“If I could say anything, anything
What would it be?
A good question for a distant reality
I would tell you that I love you
Even when it didn't show.”
–Tristen Prettyman, Say Anything
I typically don't read many Facebook status updates—and I especially don’t read them multiple times—but this particular one stopped me cold. It was an observation shared by my friend Nicki Salcedo. Whether penning a novel, an op-ed piece, or a Facebook status update, Nicki’s words never fail to provide enlightenment and introspection. This was Nicki’s informal, yet powerful observation:
“Nighttime soccer practice. I see a family I know. They have back-to- back practices for their girls. That amounts to three hours of soccer on a Tuesday night.
Me: “Wow, you guys have a long night.”
Dad: “Yeah, but I've got to head over and cut my son's hair. He has cancer. He's in the hospital. I'm going to Northside.”
It is 7:30pm at night. We live across town from that hospital. The dad leaves. He calls his daughter the best nickname when she plays. He admits he doesn't know much about soccer, but he's learning.
I think about all these angry parents. Angry people. For what? They have everything and want more.
The quiet ones simply enjoy seeing their kids kick a ball.” –Nicki Salcado
It was no mystery why I read Nicki’s observation three times.
Nor was it any mystery why her words made me cry.
I was that angry person.
I know because my husband had the courage to tell me. Something along the lines of: You walk around the house looking angry all the time. Your face is always set in a scowl.
He’d said it before – probably a bit more subtly the first or second time – but I always shrugged it off. After all, my husband didn’t know what my life was like. He had no idea the amount of tasks and responsibilities I managed, handled, and completed. The fact that he didn’t angered me even more.
Getting ready for my children’s sports practices and events really brought out the monster in me. As I prepared the necessary items, navigated traffic & unfamiliar roads, and set up chairs and coolers, my scowl was securely in place. I could manufacture a smile when someone outside the family approached us. My husband had once mentioned I saved my smiles for the outside world. That one hurt, but it didn't change my approach. Perpetually Irritated By Life had become my jam.
I remember sitting in my pop-up chair at my daughter Avery’s mini-kicker soccer practice one Sunday afternoon. It was too hot for September – it was too disorganized for little kids – it was too expensive for what we were getting. Why are we even here? I grumbled to myself.
In stark contrast to me was Avery’s beautiful and vibrant young soccer coach guiding my child with positive words and a loving tone. I saw the way my stop-and-smell-the-roses child gravitated toward Coach Lindsey whose smile was brighter than the sun they played beneath.
I didn’t know Lindsey well, but I could tell just by watching her that it would take a lot to ruffle her feathers. Some people are just joyful like that.
Other people aren’t.
Other people choose to become that way.
While watching the beautiful connection happening between a joyful little girl and a joyful young woman, I felt something stir inside me. That day, noticing their mutual joy was better than watching the clock, the score, or the many annoyances going around me.
On the final practice of the season, Coach Lindsey walked up to me with her business card. “I don’t usually do this, but if you ever need a babysitter for your precious girls, I would love to babysit. I just adore Avery, and I bet Natalie is just as delightful,” she said.
I felt myself tear up. Our family was still fairly new to the area, and we had no family nearby; I had yet to find a babysitter I felt I could trust. But with my husband traveling most of the week, I was often exhausted. Lindsey’s offer felt providential. I accepted with gratitude.
Lindsey quickly became our go-to sitter, never failing to show up with an abundance of joy. When she stepped into our house, the environment lightened, brightened, and lifted. That’s what joyful people do.
When I returned from my evening outings, Lindsey and I would often stand on the porch and she would tell me all the little details she noticed about my girls. She couldn’t believe the way Avery could sing and play the ukulele. She couldn’t get over her delightful disposition. With my older daughter Natalie, she was amazed at the thoughtful questions she asked at bedtime and the care and concern she had for adult issues like poverty, homelessness, and war.
Under the porch light, I’d soak up every good and precious thing Lindsey noticed about my children – the beautiful details I failed to see in my perpetually irritated state.
I needed a new goal. I realized one night as Lindsey drove away.
Because when you base your happiness on tasks being completed, notes being in pitch, plans running accordingly, and hairs being in place, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
I wanted my goal to be joy: Did I see it? Did I grasp it? Did I exude it? Did I personify it? Did I spread it?
“See flowers not weeds.”
“A little more time can be a miraculous thing.”
“Happiness beats perfection.”
“Have my loved ones heard me laugh today?”
I created several positive mantras I could recite in my mind, post on my walls, and write on my hand. I practiced them over and over, especially prior to situations when my irritable monster typically came out.
Throughout the past five years, these mantras have loosened my tightly wound inner fiber, softened my heart, and altered my perspective, but I am a work in progress. My Type-A, task-driven, highly-efficient self still has her moments. Just this weekend, as I became lost on my way to a swim meet, I felt rage bubbling up inside me. Unexpectedly, a new mantra popped into my head:
“Why so angry?
I have everything and want more.”
They were Nicki’s words, and they helped me breathe. I turned and smiled at my little girl who is not so little anymore and said, “We'll, get there, baby. Thanks for being patient with me.”
Avery flashed me her joyful smile. Thank God, she didn't have to brace herself for curse words, squealing tires, and angry tears. This was a better way.
My friends, my scowling days are a period of my life that I’d rather not speak of, but I felt compelled to talk about it today. I’ve noticed there are a lot of angry people – not just on soccer fields and baseball diamonds, but also in parking lots, subways, checkout lines, churches, and arenas. There are angry people waiting for elevators, walking down corridors, posting on social media, and standing behind podiums. Perhaps there’s an angry person living in your house, inhabiting your body. Quick to anger is becoming our jam.
I'd like to gently point out there’s a better way.
Because things look a lot different when you lose the scowl.
Because things look a lot different when you notice there’s a human being taking in those angry words.
Because things look a lot different when you hold your current annoyance against the fragility of life.
Perhaps a new goal is in order.
Choosing to be joyful so you attract joy like a magnet.
Choosing to be joyful so it shows on your face and in your words.
Choosing to be joyful because that’s where the real living’s at.
I've heard from a reliable source there's nothing that’ll ease your troubles like watching a happy child kick a ball on a crisp autumn evening.
I think that sounds about right.
I’ve written two books that describe exactly how I transformed my overly distracted, maxed out, joyless life into one of meaningful connection, inner peace, and gratitude. Hands Free Mama answers the question many people ask after visiting my site such as, “What steps do I take?” and “What strategies can I use to let go of my distractions?” HANDS FREE LIFE describes the 9 habits I used to start living life, instead of managing, stressing, screaming, and barely getting through life. For simple strategies and daily intentions that enable you to choose love, connection, acceptance, and peace over criticism, chaos, and negativity, please consider my third book, ONLY LOVE TODAY. It is a daily inspiration book that can be read in small segments and serve as a 60-second reset button during challenging times.
Registration for my online course SOUL SHIFT will open in January 2019. Soul Shift provides a guided and supported journey toward loving yourself “as is” so you can love others as they are. Click here to be notified when it opens at en early-bird rate. Truly profound discoveries and transformations have happened, and are still happening, with past course members. I hope you will join me in January.
For wearable reminders inscribed with the healing mantras, click here. Phrases include: ONLY LOVE TODAY, I CHOOSE LOVE, SEE FLOWERS NOT WEEDS, COME AS YOU ARE, and TODAY MATTERS MORE THAN YESTERDAY. The reminder bands come in metal, leather, and silicone. There are also hand-lettered prints to post throughout your home or place of work.
Thank you, dear ones, for walking beside me on this life-changing jourey to let go of distraction and perfection to grasp what matters most. Together, there is hope.
Lori Manning says
“JOY” was my word for this year. I am that angry mom. Angry at the hand life dealt me, angry at the daily struggles, angry at the world. But I know that is not how I want to be. So this year, I’ve been working, very imperfectly, on finding more joy. And slowly, but surely, it is working. And I know reading your books and your posts, is part of this growth for me….so thank you.
Beth Holmes says
Joy is my word this year too — for the same reason. Meditating on this word, looking for Joy all around me and embracing the positive and the moment is helping. I’ll have to read this book too.
Robyn Robinson says
Thank you, thank you, thank you! This wisdom has lightened my load, and given me something to aim for every day, no matter how stressful it all seems. I can remember now that no matter what I’m going through (and our family has been through a lot lately), Mum most of all needs to remember to laugh, and remember to smile!!! Thank you again 🙂 🙂
Leslie Swathwood says
Once again your beautiful writing speaks to me…moves me to tears….and reminds me to keep working on smiling, relaxing, & enjoying life with those dear to me. I too am very much a work in progress, constantly trying to let go of the hurried ways, the yelling, and the ‘always striving for perfection’ me — and as I’ve told you before, your writing is a true gift that has helped me over these past four years far, far more than you realize. Thank you again my dear friend. Much love and big hugs to you! 🙂
This couldn’t have come at a better time – my ears are open. I, too know your story of being angry and seeking joy. I learned from you today that joy doesn’t happen to you, you find it and invite it in. Last, week I was on vacation with my family – timing was not ideal balancing life and work, family dynamics between my parents and I can be challenging, money, crowds, weather you name it I was focused on it. But it was my 3 year old daughter that brought me out of the funk. It was her first time on a plane, first time on a beach to feel the sand, see the ocean, play in the waves, build sand castles. The joy in her face was priceless and for the first time it is the first memory I think of instead of the negative ones I usually focus on. Finding joy is a journey!
Chris Musi says
Thank you so much, Rachel. I feel that we must be very much alike, and your words speak to my heart. As I held my daughter last night when we were awakened by a strange noise outside, I realized I could be angry, worried, or upset, but what I really wanted was to cuddle the beautiful creature beside me and be her comfort. Because of reading your posts, I am trying and sometimes even succeeding to notice the little things instead of worrying about the bigger things. I fell back asleep last night knowing I was someone’s comfort. What a wonderful feeling. Thank you for helping me see.
Definitely a better way❤️
Thank you for sharing your heart and experiences. I look forward to reading your posts whenever I am able!
A few months ago, my husband sat me down and pointed out the angry person in our household. Me. (I had been following your posts, reading your blogs and books, and I still hadn’t gotten it. I thought I had. I truly thought I had.) We had our first honest discussion in a long time with both of us unburdening our frustrations with each other. It was uncomfortable, irritating, and relieving. Afterwards, I was quietly resentful for a couple of weeks. He noticed the lack of yelling and was happy but quiet resentment had replaced my anger. How can he criticize me? He’s not perfect. …. However, he did have a point. And being perpetually resentful gets tiring, so I decided to honestly observe myself for awhile and forced myself not to respond in anger to situations or people. It was hard. But after a few weeks, one day I stopped and asked “Why am I angry? What’s the point?” And I realized at that moment like I had been hit with a ton of bricks that it was mostly a choice. I knew in my head it was a choice, but I had failed to understand that it was actually my choice to make. So, I have decided to choose Joy. I love Beth’s comment…find Joy and invite it in. I’m still very capable of getting angry, but Joy has become a more frequent visitor to our house. My hope is that anger will stop by occasionally when necessary and leave quickly. Thank you Rachel! It took awhile, but I think I’m starting to understand.
It really seems so simple, except that it isn’t. I am the angry mom. I never smile, I stopped enjoying watching my kids play sports, I get annoyed when plans change or when notified of things last minute, among a million other things. I am not even sure where to start, but your post is a step in that direction. Thanks.
This is a great resource on the how to of managing your anger, once you make the decision to address it.
I need to have a new goal. I am also a work in progress. I have also heard the words you wlk around with a scowl on your face. Just yetaersay I said today “only love today” I do need to find my own mantra. I am working on decluttering as we enter the holidays to help keep my calm.
Thank you for this.
This is something that I’ve battled for years. Maybe it’s generational in my family. I see it now in my kids and that shreds my heart. I know that I’m modeling anger.
And I don’t even know WHY I am so angry? I have an easy life – healthy kids, healthy life, a husband who provides a life where I can stay home and be available for my kids – what on earth am I angry at?
I’ve always noticed the details, but not the good stuff. The stuff that needs to be fixed. The stuff that is wrong. And I’m constantly seeing what’s wrong and not what’s right, not finding reasons to be thankful and joyful.
Thank you for encouraging me in this. Thank you for showing me that I can choose joy and choose out of anger.
It’s a process, but I want to start looking back and seeing improvement, not a stalemate.
“Thanks for being patient with me”…
I am going to try to remember this and use this when I neglect to be calm.
I am going to try to remember this and use this when I neglect to be loving.
I am going to try to remember this and use this when I neglect to be compassionate.
I am going to try to remember this and use this when I neglect to be … the person I want to become.
…Thank you for being there for me and sharing your insight Rachel.
Always so good.
I needed to read this post more than words can articulate…I know that even if I stray from my mantras…no matter how long it may be…it is never too late to get back on the path to joy, simplicity, and only love today…thank you for the reminder of what matters…and to enjoying your littles kick the soccer ball…
Thank you thank you thank you….I so needed this. I want to be more like you, more like Jesus!
This post could not have come at a better time. I feel like I am reading about myself. Eventough I have a absolutely everything I could possibly need in this world.. a beautiful family. Loyal husband. Healthy wonderful kids. Everything bothers me. I’m always irritable and feeling rushed. I need to start opening my eyes and seeing the blessings around me. That surround me daily. And take deep breaths. I went to be joyful. I went to laugh. I’m a good person.
This is so good. When I first saw the title, I immediately thought of someone else who could use this post and not myself. Lol. But as I read, I realized that although, I may not struggle with anger as much as some, I take life entirely too seriously and allow myself to get very distracted from what matters most in my family and have inadvertently taught my children some bad lessons in the process. Ironically, I recently began subbing and have made a point to not take anything too seriously, enjoy the students, and seek to make it an enjoyable experience for all of us. It has really paid off. But as I read your blog, I realized that I don’t do that much of the time for my own family. And although I started well, the results of allowing circumstances to affect my joy and failing to put the most important things first, has cost us all. Thank you for shining a light.
Laura Jane says
Oh Rachel, thank you so much for this post, and for your vulnerability… trying to think of something thoughtful to say, but all I can say is, thank you. I’m seeking to become more joyful and less hurried too. Good tears while reading, especially at this: “Things look a lot different when you hold your current annoyance against the fragility of life.” Sharing this one. Blessings , friend.
Julia Young says
Thank you, Rachel. You always have such good words for the right time. I feel like so many of these other moms…finding that scowl resting too often on my face and when I take a moment to really dig deep and do a “life review” I realize that all is just fine. So, thank you again, for your beautiful reminder. I shall find that joy even when my go-to is just the opposite.
Thank you for writing this.
I have been unhappy and irritable, especially with my kids, but I didn’t know what was wrong or how to change. This has given me some insight, and put into words things that I could not grasp on my own.
I am from a small country a long way from yours and I am really thankful for the community of mothers, like you, who are online and helping so many others. thank you.
Sometimes what you need most, is understanding you’re not alone. Your story touched me, to the point of tears, but reading the other comments, touched my soul. I am not alone. I am not the only one. I can get through this, and I can find joy in the mundane, the ordinary, the simple, because it’s not; it’s extraordinary, it’s brilliant, it’s elaborate.
Thank you Rachel, and thank you all the other moms, today, you brought joy in the form of company. Let’s do this together!
Rachel Stafford says
I love this so much, Mya. Together there is HOPE. I feel it so much while reading your soul-stirring words. Yes, we’ll do this together.
A friend shared this on her FB wall. By the end of it reading was hard, yup that’s me most days. Angry. Just the other day while someone was driving too slow and I was thoroughly enraged I thought, there has to be a way to be happy. What that way is I don’t know, but you’ve brought it to my attention.
Someone shared this on Facebook. I am an angry mom. I needed to hear this. I need to change but I don’t think I can. I am going to try. I feel like I have not been truly happy for a long time.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for your courage, Sara. I have a handout I created with some strategies to become more positive, less critical … to chose a peaceful response in times of frustration & challenge. Feel free to email me for that handout. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You will get an auto response, but know that I will respond to you. You are not alone, dear one. There is hope. You have already taken the first step.
Would I be able to have this handout also?
Please and thank you!!!
Rachel Stafford says
Of course! This offer is open to anyone! Just email me at email@example.com. I receive many emails a day but I will definitely get back to you in time. There is hope. You are not alone!
An-Marie Villarin says
This could not have come at a better time! I’ve been following you for maybe three years now and have been incorporating all your suggestions in my life, but sometimes I get lost in the quagmire of my busy life and forget to come up for air. Thank you for jolting me out of my rut.
I, too have been noticing how angry people have become. Or have most people been angry all along, but it’s just now more pronounced because of social media? Just my rambling thoughts… All the more we should be sharing more positive posts, I suppose.
Looking forward to your new book. Love all that you do!
thank you for this for it inhabits me
Ashley L Nance says
Oh Rachel, I have missed you! I have seen many posts from you but haven’t read one through in a while – this post was like a long drink of cool water for me today.
I see you getting lost – I struggle the same way with the same thing -especially when getting lost becomes running late. Recently, though, I just dug down deep and asked myself what was triggering me – what did I need to learn. I realized I had a deep-seeded belief that I wasn’t worth my own time – or anyone else’s. When I replaced that sabatoging belief with “When I am in alignment, I am on time,” everything shifted for me, and I am able to look for special blessings or people to help along my unexpected route instead of getting so upset.
A thought to share with you, my friend. “Only love today” can only start with us. 🙂
Rachel Stafford says
Oh that is so wise, Ashley! Thank you for enlightening me! So glad you read my post today & took a moment to offer this insight!
Ashley L Nance says
Blessings flow both ways. 🙂 Hugs!
That ‘inner monster’ comes out when under stress of time. Yes, I get it. Me too. Why do I yell and shout and lose my cool in those times where we may be late or everything feels like it is resting on my shoulders? Why do I complain that I have so much to do when my life’s dream has always been being a mom and doing these exact things. The need I feel to have everything under control where all ears are listening and doing what I WANT isn’t even a reality. Joy. Choosing joy in those moments over the anger, frustration and stress. That is my goal. Repeating those goals will be a fabulous place to start. And then praying for the Holy Spirit to give me strength and patience to follow through. Thank you. Everything you write resonates with my soul.
Thank you for this. Truly.
I’m so glad you posted this. I am in the same spot once we’re in and I hate it. At 27 years old with four children I only ever feel anger not necessarily at them but everything is an annoyance to me as I go through my day. I never feel like I can get things done without anger building up because I am constantly doing things for everyone. I can only hope one day I can change the person I am.
I feel like this is me. I definitely want to be joyful, especially for my family. I think this is something I’m going to have to work on and really put my mind to it. I don’t what to be perpetually angry anymore. I want to find more joy in my life and pass that onto my children. I want to have a positive attitude and be that positive and joyful person, not only food myself but for all those in my life. I’m truly grateful for coming across this article.
Kylie Stacey says
Rachel, I feel like every post of yours that I read touches my soul. I am also a type A driven personality where people around me are amazed by what I can achieve. But the reality is, there is always something that gives. And too often it is my beautiful family. Please keep writing! Each article inspires me to live more lovingly, slower, intentionally and to put my relationships back to number one – particularly the ones closest to me! Thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, Kylie, for stepping into the light of realness with me and saying, “Me too.” I feel that simply by knowing we are not alone in our struggles give us hope. I love walking beside you on this journey.
Scott Jenkins says
Wow, I really enjoyed reading that and can relate for sure. Thank you
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, Scott. I appreciate that very much!
Hi Rachel! Great piece! I always love your work but this piece hits particularly today. I know Scott, please say hi from me. And keep inspiring all of us. Teresa Tschida
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you so much for taking the time to read & let me know the connection we share, Teresa. I will be sure and tell Scott you said hello!
DeeAnna Farris says
How did you know I would be dealing with this now! I have NEVER commented on a blog but I couldn’t resist hearing more from you! I’m 44 and currently a college student studying Chemical Dependency Counseling. This is a great approach to cognitive behavior therapy (helping people change their negative or harmful way of thinking). However, this hit me right on a nerve! Thanks and I look forward to hearing more from you!
Just awesome. the honesty gets to me.
Jen Martin says
Thank you so much for your beautiful, honest writing. I am that angry mom, and I need to read and reread this to remind myself to choose joy and love. My husband has pointed out the same things to me, gently and not so gently, and my kids tell me I am stressed out all the time. I am working to make joy and love my choices, not sadness, stress, and anger. I have love notes at my PC from my daughter, and a note to myself that life being good is good enough, plus a beautiful framed picture my husband bought for me of a mother being tugged along by her 2 kids and a note that there is always time for love. What wise words to base my days on. 🙂 I plan to keep reading yours to heal myself. Thanks again.
Wow. I needed this. My husband just two days ago told me I always had a scowl – in a not so pleasant way – and it made me so angry because he finally saw my anger. I always blame him, but it’s a good reminder that I also need to find my own joy. This is a good starting point.
Rachel, thank you for so boldly and vulnerably sharing your heart. I needed this. I see myself in your former self and reading your words was like looking into a mirror and finally seeing the truth. I want to be more joyous, for my kids, for my husband, and for myself and you’ve given me the hope it’s attainable.
Rachel Stafford says
Oh Nicole. This means absolutely everything to me. My hands were so sweaty a I hit published on this piece, but I knew that as soon as I heard “me too,” my nerves would calm and my choice to share this story would be confirmed. Thank you for saying, “Me too,” and “There is hope.” I wish you so much love and clarity as you move toward joy.
Erin W says
Thank you for this. I’m not alone. -E
Rachel Stafford says
Holding your hand from afar today, dear Erin.
I guess the universe is conspiring to encourage me. Although I have some health problems that affect my moods, after putting that information in its proper place in my life, I realized the other day that I am Angry, All the Time, with One Person in Particular, For a Good Reason. And here you are with lovely reminders that anger doesn’t have to be my default mode for everything else in my life. It has its place, for the Good Reason, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of my life. Thank you for sharing yourself with the rest of us, and sending good things out into the world.
Rachel Stafford says
This is brave and bold, and there is hope and healing in your profoundly insightful words, dear Nanette. I can sense a shift in you. It’s time to bring in the joy. I celebrate this momentous day with you.
Ellen Barnes says
Thank you for this post. I needed to hear this today.
Melissa K says
The community of mothers here (aunts, grandmothers, & dads too) give me the strength to keep going on this journey of hands free living! I appreciate knowing that I am not the only one trying each day to change and when I get off track, I can forgive myself and keep on trying! Searching for joy and focusing on love is hard work, but the pay offs are HUGE! I catch my boys pointing out clouds to me on our way to school, sharing snuggles with me and talking about their interests. There are moments when my mind says, oh my, not another story about paper guns to create or minecraft moves recently made, but then I stop focus, really get in the present moment and know that this is what builds good relationships with my boys. Being all there! The times when I catch myself getting irritated often, I check in with me and realize, when was the last time I did something kind for me? A quiet bath, a walk by myself, 5 minutes to concentrate on my breath, etc….remember Only Love Today extends to loving yourself too! Hugs to all of the Hands Free Revolution! Thank you again Rachel for sharing your heart and soul with all of us!
Rachel Stafford says
I love everything about this, Melissa. I love you & I love our community here.
thank you for your posts!!
Thank you for writing this, perfect timing. I have been feeling so angry about everything, but wanting to change. It was nice to hear that I’m not the only one who has felt this way. I am going to be more mindful of my anger and reactions to it. I’ve been through a lot that has caused the anger as well as sadness but it is time to find the joy in life, in my family. Thank you for your honesty and wisdom, it gives me hope.
Rachel Stafford says
Sending much love and strength your way, dear Jennifer. What you have written is very brave and very hopeful. Please keep us posted on your journey to find joy. I hope you see a glimmer of it today.
Mary Beth baron says
Thank you for sharing this article. I have to say that I was a soccer mom for many years, not by choice but because my daughters extreme passion for the sport. She rose to very high level competitive level as a goalie she fell short of her ultimate dream of playing college soccer due to shoulder injuries that required surgery hbut her passion for the sport she loved doing what she did this and spending time where she felt most comfortable I wouldn’t have missed seeing that for the world to this day I still don’t know much about soccer but I sure love to watch her play
Rachel Stafford says
“I love to watch her play.” Those are powerful words & it was so nice to hear you say them about your daughter. Thank you.
Alyssa Diaz says
Wow. This is me. I need to read this over and over until I can figure out where to start to change!
I needed to read this. I do not have kids but I am married and my husband knows I am angry. I hate this person I have become, so closed off and scared to open myself up to other emotions. I did not think about the fact that I can try to choose to be joyful. I think it will take some time but I am going to try it. Thank you.
Love this. So many really are. Life is too short. I’m sharing. Hoping to save some angry people. I’m not usually. When I start, I catch myself & remember what certain people look & sound like. The damage you see in children’s faces. Then I pause, since I don’t want to be that person.
Wow. I just found your blog and this is what I started with. Absolutely beautiful. I agree that some people are born sunny side up – others not so much. But at the end of the day, there is a choice involved – one that many people don’t realize exists. Thanks so much for shedding light on this. I hope that many people read this and really take something from this to apply to themselves (they will be better off for it). Thank you.
Beautiful words, inspiring and needed. Tomorrow….with JOY! ♡
Rachel, thank you so much for this post. I have to agree with you that there are angry people everywhere. I think there are more angry people out and about than there have every been. And when I see and “feel” their anger, it makes me angry. I have to talk to myself and tell myself that I don’t have to be angry. I have nothing to be angry about. I wish that these angry people could just step back and see what they look like and how they are acting. I think they would change their attitudes right around. We need people who are like you, who can see what they look like angry, and change their frowns upside down!! Thank you, again, for reminding us that we don’t have to be angry…we can choose how we want to look and to be seen.
We have been going through an extra hectic few months and the time to notice and connect as a family has been getting pushed down the list. I’ve been thinking on it for a few days now, after realizing recently how it’s affecting my children, and really our whole family . I’m glad I came across your post today. It’s an extra boost to help us get back on track.
Rachel Stafford says
I am so glad my story came to you as you were having this realization, Julie. It sounds like you are very intuitive. Your family is very blessed that you seek to keep love and connection at the top of the priority list!
Thank you, Rachel!!! Throughout the last few years, your words have hit home for me just when I needed them. Focusing on Joy instead of allowing myself to become utterly overwhelmed by all of responsitiblites around me is the best gift I can offer my husband and children. Starting this very moment, I am also going to start making Joy my goal. As I write this to you, I feel the tears flowing because I know I am the “old self” that you often write about and I know I need to change…..only LOVE today, only LOVE today.
Pat Ferris says
And something else you may have forgotten… Having a perpetual frown causes wrinkles and none of us want that. Every morning I look in the mirror and laugh hysterically. It starts my day off right. I live my life in joy because inside I am eight years old. After losing the love of my life of 40 years, that’s how I learned to live again.
Kathleen Mish says
I really needed this!
Thank you so much for being so “real” and posting this! I really needed it. I want to post some of your “mantras” on my bathroom mirror as a reminder. But thank you. So much!
Another Perpetually Frustrated Mom
Tempy savannah D. Thrower says
I Found peace when I faced mortality, however it couldnt catch a good hold.
Now as another beings the path an faces Death afore me, iv found it, iv found in tears, laughter, then i found in boating waiting for the fish to catch a good hold, the circle that has been broken, can be mended, the tree that withers may only need a bit of water, my feet bring smiles when I look at bec, beth, kit kait an bae, toes …The light that shine when they smile, the jonery Of a man that walks yets falls to pick himself up an go again. He is happy that he can… A Brother thats dying an dosent want frown or tears, He doesn’t find his joy in a glass,, an is ready, to continue thru the pain, give life one more chance… Now Iv got to catch hold, for I cant smile when my family is leaving, an words of been theri ,please open your eyes, please help your loveing family to smile again with you so the smile you share in response isnt a painted one just for that moment, let go of what cant be changed, be sun shine to the reason it is, embrace the mistakes, so you can let them go an know safety again, If someone tells I see the person you are and the both the ones youve been, find a spot to find yourself, to be your own best friend… When you learn to love yourself, forgive, an give to The light that will replace the darkest of times, the saddest days the loneliest nights, an the longest days, you’ll Find in truths your love was never dropped by those who truely care, they are waiting to meet you there,.. This book you should read. That your soul to can be moved. Let go the pain it cant hurt you any more. Let go of hate, it cant grow in you no more. Find that peace your looking for.. An your find your self, you’ll run into a open door. your friend’s smiling at you again. Your familys arms reaching out to you, an joy an hope an peace an patience, its your future self waiting for you to catch hold,, to hear what others are saying an not letting go in an out.. Find your smile.
Rachel- I am sitting in a conference room at work with tears streaming down my face.
This is exactly what I needed to see today. I have a very sensitive soon to be 10 year old who loves animals and is very caring. I have calmed my type A, crazy over scheduled self a bit but it took a breast cancer diagnosis to get there. As I start 4-5 months of chemo, I am trying to find JOY for my family wherever we can. Thank you for being so willing to share.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for your bravery and honesty, dear Kelly. I feel such hope in your message and in your story. Your journey has begun and you are anchored in love. My hand is in yours and I will be praying for your full and complete recovery. May there be countless moments of joy along the way. You are loved.
Thank you for this, Rachel, and for saying you’re a work in progress. I am still working on my scowl and negativity. My husband has said the same thing about me finding smiles for strangers and acquaintances but not our family. That hurts, but sometimes it’s true. I will seek out joy and light, even though a some days it feels terribly hard. I so appreciate your honesty and your gentle reminders that change is possible. xo
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, dear Dana. I love that you are here, faithfully and lovingly, walking beside me in our truths and hopes.
You just described me. Thank you for this article, It has def got me to thinking, Alot! Much love & appreciation, Val
I could cry over how you just described my own life. Thank you for writing this. My husband made a comment just yesterday that I’m cranky all the time. This was just what I needed to hear.
I am sitting here reading this and bawling my eyes out. This is me, and couldn’t have come at a better time to land on my news feed. I don’t even know why I am so angry all the time, I even ask myself constantly “”” what is wrong with me”….. thought I was alone in this world…..thank you from your honest blog. It is just what this momma needed tt read.
Dear Rachel and dear parents out there reading this blog,
thank you so much for all your wonderful texts. I read them on an almost daily basis here in Germany.
But this one had me in tears too, realising how angry my life had become. Even my two beautiful daughters seem to be angry all the time. But I want nothing more than to see them happy and full of joy.
How can I help the kids with finding joy if I as a mother can’t show them?
Not being alone helps me getting up every morning and going to bed with good intentions.
Rachel Stafford says
Kati, you may email me for a handout I have created for lovely people like you who bravely asked for help. I have written a list of strategies and collected a wonderful list of resources. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will get an auto-response, but know that I will get back to you. I receive a lot of emails, but my readers are important to me.
Vincent Biggar says
I have a friend who is charged up a very positive person but underneath it all is a ticking time bomb of anger and delusion. I think most of it he brings on himself. He works to hard, worries too much, and tries to help or get involved in everything. A big part of the image he puts out there is fake. For example, he dyes his hair and wears glasses even though his eyesight is perfect. He does it so he can look more nerdy to his bosses.
My advise is to slow down. Control the stress. Do stuff you enjoy. Focus on family and your home life and leave the job at the job when you get home. Don’t get in over your head on anything in your life. Have some faith whether you believe in God or not. In the end we die. There is either a after life or not. Either way once you are gone none of this matters for you, only to those you leave behind.
It takes self-effort to be joyful and put the angry face in its rightful place. Thank you for sharing.
I am a blogger that has been reading your blogs. I find them insightful and wonder if I could be a guest blogger on your blog. Thank you in advance
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, Joan. I appreciate your comment and support so much. Right now I do not offer guest posts on my site, but I will reach out to you if that changes. Thanks for being here.
judy dolin says
God Bless you:-)
Mindset really can change how you process your experiences throughout the day. I’ve had my turn with being perpetually angry and realized I was making myself miserable. You’re family looks lovey, I’m glad you’re wearing a smile.
Rachel …reading you is like reading my own self ….your writing is like an extension of self …my own shortfalls…my own strengths and above all my own realizations as I greet every new day ….
The transperent way you mould your words makes it like a journey ….I see a reflection in …
Beautiful beautiful you …
Rachel Stafford says
How beautiful. I am so touched. Thank you, soul sister.
I’ve had this article booked for some time. What a game changer. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this…
Sonya J says
I’m making note of your books and hope to read them soon. I’m an angry mom. Having to repeat myself 700 times a day, cleaning up just to have everyone come in and destroy it 5 seconds later, doing everything for everyone all day long with no acknowledgment or thanks takes its toll. Do you discuss, in your books, how to get through those moments where we HAVE to go and go now but no one is doing what I ask, no matter how nicely I ask? I try so hard to not be angry but it’s so close to the surface that it comes out so easily. I see me and my anger in the way my children talk to each other sometimes. It breaks my heart. I want to be better and do better and not care about the little things, but it’s so hard.
Rachel Stafford says
Hi Sonya, yes, my books to cover that, but here is a more immediate way that might help you. I just wrote this post a week ago – http://www.handsfreemama.com/2017/02/24/the-best-way-to-get-kids-to-put-down-the-device-do-whats-needed-and-dream-big/
Lori A. says
I’ve read this blog post before but it didn’t really resonate with me until I read it again today. I am an angry, depressed mom and I the people who suffer the most from this are my kids and my husband. It is devastating to me, and yet I continue to act this way. I’ve started going to counseling in the last 6 months or so and have just started doing some EMDR therapy. Just this week I made a major discovery for me. I am realizing the reason I am angry is not because of the things others are doing, but because of the things I am doing. Having gone through a major trauma with my son and placing a huge amount of guilt and blame on myself has affected me in more ways than I ever realized. Blame and guilt and lack of self love fuel anger. In order to feel the joy of life and love in life we need to love ourselves. Sometimes that is so hard to do! Step by step, as they say. I look forward to reading your book.
I think that’s one of the issues I have – is that I’m doing it all about tasks – and not about anything else….
It sounds to me like her renewed joy comes not for a shift in perspective but having someone to help her take care of the kids. She was exhausted all the time and was often parenting alone b/c her husband traveled for work. Practically bursting into tears when someone offers to help seems to be more an indication of being overwhelmed, not joyless.
Kylie Anderson says
Wow!! This blog post is such a beautiful reminder that we need to breathe and then act. That our children will gravitate towards us and want to be around us if we just drop the irritation and be present with them. I do my best to be a conscious parent, but little nudges like this are always so welcome. Thank you for writing this post!! – Kylie x
[…] Here is a good post about moving from anger to joy. […]
[…] way through the tough challenges we are given. We don’t have to do it with a constant scowl! (Here’s a great blog post I read about choosing to find joy instead of the […]
[…] deciding to be more joyful is all you need to become a less angry parent. HandsFree Mama has a wonderfully honest post about her choice to be […]