“But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all? And if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like you've been here before? How am I gonna be an optimist about this?” -Bastille
I don’t think it was meant as a criticism, but the words stung a little.
“Usually I have to really dig to find anything new in your messages, but this time I didn’t,” the commenter wrote about a short piece I published on The Hands Free Revolution page.
I write about grasping what really matters in a world of a distraction. I write about seeing the glimmers of goodness amidst the mayhem, mess, and mistakes of everyday life. I have written over 200 blog posts, one book, and I am working on my second book. Sometimes when I write, I find myself asking, “Have I written that somewhere before?” And the answer is yes, in some form or fashion, I probably have. Writing is my instrument for focusing on what really matters. And because the distractions of life never go away, I require daily reminders repeated over and over. To some folks, it probably does begin to feel like a broken record.
But here’s the thing. Every once in awhile, as I am writing about what I write about, something unexpected comes out. Painful personal reflections like the hurry up post, the yelling post, and the bully post that cause tears to come to my eyes. Stories like these cause my hands to shake when I push the ‘publish’ button. That’s when I know someone is out there waiting to read these words. Such moments are my fuel. They say, “Keep writing, Rachel. Even though it’s tedious and repetitive, you just never know when your words are going to intersect with someone who needs them.”
But I am human which means in between those encouraging moments are times of doubt and uncertainty. That’s when I begin to question myself. I think about the criticisms and wonder if I’ve said all there is to say about letting go of distraction to grasp what really matters. I wonder if I’ve run dry. I wonder if my writing gig is up.
But recently, as I was thinking about this painful possibility for myself, I thought of you. I thought to myself, maybe there is something here for all of us. Maybe it will even make one person cry with me today.
Life On Repeat
Teacher, do you tire of Circle Time? Do you feel like you review the same rules over and over and over? Do you sound out the same words, show the same spelling patterns, and answer the same questions year after year? I imagine you do.
Nurse, do you tire of taking vitals and bodily fluids? Do you see the same health issues day in and day out? Do you feel like you walk the same halls, administer the same doses, and whisper the same assurances? I suspect that you do.
Mail Carrier, do you tire of damaged packages and insufficient postage? Do ever long to open a new mailbox? Do wish you could personally deliver the handwritten notes to actual people and see their joy? I have a sneaking suspicion you do.
Cashier, do you tire of slow conveyor belts, unorganized coupons, and unsmiling customers? Do your feet ache from standing in the same place at the same time each and every day? Do you hear the same bubblegum battle between parents and children day in and day out? I am pretty sure that you do.
Parent, do you tire of grumpy small people, missing shoes, and that dreaded question: what’s for dinner? Do you wipe the same noses, pick up the same wet towels, diffuse the same sibling squabbles day in and day out? I know that you do.
Musician, do you tire of bad song requests, calloused fingers, and lack of appreciation? Do you long for a new crowd, a new venue, a new stool to prop your foot on? Do get sick of wondering if this dream is going anywhere? I suppose that you do.
But here’s the thing. You just never know when you’ll be in the middle of that redundant message, task, or duty and suddenly something will happen, letting you know this time is different.
That song you’ve longed to write appears before you …
That patient turns the corner …
That kindergartener begins to read …
That woman weeps when you hand her a long-awaited letter from a military base …
That customer needs that unexpected smile …
That grown child says, “Thanks, Mom and Dad. You are the reason I made it through.”
And then suddenly your Life on Repeat is someone’s divine sign … someone’s lifesaver … someone’s second chance … someone’s voice of an angel … someone’s silver lining … someone’s hope is not lost.
As you know, you cannot predict when that day will come. It could be a slow Tuesday morning. It could be a rainy Friday afternoon when the traffic is really bad. It could be the day after a rough night of sleep. It could be when you are about to throw in the towel. Yes, it could be that day.
So I beg you to carry on.
Burp that baby for the 900th time.
Shine those windows like a boss.
Lift your voice from the back row of the choir for the whole world to hear.
Write until you can write no more.
These are the redundant actions of an everyday hero.
And today just might be the day your life’s message intersects with a heart longing for the message only YOU can deliver.
So please, I beg you, carry on.
I am grateful each time someone takes a moment to leave his or her thoughts and opinions in the comment section of my blog and/or Facebook page, even when those views are different from my own, even when the words sting. Considering things from other people’s perspective has helped me grow as a writer and as a human being. Thank you for allowing me to be a work-in-progress. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Thank you for helping my book, Hands Free Mama, hit the New York Times Bestseller List for the third time when I was taking an online break this summer. I could not spread the Hands Free message without you. I would love to hear your stories & experiences about your Life on Repeat in the comment section. And if you think someone could benefit from this message today, I’d be grateful if you share it.
*I feel it is only appropriate to leave you with several writers who are changing the way the world thinks, heals, flourishes, and overcomes. These are some of my everyday heroes and their life-changing messages:
Don Blackwell – I’m Pretty Sure 56 Years Is Long Enough to Wait
Kristin VanderHey Shaw – More Than Words
Emily Wierenga – Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look
Thank you for consistently writing relevant and meaningful pieces. Even if it’s not “something new” every time, your message is so important. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for the loving words, Kendra. I am fueled each time I hear from someone that says her or she benefits from my writings. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!
How To Use Parenting to Grow and Heal Yourself says
I love your posts and guess what? This one made me cry. So there. If it’s heartfelt it touches hearts. I saw this lovely song by Tori Amos with her daughter and thought of you.
Enjoy what you do and make it FUN.
Yes! I loved this post. I benefit from your all of posts, they are encouragement and empathy in different forms. I adore the common thread in all you write. I have been feeling sad about the amount of criticism i see around me, especially on the internet, These inspire me: is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? … I’m a strength finder not a fault finder… I value kindness over honesty… Even though many don’t… Instead of bashing what you hate, promote what you love. Thank you for your encouragement!
You too, Monica! I am sometimes saddened by comments left on an article. It can be a story about a child that has been murdered, and somehow some folks first thoughts are to bash the president, make a racial slur…it goes on and on.
I love what you say…”promote what you love”
Thanks SandraA! 🙂
Kerry Foreman says
Love this Rach! Just began my career in counseling, and I already feel on repeat!! This has caused me to feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time and money, and in the end…….it’s still life on repeat. Still a job. How to get out of this continuous circle of repeat!! After reading your words, it helps to know that everyone feels it. I always look for what’s wrong with me, that I can’t just deal with the repeat?! Thanks!
Kimberly Lashick says
Though you left this comment long ago, I am just encountering it today. Your comment spoke to me. It’s essence asked of me to return to it and to yes, respond to your heart several years later. Yes, it helps to know we aren’t alone as we shuffle our feet through the same halls, both literally and figuratively. What captured my heart to respond to you was your last question. And though it was not directed at me, I have come to know you are a soul who helps many, so I couldn’t turn away when I saw the chance to perhaps help you or someone else who sees it. Maybe it will speak to you when you see it, even after all of this time. If you can’t deal with the repeat, that is okay. I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with you. While we humans love our routine, it fuels our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our souls to embrace new opportunities, lace up our shoes and head out for a new adventure, to take the scenic root, or even to just press pause. Pause on the mundane to feel the sun on our face, the kiss on our cheek, the warm hug, even if… just for a few seconds longer. Such moments can make life feel new. May you be brought something wonderfully spontaneous soon.
Sarah K. says
I am so glad that you took a comment that stung and turned it into more beautiful writing! I am a teacher and mother to two little ones…I know all about life on repeat. But repetition does pay off! I won’t forget the first time that each of my sons told me “I love you” unprompted….and they were able to do this because it had been repeated in our house often. Or the student that started writing complete sentences in April…only took me nagging him since September! Practice makes perfect right? Keep on writing ALWAYS…I love what you write. 🙂 p.s. I just started a blog myself and I have already put in a plug for your amazing book. Looking forward to the next one!
I love this message. Just yesterday I complained to a friend about how tired I get of doing the same things over and over and they don’t seem to matter. The laundry, the bills, cleaning the floors, making breakfast, lunch, and dinner for anyone to barely notice my efforts. It’s refreshing to be reminded that everyone feels like this from time to time and to be reminded that the things we do do matter and do effect the lives of people.
Thanks for all you do! I love you posts!
Beautifully written. We don’t know what goes on in all of our lives on a daily basis, but try to remember that God has you where you are for a reason. Those repeats in life could very well change a person’s life FOREVER, eternally or it could be just planting that seed for the first time for it to start growing. Those repeats in life just might save a person, literally or from one bad choice. See, there are no repeats in life, it may feel like it, but if we just open our eyes and see each day as a new day….we (you) are making a difference in someone’s life. Little or big, doesn’t matter. In the end, we choose love and to serve others…we can never go wrong with that. Whatever we do, we do unto the Lord and not for man. Sorry for so long, I feel for you and just wanted to encourage you ♡ keep doing what your heart says, as long as it is in line with God’s will…nothing else will matter. Please God, not man. 🙂
Keep on keeping on! repeat repeat repeat…. Needed it, need it daily and it is mundane Monday and we do it all again. It is all worth it when you do finally see that someone is paying attention and gets it!
The Orange Rhino says
I applaud your bravery in writing from a place that originally stung. It is hard to write and not say the same thing because those messages keep repeating for a reason – they are important and moving and yearning to be heard and needed to be heard. Your messages are beautiful, your writing a gift. I read your posts, your book, and find a wave of calmness come over me. I could read the same words every day by you and feel soothed. Welcome back dear friend, so glad to have you as a constant repeat in my world 🙂
Who cares if you say something that has been said before, sometimes things need to be said again and again! Because they matter, because they are important and because somebody needs to read/hear them. And at least you have the courage to say them! Thank you for that, because I need to hear the things you have to say!
Mary Armstrong-Smith says
I feel this way sometimes about my work in child abuse prevention. I say the same things over and over, to different audiences. I field the same questions: how is it possible to prevent abuse? Doesn’t it just happen? Isn’t there just a certain amount of that sort of thing all the time?
And I want to ask them, “Well, how many dead or maimed kids is ok with you?”
But I don’t. I keep working to make my points–that everyone has a role to play, that prevention isn’t just the “job” of professionals, that our future depends on what we do NOW.
But yeah, it gets tiring sometimes, and there are times I question myself.
Thank you. Today I will shine those windows like a boss. And be proud of myself for doing so…. 🙂
Jessica at Wondering What We Did Today says
I So know what you mean about the shaking hands as you post something. People want to read what we have to say at our most vulnerable- it’s difficult but those are the posts that affect people.
What you wrote touched me deeply and I”m not even sure (yet) why. I know that I’ve learned that when a few tears fall that there is something that calls for reflection and I will do that today. For now, I just wanted to thank you for your writing from your heart.
Lisa Abejja says
You give me hope, you are my rainbow on rainy days, the sunshine through storm clouds. The reason I keep on repeating. These are the words I tell my children, the coals that fuel my fire. My way of keeping on.
Don’t stop writing, you help to remind us of the true importance in life.
Marcie Nay says
This post really connected with me! I have only been a mom for 11 years, and I am just starting out in my teaching career… both of which I love dearly. And yet, sometimes, the day in and day out repetitive routine gets to me and I wonder.. “If I am tired of doing the same thing over and over now, how am I going to keep going in 10 years from now? Or 20?” But you hit the nail on the head… the joy that comes in those wonderful moments spent making a homeade apple pie with my kids, or seeing that student finally “get it”, is what makes it worth it…. and its really only occasionally that I really tire of the monotony. Thank you for your posts and your inspiration to me! Keep writing!
In the best possible way.
Hello! I have a little notebook I carry with me to jot down my thoughts or quotes or sayings that I want to remember concerning my life and family. I look at it throughout the day to remind me of how I want to live. In homes home you find plaques with quotes and scriptures as a continued reminder of what they want out of life. The bible tells us to meditate on His Word and to recite it. These are all forms of repetition. Repetition is the way one gets a principle from their head to their heart so they can feel it and live it out. I appreciate all of your encouragement in this Hands Free Journey!
sue c says
I’m in sales, and we have to go through sales trainings pretty often. We’re all busy, we all think we could teach the class, we’re not going to learn a thing, but we have to go so we go. We leave ready to take on the world, reminded of how fun it can be, how good we are at it. Some blogs are like that. Its not entirely new but a powerful reminder, a bringing back to focus, a reboot, a centering of purpose. That is why I will read anything you write. You bring me back to center when my kite starts to have a little slack. Thank you for what you give.
Sara Jane says
I go to church every Sunday and hear the same “thing” over and over… Why? Because I still haven’t got it right. Sometimes I don’t WANT to hear the same thing, I NEED to hear it. The three posts you referenced changed my relationship with my child, no they saved it! I was a bully, I constantly told her to hurry, and I was a yeller. I am not perfect, I still have bad days, but all of those issues have decreased by at least 90%. Life is better, thanks to you!!
Someone that follows you tediously knows the words you’ve said before. I am a newer follower and your words are refreshing. There may be others that have followed your journey from the beginning and they need daily reminders. You are making a difference. One person with a bad attitude shouldn’t rain on your parade. Keep it up! I appreciate you!
Aw that brings a tear to my eye, beautifully written as always. I appreciate every one of your posts, I think I need reminding most days 🙂
The whole point is to be reminded, over and over, what matters. Say it the same way, different ways, just keep saying it, or people forget. Who is told just once, and commits it to memory, to PRACTICE, forever?
LK Hunsaker says
A beautiful post, and so very true. I shared your post on my Write the Light In Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/1266706120317470/
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for sharing! That is such a gift to me!
Sharon Hayes says
Every piece you have written has words just for me. I cry. I remember. I am sorry. I have been the person you describe and have been working toward slowing down , being less distracted, being more in the moment. I am a 67 year old retired first grade teacher, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, and friend. I need your words. I share your ideas because everyone needs to hear what you have to say. Thank you for writing.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
That is beautiful, Sharon. I am grateful to know about you and know you are here walking beside me.
Thank you for this, and all of your other posts. I am a dietitian and feel like I’m constantly on repeat, and have days where I wonder if what I’m doing is really making a difference at all. But then I get one patient where I see the light bulb come on and it makes all the others worth while. I often feel this way as a parent too! This post really resonated with me. I appreciate what you do!
Thank you for this post. I love your writing because it reminds me of the simple things. In a world of consumerism and perfectionism it is so refreshing to hear a voice of hope and simplicity. Today’s blog made me think of the picture book, Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson. Do you know it? It is a beautiful read.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Oh, I love the title alone, Christine. I will look into it! Thank you for such an uplifting comment, as well.
Heidi Potter says
Rachel-You have inspired me long before we profiled you as a FACES on StyleBlueprint. But this one really struck home, because I too, as a writer, tend to repeat the same themes, go back to the same topics, basically fish where the fish are. I read this and felt like you were talking to me. Keep up the good work. And comments are always fuel to my fire:)
Dawn Marie says
Dear Rachel , I am sorry if there end up being typos in this. I can hardly see through my tears. I’m at work so I have to hurry, I am fairly new to your blog and I cling to your reassurances sometimes with my last strength. I have never commented before because I was so worried that I would shatter. I feel I have to comment today because I already shattered. You see I work in a job that is exhausting, and breaks my heart everyday. Then I come home and be a single momma to my son. Over and over and over work seems to make no difference in the world. Day in and day out I see the same children dragged through my child welfare investigations. Sometimes I feel that I don’t matter. But today, you reminded me that I may be a light in a dark place for a child needing help. Thank you. It seems so weak a sentiment, but thank you! Please, keep writing. I know I am not the only one who needs you!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi Dawn, I am so glad you wrote today so I could “see” you and tell you that as a former teacher who worked with children in dire situations, YOU MATTER. Your work is vitally important. It is life-saving. And what you do for your son, it matters. You show up, time and time again. He is counting on you, and you are there. Here is a post that I think will encourage you today: http://www.handsfreemama.com/2013/12/17/three-words-for-the-critic-in-your-head/. Many blessings to you, friend.
Oh, Dear Rachel! Thank you so much for this! It is my continual fear — the redundancy. Chris and I even joke about it because he knows how much I worry. I’ll ask, “Did you read my post today?” And he’ll reply (joking, of course), “Nah, it’s just like all the others, right?” Thanks for helping me see it all differently. XOXO
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thanks for the laugh and the understanding, my friend. You better keep writing!!! I know where you live.
Karen Ulrich says
Yes, I did cry with you while reading this post. I enjoy EVERY piece you write. You are a talented and truly emotional writer….the BEST kind. Thank you. I beg YOU to carry on.
God’s Blessings to you,
Carol Fuson says
This definitely resonates with me today. It reminds me of the reason why I read the same bible verses year after year. I have changed since he last time I read the verse or blog. I am hearing the message from a new perspective. I really do love your contemplative and simplistic writing style. I become focused and not distracted when I read your work.
I never tire of your posts. My struggles continue everyday to let go of distraction and focus on what matters. I really missed your absence.
Your words encourage me more than I can tell you. Please continue writing for a very long time. You have a beautiful way with words and I love reading what you write.
Thank you for writing and sharing your words Rachel! Your words have absolutely made a difference in my life as I know they have in many others. Please don’t be discouraged or doubt yourself – you are doing your part to make the world a better place. Thank you! 🙂
Any post that starts off quoting Bastille is guaranteed to be good. 😉 HUGE Bastille fans in our home!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thumbs up on that, Priscilla. My younger daughter is going to learn it on her guitar this semester. I am so excited!
I cried with you!!! I love your writings…forget the critics, keep up the good work <3
Heather Groce says
What you have written has changed my life!Don’t ever stop writing!I am a better person for reading it!Also,if you think about it,the greatest book every written can be summed up in two sentences “God loves you,so love him back. Love each other and treat them with kindness” But its a big book filled with all kinds of stories and examples that help explain those concepts because what works for one person and gets through to one person will not be the same story that gets through to another person.Essentially the message is the same though. 🙂 I think of your writing as one big important message “Don’t let “life” get in the way of “living”. Or in the words of Lennon “Life is what happens when your busy,making other plans”This is a HUGE important thing to learn!Keep going girl!Your changing the world!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
This is hugely powerful, Heather. I will never forget this perspective. THANK YOU!
Very often I find myself wanting to criticize someone (or even myself) for some sort of behavior I find unappealing. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue to refrain from telling a friend, for instance, “you work too much”.
Instead, I focus on the positive. “I admire your dedication to your work.”
The thing is… there are far too many people who are quick to judge and even faster to criticize. In the end, what I don’t say is being said over and over by far too many people. My friend is criticized daily for working too much and for spending too little time with her family. What good would it do for me to be another voice in the crowd of “you are a terrible parent and you should be ashamed of yourself”? She has her reasons for working overtime.
So, I chose to be the one who is constantly on her side. Who tells her what she’s doing right. Who admires her for spending time caring for cancer patients and painting with critically ill children. For giving her love freely and for doing her best to find time to spend with her family.
In the end, dear Rachel, we are all fighting distraction and there will never be any true novelty on what any of us try to do.
There have always been distractions. Way before cellphones there was the TV and newspapers. There were magazines and even books that distracted us from our loved ones. The story is the same. The players are always the same… family, friends, loved ones.
There are critics by the dozen. There are people who will always say you can’t do it.
You are on my side, though… you are chosing to be the one who will always try to encourage. To tell people “you can do it”.
One day, those who criticise will see how wonderful it is to have someone tell over and over again the same tale:
– I am letting go of distraction and my life is getting better;
– I am loving myself more, and becoming happier everyday;
– I am getting rid of anger and opening up to gratitude.
And at the end invite each and everyone of us to join you.
You are the light at the end of the tunnel, dearest.
For that, I am eternally grateful.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Virginia. What a blessing you are to your friend, to me, and to everyone who is fortunate to know you. I will read this message many times today.
I know I have to remind myself to get less distracted everyday. Reading to your blog I am reminded of WHY I am doing it. For my friends and family. For those I love. For my godchildren.
Thanks for telling us over and over again that we can do it. And even when we fail, tomorrow we can try again. =)
Lori DuPriest says
I love your message. I wear your bracelet everyday only love today. I repeat myself all of the time with four tween and teenage daughters. It’s all good, life is too short to be negative but like you said sometimes that motivates us or sparks something in us. You can write the same thing over and over again. I love your writing and your beautiful heart❤️❤️. I look forward to your posts and I am glad you are back. Have a beautiful day. First day of school here, so getting everyone up and out the door.
Laurel Santiago says
Your words really hit the spot this morning. Don’t let other people hurt your feelings. I have been told by some that I am down right offensive with my homeschooling posts. They must like it, or they wouldn’t keep reading. 🙂
Heather Curlee Novak says
Sometimes it is the right word at the right time! We are al foolish folks, and we often need a repeated message until we get it! THANK YOU for your blog & your book, my Modern Moms group is studying it in October!
Carolyn Thaler says
This is the first time I have read anything you have written. That could be true of anyone. You never know when what you may be saying for the umpteenth time will be the first time for a new reader. Just keep writing your thoughts and feelings and they will be new to someone who needs to read them.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Carolyn. I am so glad you are here and thank you for your meaningful words.
Andrea Durfee says
I love your way of putting thoughts and words together and especially lived the piece you wrote last week on being somebody’s feeling of coming home! Everyone doubts him/herself from time to time but don’t let criticism stop you from continuing to write. You have a gift and I love in opening it.
I have “followed” you for a year or two. By followed, I mean I read a post and thought, “wow I need to read this” and then have watched your headlines pop up in my news feed for years always saying to myself “maybe tomorrow.” Today, I did. I will continue to read and be inspired to set my family on the right track. Please continue to inspire…..
We all need encouragement, so I wanted to let you know how meaningful I find your posts and your book. I share your sentiments and they are part of the reason I have changed my career and my family’s lifestyle. I recently left a well-paying, successful career because I no longer want to pay a nanny to raise my children. I want to be with them when they wake to help start their day right, when they play and laugh, when they come home from school and want to share their day, when they’re sick and need to be comforted, when they’re arguing and they need guidance, and no one else can do that with as much love as I have. I still keep a to do list, but I prioritize time for my children, my husband and a happy, healthy home. I have hands-free time every day and am mandating some hands-free time for my tech-addicted teens too. I hope that you will also “carry on” with the realization that you are helping us to change our lives and our family’s lives for the better. You’re an inspiration.
Paige Sumner says
You are no stranger to the special education world. That environment teaches me things every day that aren’t just unique to children with learning differences. As you know, we all learn differently, so your different approaches to a meaningful message may sink with a story that may not be applicable to all. Then there are those of us who NEED to here the truths that you share over and over! I’ve started many a day sharing with my kids…Only love today, OK gang? Today’s words are a great reminder in that last stretch before school starts! Best to you and your family. I’m grateful for your inspiring words!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Paige, for being a Loving Encourager in your work and in your life. Your encouragement has been my gift today.
I never tire of your message, nor does it ever feel redundant. In fact I’m so grateful for a regular reminder to focus on what really matters.
Thank you for sharing your gift with us all! With this specific passage, I find myself basking…flourishing in your words! Life on repeat, from a parent’s perspective, floods my heart with hope! What a wonderful reminder of what’s to come if only I continue to press forward! There are moments I repeat daily…sentiments I utter repetitively to the Mighty Kings in Training that I have the privilege of Mothering! Still, I believe I am charged with the responsibility of remembering that there is power in the sowing of seed…irrespective of how often the seed is sown! Thank you, Rachel, for this sweet reminder, and as often as you are compelled to repackage this message and present again, please do so…for good news can never be over shared!
Have a great day and GOD bless!
Good Morning Rachel,
My mom used to say to me if can’t be kind be quiet. Years later I often said those words to her after Alzheimer’s took away her filter. I never knew what she might say while sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room or her hospital room. I felt people would think her words reflected my feelings and would be embarrassed. As I reflect on those times I long for one more time with her in those waiting rooms. I long to hear her voice just one more time. I don’t even care what she might say. I long to walk into her bedroom or hospital room and hear her say, “Hey Baby, I’m so happy to see you!”
As a mother of 3 wonderful grown children and 3 wonderful grandchildren I know people will say harmful words to them but I hope they will take those words and use them to grow and learn. You never know what people are going through in their lives.
I love that you don’t let unkind comments take away your gift. While I sit here crying and missing my Mom I realize your post was just what I needed to read this morning. Grieving is very hard for me and these tears are so healing.
I began reading your post after my son in law, Andrew Henderson, came home and told us the kind words you had said to him. He said it was one of the nicest things anyone had said to him. I hope you will continue using your voice and know if they touch just one of us it is worth it!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi Mickey, I can’t type through my tears. The mention of Andrew’s name just brings a huge wave of homesickness given that we just moved to a new state. Mr. Andrew was such a gift to our family’s life as both my daughter’s ukulele/guitar teacher and as the voice of an angel every Sunday at church. We have visited new churches here, and I am realizing that it will take quite sometime before one feels like home. My daughter begins guitar lessons with a new instructor also this week. It will not be Andrew for the first time since she was 3. This is going to be hard for both of us. I am so thankful to know that I said something to Andrew that lifted him up. Now that we are here in a new place I wondered if I told him just how much he meant to us. I feel incredibly blessed that you wrote today. I am so sorry about your mother. I know many people will read your comment and they will feel unalone in their struggles. Someone else might read your comment and realize hearing their mother or father’s voice today is a gift and they will cherish it. You have touched many lives by sharing your story. Please give Michelle, Andrew, and Lucy big hugs from our family. We miss them more than words could ever express.
Keep writing Rachel. What you are writing is important from a unique point of view. Great job following your instincts, that’s all you can do. And it’s a great reminder for us to do the same so I thank you. Carry on.
Funny how your words were written for me! I woke feeling burned out and truly sad. I WILL carry on. I will continue this journey of homeschooling for our 7th year. I will find joy in the repetition. Thank you! I needed your words.
This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for repeatedly helping me gain perspective. My life and my kids’ lives are better for it.
You have probably heard it before but your writing (especially “shine those windows like a boss”) reminds me of the quote by Martin Luther King, that helped me kind of in the way your blogs may help others… “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well’.” Xx
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I had not heard that before, Kelly. What a beautiful thing to say!
Luchi Ann Lagman says
I found your blog when you took a break from writing when you were moving. And I have been reading posts after posts, every story, every experience speaks to me. I take home a different “lesson” every time. I am so blessed by your writing!
I have yet to purchase your first book. I am a mother of four kids, ages 11, 10, 6, 5. A lot of times it seems as if by yelling, it is the only way I get them to do things or to get their attention. I too would like to change my way of parenting . My kids mean the world to me. I want them to remember me as a loving mommy, not a yelling mommy. Thank you for helping me wake up.
I think what you wrote was so well said. The extraordinary moments in our life happen in the midst of moments considered ordinary. That’s what makes them so precious and amazing. I think the message to let go of distractions is one we need to remind ourselves of everyday, probably a hundred times of day. We live in a society that doesn’t necessarily support or promote that notion. So I don’t let me time with my family, my children, my loved ones and even my alone time, get lost along the way, I must constantly remind myself to put distractions on pause and be present in that moment. Sometimes the days get so hectic that ‘letting go of distraction’ starts to become a distant memory but it is your posts that remind me of the words I need to live by every day. Thank you for continually reminding me and helping to guide me back to the path I want to travel.
Hi Rachel, I don’t have any kids of my own, so some of your posts don’t really apply to me that much, except for the ones where the kids you’re talking about could be like nieces and nephews one is close to. I have several of those (my husband and I have 9 nieces and nephews as of this writing and I don’t think our siblings are done yet – haha). I read your blogs anyway. I like your style of writing, it’s honest. There have been a few of blogs of yours that have very much inspired me though…..Children Who Shine From Within (exactly because of my nieces and nephews and the relationships I have with them), The Bully Too Close to Home (because that so aptly expresses my experience of myself sometimes), The Important Thing About Yelling (because I’ve seen that cringing look you talk about your daughters having on my husband’s face before) and In Need of an Emergency Contact (because it reminded me of how honored I feel to be that for 6 little people in my life who aren’t mine). These are just a few of the many blogs you’ve written that have made me cry sad and happy tears, that have driven home the message that I can change the things about myself that I don’t like and that it’s okay not to be perfect because I’m only human and no one is. These blogs have especially touched me and I’ve shared them on social media and in texts with friends and have had a very positive reaction from people to them. The most important thing I’ve taken from your writing so far though has been the message “Only Love Today”. I’ve actually written this on my wrist a few times to remind me throughout my day to try to be more patient with myself and others, to have more appreciation of the people in my life that I cherish and to remember that to show more love to myself is just as important as showing more love to those people that are around me. I’ve actually considered getting this tattooed to my wrist, but if I could afford that then I’d be able to easily afford to buy one of your bracelets that says this and perhaps that would be a better choice. LOL! IDK. 🙂 Regardless, I just wanted you to know that your writing has many times given me a message that just happened to come to me at the perfect moment for me to actually hear it and incorporate it into my life to make my life better than it was before. Thank you for that and please keep writing. I would very much miss your blog if you were ever to stop.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Samira. This means so much to me! I am in the process of writing my second book and it is much harder to write than the first. I did not expect this. Knowing that you come here and read and the reasons you read has been incredibly helpful to me as I continue writing today. I appreciate you.
Although life may seem redundant, children change so fast. A command such as “Go pick up your toys” comes across so different for a toddler (her toys are everywhere!), for a five-year-old (you hope she’s picking up her toys at school), for a ten-year-old (I hope she doesn’t step on that $200 iPod). The meaning is so different for the mom (or dad) who is trying to keep it all together while making sure the children are fed, clothed and feel loved each day. Being redundant means you are being consistent and this is so important for kids. Keep up the great work!
Wow. Thanks. I was thinking just yesterday that I am so tired of the repeat cycle I am on right now. I desperately want change, or at least anything different to show me I’m making a difference. Thanks so much for the encouraging words.
This hairdresser is tiring of holding my arms up and cutting hair for forty years now! However, I cannot make myself give it up. God still uses me to help others as He uses others in that chair to help me at times. I’ve told you before, you are helping so many others, just let the few who are critical fall through the holes in the colander and look at all of the smiles (and tears) of all of the people who are helped by your writing! You are so much like me, I wonder, are you the last born in your family? I am and it has caused me to seek the approval of everyone my entire life! It ain’t happenin’ sista! Even Jesus Christ could not please everyone; remember that and keep doing what you do so well! Wanda
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Yes, I am last born. And let me just say, thank you, beautiful hairdresser. I just moved to a new state and cried when I left my hairdresser Emily who was my friend and made me feel beautiful. I found a new hairdresser with the help of a friend. She did my hair just like I like it and I wanted to hug her for it. Thank you for holding your arms up all day and making others feel beautiful. You are so important!
The first thing I thought of when I read this post was how repetition helps us learn. My little boy has a speech delay and each day we read his 20 favorite books two or three times each. All of those words, read over and over and over again have helped him learn and speak. So keep writing and I will keep reading and one day it will all come together and I will learn. Bless you for putting the words to paper time and time again, for they have made me a better person.
mary Eder says
Rachel. The first time I stumbled upon your post that was shared by a friends Facebook page I know god put it there for a reason. It was the “bully” post. I can’t tell you how many times I read it over and over, with tear pouring down my face. You were describing my everyday. My oldest daughter who has mild tourettes, which being neurological, also makes her clumsy, a little spacey and sometimes her thought process can make you say huh? That said, reading your post I realized I could be hard on her. The spilling, dropping, missed steps. The not paying attention to almost walking into people, walls and puddles. Explaining things a million times. I would get impatient with her not realizing myself it is beyond her control. Reading your post made me realize I need to stop, slow down and think before I react. Remind myself it is only juice, to express things better the first time
I want to thank you for that. Talk about crying while you write. I cried for days (even now) thinking how she felt when she spilled yet another cup at a restaurant or for not understanding what im talking about. Or yelling at both my children for not cleaning up the pool every time they got out. I have learned from you patience and understanding they are only children. Thank you. Please continue to write your truths because for so many of us, its our truths too.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Mary. This means a great deal to me. I appreciate the love and patience it requires you to do the most important work that you do each day. Thank you.
Brantley Averkamp says
Thank you so much for this post. Lately I have felt my life is just one big ground hog day movie, only the really bad B version of the movie. As I continually walk around unseen and unappreciated filling empty soap dishes so members of my household won’t have to search for new soap when they run out, cleaning rooms and leaving encouraging notes and books under and on pillows, changing out towels for fresh ones, folding and putting away clothes and picking up dishes. Am I seen, does any of it matter? This post hit me in the gut today…carry on….for it isn’t really about me anyway. 🙂
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Beautifully said, Brantley! Thank you!
I needed to hear this. My son has sensory processing issues and I sometimes feel like a parrot, repeating myself a lot, but realizing that my words and support are what God has used to help my beautiful child grow and develop so sweetly. I’m also a writer about the side of a subject that not many are accustomed
to hearing. Sometimes I wonder if my words are invisible. If I’m invisible. Thank you for your words
today. I love all your posts. We sometimes need to keep being reminded over and over and over. I thank God that He never gives up on us either.
Please keep on keeping on with your message. Your writing is inspiring and a reminder to me every time your words pop up on my FB feed to slow down, and tune into what matters most- time spent listening to our children, away from our beckoning screens. I need to hear it weekly!!!!! Much love from a fellow writer mom.
D. Vincent says
Don’t grow weary in doing good! Even if you are expressing a similar truth in a different way, it is still truth and worth hearing! It might be the very first time someone has heard it! You are inspiration to many. Don’t let others dim your light!
Sarah Marr says
YOU inspired me to take an online break this summer…if it hadn’t been for your words I would have been stuck in an old cycle of stress. YOU inspire me as an author…and I hope and pray to get to write like you do while at the same time letting go of distraction to embrace the inportant stuff. YOUR words today inspire me to press on. Thank you and bless you and your family.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Sarah. I love to hear you took an online break this summer because of something I wrote. I don’t have to ask if you enjoyed it–I am certain you did!
Rachel, though the words you have written may feel like they have been written before, the eyes of the reader may be different. A different perspective may change how the message is received. And how many people out there haven’t had the chance to be exposed to your words. Keep writing, no matter how often we feel like we are repeating ourselves somewhere, someone has not yet heard the powerful message contained in them. With gratitude Amy
Loved this! Thank you and please…continue writing!
Bravo! Beautifully written. I love how you took the words of one questioning you and not only eloquently answered the question but created others to make us think. You are a beautiful writer.
Melissa Celani says
Such a great analogy to make with the various vocations out there that can sometimes cause a person to feel each day is like groundhog day! I have 4 boys and by my 4th I keep having that deja-vu style feeling of “I’ve done this before!” I remind myself every day that while I have done this before with one of his brothers, his firsts are his firsts with no relation to his brothers. Actually, this has caused me to enjoy his milestones even more than my first son’s! And while somebody may feel your words are recycled, many of us NEED to hear them and sometimes even on a daily basis just to help us keep on trucking through! Thank you once again 🙂
Rachel, Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for this post! I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and I just finished reading your book last month. My husband, daughter (18 months) and I are trying to sell our home in order to move to a house with a little more room. For the last 6 months or so I’ve been trying very hard to do it all. I try to make time every day to spend hands free time with my toddler, but I am also fighting the losing battle of trying to keep the house clean, inside and out, for potential showings. My husband is wonderful and helps out when he can, but he has an hour commute one way to and from work each day, so by the time he gets home in the evening it’s a rush rush rush to eat dinner, play with the baby, get her ready for bed, etc. and then by the time she’s down for the evening, we are both exhausted. Just yesterday, I found myself crying in the shower when I thought of everything I am “failing” at. I can’t keep the house clean. I can’t make my yard pristine and add that beautiful curb appeal all the time. I can’t I can’t I can’t. Reading what you write, and especially what you wrote today, has reminded me that while selling a house and raising a toddler are extremely stressful and overwhelming, I don’t think I’m failing. If I keep doing what I am doing – spending time with her and reading to her and making her the center of my world even if just for a couple hours every day – it doesn’t matter that the house isn’t perfect. The person that finally decides to buy our house will be a person who can see we have a home and that hopefully we’ve made that a home built on people who matter. I cried a little with you today, Rachel. Thank you for your words and God bless you and your mission. I had an art teacher once who told me that if I ever painted the “perfect” picture, it was time to be done painting …. we’re all works in progress. Thank you for reminding me of that.
I absolutely needed to hear this today after a quite stressful, life turning weekend. First day of school as well this morning, and somehow with all the excitement and fresh beginnings somewhere it still feels mundane. I hold on to your words and repeat them to myself daily, so NO, I don’t have to “dig” to find messages that speak to my soul! Thank you!!
Never stop writing. I cried with you today for the first time. Thanks I needed it! Blessings to you and yours, kristen
In all my mothering years (13 years in November), your words have been the most inspirational in motivating me to be the best mom I can find within myself. Your thoughts are often my own and your insights have been salve on my wounds. God has surely done good things through you, Rachel. I am so blessed to have found you.
My heart leaped with joy when I read you are publishing a new book. I will be first in line to buy it.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Misty. What a tremendous compliment that I will keep in my heart for the moments of doubt.
Rachel, I love reading your posts and found myself really missing them this summer! I was thrilled when you returned. Your writing offers so much. Love, hope, assurance, empathy, encouragement, connection, and so much more. I love the new, I love the old and repeated, and I love the recycled. Your messages are important and reaching people that need to hear what you have to offer. Something that important is always worth repeating and recycling and often something new comes out of repeats and reminders. Reminders are necessary as it’s easy to forget, and the more you hear something the more it sticks with you. You’ve certainly touched my life and other moms that I know and so many other people – that is so amazing and admirable. I love reading, re-reading, and sharing your writing. And not with just other moms of young children. That may be one of your main themes and why I am so drawn to every word, but I’ve printed your posts off before and shared with groups of people because so much of it is relevant to anyone that might need to hear a piece of it that day. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with the world, you have a gift and you are using it! And that gift is also a gift to so many of us reading it.
I can empathize with the commentor who’s response to your last post left them feeling like it was on repeat but the end result is a beautiful post that demonstrates just why it is so important that YOU keep writing. I am 37 with an 18 year old who has put me through the ringer and after six months of living a thousand miles away, he has come back to the nest with a greater appreciation for what little I have that I can give to him daily and so this post speaks to those moments – for the million times I’ve asked him to empty the dishwasher or take out the garbage, for the night after sleepless night worrying about what his tomorrow will bring us, and I do it all for the one in a million times he gets up from the dinner table, kisses me on the cheek, and says “Thank you for making dinner mama.”
Thank you for continuing to pour into your reader community in spite of and because of all the repeats.
Hi. So glad you move past comments that sting. It’s grace and maturity that make you realize that.
I have to say that I have been reading your blog for maybe less than a year and never really post any comments. Guess most of the time it’s because I don’t feel I have anything beneficial to add. LOL But the one post that grabbed me was the one where you talk about not using your phone in the car, even at stop lights. That was huge because it made me realize, like you said, I was missing out on moments with my daughter. And also teaching her, in a subtle way, that we are slaves to our devices so by all means, look at that phone all the time! Shame on me.
I often share your FB posts and have several people comment on how wonderful your posts are. You truly speak from your heart and I wish every new mom could be given a copy of your book.
I grew up feeling like my mom was always there for me and I never had to fight for her attention (unless it was just being talked over from siblings) and I surely don’t want my daughter to feel any differently than I did.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Your writing is truly touching many hearts and many lives. You are more of a blessing than you probably know.
Happy Monday to you!
Thank you for writing this. As school starts and my baby is gone for the first time and I think about all the things I was going to do but didn’t manage to do, maybe the repetitive things I DID do were enough. Thank you.
Renee, your post brought tears to my eyes. It took me back to a memory from eight years ago when I was in your shoes. Taking my precious first born to kindergarten. Like you, I had doubts. Did I do enough? Was our time together what I wanted for both of us?
That first day, I couldn’t do anything except stand back and watch him take those first big steps on his own. He came home that year with triumphs (we celebrated), with heartbreak (we cried together), with struggles (we roll-played solutions)…
I have since survived that difficult first day with 2 more children.
And what I realize now, looking back, is that it’s not about what we do or don’t do… but rather who we are to our children. We are that comforting stability that empowers them go out and try new things knowing that when they are done (triumph or failure) that we will be there. It’s all about ‘being there’.
I will be thinking of you this fall. Remember me next fall when my precious caboose takes that big step. I will need all the prayers I can get. <3 Misty
Alisa Brown says
I am a grandma of two and a mother of 4 and believe me I still am learning… So even if it is the same message they al bear repeating. Sometines my memory isn’t the best.. Lol. And I think it takes 7 times if hearing/reading the same thing maybe in a different way for it to sink in!! Keep on writing… I love your blogs!!
Rachel, just know that when you took a break to move, you left a gaping hole in my life.
Your inspiring and reflective posts keep me on track in my quest to ‘stay in the moment’ and I get so much encouragement from them.
I come to your blog knowing in advance what the message will be but i look forward to reading the novel way in which you apply it.
Thank you and please keep inspiring us!
Karen Uber says
And don’t you throw in the towel. Today is your day.
Working with children with special needs, my life is on repeat a lot, but when that breakthrough moment happens , when they get it, all the repeating was worth it! It is a beautiful moment! And it would never have been reached without the repetition.
As soon as I read the comment that sparked this post I thought two things. First, I agree with the comment. That is not an insult. We are all in different places in our journey. Some are just emerging and able to honestly look at the improvements that can be made. Some of us are deep into the journey. I have children on the cusp of adulthood. I have also spent the last 20 years working with at-risk children and families in both a therapeutic and an educational setting. I began reading your blog because I could relate to the sentiment of what you were ultimately yearning for. I believe I am (mostly) in that place. I have had many struggles over 18 years of parenting and am very content with where I am and the growth I continue to have. Many of your posts remind me of those early days and help to strengthen my resolve. Others speak to issues I encounter daily with my students and I am given another perspective. And, honestly, some I just skim or do not finish because they don’t contain anything new for me. I know without a doubt that every post you write contains something that someone out there needs to hear. Something that can be life changing. Your blog comes from an honest place that is rare.
The second thing that crossed my mind ( after that ramble) is that anything that is effective should be repeated over and over. In therapy and in teaching, I do the same things over and over. Other educators say to me that they feel like they are on a hamster wheel. I believe that hamster wheel keeps churning thoughts and actions that teach and influence and support others. What could be better then that?
Keep doing what you do. You are changing lives!
Please always keep writing! Your writing is beautiful and inspiring and has helped me make so many positive changes.
Your message has saved my life. All of your posts… whether I read them or not (I usually do), I see them come up on my feed and it encourages me to remember “only love today”. I wish that were my default, but it’s not so for me, seeing the same message but with different applications and situations helps me to keep it on the top of mind when I feel like I’m losing my mind and patience with my kid. You have changed my life. I grew up with a yelling and spanking parent. I thought that was normal and “right”… I would still be a distracted, overbooked, stressed out, yelling and spanking crazy mom if it weren’t for you. Thank you for sharing your journey. I need to hear your message over and over again. Please keep it up! 🙂
Your message hit home today! Every day I take my dog on a walk. Most days it’s the same path and sometimes it turns into a “sniffing” walk rather than exercise for me. Yesterday was no exception. I was anxious to get home and Abby was taking forever.
On our last leg, we pass by the roundabout in the center of our college community. There stood a young woman with 2 VERY large suitcases and a look of utter loneliness on her face. She had just arrived from China to attend graduate school at our university to study economics. My dog and I offered to walk her to her new apartment – she accepted. I waited as she got checked into her new home and then I invited her to dinner with my husband and I, which she graciously accepted.
I think this is going to be a long friendship with my new acquaintance, Jung.
So yes, Life on Repeat is drudgery sometimes but if you are paying attention it gives you a new path to explore!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Oh I just love this story, Carol! You just added the perfect exclamation point to the end of this blog post! WOW!
Mary Angela says
Sometimes I think about the first time I wiped that baby nose. Do I just pat it? How hard do I press? Or that baby butt. Wow, this is really slimy! How do I keep her feet out of it as I wipe it odd? Where do I put this wipe? Sometimes I think about the first time I folded my spouse’s t-shirts. Do I fold the sides in then the bottom up or in half down the middle then up? How does he like it? Does he even care? Now I do so many tasks with muscle memory. I spend the time with other thoughts in my head. I would really rather be thinking pleasant thoughts of those I’m serving. Or simply resting in God’s love for a moment. It is good to have these repeated tasks so my head can go to our past vacations or my childhood or the book I’m reading or ponder a situation. Finally, there are so many tasks I am no longer doing. I treasure the remembering.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
So beautiful, Mary. Thank you for sharing this powerful perspective.
Thank you Rachel – I write for parents as well and often think the same thing….. And I know that people need to hear things many times, through many different stories to begin to do the work of embodying the message. Thank you for all you bring to that world, sister mama!!
Life is a cycle of repetition. The trick is to be aware of all that is NOT repetitive. Sunrises and Sunsets and Clouds with rays of light peeking or streaming through. The changing environment as each season progresses. Being aware that we are each beloved sons and daughters of God, our eternal Father can help us lift our thoughts from the mundane, repetitive tasks of physical life. Be aware of the love it takes, yes, LOVE! to continue the cycle of repetition. When you serve others, you are only in the service of your God! What a glorious purpose to have in life…maybe that job is just a job, but if you do that job with love in your heart and a desire to do the best you can, every time, for every person, you will transform that job into an expression of love for each person you serve and that love will flow back to you to bless your life in ways you could not even imagine. Keep up the writing! don’t let anyone’s negative point of view poison you.
The Queen says
Exquisitely written from a gracious heart! Thank you.
I always think of the person directing traffic. “Go left around here. Left. Go on, left! You’re going to have to go around to the left. The left. THE LEFT!”
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Ha! Yes! So true! Thank goodness for those who direct the traffic!
nelda mattox says
Writing thru tears. This is the first time I have seen your blogs. I am a 76 year old widow with 3 grown children and several grands and create. Just when I feel my life has no purpose here comes you. I worked for 35 years at a very fulfilling job but now its the same routine daily chores. When I was young I assumed that old people thought old. Now I have no idea what that is/was.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Dearest Nelda, I am so glad you found me and I found you today. Last week a grandmother wrote on a post that her children were grown, her husband was gone, she was retired and she didn’t feel like she was “home” to anyone anymore. This is what I wrote back. I think it may mean something to you, too:
“There is a cashier at the grocery store I go to near my house where I recently moved. Ms. Yvonne remembers me from the first time I came in and told her I was new and learning my way around. She makes me feel like I matter, like I am not lost, and always asks how I am getting along. So even if your children are grown and gone and you are retired, you can still be home to someone by having a warm smile and a kind word. Maybe you are home to someone and you just don’t realize it. Sending love to you today.”
Sending love to you, too, Nelda. You have made a difference to me today.
Thank you for “carrying on”…
You nailed it. Beautifully written.
Wow, I needed to hear this today;) I do feel this way with work, raising children, being a wife, ect. We work to pay bills but yet still fall behind. Kids fighting over the same video games everyday, and the same complaints at work over and over. I do hope that moment comes when it makes it all work it. I know my children and husband make it worth it but its the world right now that depresses me:(
Thank you for writing your words. I admire honesty and truth and value it. Don’t ever stop;)
emily wierenga says
Oh friend, Thank you for this beautiful reminder to keep on loving, even in the mundane, tiring pockets of life–I’m so blessed by you. And thank you, thank you, for supporting Atlas Girl. Love you. XO
Margaret Stutts says
Thank you for your words in this post! I really needed to hear what you wrote!! I’ve been going through some health issues and I was getting discouraged. Your words made me look up and realize that I’ve got to do what my Dad always said, “keep your chin up and hang in there!!” Thank you from the bottom of my heart because my Dad has been dead for nineteen years and he is no longer here to tell me to keep my chin up and hang in there.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Margaret. I am so touched this piece made you think of your dad. This makes me so thankful I hit publish for this story alone.
Thank you for this post. I often read your blog but this is the first time I’ve commented. I love your writing. I can understand it and relate to it. I enjoy it and I’m encouraged by it. Today you have given me a little hope that what I do is not pointless. I like that in your writing of “life on repeat” you simply applied the goodness of what one has already been doing, instead of trying to have them change themselves to become something more grand. I needed that hope today. I needed to hear that there are “no redundant actions of an everyday hero.” Thank you.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for that perspective, Jamie. I love the notion that in this post there was no change required for goodness to result. It gives me goosebumps, actually. I am always striving to make myself better in some form or fashion. I am so appreciative to you for taking time to share.
Oh Rachel. I need you. Keep writing.
I am trying so hard to change. To become “MissBlissMom” that I once was and strive to become again. I don’t often comment, but I always read your posts. And they always help me truly “See” my children and my self again.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
thank you for being here. thank you for walking beside me. your heartfelt message makes me want to write.
Mary Ann Scholl says
I love your writings.
I frequently pass your posts along to two young mothers I know.
They have expressed how grateful they are for these messages.
Keep up the wonderful posts.
Don’t worry, you are touching many hearts every time you post.
Wishing you beauty in your day!!!
jenny johnston says
Do you ever tire of hearing what a gift you are to the world? Myself on repeat….thank you for what you do. I am a better mom because you keep repeaing what is important. Please, carry on!
Jo Vaughan says
Just keep writing. Your writing keeps reminding me to take that time to live each moment rather than submitting to the “shoulds” of this era. My four children and I used to take time to play and I learned the hard way that the “hurry-ups” and “lets go already” hurt feelings and damaged self esteem. At this stage of life it is so gratifying to see my grown children taking time to “BE” with their children.
Relax and enjoy your day with your kids!
Thank you for continuing to write honestly about how life can be messy and imperfect. Your words have been immensely helpful for me.
Even if you do “write on repeat”, I think it’s a message we need to be reminded of on repeat on a daily basis. I can not tell you how many times I’ve opened my email to find your latest post, only for it to be very relevant in my day, and bring tears to my eyes, and help me to reset my priorities once again.
Your message is a clear, simple message, and we need to read it 1,000 different ways- bc just like a teacher has to change how they might present the material to a child several times for them to finally “get it”, one of your messages will be the one that changes a persons life forever, for them to finally “get it”. All it takes is one message to touch someone’s heart for the rest of their life. Thank you for your gift, thank you for your message!
Loretta Leavitt says
You are doing a wonderful job with your writing. Please do not question that. I thoroughly enjoy your posts as well as your first book.
I’ve been occasionally reading your blog…and I want you to know that every single time I do, it is exactly what I needed, right when I needed it. Including this one.
I’m currently in a struggling marriage with three small children (5, 2 and 10 months) as well as trying to work full time as a Domestic Violence Prevention Advocate. Running on Repeat is what I seem to do…and I’ve always hated repetition. I’ve always had this attitude that if I didn’t learn it the first or second time, I never would. However, your post has given me a completely new perspective. Repetition is important. It doesn’t just help us learn something, it helps us teach, heal, love, grow, encourage and be strong. You have reminded me very well that I never know who’s life I might touch with something that I do every day, but maybe that one person has only just seen it for the first time. How beautiful and amazing.
Your words are encouraging and beautiful. Please don’t stop fighting for life and hope. Please keep encouraging us people out here who need that extra bit of hope for the day. You are an amazing writer. Thank you for all you do.
Cherstin Morris says
I’m new. This is the first post I’ve read of yours…….and I’m hooked! My calling in life is to be a mother to 5 energetic children, and a loving wife to a man who is still learning about selfishness and it’s effects on the people he loves. (Please don’t take me for one of those women that bash on their husbands. That’s not me. I’m just keeping it real.) I have 2 Aspergers (form of Autism) kids, and 3 boys with an immune deficiency that has me administering infusions weekly to keep them healthy. (Again, not complaining, just keeping it real.) I realized early on in my marriage that, in a lot of ways, I was the one that needed to step up and lead this family. A lot has been placed on my shoulders. I’m a military wife, I’m a teacher, a nurse, a counselor, a housekeeper, a cook, a manager, but above all, I am a leader….AN EXAMPLE! This is the most difficult part of my job. This position does not come easily to me. I can lack in all other aspects of my job But this part of my job is a 24-7 thing. It is that important to my family. It requires discipline, patience and strength, humility and consistency. All of which I would have said I lacked in having before my marriage. My life is a constant state of repeat. From the mundane of motherhood, to the exhausting worry and doubt of marriage and self worth. I also know of it’s rewards. I’ve seen my children thrive from the positive influence I’ve had on their lives. I’ve received unconditional love from my husband who has recognized my patience and example in his growth. I have a strong relationship with God that helps to keep me grounded and moving forward. But I am human. I have weaknesses. I can be selfish also and look around for more recognition when it feels like I have no more of myself to give. And that is when I fall short, and give into my temptation to give up. And sometimes it lasts a day, and sometimes it last a summer. It’s a rut that I put myself in that is impassable for me to get myself out of. It’s not until I come across something that uplifts, or sparks emotion, or gives purpose again or just repeats what I already know to be true. Sometimes hearing it (or reading it) from another makes all the difference. THAT was your post for me, today. I had lost my focus on the importance of my repetitive life. The selfish part of me thinks there is only so much I can give before I break. But it simply is not true. If I look at my life with purpose in the routine then the depleted feeling is replenished once again. And the focus is taken off of myself and put back onto finding those little reminders of how blessed I am to have this life. Thanks for this. Your words may flow easily from your fingers and feel repetitive, therefore feeling a little less significant. But it was anything but that, for me today. And to the person with the unsatisfied comment, a reminder that Rachel writes for more then just you. And even though her post was not what you were needing at the time, countless others benefited from her helpful and uplifting words….once again. Could you say the same?
Amy Button says
I do feel that way. Tired of the same thing over and over again. I’m thinking though, that if I plow through, the consistency will pay off. Thank you for helping me get there.
Jeanna McNamara says
Someone criticized YOU? Do we have to be “Hands free” with them? Seriously though, some days I don’t have the emotional strength to read you because you challenge me. When I do read, it’s exactly what I need. Thank you and don’t stop!!
Rachel, I love your writings. I want you to know it has caused me to evaluate life as a wife and working mom of three. I really believe it has helped me to be better at capturing those “moments” thru out my day.
We are all at different places in this Hands Free adventure. It reminds me of several stories in the Bible when Jesus would locate people right where they were, and then His words would bring life and healing.
Please know that words are locating and helping the majority of your readers!
Amy Avery says
The thing is that life is repetitive, it was created to be just such. We have seasons, and cycles of life. New creation springs forth and goes through the same cycles as the ones who came before. The sun rises and sets every single day and we go on and we learn each day something new even if we don’t really realize it. Repetitiveness is hard wired into our very being and through it we come to know who we are and where to pay attention when the receptiveness is broken. Perhaps the reader’s comment was that broken receptiveness to stir not only your heart, but also hers. Perhaps her comment was given as a leap of faith to see if she at all would be noticed and if she at all makes a difference. And you saw that comment and didn’t just put it aside. You allowed it to stir your heart and to inspire the composition of this beautiful post here. Thank you for the words you write whether they are repetitive or something that is rarely said. Your words make a difference.
Please continue to write. I was feeling as if my efforts were in vain. Thank you for a new perspective.
Keep on! Every day we have to make a choice on how to live that day. Every day we have to choose between a good choice and a bad choice. It is easy to go on a “good streak” and then fall off and start to make bad choices again. It is critical to be encouraged along the way and keep being reminded of how to live that day. Getting the core stuff right in our hearts takes a lot of repetition and continual reminders.
Lori Carter says
Oh my goodness, yes please! The challenge of life on repeat, finding inspiration in the mundane. The PERFECT message for me today, here at the near-end of summer before all the “new” begins. Lovely reminder. Thank you!
I’m not a mother, but your words speak to my past, with my mother.
I always enjoy, and am touched by your posts.
Thank you for yet another beautiful and inspiring post. It brought tears to my eyes as I have been wondering this very thing for the last few months. I am a stay-at-home mom with a 19-month old (and another daughter on the way in November), and I have just reached that difficult toddler phase where it often feels like I am failing as a parent. It certainly does feel redundant and there are many days I wonder if I did the right thing when I quit work, and I often wonder how I will ever keep from losing my sanity with two little ones and no family nearby! So, thank you Rachel for such timely words of encouragement.
Teddi Sofoul says
I never mind reminders to do things the right way. Each Sunday I go to church and I partake of the communion that reminds me that God loves me and that Jesus gave his life to save mine. I cannot repeat certain things in life enough. Your message and the love it sends is a needed reminder for all blessed to read it.
Thank you, thank you for your consistency and honesty…..I missed your blogs when you were gone for a bit…..I think they are refreshing and inspiring and they always leave me feeling better after I have read them. They bring comfort and support for things I may already be thinking about and they also open my eyes to things I may have not thought about, overlooked or saw differently. Your honesty and optimism is a great source of encouragement.
All I can say is AMEN AMEN AMEN to all of the positive & encouraging posts above. Your writing is such a blessing to me! Thank you for your honesty and being so vulnerable…and this allows those words to sting even more…please soak up all of the GOOD here too! Please keep the same ol thing coming!!! 🙂
Serena @ Thrift Diving says
It’s funny you post this. Because I have asked myself this same question. As a DIY blogger, we’ve saturated the market with painted this….painted this….repurposed this…repurposed that…. I stay away from much of that because if I get caught up in it, I would probably never create another thing. I would question whether I have anything new to add to what’s already been done and slammed over Pinterest a thousand times. Instead, I create what I want from my heart. And even if it’s been done before, it’s only been done once by me.
And even if there are 10,000 pins of similar projects on Pinterest, one of my readers may not have seen it before. And that project that I just did, which others may say, “Meh, it’s already been done” has suddenly inspired that reader to pick up a paint brush or to try a new technique, or inspired them to start renovating their laundry room, too. Just because my project and my words inspired them.
So yeah, we’ve all been there. But we have no idea who we will inspire and who will be watching at just the moment when they need it.
To piggy back on that thought, one of my readers pointed me to you after the other day after I posted on Friday about how I’m slowly killing myself in an effort to grow my blog while managing a “day job,” kids, husband, family, LIFE….often staying up until 2 or 3 a.m., skimming on sleep, jeapordizing my health, and shooing my kids away in frustrated hurriedness. And I read your post about “Hurry Up” and because of that, I catch myself using those words and just stop and enjoy the moment. And even if some of your readers do feel you’re repetitive, maybe they’ve “gotten it” already and it’s time for them to graduate so a new batch of “students” can take their place so we can do better :).
Serena @ Thrift Diving
LOVE this post. Thank you. I so needed to read these words today.
Kim D says
When I read this post and many of the comments all I can think of is Dori – “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!” There are days when I have to remind myself of this exact thing – the things we do really do matter even though we may not see it today, or tomorrow, or the next day. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your writing – it has truly changed me as a Mother and I feel myself every day repeating your words – ONLY LOVE TODAY. I am so much more in the moment with my kids and so much more willing to be a part of all that they do as much as I can – and YOU are to thank for that! One day I hope to show this blog (and your book(s)) to my kids when they become parents. You are a blessing to many (as evidenced here) and I can only pray that you will stay on REPEAT so that I can continue to strive to be the Mom I want to be. And by the way, the name of our Sunday School class at church is Works in Progress – pretty appropriate right? 🙂
Barbara Smith says
I could not finish it.
I cried before I finished the first paragraph, then read bits and pieces to the end
I cried for me. I cried for you. I cried for the mother doing the load of laundry after being up all night with the sick baby or child. I cried for the friend who just put her husband in a care facility because she was no longer able to take care of him. I cried for our military who often receive no thanks for what they did and/or lost and only history will judge. I cried for everyone who has to do something beyond what they thought they would be able to do… and did it because of love, because it might, just might, make a difference to one person for one second or for years… whether or not they ever knew it made a difference, but did it anyway. I cried…
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Barbara. I feel your tears and they feel like love and hope to me and to someone else, I am sure.
Those negative comments are just another form of wordly distraction. Don’t let them get you down. I really enjoy your point of view.
Beautifully written and can so empathise x
I don’t know about anyone else, but if I were able to “get the message” the first time I heard it- in ANY area of life I would have everything together, be damn near perfect & have no need for blog posts.. The reality is, sometimes you don’t hear the message til the timing is right, til you’ve actually gotten enough sleep for it to penetrate the fog.. And you have that “aha” moment where the message resonates deep in your gut because it speaks your truth.. Then amidst the everyday chaos, you forget & slip back into the repetition, the everyday demands & frustrations, & that epiphany is gone. I for one welcome the repetition- it helps me get back on track- and the heart-bearing honesty & vulnerability I hear in every Hands free post I read. For a worn out mama like me, at times hopeless, running on E & feeling often inadequate & a failure at the most important job & completely alone in my efforts, your words are like a beacon of hope & almost always bring tears to my eyes. The “bully” article is the first I remember really striking me & I had to share it with other moms… I also want to thank you for your response to my comment on one of the posts on your page that offered me so much hope in a very dark & hopeless time for me (a couple months ago).. You also linked the “Three words for Critics” post which of course made me bawl & I’ve printed it out to keep on hand when I’m beating myself up for my less than stellar mommy moments. Please don’t ever underestimate or trivialize the importance of the work you do. In a society where the role of parenting & bringing up PEOPLE is so undervalued & overlooked, & criticism & judgement runs so rampant, we need all the hope, encouragement & positive insight we can get our hands on. Thanks to the efforts of you, and others like Janet Lansbury, Laura Markham, Hand in Hand Parenting, & Genevieve at The way of the Peaceful Parent, I get so much amazing wisdom, hope & encouragement that make me a better mom 🙂 So thank you, & I look forward to every article- repetitive or not.
Hi Rachel. I’m new to your blog and writing so I appreciate anything on ‘repeat’. As someone that works in the field of communications, I know that messages need to be said at least 7 times before someone really hears it. I think there are many ways to communicate key messages and I think you are doing a great job. Your blog posts have really struck a chord with me at some really tough times and I encourage you to keep writing! Even on repeat!
I. Can’t. Do. It. It’s not working. I’m trying hard and it’s just not coming together. I started my Hands Free Journey in November 2013, I’ve read every blog, and I’m reading your book. I’m a working mother of 3 (8, 4, 3) with a (mostly) supportive husband. I’ll do great for a while living in the moment, laughing and playing with the kids. You can even see them thriving. They love it when Mom laughs. I feel good. But then I look around and the house is chaos and a disaster. Then I start to loose it. I get agitated and short tempered. We’re scrambling for shoes and digging through piles of clean clothes still in the basket and I cry out – “We can’t live like this!” It’s like I can’t do it ALL well. I have to trade an orderly house and home life for cherished moments with my kids. I begin to resent mothers who are able to stay home. My husband tells me that this is just how it is with small kids. That it will get better. We had the most wonderful stay-cation this summer. I was totally in tune with my kids. My days and nights revolved around our family. Then the week was over and my Life of Repeat was back for more cycles. Do you ever relapse? Do you ever still speak harshly with your children with terrible regrets? Or are you completely past all that? I don’t want other mothers to feel as I do, but at the same time I want to know that I’m not the only one who still struggles after almost a year of trying . Regardless of my progress, I love your writings and find them so hopeful and inspiring! Thank you! You’re my life line!
I found your blog in the past year. I read all the posts as they come out and they remind me to keep perspective. I have 3 little ones that are quickly becoming not little anymore. It reminds me to cherish the moments. Thanks for your blog!
your message reminded of my favorite movie ‘The Magic of Ordinary Days’…thanks
Tonya Adrian-Hill says
Thank you for all you do. I don’t tire of reading your posts, book or emails…I actually read them more than once. In the repetition I find comfort, understanding and hope. I’m finding a better “me.” My almost 11 yr old daughter has noticed, my husband and most of all, I can feel it. I’ve fought with depression and anxiety most of my life but now, most days, it’s not a fight…I feel joy and peace. I’m not always stressed, filled with worries and the pressure of life and all it’s “expectations.” You’ve helped me to stop and really put things into perspective. Again, I thank you! Keep doing what you. While there may be critics out there, remember, most people criticize others for what they don’t like about themselves. Many Blessing to you and your family. 🙂
I did cry with you today. I am fairly new to your writing so please do repeat and repeat and repeat. Today and everyday you may reach someone new. Today and everyday the repetition is the foundation that helps each of us become stronger and more confident. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Michelle Ice says
All I can say is Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Days do go on repeat!
Karen Hillerman says
Please continue. I just started following you and you reach my inner being with your words. They are healing words. We need to hear your take on all of this craziness called life. Over and over and…
Well said. You touched something inside this old Grammy. Keep it up.
I love reading all of your posts. And true, there are times when they seem familiar as if you wrote something similar before but that is why I enjoy reading all of them. I learn best when things are told to me in different ways, often times the exact same thing in different words. So, thank you for sharing and reminding me of all the things I already know all too well but somehow continue to forget.
Thank you! I found you on Friday morning! Friday afternoon, my husband of only 2 years emailed me to say he’d moved all of his things from our house. Hmmm….I am that someone you speak of above. Keep writing! There is so much for me to read. We (my daughter and I) are dealing (Please know the breakup wasn’t a surprise, just the way he did it and in that fashion). I love to read what you’ve written and I have spent some time this past weekend looking back over your blog posts-playing catch up. Love them! Thank you! And to the poster that commented that they didn’t find anything new: sometimes, it’s OK to say nothing at all. Sometimes, it’s OK to be still and sometimes, someone who’s gone through what I just went through will stumble upon a page and they needed those exact words at that exact moment and sometimes, it’s brand new to them. Much love and hope!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for sharing your story, April. It amazing that I can feel an inner strength resonating from your words. Although you must be going through a very difficult time, I can hear determination and optimism in your message. I am grateful to know you are here, walking beside me, sharing your own story. I drew strength from you today, my friend.
I needed this today. So, thank you.
Roberta Owens says
My view is that your work exemplifies a refreshing sense of the word under discussion, Rachel. (re-peat adj.: Of, relating to … and from the Latin repetere – to seek again.) After all, the use of reprise contributes to our deeper appreciation of valued music, better understanding of good prose and poetry, and greater regard for lovely works of visual art. And what is that Harriet Beecher Stowe quote? It goes something like it is “a rare virtue to be really great in little things … noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life …” Seek again and again – relating and saying anew, Rachel!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
So lovely, Roberta. Thank you for this incredibly inspiring perspective. I shall not forget it.
I love your posts…every single one of them…I don’t see repetitiveness, I see inspiration…. You always inspire me and remind me of what’s REALLY important!
Thank you…thank you…thank you….. please carry on! 🙂
I really enjoy your writings every time. I often save them in my e-mail to reread and to be inspired by. I also often share with the parenting groups I teach. I teach parents ways to communicate so their children will listen. I love when they say, “I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work.” My answer is, “How many times have you tried it? Because it takes tons of repeating before it’s learned.” I’ve shared your writing about the listening face when our topic is communication. I’ve shared your bl0g and have told parents to come here for inspiration. That’s what your writings do for me no matter how many times I read them.
You were an angel sent to me during a dark time of parenthood. Your words reassure me that my husband and I are doing the BEST we can with our kids. You have a gift and I (along with so many countless others) appreciate the fact that you share your talents even when it is scary and hard. May your angels, guides and God keep you strong to continue sharing your Hands Free Journey! Sending much love, strength and support!
Thank you for your beautiful blessing!
Cathy Borel says
Your writing is lovely and genuine. I love to see your posts. Thank you for sharing – it is a gift!
Others have said something similar but it bears repeating (haha!). We hear constant negativity (from others, media, from our own thoughts, etc) and it’s so important to work hard to replace all that with positive affirmations. By repeating the same positive messages over and over again, we can start to unwind all the incorrect messages we are hearing. I have positive affirmations recorded on my phone (in my voice) and when I get down, I listen to them. Over and over again. Keep repeating yourself. The world needs your message.
And sometimes we need someone to remind us of this! Thanks!
I just recently discovered you. So although it may sound repetitive to you or other readers it is brand new to me. Haven’t had the time to scoop out the archive, so the blog posts are a new reminder for me of where to focus my attention.
Sandy Blackard says
The idea that something has to be new or original and never seen before to have value comes up for a lot of us. Your post is a great reminder that repetition has value in and of itself, particularly given that is how humans learn.
Besides, when you really think about it, none of the great messages about life, love and acceptance are new. They are timeless themes that bear repeating and exploring over and over from this perspective and that. We can never hear them enough because they are our beacons home to the peaceful core of our being.
Since we are all constantly growing and changing, your message can remain the same but your writing about it never will be. Plus, remember that we are different readers each time we see it.
I know your fondest desire is to help people change their lives for the better. Seems to me, bringing life-changing meaning to what you write is our job. Yours is simply to keep sharing the thoughts and perspectives on your core message of love and acceptance that have made a difference for you. Your passion keeps it fresh and new for us all.
Hundreds of comments tell you that your message has intersected with many, including me, at just the right time in our lives. I for one am extremely grateful for what you do. Over and over, week in and week out, delivering your message from one angle or another is how you are changing the world, and I thank you for it!
I needed this today, thank you so much!! Taking care of two little kids all day, every day, seems redundant at times, but this was great. Thanks!
Thank you. Needed that.
This is the first time I have read any of your posts and I’m inspired. That’s why you keep writing because everyday you will reach someone new and enrich their life’s a little. Keep going x
M. Catlett says
Don’t you quit on us, now – I want to hear the same things, I want you to say the same things. I come back again and again for them.
Epiphanies are great in reading. Brushes of enlightenment are great in meditation. Joyful soul adventures with the children are awesome. But those rewards are blessings, not the goal. They are not why we practice, they are not what we’re doing down here.
Great perspective. Don’t ever doubt your skills as a writer or think that you’re “gig” is over. Your blog could be that one glimmer of hope for that one person that happens upon your blog. My writing is snarky and critical and cynical, it’s my therapy because a therapist is too expensive. Reading other people’s blogs is therapy for me too. I enjoy your posts, you’re on my reading list, so if not for yourself or anyone else, please keep writing them for a total stranger who needs your positive messages to balance out her days and provide some therapy. 🙂
Practical Mama says
We all need reminders. And sometimes, the message need to be rephrased. Otherwise, there would be only one self-help book, one motivational book, maybe even one pizza cooking book. Why do people read another book, after reading, or watch another movie after watching a masterpiece? Even though the content might seem the same, it’s not the same. It’s a different time, different place, we are different people. I feel like reading a really good book that moved me 5-10 years ago. I am not the same person again. I change. I need reminders told in different forms, written in different words. It keeps me going onward and upward.
Scott Sheperd says
This is such an interesting post especially for me because I wondered about this whole issue as it relates to you specifically. I wondered if you would hit a wall or become a “one trick pony.” You do have a powerful message and you are a really good writer. I think dealing with this issue will make you a better writer, a better thinker, and probably a better person. As many others have written here, for a lot of people your writings will be a new experience. There is no repeat for them. For many others and that number will grow as you become more known there will be repeat readers. You know that. You challenge will be to get your message across in new ways; to reframe things; to bring other perspectives. Whatever. You will do it because you are good and this is an important issue. In fact I think there a wide range of issues that come out of what you are doing, waiting for your insight and thoughts. You keep at it. You make a difference.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Scott. I really appreciate hearing your perspective as well as your incredibly kind remarks about my writing. In going throug the process of writing two non-fiction books, I have found a deep desire to write children’s books. I am in the process of pitching a children’s book based on my post, “Children Who Shine From Within,” that I wrote about my daughter and our firefly talk. I feel so excited about this aspect of building up children. I was a teacher for 10 years so I have a great love for kids. I truly feel like I am just getting started on this writing path. I feel like God has a plan and my job is to just keep writing–even when it’s hard. I am so grateful for the support of my readers like you. It helps me more than I could ever express in words.
Claire Holloway says
my life on repeat….
i get closer – i need ME to stop yelling at my only boy.
i pay attention – i needed my parents’ attention, so i get therapy by giving it to my boy.
i do the dishes – a small rhythmic happiness….
and my dears, routines are the reality. or you couldn’t tie your shoes. mindfully enjoying them is why i have the ‘space’ to read such a lovely blog and then implement getting closer and all of your other lovely insights.
thank you for your writings. we are all in this together!!
I never get tired of reading your posts! Say it anyway you need, however many times you will. Your posts are so meaningful and I have had to dry my eyes often. Please ignore the negative comments. They are another unnecessary distraction in life. You have such a talent and graceful soul and never doubt how many hearts you,ve touched with your words.
D'Ann Martin says
I recently decided to pare down the blogs I subscribe to. They are all wonderful, but alas, being a mommy leaves me very little time to read blogs, even if they’re awesome. Your blog is one that not only would I never unsubscribe from, but I would be willing to pay dearly monthly for it. The last blog that came to my email was about you finding a new place to walk at your new house. I moved to my current location 4 years ago, but I still feel like a stranger. In my old town I had tons of friends, family and a Church that was amazing. Since we moved, I struggle to find and make friends. Thankfully we have a good Church. I realized after reading it that I needed to find a new walking route. I run and walk here and there, but nothing that wowed me. I found that place and it’s all because of your blog post. Still hoping to find some friends, but at least now I’ll have a sanctuary to get not only exercise, but communion with God. Please keep on keeping on! Much love<3
You didn’t make me cry . . . but that has more to do with the fact that this is a day heavy with depression’s numbness.
You reminded me why I shouldn’t give up. Not today, when I feel like nothing I ever do will change anything in my life . . . and not ever, for any reason.
Thank you. I needed the hope you offered me today. Much gratitude comes with my thanks.
God bless you.
Thank you for your inspirational words that do indeed help me carry on each time I read them! I appreciate you and that you carry on for the likes I’d me!
Please please don’t stop writing…. Don’t stop reminding me when forgetting is so easy in this hectic world… Don’t stop making me cry and making me so grateful and happy for my messy and crazy life!!! I love your words and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing them with me 🙂
Faye Daing says
Hi Rachel, thank you for this wonderful post. I needed to read this today. Many times I feel like I’m on a repeat button. Keep on writing and keep on inspiring your readers through your words. Again, thanks for lifting my spirit up today.
Janet T says
A perfect post and oh so true! Sometimes it is hard to keep going and have those heroic minutes when you choose to do! I always find it most helpful when I remember why I do what I do and offer it all to God to do with it as He will… I know he makes the best out of even my littlest effort!
Thank you for always sharing yourself and your writings with us!
Beautifully written! I felt as if I wrote it, only I couldn’t say it that well! I’m almost in the same place. One book , soon to be published. A little over 100 posts, always learning!
Thank you Rachel…your
‘Life on Repeat’ article succinctly says all for our everyday lives!
Uilani Cordeiro says
Thank you for your posts. You have helped to remind me about what truly matters! Just wanted to encourage you… If you remind people and even if you say the same things on repeat, you are in good company. So did Peter and God decided to put it in the bible 🙂
“Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.” (2 Peter 1:12-15 NASB)
I love your encouraging words! I’m so thankful I found your blog! It has touched my heart in so many ways..really opened my eyes. I can feel your heart behind every message. I cried through your entire book. So thank you. Thank you for opening up your heart and life..both of which are brave and beautiful! Glad you are back and posting! Can’t wait for your new book!!!!
Jennifer Theibert says
Rachel, I am a mother of two daughters, a wife and an attorney. My girls are 10 and 6 and most days I feel like I am barely holding it all together. Your blog is a sweet reminder of what is really important, who deserves the best of us and that we are not perfect. You and your beautiful words are an inspiration to so many–many tines they are exactly what I need at that exact moment. Stay the course, stay strong, and keep writing!
Rachel love your blog and book!! Don’t ever stop writing!
Thank you for your words.. they are a gift.
Thank you for constantly inspiring me to be a mire involved mommy. That is truly all my children want. Your sweet heart and messages inspire mommies everyday!
Renee R says
I had one of those exact moments today. Having a 6 and 10 year old, those moments do not happen very often but when they do they are the best things ever! I was running children between sports and was about to drop my son off and split time between the two sports when I went to leave him and he grabbed me so tight and gave me a huge hug. He didn’t want me to go. That act alone drove me to stay and he ended up getting a tip at TaeKwondo. As a mother, thankfully those moments come just when you really need them!
I love your blogs and book. You have really helped me try to be the best parent I can be! Thanks for all your hard work!
Please keep writing. As a mom, I need your reminders every day! You write beautifully and the things you say need saying. We can hear a hundred compliments, but the one harsh voice is the one we focus on. Why is that? I hope that you will hear that what you’re writing matters!
Laurel Santiago says
I reposted this on my site: http://aneasyeducation.blogspot.com/2014/08/life-on-repeat-from-handsfreemamacom.html. It is beautiful. Thank you so much.
Gail Phillips says
Oh baby, my girl is 31 years old and you brought years to my eyes. Please don’t ever stop writing.
It is your destiny to continually remind the masses. You are doing INCREDIBLE work and remind us with every post to reconnect and focus on what’s important. Bravo mamma, you’ll never know the countless lives you’ve impacted. Keep going. Xo.
Thank you. Thank you for sharing this extremely vulnerable perspective. I feel like I could have written it myself, although not as articulately. The nuances you included touch so many facets of the life of a mom – who plays nurse, news deliverer, entertainer, customer service advisor – daily. You make me feel not alone and not unique (which, when feeling alienated, is a welcome emotion). Xoxo
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Beautiful perspective, Tiffany. I had not thought of it that way, but yes, I see it now!
Selene G says
I found the Hands Free Mama Revolution when I most needed it…. I was tired of reading parenting books that only left me with a feeling that I was doing it all wrong as a mom… The first post that I read was the yelling post. It opened a new door for me as a parent. -It showed me that the only thing that is important is, as you have repeatedly said, to grasp what really matters. Everyday, I wake up and I say to myself “don’t forget to grasp what really matters”…. My kids are only 2 and 3 years old, and that is the only “parenting strategy” that has helped me through my journey as a stay-at-home-mom. My life is on repeat right now, but I always find comfort and peace in your writing. Thank you for writing, even if it is a little bit of the same… I can’t get enough reminders to grasp what really matters.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Selene. This is very meaningful to me.
Oh Rachel, how absolutely right on you are about this post!! So many things in our lives are repeats of the same however as we grow and change and learn throughout our lives the same message is received and heard differently. The tragedy would be to stop before that golden moment where it finally clicks! Keep all of your wisdom coming, we need the steady flow of hope amidst our chaos!!
Thank you so much for this. I’ve worked as a cashier and a nurse. . . I never looked at parenting that way, and it has given me an entirely new perspective! This is my most important job ever. Your posts, especially the ones on hurry up, yelling, and bullying, have helped to slowly turn my heart to be a kinder parent to these little people with whom God has entrusted me. Keep writing.
Oh how I needed to read this today. I have two boys. Both ADHD and one also bipolar. I have been feeling st the end of my rope lately. Like everyday is a broken record. Thanks to these words I feel hope that this broken record life I’m in will eventually pay off!!
I came here to leave a nice comment but so many others have already said what I wanted to say. You are such an inspiration in so many ways. I have found each and every post and book chapter I’ve read to be valuable and relevant– and I don’t even have children yet! Keep it up!
I appreciate your posts because they are genuine and heart-felt, and usually from the same road I have traveled. I know that you write them after having some moment of clarity about a situation that didn’t go as well as it could have or quite the opposite. And I know that the only way to get better is to do work.
So thank you. For doing the work and for not only encouraging others to do the same, but to see what good can come of that work. This mama is a fan.
Whoa … Are you ever gifted in wisdom!! Thanks for giving me a blessing of that shared knowledge!!
Sherri Kelly says
This brought tears to my eyes. I needed this message this morning. My young adult son has really been testing me. Sometimes I want to throw in the towel but I do hold out hope that someday he’ll get it and it will all be worth it. Don’t ever stop writing! Your words encourage and strengthen families. That is a beautiful worthy calling.
I got chills while reading this – I didn’t think I would, but I did. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m glad it found me. I’ll remember this message – it’s a good one. It’s the little repetitions, those things that seem like they don’t matter, that when added up together, result in big changes.
Every post you write seems to be exactly what I need to hear at that time, and this one in particular spoke to me. “These are the redundant actions of an everyday hero.” What a perfect way to reframe that. What you write about is something I need to be reminded of over and over again. Daily. I find myself reading your book 1-2 pages at a time so that I can really process it and take it all in. Once I finish it, I plan to start right over again, reading it in the same fashion. I don’t believe there’s any more important (or difficult!) job than parenting, and your words provide me with the focus and inspiration I need to keep “fighting the good fight”. Thank you. Keep up the good work.
PS: I’ve yet to read a single post of yours without crying.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Angela. This helps me so much today. I am grateful to read your uplifting words. I will remember them.
As Ellen Degeneres says, “My haters are my motivators”. You do amazing things. If that reader can’t find something new in every post you write then they’re not looking very hard. Your perspective is fresh and funny and humble and inspiring. Keep writing!! We’ll keep reading. Bless you.
Thank you so much for this. I have especially felt like this today. As weird as it may sound i needed to know someone else could relate with this to get myself out of the holding pattern.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
That doesn’t sound weird at all, Steph. I totally understand. Hearing you say you needed to know someone else was feeling that way is very comforting to me. Thanks for commenting.
It helped me very much! Thankyou!
Thank you for this. I really needed to hear this today as a stay at home mom of four children ages 2 months to 7 years! It’s hard to remember how important my redundant life really is!!
Thank and please keep on writing. As I get ready to start work again tomorrow. I plan to read your hurry up post to hopefully help me keep focus on what’s important this school year. I hope I can share life and make memories with my daughters and not loose track once all the work pressures get thrown at me. I love to reread such post to remind myself of what I want to focus on.
That was beautifully written and certainly made me think about repetitive actions differently than I ever have before. I used to feel sorry for people who lived such lives, including myself, like drones or robots. Wishing people would wake up, open their eyes, and use their brains for petes sake! At the same time, I have always believed that the smallest, mundane, seemingly unimportant action, or interaction, could be the one thing that saves a life. These small gestures can make or break a person, and you may never know it! Repetition is clearly necessary, but I think the key is to maintain awareness and not slip into autopilot mode. If we pay attention to the minor nuances of everyday life, the blessings and lessons which seperate one day from the next, become abundantly clear and impossible to ignore! Thank you for sharing your perspective. I have definitely gained a new outlook and appreciation for the repeaters!
Thank you for this post. I was ready to throw in the towel. With work, a busy mother of 3 and a full time wife, I sometimes forget where I am throughout the day. Your words have restored my heart and thoughts and will help push me through this difficult time. I will be able to continue the repetition of everyday and have patience to see “that day.” I often tell my kids that patience is a virtue…I should be reminding myself of that also.
I needed to read these words today as I head back to the classroom on the first day for teachers in my district. It was a good reminder that what I do at home with my sons and what I do in my first grade classroom really does matter. Thank you.
I want to take some time and let you know how much I love your writing…heart..outlook..faith and beliefs! To spend your life making many slow day and get what matters, truly natters from their daily lives is inspiring!
My same ole same ole, is trying to live with chronic pain from a back injury. And in doing so, NOT letting it bring more heartbreak to my loving family then necessary….its rough facing each day with hope of a cure….positive thoughts of it bringing some sort of life lesson to many instead of anger and resentment. I know those things start with me and it takes all the faith in me to do so…but for them and for me, I refuse to do anything less!
It does bring about a renewed gratitude
of my daily blessings and with 7 Gran babies..a daughter,a son, a husband of 38 years and a son and daughter by marriage, I have MANY blessings that I am the luckiest girl in the world to experience daily! 🙂 I have extended family and friends that complete the rest of my life’s blessings daily.
Thank you for reminding me today that my same ole same ole is nothing short of beautiful and amazing gifts that God chose ME to experience….what a life! What a gift! 🙂
Blessings to you and may we both continue living in the wonderful world of
magical experiences and a journey that’s been made for just us to travel…all the pit stops, u turns, and speed traps are necessary for learning how letting go and holding on, makes the ride unique and all our own lessons of what and who truly matter and what and who doesn’t at all. 🙂
I am a mom and a teacher and your words ring true for me. I try to find the silver lining in each day and remember this day will never come again and I’ll miss these days terribly when my kids are grown.
Julie S says
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.
First time to your blog via Facebook I am going to come back with a cuppa after doing all those things in my life that are on repeat today ! mainly housework. Perhaphs the commenter has to dig in your words because she has something very specific that she is searching for and just maybe, one day, it will be there. We can only hope 🙂 now I’m off to repeatedly clean the toilet 🙂 🙂
Rachel Macy Stafford says
So glad you found me and so glad you shared that piece of insight. That could be a very real possibility that I hadn’t thought of. THANK YOU for that!
I stumbled upon your blog and this one really hit home. Thank you for your beautiful writing and words of encouragement. I will be checking out more of your writings. Thank you 🙂
I needed to hear that…desperately. Thank you.
I absolutely love your blogs! I’m a mom of 6 boys, so I don’t find much time to write myself, but I love reading yours! Keep writing honey!!
I’ve been thinking recently that being an adult is like Groundhog Day. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. So your words ring true, even though I’m a little late to the party! Maybe some of the content is repetitive, but here’s the thing: it’s a kernel of truth that needs to be reiterated, since every day we get frustrated, every day we fall short of what we want to be, and every day we try to make lasting memories out of fleeting moments. So thank you for writing and helping and caring and sharing.
Your words will always be the first time someone reads them. True for me. Sometimes, I need to hear things multiple times before the light goes on. Sometimes, you will write something that someone needs to hear that moment. All could be true for me. Never doubt yourself when you are doing something good.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you. I will definitely remember your loving and supportive perspective.
I recently transitioned from a full-time, active hands-on job to an office job, for the sake of a consistent paycheck. The monotony of being back at a desk has been a little tricky to settle into, and your post encouraged me today. Thank you for that! I have always appreciated your thoughts and how you craft them, and I am thankful you are choosing to keep on.
I’ve been a long time reader of your blog but this is the first time I’ve ever commented. I just had to stop share a little and say how much I appreciate your words and your point-of-view.
Admittedly, in the last 6 months I’ve read very little of your posts because my family and I went through some difficult times. I allowed myself distractions, impatience and frustration, telling myself I had a good excuse. Until today. I wasn’t my best self today and your post helped me remember how to see that. Thank you.
I am not a mother. I don’t think that I will ever be a mother. But your words have helped me understand not only my mother’s perspective but helped me better explain my perspective to my mother. And honestly, your gentle and kind reminders of how to be less distracted and more present have helped me with all kinds of interpersonal relationships. Because of you, I pulled into focus the kind of person I want and strive to be.
My words of gratitude are all I can offer, until I can buy your book 😉 But I will continue to share your wonderful words.
Wishing you plenty of peace and love!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi Jordan, thank you so much for telling me you are here and sharing your story with me. This is my favorite part about blogging–getting to hear from my readers. It helps me to know that you are not a mother but that you find value in my blog and why. As I write my second book, I cannot tell you how much this feedback helps me. Although my children are so often my inspiration in my stories, I always hope there is a little something for anyone who just wants to live a more present, gratitude filled life. I am so thankful you left a comment today.
A family member shared one of your Facebook posts this (South African) morning. I quickly checked your page. The post up a the moment talks about new meaning.
I’m a nurse, so the repeat bit rings true.
I recently saw a very interesting movie: “Jiro dreams of Sushi”
Jiro has been doing the “same thing” every day for more than fifty years.
It’s all about nuance, I suppose.
I’m currently rethinking my job and my purpose.
Some things bear repetition, others don’t.
The question is, why did this person go looking for meaning in your work?
With the vast amount of writers out there, why engage with you at all?
God gave ten commandments, yet His Son summarized it into two.
Does that mean eight were superfluous?
(I’m a christian, but other spiritual traditions have similar examples)
I often tell my patients that the information I’m about to give is a set speech.
It’s only new once.
If it’s not, the next duty arises:
Having found the message, how do you apply it to every day (each one the same, but different)
Only if your message means something to you, you’ll repeat it, always worrying to keep it from going stale.
My question would be: “if I can’t find meaning, am I imparting it?”
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you so much, Franz, for sharing your story and your wise perspective. I will remember your thoughtful questions and they will help me on the days of doubt.
Renee Hyde says
I have tried to follow a number blogs but none have made me want to read more like yours. Keep writing you are an inspiration to the world! Let your light SHINE! Thank you!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
What a compliment! I am grateful!
Yes ~ Please keep writing, because I need to keep hearing your words, keep being reminded of your message! Thank you!
I just discovered this blog through sharings on Facebook. My life currently is on a daily repeat. I want to thank you for the reminder that that is exactly what it is all about
thank you so much for this post. EXACTLY what i needed to hear this morning. tears of gratitude. bless you and your work! 🙂
I’m late to adding my comment, because I know I need to set aside a quiet time to thoughtfully read your blog posts, which so accurately and compassionately describe life. This post reminds me of the feeling I’ve come to have about life and the monotony that comes with it. I practice yoga, and my yoga teacher often reminds us to practice and let go of the results. This allows us to just be in the poses where we are, rather than thinking about where we need to be or making goals. The purpose is to observe where our body is now, and while we are working toward something, we aren’t judging ourselves against some desired result. I’ve been applying this philosophy elsewhere in my life. Instead of thinking about all the things I want to do in the day, which can be paralyzing, I just do the next thing. Sometimes, in that process of just “practice,” whether in a yoga pose or in a daily life requirement, I go a little deeper or I accomplish a little more, and yes, it feels good, but because it was happening without judgement or desire for a goal, and it feels more peaceful. As you’ve described so well in this post, writing is the same way (as are so many things that you listed). You write daily as your practice, and you let go of the results as you share. There is no better way to go deeper and find the gems that nurture you and your readers. Thank you for practicing.
Regina Collins-Simon says
I agree. Thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to circle round and round.
Oh, Rachel. Thank you for answering that reader’s comment with a post filled with such grace and truth. This is why I can’t be a professional blogger; my skin just isn’t thick enough.
Thank you for the reminder that there is glory in the redundancy.
Yes, keep writing! You never know when someone will come across your site and read your message for the first time. And besides, we all need the constant reminders – we learn through repetition and even when we think we’ve learned something, there will come new experiences in life to test us and we have to learn it all over again. 😉 You’re an inspiration to so many and your message is so important! Thank you for sharing your words and encouragement with us all!
P.S. I also loved the other aspect of this post – I have sometimes struggled with the “monotony” of life (as a mom of four little ones) and I really love your thoughts on this and how you never know when ‘this time is different’. Thank you, thank you for your insights and perspective.
Jen Zink says
Your blog touches my heart each time I read it. I can’t help myself, I have to share your stuff all the time on fb and I am not even a big fb article sharer. 🙂 Write on, sister.
Thanks for not letting other people keep you from writing your truths. I really enjoy your blogs, and they always seem to come at the right times for me. And although sometimes the morals of the stories can sound familiar, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your words. Even if you make me cry half the time! 🙂
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage me in such a kind way, Mackenzie! I am grateful that you are here!
Hi..I just wanted to tell you how you really speak to me…I am coming thru some darkness, separation, divorce, becoming.a single parent and trying my best every day for three precious children that I fear had once fallen by the wayside as I fought to free us from a bad situation. I’m rebuilding our lives from the bottom up. New home, schools, friends …everything. I am not perfect but I try my best every single day and your posts often inspire me at times when I feel I can’t go on. You keep me motivated…inspired. Even after a horrible day…I fall asleep knowing tomorrow’s be better and I can make it so. Thank you..from the bottom of my full heart…thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for letting me know, Georgia. You have given me quite a gift and fueled my writing today. I pray that each morning you feel an overwhelming sense of peace and clarity that you are heading in the right direction. Feel free to message me anytime you need encouragement. I have several posts on moving since we recently moved that I would be happy to share with you. With love and gratitude.
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