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Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!
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Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,064 ratings  ·  213 reviews
Rachel Macy Stafford's post "The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up" was a true phenomenon on The Huffington Post, igniting countless conversations online and off about freeing ourselves from the vicious cycle of keeping up with our overstuffed agendas. Hands Free Mama has the power to keep that conversation going and remind us that we must not let our lives pass us by.

Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Zondervan
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i thought this was just dreadful. i was not previously familiar with the author's blog. i read the subtitle & thought it sounded like something i might enjoy. but i was wrong.

so many things are wrong with this book. it purports to be a kind of memoir/guide to reassessing your priorities & maximizing your relationships with your children & other people that matter most in your life. sounds legit, right? but i didn't know that zondervan, which published the book, is apparently a christ
(3.5 stars)

As a long time reader of the Hands Free Mama blog, I had high expectations for the book. I devoured the first fifty pages, eager to see how the blogs would be expanded into a fuller, more comprehensive look at living more in the present and less in electronics, the past or the future.

After about fifty pages, this became a harder read for me. I felt like I'd already gotten the gist of the book, but was having it reiterated for me with slightly different examples. Rather than reading a
I like the way this author writes her blog, but many blog entries do not make a book. It is far too repetitive. We, as readers, understand her point after the first example. And, yet, it feels like she is still holding back - trying to protect an image while admitting that she - like all of us - is a work in progress. And, if we all focused on our own families instead of working or volunteering in order to catch magic moments, society would suffer and so would our children as a result. The balan ...more
I'm not sure what to say about this. I think the key thesis - live your life now, be with the ones you love - is good. It's certainly worth thinking about. But this book is a big fail for me. For one thing, as far as I can tell she says the same thing in every chapter. Read the intro and you're set! Also, the whole thing is so laden with regret and guilt. She seems to feel that every moment of stress, distraction, or preoccupation was a terrible sin. And that leads to my final major criticism: s ...more
So, I’m an internet person. I was a teenager when the internet was “new” and I jumped on board and didn’t look back. I have good friends who live in my computer and honestly some of my closest friends are “internet people”… so when I jumped on the smart phone train, I was in it. You know what I mean. The panicky feeling when your phone isn’t touching you, the times spent in front of a glowing screen when you could be building your marriage, that constant need to be “connected”… I was there. When ...more
Laura June
I’m not sure when this book came across my radar but as soon as I saw the title I added it to my “To Read” list. Being a working mama to 2.5 kids who is highly engaged in social media, sometimes to my own chagrin, I often find myself struggling to find the right balance for myself and my family. This is where Stafford’s book comes into play.

Stafford is a self-proclaimed perfectionist do-it-all mama who realized a few years ago that she had lost herself to her endless to-do list. She found that
I am sorry to write it but the book is helplessly boring and gives no practical advice except for the one between the lines to be rich enough to be a stay-at-home mom who can afford not to be in a hurry and have fun with her kids. Plus it is quite depressing like the goodbyes need to be meaningful because we may never see our beloved ones. Also the time should freeze because only when kids are so little they are precious and soon they will be adults and all of this fabulous life will perish.
Andy Kerckhoff
This book is a must read for the moms who struggle with busy schedules, perfectionism, and wanting to have it all / do it all everyday. Stafford does an excellent job of exploring the problem that so many parents face - how to balance family life with all the responsibilities and tasks of everyday life. She tells stories, shares poems, and enlightens the reader with her hard-won wisdom. She is a recovering type-A mama, and I am sure that there are millions of women like her whose lives are less ...more
While I enjoyed the overall message of the book: stop trying to look like a perfect mom and be the mom you want to be, I had all sorts of problems with the way it was presented. I am really starting to hate blog-to-book books because I think the problem is that in general blogs aren't the equivalent of books; they are the equivalent of magazines. For most of this book I felt like Stafford was wasting my time (a particular problem in a book about prioritizing time). The focus is less on the reade ...more
I feel bad about the rating, because I really hoped to like this book. This is a book that (allegedly) has a yearlong implementation plan, but honestly, it is redundant enough that you can easily get through it in a couple of weeks. Or days. This is a book from a blogger-turned-writer and it suffers in the usual ways (redundancy, unrevealed backstories, lack of continuity).

I wish she'd described her watershed moment that encouraged her to start paying attention to her kids. Like, was it a car cr
I have finished Hands Free Mama – for the first time. I knew not long into it that I was going to do a breeze through reading, and then really read it, implementing as I go. When I first read Rachel Stafford’s blog some time back it spoke to me. I saw myself in Rachel. I am the person who is overextended. Who says yes to way too many things because I feel obligated, or responsible, or guilted. Who spends way too much time checking emails, answering texts, following social media. The person who m ...more
Jac (For Love and Books)
I’ve been a long-time reader of Hands Free Mama, a fantastic blog about what really matters in life. (Seriously – Rachel’s got a great way of putting things in perspective!) One of her posts that really resonates with me is “How To Miss a Childhood” (Which is actually how I found her blog – it appeared on my facebook feed one day!) and also, The Important Thing About Yelling.

Anywho, when her book – Hands Free Mama – came across the screenon Netgalley one day I immediately requested it! And let m
Lucille Zimmerman
Have you ever rushed through a day, wishing you had spent more time being present with your child?

Have you ever raged in-proportionately for the circumstance at hand? For instance, when your child spilled something or wouldn’t hurry? Maybe you realized you were taking your own feelings of inadequacy out on your children.

Rachel Macy Stafford is delightful young mother who realized she was creating an environment of stress, and hurting her children in the process, because of her own Type A nature.
So good! Before I read this book I thought that I was pretty ok in the area of "distraction" / social media etc - I don't do Facebook, Twitter, I've eased up on Pinterest and I have about 10 blogs in my reader BUT this book was a real wake up call for me and I would definitely consider it one of the most impactful books on parenting that I have read. It made me realize my own personal areas of "distraction" and I fully plan (and have started already and noticed huge benefits) to put into action ...more
Gina Crosley-corcoran
I only got half a chapter in before realizing this wasn't my cup of tea. The author is a mom who decided she was spending too much time online. So she solved that by creating a blog and a Facebook page where she tells everyone else to get offline. Huh!? It's also heavy on the god stuff so if you're a non-believer like me, you'll find that a little tough to get through.
Leah Colbeck
3.5 There were things I wholeheartedly agreed with, encouraging and inspiring things and beautiful things. Overall also a slightly elitist perspective which rubbed me the wrong way. I wanted her 'message' which is basically to be present and not miss out on your own life, to be described in ways applicable to those not of her social and economic standing as well as her own.
Such an excellent read for any parent who needs a little extra reinforcement to stay in the moment. I'll be keeping this close by to remind me to refocus and remember what is really important.
Meh. At best, this book is a reminder to live your life in accord with your priorities (children, husband, family, etc.), and be mindful of the distractions that derail those priorities. At worst, this book is just another way for mothers to feel guilty about taking time for themselves and a platform for a self-promoting, narcissistic, and now mediocre-turned-super-mom blogger to talk about herself. It seemed that each chapter was a regurgitation of the first. My least favorite parts were when t ...more
Back in December I read an article online titled, "The Bully Too Close To Home". Sadly, I saw myself. I found a link to Rachel's blog and started to read. Tears filled my eyes with every blog post that I read. She was honest, real, flawed, and I could totally relate to her.

"Hands Free Mama" arrived on my doorstep on January 7th. I gobbled up every page. I quickly learned to read this book with a box of tissues, highlighter, and pen. Every page has markings of some sort. I have told several of m
Pam Camel
It was a good look at how being plugged in all the time is harmful. We may think we are connected but really we are missing real life. She has some great suggestions for unplugging. Such as start with just a short period of time. A hour even just ten minutes. Work your way up and think about what is really important. I liked her story of the canceled swim practice and the kids reaction when mom said we have nothing to do. Instead of rushing a round the yah d fun even if that fun included cleanin ...more
Balance is Possible!
What a refreshing book. Well written and easy to read. In Hands Free Mama there are tips and encouragement on how to unplug the technology in your life and plug-into your family! Written in a positive way – not preaching or bossy – rather, simple ideas to make your life better! Cheers to Rachael Macy Stafford – we needed to hear your thoughts! Enjoy! NetGalley and Zondervan Non-Fiction provided an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book wasn't really what I was expecting. I know Stafford is a popular blogger but I'd never actual read any of her posts. I thought it was going to be mostly about digital distractions, but it wasn't. She does focus on digital distractions for the first part, and then references it it throughout, but it was also about being distracted by your to-do lists and quest for "perfection."

--"I know that this moment, the one I am currently in right now, will become my past, but seldom do I treat th
Jan 16, 2015 J rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: parenting
This book was recommended to me by a JLB girl and seemed to come at an important moment in my life - I am at home with Elizabeth but constantly distracted with Junior League emails & phone calls. (Make it stop!) My husband has also made several comments to me about my smart phone usage during family time. The book told the important message that we need to be "present" to those around us - especially our children and spouses - and technology (cell phones, tablets, ect) disables that.

Rachel is a storyteller. Her writing pulls you in to every story she tells and helps you look for the same situation in your life and look for the same lessons and opportunities she is.

That’s the other part of her writing: you don’t feel excluded at all. Rachel needs renewal in her hands-free journey just like the rest of us do.

Hands free sounds like what it is – a journey to keep our hands available to help, hold, love, and be present in the gift of now. And our eyes open to all these grace-giv
Natalie Pyles
I read a blog post about overcoming the habit of criticizing our children, calling it what it is: “bullying” It really spoke to me so I ordered the author’s book on the spot. Her book Hands Free Mama, however, has nothing to say about holding one’s tongue. Instead, its main topic is ‘cutting out distractions so that we can focus on our children,’ which I have to say is also quite effective as a tool to quiet the inner drill sergeant.

This secret she shares in such a heartfelt way: If you put your
The message of this book is really a five star message. Today's world is more distracted than ever and it was refreshing to read about a lady who "overcame" that. I really enjoyed reading her personal life stories and truly felt inspired while I read.

The writing in this book was somewhat annoying. There were lots of lists and short paragraphs. There was also some repetitiveness (hands free mamas really need to study those cloud formations). On the other hand, I did enjoy the whimsy and passion b
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Oh my goodness well. This was on kindle special earlier in the week so I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. I've read some bits of the blog and was curious. The basic message is great - slow down, get off your smartphone, life's too short, pay real attention to your kids etc. However, I am not into "divine signs", and Stafford is clearly nuts about God, which just really turns me off. Personal impulse to recoil from bible verses and religious zeal aside, I must also say that while smal ...more
Laura Moss
If you don’t know the Hands Free Mama yet, you’re missing out. Her name is Rachel Macy Stafford and her blog inspires millions of people each month. Most of those people are mothers, including myself, who Rachel offers the gift of affirmation, encouragement, camaraderie and, most importantly for me, the feeling that I’m normal when I feel overwhelmed as a mother. She courageously puts herself out there, using stories of her worst moments as a mom, so that the rest of us don’t have to feel isolat ...more
This book worked for me. I don't go into any self-help book with the thought that I'm gonna be cured or I have to relate to the author 100 % to get something from it. I think there's value and a lesson in most things if you are open and looking for it. I have definitely been looking for some guidance to train my focus on my family and not all the distractions I'm constantly inundated with. This helped me make a shift change and for that I'm grateful.
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The Hokey Pokey G...: February 2014 Book Discussion: Hand Free Momma 1 6 Feb 04, 2014 04:26PM  
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Three years ago, Rachel Macy Stafford admitted the honest answer to the question that had been a long-time source of pride: "How do you do it all?" Rachel's answer was painfully simple: "I miss out on life, and what I miss I cannot get back." That very day, Rachel began her Hands Free journey to let go of distraction, perfection, and societal pressure to grasp what really matters in life. This lif ...more
More about Rachel Macy Stafford...
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“Being responsible for someone’s childhood is a big deal. We not only create our own memories, but we create our child’s memories.” 3 likes
“THERE WILL COME A DAY . . . There will come a day when she no longer wants to hold my hand. So I will hold it while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer tells me what’s on her mind. So I will listen while she still wants to talk to me. There will come a day when she no longer says, “Watch me, Mama!” So I will observe and encourage while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer invites me to eat school lunch with her. So I will join her while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer needs my help to bake cookies or hit the tennis ball in the sweet spot. So I will stand beside her gently guiding and instructing while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer wants my opinion about clothes, friendship, death, and heaven. So I will share my views while she still wants to hear them. There will come a day when she no longer allows me to hear her prayers and her dreams. So I will fold my hands and absorb every word while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer sleeps with her beloved stuffed animal. And that day may come sooner than I think. Because sometimes unexpected events happen, causing the days to rush by, the years to tumble ahead. Sometimes what I thought I would have time to do, Like listen to her laugh, Wipe her tears, Breathe her scent, And hold her close, Will no longer be available to me. What I thought I had all the time in the world to do, May no longer be an option. The little pink dog that my child must now learn to sleep without after eight precious years reminds me that tomorrow may not allow for all the things I planned to do. So instead of being too busy, Too tired, Or too distracted when she seeks my love and attention, I will be ready and waiting To make her a well-loved child While I still can.” 2 likes
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