About Me

Rachel Macy Stafford, author

Rachel Macy Stafford, Author of Hands Free Mama

Hello. I’m Rachel. To know me is to know my personal list of what really matters

*My daughters matter. My older daughter is 11. She is my brown-eyed girl with an enormous heart. I learned what matters in life by watching her walk right up to the suffering and extend her hand. “Because when you have the important things in life—like love, faith, and family—there is nothing you own that you can’t give away.” I penned those words by watching my older daughter live. My younger daughter is 8. She is my Noticer. She remembers where I parked the car and often leads me by the hand to the right spot. She notices friends’ new hairstyles and gorgeous sunsets before anyone else. She looks for the child struggling to sharpen his pencil or the one who’s off in the corner alone. She hops right up to offer her assistance. That’s probably what I love most about her noticing gift—she doesn’t just notice things, she notices emotion. Her way of life inspired these words: “We are all just waiting for someone to notice—notice our pain, notice our scars, notice our fear, notice our joy, notice our triumphs, notice our courage. And the one who notices is a rare and beautiful gift.”

 *My husband matters. He provides me with the grace and love that I freely give others, but often neglect to give myself. His love constantly reminds me of the beauty inside me.  I am certain that his love has added an extra ten years to my life.

*Writing matters. My second grade teacher, Ms. Paluska, led me into the world of writing and it has been home to me ever since. Writing for others is my joy. My favorite gift to give someone is a note or a poem that highlights the best qualities about that person. I am humbled (and touched) when someone tells me they have saved every note that I have ever written them.

*Teaching matters. Before I was a mom, I was a teacher to special education students. I can still remember all their names and wish I could see how each one turned out. I love sharing information in creative and inspiring ways to those who want to receive it.

*Encouraging others matters, probably because so many people have encouraged me in my life. I remember the name of every person who encouraged me to publish my works so that as many people as possible could read my words.

*Recognizing angels matters. I strive to notice the angels that come into my life when I need them, and then later telling them about it. Every single day, I want to be somebody’s angel.

*Faith matters. I have faith that there is plan for my life. In this case, I believe that God chose me to have a revelation about how I want to spend my days here on this earth.  And it is because of my faith that I understand why God chose me. I was chosen to tell this story because of what really matters to me. Being a mother, a wife, a writer, a teacher, and an encourager has prepared me to show others how to let go of their own daily distractions and grasp what really matters.  Maybe through this blog, I can even become somebody’s angel.

Which brings me to my last and most recent item that really matters to me…

*Being Hands Free matters.  Before, I was holding on to the wrong things and missing out on life.  Finally, I am holding on to what matters, and it has given my life new meaning. Come on and join me; grasp what really matters to you and then start living.

Comments

  1. 1

    eleanor williams says

    Rachel,I hope I have the honor of being your first comment! I just ran and climbed in the bed with Gibs and rubbed her back. I love your new “venture” and I know it will be a blessing to you and MANY others. So proud you are my friend!!!

  2. 5

    Stephanie Krause says

    Amazing Rach!! So proud to call you my friend. Thank you, thank you for the reminder to slow down and be present with our loved ones! My floor needs a cleaning and clothes need to be folded…baby is napping so I should use this time to work – right? Nah…Michigan has blessed us with two back-to-back snow days so I think I will head out and build a snowman with the boys.
    I read every page and entry of your blog. Many of the entries brought tears to my eyes. Keep ‘em coming! Two of your greatest gifts have always been your insight and your ability to identify emotions and turn them into words. Bravo! XO

  3. 7

    Karen says

    Rachel…You are amazing and wonderful! Thanks so much for your insight as well as the strength and creativity to share it with others! You are truly an angel and bless the lives of many…I am honored to know you and have you as a friend! You go woman! This made my day! I am so ready to be Hands Free! :)
    Love and Blessings!

  4. 10

    Deb Griffith says

    It has taken me 50 + years to learn these lessons. It is so refreshing to see a woman your age learn them so early. You are very special and I am very proud to be your friend.
    You go girl !!
    Love ya and miss seeing you everyday.

    • 11

      says

      Thank you for taking the time to tell me this, Deb. Whenever I see those pictures of you and your beautiful grandkids doing something special together, I think to myself, “Now that is a Hands Free Grandma, if I have ever seen one!” And I can always tell by their happy faces that the time and attention you give them truly makes a difference! Love you and miss you, too!

  5. 12

    Jill says

    Thank you Rachel! Couldn’t have been a better night for me to read your blog, as I’m overwhelmed with holiday commitments, cleaning and way too many things on my to-do list! And I have a feeling I’m going to be thanking you again and again, because I intend to check in regularly to keep me ‘in the moment’ with my kiddos! xoxo

    • 13

      says

      Jill, what a bright spot to hear from you today! I was just telling Scott last night that I couldn’t wait for you to see that I am writing. You always told me I could do it, and we shared some lofty writing dreams together, didn’t we? I can recall every word of encouragement you ever gave me. Thank you for reaching out to me tonight.

  6. 14

    Bethany Lynch says

    Love, love, love it! And, I am so proud of you for pursuing your dream and your passion. Your words have always touched my heart and soul and I know they will do the same for so many others. I struggle every day to keep a balance and focus on what matters most. So, thank you for solidifying what I have always known. I will be waiting on the edge of my seat for your next entries. And, smiling as I experience all of my “hands free” moments. Thank you for the reminder! Love you, my friend.

    • 15

      says

      Thank you, Bethany! Your support and encouragement mean the world to me. It really feels good to be doing what I feel has been the plan all along. I can’t wait to hear (and maybe see) the beautiful Hands Free moments in store for you and your family! So happy you are on this journey with me!

  7. 16

    Michelle from Kentucky says

    Rachel-

    A friend of mine posted a link to your blog on facebook, and I followed the link. How grateful I am that I did! I’ve had one of those days… I’m sick, my baby is sick, we have snow but I had to go to the grocery… One of those days. *sigh* Yet, despite all of this, I could not just relax and take it easy. I, too, feel this need to be productive, to multi-task, to be the super-mom that society expects. This is also evidenced by my need to check facebook from my iPhone before I can allow myself to fall asleep :)

    Anyway, I digress. Yes, I’m so grateful. Because as I read each of your entries and felt warm tears streaming down my face, I realized just how tied-up I’d become in “obligations” (which are really choices, not obligations) and to-do lists. And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of not feeling productive if my house isn’t spotless, or if I’m not doing more than one thing at a time.

    So I’m going to take this journey with you. I’ve been longing for it. I want to be present in my son’s (and unborn child’s) lives. And not just physically present… Not just the mom who is there, but not there. I want to experience the world through my childrens eyes, and I can’t do that if all I’m looking at is a phone screen or a computer screen.

    Thanks again for your words. Consider yourself bookmarked!

    • 17

      says

      Michelle, I am deeply touched by your words. You have articulated thoughts and feelings that sound like they could be coming from own head. I read comment very early this morning and because of your words, I had one of the most Hands Free school mornings ever. I actually read a book to my girls during breakfast. Usually it is rushing around to get out the door with no time for connection. But like you said, it is a choice. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, which in turn touched my life in such a simple, yet profound way. Please continue to check in…we are truly on the same page.

  8. 18

    Sarah from Birmingham says

    It would be such a wonderful gesture to share the special moments you observed with the “Distracted Dad”. He would likely treasure it and even perhaps slow down enough to enjoy some of it first hand. Good luck finding him. I can’t wait to hear his reaction.

  9. 19

    Liz from Pittsburgh says

    Hi Rachel,
    I too followed a link to your blog that a friend of mine had posted on facebook. I just finished reading every one of your posts and feel like I’ve had a complete awakening! Not until I read your blog this evening, did I even realize how distracted and disconnected I have been living (or rather, not living) my life. Everything you wrote hits home and I feel like your words were meant just for me. Your simple and inspiring message of Hands Free Living is an epiphany for me!! From this day forward I vow to myself, my 2 beautiful children, and my husband, to slow down and step away from the distractions that are constantly beckoning me, and spend more time enjoying the precious moments we have together.

    God sent an angel into my life tonight to help open my eyes. Thank you and God Bless you Rachel!! I am on definitely on board!!

    • 20

      says

      Liz, thank you! To know that my words have created an awakening in you is just truly amazing to me. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone in this desire to live a Hands Free life. I have been blessed with the gift to spread this message and by people like you who take time to let me know it is being heard. May God bless you in your pursuit to make every moment count. Please let me know how it’s going!

  10. 23

    Jackie Fisher says

    Rachel: I came across your website from a FB post of your Dad’s . I am no longer a young mother(my daughter is 30). I know alot of your articles are geared to younger families. What you write makes a lot of sense. I have several young FCMs who are young mothers who are struggling to create a good balance ( career, family,marriage,community) in their lives. I plan to share your site with them. thanks for sharing your inspiration. Jackie Fisher, Muncie, IN

    • 24

      says

      Hi Jackie, thank you so much for taking the time to write me and let me know that you will be sharing my writings with the mothers with whom you work. I hope they find my website useful and inspiring. I am amazed by the varying audiences my blog is attracting. Many moms are reading, but so are dads, grandparents, and even people without children simply wanting to live more fully in the moment. Please keep in touch. I would love to hear any Hands Free moments that come from your parents!

  11. 25

    Michael Davidson says

    Dear Ms. Stafford:

    The hero that you wrote about in “The Steps of a Hero,” gave me my first job 10 years ago and to this day, his kindness to me and my family, particularly during long absences from work because I wanted to spend as much time with my wife before her passing is still something that those of us who work for him still talk about. But, it is a story you will never hear him tell.

    Several months ago, this man reached out to several of his contacts in the publishing world and asking all of us to read this blog.

    I just wanted you to know that when you are ready, feel free to reach out to me. I work exclusively in a genre that does not cover what you write, but I can provide you names of editors at Random House and Penguin Press that would be interested in speaking with you.

    On a side note – I just wanted you to know that he talked about you at a business meeting and many of us who have known him for many years still can’t believe that he spends so much time asking people to help others (when it does not benefit him in anyway – something you don’t find in this business) – so, as a favor to him, whatever you need, just let me know.

  12. 26

    Kelly Greiner says

    Rachel, I have always meant to comment, but have not. Due to the 2 deaths close to my husband in the past year and a half, I hope to have new meaning. I don’t like to be stressed and I know what matters most to me…and it is for sure family and my relationship with friends and God. I just hope and pray that I have your devotion and williness when I do get frustrated or feel stressed. I love the idea for Easter and hope we CAN make TIME to do this!! Thanks Rachel! Your doing a wonderful job!

  13. 27

    Waynonda says

    Thank you for your message today “Some rain got in”. It was beautiful. I wish we would have been neighbors longer but am grateful for the brief time we were. Again, thank you.

  14. 29

    Jennifer Brackney says

    Rachel,

    I just received a link to handsfreemama on my facebook page from a friend of mine…..not a college friend or a mutual friend of ours. This link was from someone I’m sure you don’t know or who does not know you. Word is traveling fast and your efforts are reaching new heights. She praised your honesty and encouraged others to join the revolution! We just got back from Disney World and you know their saying, “Let the Memories Begin”. We’ll, I think you should use it too. People are taking it all in instead of giving it all away. Keep up the good work, you inspire me to be great!!!

    • 30

      says

      Jennifer, thank you for taking the time to tell me this! Although it was very hard to share this story, comments like yours confirm that my message is meant to be shared. Daily distraction is robbing us of what is most precious and it takes awareness to get our lives back. So many people seem to welcome this awareness and are making changes accordingly. I am truly grateful to have the support of so many who want to grasp what matters in this lifetime. Thank you for letting me know the impact!

  15. 31

    says

    Hi Rachel! I’m so glad I found your site and know that there are other women, wives, mothers who are tired of society keeping us on the hamster wheel and want to look to be fulfilled by God and Him alone! Thanks for your encouragement!

    • 32

      says

      Thank you for your encouragement, as well, Christi! I have met so many folks through this blog who embrace the message of living out our purpose, whatever we believe that is, by pushing away distraction so we actually can! I am so glad you have joined me. All your comments have touched my heart.

  16. 34

    Jennifer says

    Rachel – you are my angel today. Reading your posts is like a breathe of fresh air. Thank you for posting on my sisters blog so I could meet you. Isn’t it remarkable how our angels come into our lives?

    • 35

      says

      Jennifer, I just love your sister’s blog. She is talented! I found myself laughing outloud at her posts. I don’t remember how I found her. I believe divine intervention brings people together when they most need their paths to cross. What a bonus that I got to meet you, as well! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time to let me know you were here. I treausre every syllable of encouragement I receive.

  17. 36

    says

    FEEL SO hopeful and appreciative that I clicked over to your blog from Scary Mommy.

    You are unique, unlike so much noise lately.

    Really, what a wonderful place.

  18. 41

    Jayne Barbour says

    You are my angel tonight as i read this. Thank you so much. I really needed to find your blog!

  19. 43

    Christina says

    Great blog Rachel! Thanks for the reminder to “stop and smell the roses” with our children and loved ones as often as we can! As they truly are what matters most in life. :-)

  20. 44

    arlene in illinois says

    :-) Goodmorning Rachel…
    I was awakend an hour ago by a squeak in the floorboards above me. First thought, shock, I am asleep? Again? Stretched out & legs up on the new recliner ? Lately, yes I find myself here, but oh such a comfortable snuggly warm chair… and I am so warm and cozy, and tooo tired to move. ah, just snug in deeper a few minutes to keep warm, wish I had a blanket…too tired to move. Just sleep. I jump. “Ping” Somewhere on the couch I had left my phone in my purse.

  21. 45

    arlene in illinois says

    … the sun is rising. Too late to sleep. Peek at fb before youngest is up for school? A post from son’s past Sunday school teacher… leads me here – and as I read thru your first pages.WOW. My mind says YES. I grab my NEW notebook – the one to keep things – memories – names- places to go – A purple Mom’s Journal. And I begin a new page. Blogs to watch ( in my free time) we are so much alike…TEARS … as read thru your first year… I need to go… I will be back later … promised french toast, but now only time for cold cereal…

  22. 46

    Shelly R says

    I am SO very thankful I found your website. I have told you this before in another comment, but it has changed my life. I look at things with a whole new perspective now.

    I have been going through a rough time this week so I came to your site today specifically to read articles that I have not yet read and be reminded what truly matters. I think I will plan to stop by every day and read a previous article until I have read them all. They always uplift me and tell me exactly what I need to hear.

    Thank you again for changing my life, and especially for changing my daughter’s life through the changes you have inspired in me.

    Love,

    Shelly

    • 47

      says

      Shelley, just know that you have given me the best gift today. These were words I needed to hear. I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me what you come back again and again to read. That means so much. Thank you, friend.

  23. 48

    Jackie says

    I’ve just stumbled upon your site. I am so excited! Can’t wait to parent alongside you. Inspired.

  24. 49

    says

    Superb! Generally I never read whole articles but the way you wrote this information is simply amazing and this kept my interest in reading and I enjoyed it.

  25. 50

    Christina says

    Stumbled across your blog, thanks to a friend. I’m so glad that someone is putting to words what I’ve been feeling! I hate that I allow myself to be drawn away from my children by email or social media. Who else could be more important, not to mention fun, to socialize with than my kids?! Thank you for the challenge to be hands free and cherish the moments, I look forward to reading more of your blog….when my children are napping. :)

  26. 51

    says

    this is the reason i only have a basic cell phone – i don’t need more distractions. but the same goes for computer time, or any other things that are stopping us from really connecting with our husbands & kids & are giving us any excuse to ‘opt out’ from real-life. this post has really prompted me to put some stronger boundaries in place for time that i spend sitting in front of the computer.

  27. 52

    Judith says

    Hi Rachel – just a short note to say thank-you for your very inspiring stories and website. I discovered your website last week and today is Day 6 of being a Hands-Free Mama – I love it!! Might be too earlier to say this but I can feel the type of parent I am is totally changing for the better. Thank you very much and I look forward to more articles.

    • 53

      says

      Thank you, Judith. These are truly the most beautiful words for my eyes to read. 6 days–Hands Free! AWESOME and wonderful! I don’t think it is too early to say you are changing as a parent! I could feel it from day one. Once your eyes have been opened to the beauty of living “Hands Free,” you don’t see life the same way. I am so glad you are here!

  28. 55

    says

    I found your blog from one of the articles I’ve read today from time magazine online, what a great and life changing advocacy and inspiration you’re! Indeed, my blackberry had become one of the most evil distractions I have right now and I feel guilty everytime I’m hooked to it instead of playing with my son. Thanks for enlightening me up!

    I’ll definitely grab your badge and post it on my blog to spread the word! keep it up!

  29. 58

    says

    I just found your blog today, and I already can not wait to keep exploring further.

    This year is my year of learning to “Let Go” – It started with the birth of my 2nd son. I had to learn to let go of my birth plan so my child could guide me through his delivery. I had to learn to let go to survive the first few months. In those moments, I knew that the lesson of letting go would define 2012 for me. I know I had him so he could teach me this lesson.

    Your blog, in the few short minutes I have spent reading it, has already made think about how much further I need to go with this life lesson. THANK YOU!

  30. 59

    says

    Hi! I met you at Joanne Dorr’s house one day for our small group. I love your blog and read it in my reader often, but haven’t been to it in a while until tonight. Anyway, I noticed that it looked the same as it did when I first came and didn’t know if you’d be interested in a professional blog make-over since you’re so “big time” now. :) I do blog designs for blogger and my husband is currently unemployed. Not saying your blog looks bad (I love your header picture, by the way!!!), but just reaching out to help someone that has such a great message to spread….IF you want the help. I could give you a discount since you’re doing such a great ministry! Just let me know if you’re interested and I can show you some of my work. I’m also a photographer. (website: catdmoore.com) Blessings, cat (catdmoore@gmail.com)

    • 60

      says

      Thank you so much, Catherine. I would be very interested in learning more about your services in the near future! Thank you for your generous offer. My book proposal was recently accepted by a literary agent in NYC … I am praying a book deal is in my near future. I am certain when the time comes, I would welcome your help and expertise in updating my site. Thank you so much for reaching out.

  31. 61

    says

    I am so glad I found you Rachel.
    I don’t know what led you to my blog, but I am incredibly grateful.
    As I read what’s on these pages, it’s the same feeling I used to have when I walked through the door of my childhood home after a long road trip. The smell, sounds, familiarity, all made it feel like I had never really left. Your blog feels like home to me. Thank you.

    • 62

      says

      Oh wow. That is so lovely, Joy! I am SO touched. You are an incredible writer and have blessed so many with your writings about Elliot. Thank you for the honor of this comment on my blog.

  32. 63

    says

    I just wanted you to know that I love what you are doing. I am a mother of 6 beautiful, delicious children and my time is obviously spread thin… your website inspires me daily to cling to everything that really matters to me. Everything & anything else can wait. Thank you for sharing your passion and gifts with the world. You’ve made it a better place.

  33. 66

    kirsty barber says

    Hi rachel, i have just been recommended to read your blog and have found it very interesting. I have tried to send you a email, but it won’t allow me for some reason. I have 2 children myself and as a mother i have lots of issues i would love to speak about and write about to do with parenting and the problems we face, i was wondering if you had any advice or help you can give me to starting my own blog. Any information would be great, thankyou. My email address is kirstybarber1983@hotmail.com

    • 67

      says

      Hi Kristy,

      That is wonderful that you are thinking of starting a blog. I am definitely not an expert, but here are a few things I have learned:

      -Center your blog posts around one central theme. Let readers know what you are about through that one theme. This way readers know what they can expect when they come to your blog. It is hard to build a brand if the blogger is jumping around from topic to topic. My central theme is grasping what matters in life. All my posts have to do with that theme. In addition, it is something I am passionate about. I chose to write what is on my heart and be honest in my writings. Readers want a blogger who is real and authentic, someone they can connect with.

      -Write consistently. The first year, I published 3 times a week. As my writing obligations and speaking engagements increased, I posted once a week. My readers can rely on me and know I will once post each week. I think writing one good, quality post a week that is well thought out is more effective than writing several rushed posts.

      -Try not to get discouraged. If your goal is to grow a community of readers, know that it takes time. Just keep writing and reaching out to other bloggers to get your name out. Be prepared for criticism. When you put yourself out there, you run the risk of being criticized. If you believe in your message and feel like your blog is serving the purpose that you intended, then it doesn’t matter what other people think.

      Best of luck in your new endeavor,

      Rachel

      • 68

        kirsty barber says

        Thankyou so much rachel for that advice, all very useful to know!! I am struggling with the process of how to start a blog or website up! And how do i get people to read it etc? Any more advice would be greateful.

  34. 69

    Clare says

    Thank you Rachel for your inspiration and gift to this world. Slowing down and seeing/feeling what really matters is precious and something I intend to do much more of. I’ve just disconnected from facebook for that very reason. I love your blogs and can’t believe I’ve only just stumbled upon them, but also believe in divine timing! Thank you Earth Angel, you are a blessing to many. Now to go spend some quality time with my precious ones. :-)

  35. 70

    Sara says

    What a moving “About”, straight from the heart. This really touched me. Well done, your writing really is beautiful!

  36. 74

    FG says

    Rachel, you are a beautiful soul. I came across your blog on dailygood and I am floored by you. I am not yet a mother, but I hope that when I am one day (if I am blessed with such a gift) that I can garner such beauty, love and joy from motherhood. God bless you!

  37. 76

    Danelle says

    I have read your blog before, but stumbled across it yesterday and I am forever changed. I still can’t stop thinking about how moved I was. I know it was a message made for me. Now to make a daily change, I’m working on that, I am forever changed. I will be in touch, but just wanted to say thank you and thank you to your teenage commenter.

    • 77

      says

      Thank you, Danelle. Messages like this mean everything to me. Thank you for coming back today to tell me you are here, joining me on this life-changing journey. I am grateful for your company. xo

  38. 78

    jeff mika says

    Rachel…I am so glad you include God in the things that are important to you…all that we have from the Omnipotent One is a gift..and all gifts originate from the power contained within understanding that…
    Your gift is the gift of understanding..Jeff

  39. 79

    says

    Ah those days working with Special Needs Children with all of the under-funding . Due to State truancy laws I found I was enforcer most often and not the advocate for those most hard to reach. I found your blog so purposeful and a good witness.

  40. 80

    Annette Safford says

    Rachel,
    Enjoyed the story “The Teacher Who Ran”. Your determination and love made a difference. Very inspirational story. I love how love works.

    • 81

      says

      Thank you, Annette! I have “met” the kindest people through my article with Reader’s Digest. I am honored you took the time to write and tell me the story touched your heart. Thank you!

    • 83

      says

      Lovely and powerful! Thank you for what you are doing for the earth and for children and families. I wish I lived closer to CA and could attend the camp! Thank you for reaching out and sharing your mission!

  41. 84

    Lisa Slabaugh says

    I would love to know the 6 words to say everyday. I need to let go and do what really matters. My son recently passed away and I need help in trying to really look at what matters and let go of all the bs that seems to drag me down…..Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  42. 86

    says

    I am not a blog follower but I think I found one I need to read! I have twin 20 month old boys, a 9-5 job and i do a little creative business on the side. I am overwhelmed. EVERY. DAY. Your words from your most recent post have changed me.

  43. 87

    says

    Hi Rachel,
    I seriously stumbled upon your blog on FB (the latest blog about why yelling matters) and for kicks I read it! I am a teacher and a busy mom. I have 2 daughters like you, ages 5 & 8, and I was moved beyond belief. I don’t even know you, but I feel this connection because of this blog. I am now going to be following everything you write, and I particularly was touched about what you wrote about yourself. You have a lovely spirit <3 Namaste and thank you for writing!

  44. 88

    Rodni Cruz says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog post! I’m a mom of five awesome kids, 3 amazing grandkids, a physician-OB GYN. Too often glued to my &*%$# phone out of necessity, currently have been awake nearly 36 hours after delivering 5 babies in the past 2 days….so um, yeah….thanks for making me cry! lol

  45. 89

    Keri says

    I just want to let you know that I am addicted to your blog! You have the insight & the mindset that I desire… I want to be a cool, care-free, fun-loving, hands free mom … but I am often a fierce, overwhelmed & angry mom of 2 super awesome & incredibly WILD lil future-men (1yr & 4yr). I want you to know that you inspire me & I think you’re my angel of sorts!! Thank you. =)

  46. 91

    Sara Noeske says

    Just wanted to say Thank you for being my angel.. say your yelling post on MSN earlier this week.. I will tell ya that I slid a little in my yell free zone.. but you are on the back of my mind and I wanted to know more.. so here I am.. I HAVE to be a better mom…

    Thank you again… off to help the 3 year old ;)

  47. 93

    says

    hello there rachel! love your website, is so inspiring!!! i love reading your posts. I have recently set up a website about parenting and the challenges we face. I want to interact with other mums and share my experiences. I was wondering if you was able to give me any advice on how i get my website noticed and getting mums to access it. Any advice would be extremely useful. Thankyou

    • 95

      says

      Thank you, Jessica! I am so glad you have enjoyed what you’ve read! If you look at the right side of my blog, you will see a box that says “want new posts in your inbox?” then you just type in your email address. You will get an email from feedburner that you will need to confirm the subscription. It is super easy. Then you will receive the new posts each week. I will be taking a Hands Free vacation next week so there will be no posts, but will resume on June 18th. Thank you!

  48. 96

    says

    I am a working mom of three little ones. I often put work first and it really never needs to be first. I discovered your blog today though a friend that is an editor, and it brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know you, but feel we would be great friends! Thank you for such an incredible blog, such great words of wisdom and for reminding us all what is the real meaning of life.

  49. 98

    Vicki Taylor says

    Thank you so much for your FB blog. You are so awesome and have ministered to me today!!! I had several things to get done today but tripped over a friend’s FB message with your link and thus ended a couple of hours of “good enough” time. It was just good enough to read one post. I had to keep reading and then “shared” a couple of them with my married daughter who has two kids. What insight!! I’ve recently had a lifestyle change and these words have been so rich to me. I will continue to read your posts but will have to set the timer each time I begin! lol There are so many that I have to read to get all caught up!!! You inspire me to keep reading one after another. Thank you so much for tapping in to my day and making my thoughts better.

  50. 100

    Christy says

    Your blog is awesome! I feel like you put into words exactly how I feel. You have truly inspired me to continue on my path. Thank You!

  51. 101

    Kate Sweet says

    Thank you so much for your writing on yelling! I am new mom with a lovely, chubby 6 month old daughter and it is wonderful to see how I will strive to be as a mother and wife! :)

  52. 102

    Megan says

    Rachel,
    Thank you for blogging and taking the time to share your journey. Someone on facebook happened to post your most recent entry about “hurrying up,” and it was meant for me. When you described your previous self being type-A , keeping lists, multi-tasking, and hurrying up, etc it is me. I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed lately, and guilty about not just slowing down for my almost 4 year old daughter. She is much like your younger daughter, and I could learn a lot from her about how to live life. I am so glad I came upon your blog, I’ll definitely be following it. I think you are an angel that was sent into my life to help me focus on what’s really important. I’m ready to begin this journey.

  53. 103

    says

    Hi, I came across your blog through facebook and was delighted by your attitude and writing style. I too have a child who relishes in collecting stones and asking every imaginable question. I am learning to slow down and re-adjust my attitude so that I don’t miss out on the beauty and perspective my kids give me. I would love to create a tool with you if you are interested. Something to help us live in the moment that could be shared on both your website and mine. Please take a look at what I do and let me know. To your bloomingness! Elaheh Bos

  54. 105

    says

    Man. That was a nice read. My friend posted a link to your blog, “hurry up” was the last thing I read. I find myself rushing moments, and I need to stop! They are going to be gone before I know it, and I know I will miss this. Even on the most stressful days, when they are fighting and crying, and I’m in the corner with wine…..I will miss it.
    Love your blog. Can’t wait to read more! <3

  55. 106

    Katie K says

    Just stumbled across your blog this evening, and I am SO happy I did. You are incredibly honest, which is truly hard to find these days! What an inspiration!!

    I will surely bookmark your page and visit frequently!

    THANK YOU for being so real.

    Katie from LI

  56. 107

    Teerawut Mahawan says

    greeting from Thailand ! I have read “Loving a Child Through the Challenges of Life” via the Readers Digest. I have to tell you “Thank you”. ieie

  57. 108

    Erica says

    I just want to say thank you. I can’t tell you how deeply your words have touched me and I feel transformed. I just happened upon one of your articles today and felt something switch in me once I read it. I immediately found your blog and I have been reading ever since with tear-stained cheeks and a heavy heart! I, too, have been living the life that you have since left behind and I, too have been needing a major wake-up call. Out with the distractions, in with hands-free living! I can’t wait to hug my 4 year old in the morning, look into her beautiful face and tell her that things are going to be different. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  58. 111

    Macye Fitzpatick says

    My niece forwarded your “The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up'” to my sister Peggy who in turn forwarded to me. I was the HURRY UP !!! mom. As a teacher 10 months of the year did not leave a time cushion. My daughter is just the opposite. Bright curious and in the now personality. My Rachel Macye (yes this is my daughter’s name) is married with both a daughter (very A type like me) and a son (a very much like Rachel)
    Her parenting style is so different than mine. She and her husband made the choice for her to be a stay at home mom.
    I was named Macye for my maternal grandmother.
    Is it also a family name for you?
    Thank you for writing this article.
    Macye C. Fitzpatrick

  59. 112

    says

    Hi Rachel,

    I just read your article pushished on huffingtonpost about the words “Hurry Up”.

    This is exactly how I feel about my two daughters right now. I didn’t make the promise yet, but I think that it will come soon because I’m wrong et they are so right to take their time to do things. Your post strengthens me to do so.

    I think it’s the first time I wrote to an article writer to thank her. So thank you for opening up a little more my eyes.

    Brice from France.

  60. 115

    Mayara says

    Hello! I’m from Manaus, Brazil (you may google it to know how far your word has reached), and I am your fan. I’m not a mom yet, but in the near future I want to and I always wonder if I’m gonna be a good mom ’cause sometimes I don’t have patience with people I love, like my mother, and it’s all about that: enjoying little moments with your loved ones. I reeeeaaally love your blog! Abraços (hugs)!

  61. 116

    says

    Hi Rachel,

    I just found your blog today and I love it.
    I posted a link to your post – The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’, on my blog. It was really beautiful and it touched my heart. Thank you!

    Love
    Jen

  62. 117

    says

    Hi, Rachel,
    As author of travel blog Família Recomenda (family recommends) in Portuguese, I can only say your words are inspiring and truthful. I share your beliefs in building ever lasting memories with our children by paying attention to what they are and what they want.
    I always urge my blog readers to do the same, when they ask me things like “should I take a 2 year-old to Disney World?” I always answer: look at your child, see what she can handle and how this particular destination will help you have a good time and build lasting memories. And, if you want to go because of yourself and not your child, there´s nothing wrong about that, as long as you acknowledge it and don´t put it all down on HER bill!
    When we become parents we have to grow a lot and actually become the grown ups, isn´t it? It´s a very demanding job and your words certainly help us do it.
    I will definitely read more of your blog and follow your next posts. Thanks a lot for sharing these things with us!

  63. 118

    Sally says

    Wish I knew u as a person, I wish I could become inspired to publish. as a child I always been creative and when I learned about fiction I was hooked. I like your style as well. I would like to have friends. I am a young working mom with little to no time to myself . I am crying with hope in my heart that you can reach me the way you speAK it sounds like you have a grasp on things in life. Take care, Sally

    • 119

      says

      Hi Sally, I am so glad you are here. This community is very supportive of one another. Each week on my new blog posts, many of the same commenters post their thoughts and experiences. I welcome you to post anytime you need to share something. I found that my writing was healing to me and by sharing my stories, I felt less alone. Just remember, you are not alone and today offers new chances to live the way you want to live–even if it is just a baby step in that direction.

      Love, Rachel

  64. 120

    David Fetzer says

    I think you’ve found the right track for you, and didn’t have to endure a mid-life crisis to do it. And that’s partially because you haven’t yet had to confront what “mid-life” means.

    So probably, if you’re lucky, your life will play out much as you’ve laid it out. If that’s so, that’s truly wonderful, as long as you don’t miss the incredibly beautiful pop-up, surprise tableaux that life has to offer. They’re everywhere. They’re every day, and they’re everyday. Revel in that distinction.

    Good luck.

  65. 121

    Berry says

    Rachel, I really appreciate your blog. It helps me be a better and a less reactionary mom to my three children whom I absolutely adore yet with whom I don’t always keep my cool. Thank you!

  66. 122

    Doreen says

    Hi Rachel,

    I just chanced upon your blog through a friend’s sharing on FB. Love your blog’s name and purpose :) Will definitely follow your posts from now on. Thanks for writing your life experiences! God bless you and the family.

  67. 123

    says

    I am so happy to have stumbled onto your website from Facebook. I am working on getting my key priorities firmly in place and your blog is so timely. Thank you for encouraging me with hands free mama today. I look forward to keeping in touch.

  68. 124

    says

    I just came across your blog this morning because of a post someone had shared on Facebook. As I sat a my kitchen counter reading the post I was moved to tears. I saw my reflection in what I was reading. You are brave to share your story and I am so thankful you did. I truly believe that God put that in front of me today so that I could see what I have been doing to my own daughters. I really was the punch to gut so to speak that I needed. I have been living in a world of anger and self loathing and not only i am suffering but so are the ones I love the most. I cannot say Thank You enough to you for posting this story. I am also a blogger and I think now I can talk about and share my journey through these tough issues. I am not feeling so alone anymore after reading your post as well as all the comments you received from it. If you would be OK with it I would love to write about my journey as well. Thank you again!!!

    • 125

      says

      Of course! I believe there is great healing in writing down our thoughts, goals, and experiences as we strive to have a more peaceful response with the people we love & ourselves. I’d love to see your post if you decide to share it. Thank you for the kind words.

      • 126

        says

        Thanks for the reply. I did decide to post on blog about the issues I having with my behavior towards my girls and my family.

        Thanks again for sharing your story and for giving me hope that I can change the way I do things.

  69. 128

    Elizabeth says

    I was wondering if there are any posts written about when your kids are defiant and mis-behave or any good referrals – such as fighting with each other, spitting on the floor, hitting the dog, peeing outside during snow storms or anytime (two boys), not listening when called to the table for dinner, screaming consistently while driving, I could go on and on and on I have four kids 13, 7, 6, and 3. As of today it is my 6 year old boy that causes the most issues (which I try my hardest not to compare or isolate  ) … and honestly I read all of the parenting books, the mom blogs, I am a Gold member of positive parenting solutions, and the articles I read are endless … I am a working mother that really strives to disconnect and become hands on and completely present when at home with the kids and also divide my time up between the four of them to give them at least 2 x 10 minute individual time. I plan activities, craft time, story time, just being settled together time, etc… but I seem to have no idea how to move forward with this phase…. Oh and throw in there a very hormonal 13 year old girl… who is very angry with her 6 year old brother ;)

    Anyway  I was just seeing if you had any postings on how you just be present during breakdowns or behavior that is disrespectful and honestly out of line …

    Love your posts – they are inspiring!

  70. 130

    Claire says

    Great reading, I am very happy I have come across your blog as its very relevant information for me. I am aspiring to be a hands free Mama and am learning what really is important. Thanks for writing your blog. Love it.

  71. 131

    Keya M says

    You’re simply an incredible woman… I just can’t tell you how you and your write ups on this site has inspired me a lot lot lot…. thanks a ton….. for creating such a wonderful site and writing such beautiful things.. though I’m neither married nor a mother… your parenting tips have touched me still…. How I wish to write like you… How I wish to say thanks to your 2nd grade teacher who inspired you to write… loads of love to you and your family… God Bless you.. Happy New Year…. xoxo

  72. 132

    says

    Your epiphany and tears over the starfish are beautiful. What an amazing moment that you captured and shared with everyone. Thank you. I love how you see your children, how you SEE them and know them. That is the intent I have for my five. At times I hide in distractions to make a place for myself, as my five overwhelm me. But I’ve found that being with them is where my place is. How wonderful to stumble across your blog and find your words.
    Thank you

  73. 133

    Taylor C says

    I . I wanted to say thank you for your blog and your book. I am slowly putting down my electronics and spending less and less time on social media. In fact I made the decision to deactivate my Facebook because I have found it is the base of a lot of my unnecessary stress in my life. You have encouraged me to spend time with my son and my husband and live in the moment instead of playing on Facebook and worrying about what other people are doing and competing against them instead of enjoying my own life and the life of my family without all the drama. Thank you so much!!

  74. 134

    Valerie says

    Rachel – I started reading your blog about 6 months ago when a friend shared one of your posts on Facebook. I have a 6 yr old daughter and a 5 yr old son. I know you have heard this before, but your words really hit home, you were writing about me. As a type A, “OCD” perfectionist, I know how difficult it is to admit to anyone (kids, husband, friends, public) that I am wrong, I made a mistake, I made a bad decision. Your blog has truly helped me change my thinking and my behavior. The Important Thing About Yelling, The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up, The Bully Too Close to Home and Who You Are Now Matters More – are life changers for me. Words cannot express how thankful I am that you spoke to issues that are difficult to recognize in yourself and that others may recognize in you, but are afraid to tell you. Through sharing your experiences you are saving Moms, but more importantly, you are saving children. Thank you!
    P.S. – Yesterday my son came home from pre-school with stains from a cupcake with green icing all around is mouth and chin (it was dark green). As we were getting out of the car he saw is friend playing a few houses away. “Mommy, can I go play with Matthew?” The old me would have said, “Not until we get inside and clean your face” which would have no doubt caused a battle of wills. The new me, “Sure go ahead, remember to be home by 5:00pm for dinner.” “Ok, mommy, I love you!” ~Life Changer~

  75. 135

    Clara says

    I am from Spain. I feel absolutely as you describe in your posts. You are brave, generous and honest. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. They can help me a lot to change many thinks that I don’t like of my Family life. You are great. Thank you, thank you.

  76. 137

    Jules says

    A note to my Angel.
    Dear Angel,
    I see your smile and I read your signs.
    I witness your love all round
    But above all i know you are a true angel – even though i cant touch your wings.
    I know this because only my Angel can make my heart bleed tears that have nt flowed for years
    Only my angel can come to find me in my place of hurt
    And lead me home
    Only my angel can whisper to me that everything will be better soon
    And finally I can believe.

    Thank you for appearing Angel Rachel and holding out your hand.

    Amen

  77. 138

    Priya says

    I read this article which was forwarded by my husband and believe me after reading this I started thinking that am I not good mother.it is not that I am not doing good to my children but mostly I think that I am doing for them and can’t give myself time.i do laundry,dishes and fulfill every single wish of kids but still I feel I lag behind as good mother.

  78. 139

    says

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a
    comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks!

  79. 141

    says

    Shalom Rachel!
    I was touched by your blog
    “http://www.handsfreemama.com/2014/03/03/the-ten-minutes-that-changed-my-distracted-life/”

    I would suggest only one change: You wrote:
    ” During that episode with my younger daughter I had every reason to become frustrated, impatient, and upset.
    But I didn’t.
    I was able to look at her as a child, not a miniature adult.
    I was able to realize yelling or forcing were not going to help the situation.
    I was able to keep what really mattered in perspective while my best laid plans went terribly awry.”

    Of course, for you, your young daughter is among the most important people in your life. but suppose that sick person were not your young daughter, but your ADULT daughter. Or suppose she were your mother, or your best friend, or, indeed, anyone who happens to be near you and in need. You would not even consider treating such adults as children, and not as miniature adults. And for adults too, you can “realize [that] yelling or forcing [will] not … help the situation.” And you can “keep what really matter[s] in perspective while my best laid plans [go] terribly awry.””

    As soon as one can free one’s self of the egocentric vision (my dress, my plans are more important than anything else….), your advice works for every relationship, starting with our children, but not limited to our children.

    well done!

    Rahel (the Hebrew form of Rachel!)
    Reiki Master – Jerusalem
    http://www.reikiforpeace.org

  80. 142

    Trina Higgs says

    I have no doubt that you are several people’s angel. Including me. There’s the angel that passed your name on to me this morning, and I thanked him. And you’re an angel for your words that I have read, and I have only read a few so far, which have sparked a fire in me to be more present in every aspect of my life. I am a rusher and sometimes for no reason. And I’ve seen the look in my kids eyes after I’ve sighed or chided them because they had an accident that was going to slow me down. Of course I apologize but the guilt is very hard to let go of. It’s a work in progress. God bless you.

    • 143

      says

      thank you, dear Trina. this means a great deal to me. thank you for offering me this beautiful gesture of love and encouragement through your words. i am so glad you are here walking beside me on this journey.

  81. 144

    says

    Hi there! I’m a Mama of 3 little ones and I love the basis and purpose behind your blog. I have a question for you. Since going “Hands Free”, when do you fit blogging/writing and keeping your Facebook page updated into your schedule? I am a blogger as well and with 3 little kids, I’m finding it hard to find the time. Also, I’m not one of those gals who can stay up into the wee hours of the night to get posts written. I guess sleep is more important to me, since I know I need it to be healthy and a nice Mama! So, when do you fit it in?
    Thanks!

  82. 146

    Stephanie says

    This is a very beautiful blog. I can’t wait to read more. I love how you love your children and are not afraid to gush over that fact. I feel the same way about my own. I’m glad to have stumbled upon you.

  83. 147

    says

    Thank you so much for writing all those things. I’ve being following and I couldn’t agree more, but today, I want to leave hand free too. How do you start?
    Thanks

  84. 148

    Betsy Spraberry says

    Rachael, I am reading post after post of your journey and I have to say it is hitting me right in the middle of my heart. I was a busy overworked, over committed teacher and coach. I chose this past may to resign and stay with my precious baby girl and side kick, Miss Maggie May. We know that giving up my job will me giving up some financial security. But more than that, we know that giving up my job is where the Lord is leading us. So, here I am now, on “summer break” that doesn’t end as my fellow teacher friends go back to work next week. Through this whole process my desire is to be different but I find myself getting sucked into the world of social media or tv or the many other distractions that come with society today. While being sucked in to one of those venues today I ran across a blog post from your site. I am so thankful I did. Tears welled up as I read through even just your information page. Thank you for sharing your heart and being an ANGEL in my life today that made me realize how important my new “job” is. What a blessing it is to be called MOMMA.

  85. 150

    Christos says

    Hi. I came across one of your articles on yahoo.gr. The topic was how much we hurt our kids when we yell at them (hope that rings a bell cause it’s a translation from Greek).

    Being a divorced father with a bitter divorce, I totally relate to your article, and am quite happy to see that other people are trying to stay “sane” despite all the surrounding stress.

    Looking forward to reading more of you.

  86. 151

    says

    Rachel. I absolutely love your blog! I hope you do not mind me linking back to it on my blog. You have so much wisdom to offer parents and my group foster parents.

    Blessings,
    Julie

  87. 153

    says

    What a wonderful, kind blog you have built here — I am sure you must be somebody’s angel! Very glad I discovered it today, and have added it to a list of positive blogs I keep on my own site.

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