Hands Free Mama
By: Rachel Macy Stafford
Genre: Non-Fiction / Parenting / Self-Help
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Rachel Stafford is a wife, teacher, blogger and mama of two precious girls. In 2010, Rachel had a “breakdown, breakthrough” moment when she realized she was living an overcommitted, highly distracted life. She was missing out on seeing her kids grow up and getting to know her family (and being known herself). She turned her focus to what mattered most in her life. Stafford began a journey that she is still on today, a journey to live hands-free. Her journey began with taking small steps to slow down and chronicling her progress (and shortcomings) on her blog (handsfreemama.com). Her journey turned into a movement that led to this book.
Each chapter in Hands Free Mama includes three personal stories (lessons learned, inspiration gleaned) as well as a three “Hands Free Weekly Intentions” that give you practical tips on how to live undistracted. Living hands-free doesn’t mean throwing out the phone, laptop and all electronic devices, but it does mean taking a step back, reevaluating, and slowing down from our hurried pace. In our society, that may sound next to impossible, but not when you think about it in light of what is most important. It is ok to say no to some things so you can say yes to the best things.
Three things kept me from giving this book a higher rating. First, as a homeschooling mom I feel like I have more opportunities (if I take them) to invest or have hands-free, quality moments with my children. In addition, I have four children (not two), and sometimes I feel like I need to schedule or I crave some “hands-on” time with my writing and ministry. Therefore, not all the book felt applicable to my life. Second, Stafford shared a lot about her youngest daughter (Avery) and less about her oldest (Natalie). I couldn’t help but wonder how Natalie would feel about that one day. Third, and most importantly, I had the expectation that this book would fall more along the lines of Christian-Living and/or Christian-Parenting. I was disappointed by the lack of scripture and concerned for the manner in which she seemed to elevate the importance of her relationship with her children above her relationship with God.
My recommendation? The book was still an enjoyable read and I gathered a few tips and reminders along the way. It can be read over a few months (like the author suggests) or in just a few days. I’m glad I picked it up, but I am also glad that I borrowed the book this time rather than purchasing it!