Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review: Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

Hands Free Mama cover
Rachel Macy Stafford's book, Hands Free Mama, is "a guide to putting down the phone, burning the to-do list, and letting go of perfection to grasp what really matters!"  Rachel takes readers on a journey from over-booked, technology-driven, distracted and rushed living to being able to focus on our families and truly living and enjoying each moment with them.

This book isn't for everyone.  I am sure there are some moms out there who are very in-the-moment, relaxed moms that need to read a book about adding more structure and organization to their lives.  I am sure there are moms who avoid technology and over-burdening themselves with outside commitments who don't need this book.

This book is for the rest of us who are struggling with being distracted by the internet, texts, emails, and phone calls.  This book is for the moms who just can't say no, and end up giving too much energy to everyone but their families.  This book is for the Moms who are trying to keep up - worried about serving the perfect meals, finding the perfect workout, keeping the house in perfect order, and missing out on the perfect moments to snuggle with their kids.  In other words, while I'm sure there are some moms who don't need this book ... most of us can benefit from reading it.

I don't have a smart phone.  I don't volunteer for a ton of committees. I'm not busy driving around in car pool lines. I don't keep a perfectly organized home and I'm not trying to put together organic gourmet meals every day. But ... I do get distracted by my own projects, by the internet, and sometimes by books I'm reading. I frequently tell my kids "not now" because I don't want to stop what I'm doing to get into a messy project with them.  I do find myself urging my kids to "hurry up" because I'm already the mom with the reputation of being late and I don't want to make it any worse.  I'm already the mom with "all those kids" and I don't want them to draw any more attention than they have to.  (Which is pretty funny, because my kids are adept at attracting attention from others - always have been.)

As I read Rachel's book, I was convicted of too much time spent online, too many "not nows", and definitely too many "hurry ups".  Rachel does an excellent job of reminding us how fleeting childhood is and how important it is to invest our time in our relationship with our children.  She also points out how important it is to give our kids grace, and time to grow up and do things on their own.  She reminds us to give ourselves grace, as well.  Grace to forgive past mistakes, grace to accept that we aren't perfect but we're doing our best, grace to continue growing.

Hands Free Mama was an encouraging book.  It didn't just heap more guilt and frustration on me.  Each chapter included weekly intentions, reflections, and reflection questions to help apply the chapter to your life.  I did find that her ability to just let go and enjoy time with her kids is different than mine.  I have 9 kids who need me.  I homeschool.  I can't always be available to everyone.  Meal times will always be more hectic at our house - with kids wanting to talk, hungry toddlers asking if they can have a snack while they eat, and phone calls interrupting the process.  Loading up the van to go somewhere will be more stressful for me than for her.  While I do need to just relax sometimes and not push so hard to get there on time, I also can't expect to never say, "hurry up" again.  I can work on how I react to my stress and dawdling kids in those moments, though.

I do recommend the book to any woman who feels God nudging her to set aside her distractions and focus on her family more. If you're even wondering if you should be more "Hands Free" that might be a hint you should read the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free (from Booksneeze and Zondervan)  in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

April E.

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