Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford

I highly anticipated the arrival of Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone,
Burning the To-So List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters.  I was already aware of my own weakness and selfishness to make my children less than a priority.

As I began reading, I knew some women really were ridiculously attached to the phone, a clean house, and the right image like the author was until a few years ago.  I also knew I was not one of them, though I have my own distraction factors.  I am not a perfectionist.  My house is, at any given moment, not in great shape.  Dishes, dirt, dust, toys...we have it all.  Only a handful of people have my cell phone number because it is usually off.  My hair is always messy, and no one will ever say I have a great sense of style.

With all that said, I have my own issues.  I may not be attached to a cell phone, but my hands are often "busy" with the laptop or a book.  I appreciate that Rachel Macy Stafford has written a book that many women can relate to as they attempt to focus on their children instead of outside commitments.

Series of personal antidotes of Stafford beginning her Hands Free journey and connecting with her children fill the pages.  Her choice to go hands free is the right one.  She was there for all the little moments that would have been missed otherwise.  She is less concerned about her image to others and more concerned with her family.

I understand her need to live more intentionally and less distracted, and I suspect she has inspired many others to examine themselves to do the same.  As I read the introduction and the first couple of chapters, I found the reading to be easy; I was eager for more.  I appreciated how Stafford didn't expect people to go cold-turkey with their digital stuff. She is a writer and blogger so she is using the computer.  She still has a cell, but she adjusted the settings so it was not such a mobile distraction device.  I was eager for more; unfortunately, I think this misses the mark. I think I expected more depth.  Toward the end, I tired of reading of the sweet stories Stafford shared...the great stories she can call her own because she was no longer distracted.  It's still a topic worth discussing and considering, but this book was a not good fit for me.  It may be a good fit for many other women though.

Stafford began sharing her Hands Free journey first in a blog.  Her book reads a bit like exerts from a blog; in fact, read a few of her blog posts and you'll be reading portions of Hands Free Mama.  It's personal and touching...good for "snacking", but not necessarily a substantial "meal."

This is a faith-based book but being marketed to a wider audience.  Carrie has a interesting and different view of the book than me.  She didn't endorse, but for a different reason.  Quite honestly, I doubt I would have come to the same conclusion as Carrie did on my own.  Only after reading Carrie's review, did I notice a heavy reliance on self and not heavily on God.  (Like Carrie, I don't think this was Stafford's intention.)

I think it is important to be purposeful in our parenting.  However, I cannot stop everything I am doing every time an opportunity arises.  At times, I can finish the email later or close the book.  Moments will arise when I will put the children first.  I need to plan for some of those moments.  Last summer, I actually made a summer fun list of things I'd like to do with the children because I forget to have fun sometimes.  (Seriously.)  I'm working on myself through all of this.  This winter we have had many, many opportunities to take advantage of my children's snow days.  (As I am preparing this review, I am also planning for another snow storm.  Apple muffins are on our list of simple pleasures for tomorrow.)  More importantly, God is working in me.  Hands Free Mama was a bit of a reminder of what I will miss if I choose wrong.

A review copy was provided to me from Booklook reviewer's program.  All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
 Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through a link, I will earn a small percentage. Thank you!
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  1. It sounds like an interesting premise for a book anyway. Early in our marriage there were Christian books out the evils of "child-centered" parenting - it was a popular thought then. From your review I'd say this book goes the other way. I'm sure both put together have the merit of balance. I am curious to read Carrie's review - and at least a few of the author's blog posts now - thanks.

    1. I think the author was SO self-centered and in her own little world that change was needed to be an active parent. Happy reading!

  2. Interesting reading your thoughts as well!

  3. I think it is a balance - sometimes it is good for children to learn to wait until Mom finishes the e-mail or whatever she is doing. But it is is oh-so-easy to let everything else under the sun take priority, so I can see how a book like this would be beneficial.


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