. We've got a three and a half year old JP little boy, and then a one-year-old little girl named Charlie Grace. And she is just, wow, like apple of our eye. It's painful. How amazing she is. Let's see. I have been in some form of the health and wellness growth space for the last, I don't know, better, half of the last decade. I love people. I love getting to know people. I love figuring out what makes them tick. That has just been a major passion of mine. I go deep fast, maybe to a fault. A lot of my friends are like, Annie, I'm not in the mood for being Ed today. Being Ed.

Joey Odom (03:40):


Annie Grassi (03:41):

Yeah. It's kind of a thing. I just love people and I love bringing joy to people's lives. It's like people ask me what I do and they're like, you kind of forget what your own superpower is until somebody brings it to light for you. And so I like helping people get more life out of life and finding ways to create more joy in their worlds. Yeah, this is,

Joey Odom (04:10):

Yeah. And anybody who's listened to the podcast, we've heard, we've done, we've talked about you because you help people get out of ruts and women get out of ruts, which is such an amazing thing. I'm curious. I want to hear a story. So I want you to take us to a story of, could be embarrassing, it could be whatever it is. Just a story of when your phone has gotten in the way, this thing that's great that we love, but also can get in the way of life. So I want to hear a little bit of us, you have to open up a little bit on tell us when your phone has gotten in the way of something

Annie Grassi (04:40):

Important. So I've got no problem opening up. I've got a problem narrowing down my story. Got it. Because I've had too many, unfortunately, like lowercase s shameful moments around my phone. I just mentioned. I spent the better half of the last decade in the health and wellness space working from my phone. And I kind use that as a blanket statement to say, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working. And that was pre-kids to where I still felt those shameful moments. I wish Aro was around even just five years ago. I feel like it would've tremendously helped me. But now that I've got kids, it's put this giant spotlight on my phone usage outside of the typical kids seeing you on a phone, but more of me becoming short with my children, me being short on patients bone on bone. So somebody asked me what Aro is for me, Aro for me is the cartilage in my knees.


It gives me cartilage so I'm not bone on bone with my children. It gives me that patience because not because my phone is away, but because I'm actually doing something restful instead of scrolling on my phone. So let me give you just one of a million situations of where I've found myself. So early postpartum days, a lot of moms can probably relate to this is when you're so tapped out, and this is probably for dads too, when you're so tapped out and you put the baby down for a nap and you finally get that exhale and you're like, I'm just going to go. I've got laundry to do. I've got dishes piling up. I've got all these things. My house feels chaotic, cluttered, my brain feels chaotic and cluttered, but just give me five minutes to just lay on the couch and be on my phone and let you know what the whole sleeping when the baby sleeps.


And then all of a sudden you're laying on the couch on your phone and you hear the baby cry and you're like, dang it, they're already awake. But you don't realize that an hour and a half has gone by and you've been sitting on your phone, scrolling on your phone. The dishes are still there, the laundry is still there, the chaos is still there. And then now for some reason, and I know I'm not alone in this, but for some reason now you're resentful towards your baby and now your sweet baby is waking up that they've been napping for an hour and a half and then all of a sudden you go and pick them up out of the crib and you're like, dang it. You just took away my time. Is the underlying theme here, which isn't okay. Right. So I've gotten to this point. Now I've become, okay, this is going to sound ridiculous. I've become the person that I hated


Because I now have a handle on laundry and dishes, which sounds like it sounds ridiculous. Just hear me out when I've been able to become focused on the thing that I want to do because my phone isn't the distraction. I mean, simplicity, clarity, every calming word you can think of, it's possible. But I just needed, I needed a tool to be able to put my phone away because yeah, that resentment came up way too many. Let me just finish this. Let me just finish this one thing. The amount of times I caught myself saying that, and it was usually around, let me just send this text message. Let me just send this email. Let me just, and I would feel myself getting ramped up and I'm saying this to a three-year-old, right? That's just,

Joey Odom (08:34):

I know what you mean. And then I mean, I got to assume, and I know this has been my experience, then I feel bad for, then I start shame, spiraling, and then it just becomes this cycle of I'm mad that's not the person I want to be. But then you start spiraling, you start shame, spiraling. And that's hard enough for a young mom with an to not feel that immediate, just the mom guilt that so many women feel because they do have such a high sense of responsibility. And so I assume that that starts, and you tell me that starts a little bit of a shame spiral too.

Annie Grassi (09:11):

Well, sure, because what are we scrolling to when we're on our phones is we're generally scrolling either other moms who make it look like they're doing it so easily that they've got it together, or we're learning from these accounts that are teaching us how to parent our children, how to get our children to sleep, how to do all these things. And then you're on information overload. And so then it's this comparison overlearning over educating, and it's just a surplus of thoughts and knowledge. And yes, is some of it good? Of course it is. But it's in that moment when all of a sudden now we're taking that thought of, wow, she made it look like she just is so intentional with her child. Or they're on a vacation with their child and their family and it looks wonderful and they're at the beach. And anybody who has kids that's been to the beach knows that it's never as great as it looks. And that's okay. That's okay. Let's just not pretend that it's all, nobody gets sand inside their bathing suit. That's so real. And that's okay, but just don't make it look like it's, I don't know, mermaids, splashing in the ocean. Right.

Joey Odom (10:24):

I think I would love the beach a lot more if it didn't have sand. I really do.

Annie Grassi (10:27):

Sure. Same.

Joey Odom (10:30):

Alright, so do you remember, and you may not, whenever you first encountered, Hey Aro, what is this thing? And then you said, Hey, this is for me. Do you remember what that was like? You may not, which is totally fine. Said, Hey, this is for me. I do need this. Can you take us to that kind of thought process and those moments?

Annie Grassi (10:50):

Yeah. I mean, the beautiful irony is that I found Aro from Instagram. I mean, that's kind of this, I don't know if dichotomy is the right word of I want less phone usage, but I'm learning about these things and it's kind of this funny relationship of yes, there is a positive on social media. And I just remember watching, I'm pretty sure it was your ad that pegged me that it was like I just, am I lying to myself when I'm saying I want more intentionality with my family, but not, it felt like there was this strange, crippling inability to actually do what I wanted to do


Where it was like, ah, I know I want this. It's almost like, I don't know if this makes sense, but it's like you want to go for a run, but you've got braces on your legs. And it's like, I know that my body wants to run, but there's something holding me back. Okay, what do I need to do in order to get that cadence going? And was, I knew what I wanted. I knew the end result that I wanted. And it was a feeling too. It was something that I wanted to feel, and I just needed a little bit of a, I don't know, I just needed a little bit of a help. And it was almost this little tiny glimmer of desperation of like, could this be my thing?


Okay, could this be the thing that I need? Well, I don't see anything else on the internet. I don't see anything else in the, could I put it in a shoebox? Sure. Okay. Am I doing that? No, I'm not doing that. Could I turn off my notifications? Yes, I'm doing that. And then all of a sudden, now I'm learning. That doesn't help. That doesn't matter. I've done that for years. That didn't help. I'm checking my phone more. I mean, it was almost this, I don't know what I need. And then, okay, I see this one thing. I'm like, well, this could be it. I don't know. Let me try. Let me try it. And now here I am on the other side of that and it's affected the days and weeks even when I'm not at home. We've traveled a little bit this summer. I don't bring my Aro box with me when we traveled. Have I thought about it? I have. I have. But you know what I've done? I've actually logged Aro time in a hotel room because I have put it in the drawer in the hotel room, thinking to myself, okay, try something. But it's affected the way that I approach my phone just in a general sense now. Yeah.

Joey Odom (13:30):

Talk about a little bit more on what that looks like. So the term Aro means to notice, what have you noticed, and maybe specifically relationally, and that could be relationship with your kids, your spouse, or even with yourself. What have you noticed since finding a little bit more of this rhythm and routine of putting some distance between you and your phone?

Annie Grassi (13:51):

So a couple of things here. I feel like, and I hope I'm not alone when I say this, I feel like my brain kind of got to this point where it felt like tangled up necklaces. And it's like it gets so frustrating and you don't even want to approach trying to untangle them. And it feels like everything's just been kind of laid out on a table. And I feel like I can notice my own thoughts because I'm doing the dishes and only the dishes. I'm not doing the dishes and then checking my phone and doing the dishes and then checking my phone and taking longer to do them. I'm doing the laundry and only the laundry, and I don't mean to make it about housework, but that's where I am at in my life and I've found enjoyment doing those. That's where I said I've become the person that I've hated.


I never understood that somebody could find peace and calm in keeping your home. That's something that I've found so much joy in doing is taking care of my home. And that's something that I felt like I couldn't do because I am using air quotes. I couldn't find time to do it. I had so much more time. I was using it improperly. Now, don't laugh at me when I tell you this. When I was really, really deep in the social media space a couple of years ago, you want to be with the times and figure things out and how to create the best content. And so I actually bought this online course on how to make better family videos. It was actually very good. It was a really excellent course. But one of the main things that they teach you is how to take videos. They don't teach you this. They basically tell you how to take videos in slow motion so that you can then piece them together. Here's what I feel like. Don't laugh at me. Okay. Here's what I feel like my world has become is that I notice my children in slow motion in real life.


And I feel like I just got goosebumps saying this, hold on. I don't want to cry when I say this, but I feel like I'm able to really notice, and I'm not just using that term over and over again because you brought it up, but I feel like I'm really able to notice when the sunlight catches my daughter's eyelashes and her hair is glowing, or if I'm watching my son play with his trucks. And just the intensity in his eyes and the way his little hands work and watching his knuckles and the tiniest little details. And I feel like I've been able to kind of catch a piece of my life in slow motion instead of just reviewing it on my phone at the end of the day, which is wonderful. It is wonderful to be, I mean, I think that having a phone that can capture those moments truly in slow motion and be able to review them years down the road, but also in real time is just, I dunno. I've literally got goosebumps all over me right now. I That's it. Yeah, that's it.

Joey Odom (17:05):

That's beautiful. I feel what you're saying. I really do. I can see that too. I can see the sun catching your daughter's eyes and just have, I think back on moments like that. I think by the time we were in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I just remember the sun glancing through my daughter's eyes and she's lying in the grass at this vineyard, and it was just, it's a magical moment and you're not experiencing it necessarily through pictures, which again, are great, and our phones have a great place for that. But really being in that moment. So I want to think about other parents who probably feel a little bit hopeless and maybe not hopeless, but maybe a little desperate or maybe even just a little frustrated. What kind of encouragement would you give encouragement or advice to other parents, other families when it comes to phones and interaction and relationships?

Annie Grassi (17:54):

I think at surface level, and also the umbrella comment or conversation is to allow yourself to be okay with the problem, I guess is the best way to say it.


Be okay with knowing that it's not just you, the phones, social media, it's all created to keep you on there. We are the problem, but we're also the solution. I don't know if that's coming across, but what I'm trying to tiptoe around saying it's not you, but it also is you, and that's a good thing. You can put your phone down. The world will keep spinning. It's okay if you don't not updated every single day about that influencer's pregnancy, that you actually don't know her in real life. She can go along and have the baby without you knowing, and it's going to be all right. It's like I feel like honest to God, I feel like that was a big issue for me as I was like, well, what's going to happen if I don't, I'm not up to date with all of these things. Well, guess what? Then you're up to date with your own life. That's the most important thing. The age that my kids are in right now, of being so little. We're in that watch me phase. We're in that, watch this mommy, watch this mommy. And it's like, oh my God, you're doing the same thing that I watched you do five seconds ago. But that's important to him.

Joey Odom (19:25):


Annie Grassi (19:27):

That's so true. It may be annoying, and I don't know what that's like with a teenager. Maybe it's still another version of watch me, maybe just quieter.

Joey Odom (19:38):

Wow. I feel

Annie Grassi (19:41):

That it's being said differently.

Joey Odom (19:44):

That's really

Annie Grassi (19:45):

Good. And I think arguably because it's being said more quietly, it's easier to miss.

Joey Odom (19:52):

Yes, you're totally right. Wow.

Annie Grassi (19:58):


Joey Odom (19:59):

Annie, you do inspire us. You are such an encouragement people. You coach and you have a podcast. Will you tell people about where they can find info on those as we close out? Yeah.

Annie Grassi (20:10):

So I have a podcast called Unrefined Joy, and it has been such a joy for me to launch and create, and I have a couple guest speakers that are on there that bring really powerful stories. You can find my podcast on just about any platform, unrefined joy. I actually have an Instagram account that you can follow, unrefined Joy podcast. My personal account, it's actually a private account, but you're welcome to give me a follow there. It's Annie Grassi, Grass with an I at the end. Yeah, I love to connect. Like I said, I love to connect with people. If you follow me, reach out, email me. I mean, send me a carrier pigeon, come hang, let's have coffee together, whatever it takes. Yeah. I love to connect with people. Joey, I really and truly am so grateful for what you're doing, and I don't say this lightly. I really think that what you are doing, the message that you're bringing, the physical product, that it's going to help so many people, and I really believe that it's going to change the next generation of intentionality and following through with what we say we want to do in our lives.

Joey Odom (21:34):

Thank you. That is our goal, is yeah, we want to change the world, but that does start with changing the worlds of individual families because everybody has a whole world in and of themselves and their families. So Annie, thank you. Grateful for you. Appreciate you joining us here on the Aro podcast.

Annie Grassi (21:52):

Thank you.

Joey Odom (21:54):

Hey, thank you for joining us on Voices of Aro. Hey, if you're an Aro member and you would like to be part of Voices of Aro, just shoot us an email@storiesatgoaro.com. If you are not yet an Aro member and you want to learn more, go to our website goaro.com or follow us on Instagram at gorao now. Lastly, if you would do me an enormous favor, will you please leave us a five star rating wherever you listen to podcast. Thank you so much for joining us on Voices of Aro. We can't wait to see you next time on Voices of Aro or The Aro Podcast. The Aro Podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod co. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support and to our executive producer Aro's own, Katelyn Farley.