Sitting curled up with a book and a nice hot cup of coffee or warm Chamomile tea may just be one of my favorite past times. Reading is a huge part of who I am and it’s rare that you’ll ever find me without a book on my nightstand or shoved in my purse or car. For me a trip to Barnes and Noble is like a mini vacation and I’m one of those people who loves the smell of old books too. But as a mom of three, I don’t find as much time to sit peacefully for hours reading as I did in my younger years. Now my favorite spot to read is usually while sitting in the car line for after school pick up. It may only be twenty minutes of quiet reading time (or reading with the sounds of twin toddlers talking from the backseat) but it’s a chance for me to do something I love and read the words I need to hear at that time. As a book lover, there are so many books I love to share with my friends but hands down my favorite book to share with fellow moms is “Hands Free Mama” by Rachel Macy Stafford. I feel this book is so important for our generation because we live life with a cell phone in one hand and a baby on our hip, trying to balance so much at once. Most of us have forgotten what it means to slow down and be “hands free” and I struggle with this just as much as the next mom and this book offers us some insight on how to make time for the things that truly matter: our children and our families.
Far too often, we are distracted, busy, and shuffling through our day just trying to get everything done. We live our lives in what feels like a constant rush. Every time I talk to a girlfriend, when asking how she is I hear “so busy” and that’s usually my response as well. It’s scary sometimes when I think about the fact that our generation seems to put such a focus on being busy and overbooked. I am just as guilty as the next mom with a full calendar. That’s why when I read “Hands Free Mama” it’s a reminder, an anthem and call for me to find time to slow down. To be intentional with my time. To put my phone down and sit on the floor and truly engage as I stack blocks with my toddlers. To listen as my six year old recounts every detail of her day in such detail that I remember that these little things like “prize tickets” and who she sat next to at lunch make up her sweet, little life and hold such importance to her. If I listen while glancing at my phone or shuffling through the mail, am I really hearing her? Rachel’s words fill me up and bring me to tears every time I read a chapter. I have read “Hands Free Mama” twice now and I have cried throughout much of the book both times because her words hit me hard as some of her experiences in distraction mirrored my own. I am desperate to make the most out of my years with my children, as she is, and I realize that in order to do so I need to make sure I am living “hands free” as much as I can.
In her book, in addition to sharing her own words and stories she gives the reader helpful advice in the form of weekly intentions and reflections. You’ll be able to sit and think about your own life and the areas in which you could improve on with slowing down and making intentional time with your family. As a busy mom, if you don’t read any other “mom” books, read this one. Trust me. It’s worth your time, and it will hit you hard as you relate to the words on the page. It’s a gem and filled with so much heartfelt wisdom. I will leave you with a short little spinet from the book when Rachel talks about intentional hellos:
“No matter what I am in the middle of doing, No matter how inconvenient it is to look up, No matter how busy I think I am, When my children walk in the room, When my children hop in the car, When my children and I are reunited after separation, The world is going to stop for a moment. And I will shine my love into their eyes and into their hearts, So my children see and feel how much I love them.”