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Excerpt from the New "Hands Free Mama" Book

Below is an excerpt from Rachel Macy Stafford's recently released book, Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters. Read more about Rachel as part of our Living the Dream series.


I kept telling myself things would eventually slow down. Someday.

Who was I kidding?

That two-year period of my highly distracted life was a blur. There aren’t too many moments—good or bad—I can recollect from that time, but I’ll never forget this one.

I’d just arrived home from a community event I’d spent hundreds of volunteer hours planning. Although I knew my husband was about to tuck my kids into bed, I couldn’t join him. Instead, I collapsed on my own bed fully clothed. Sitting mere inches away, on the bedside table, was the substance of my life: a typed to-do list, a buzzing phone, a laptop computer, and a bulging daily planner. Every day, that stack of papers and duo of devices captured my heart, my focus, and my energy.

My smartphone’s flashing red light served as a tormenting reminder that none of these distractions were going anywhere. Information overload, electronic gadgets, packed schedules, and unachievable standards would all be waiting for me tomorrow—and the day after that and the day after that. Someday was merely a word I used to avoid facing the frenzied reality that had become my life.

Someday, I told myself, there will be a healthy amount of white space in my monthly planner. Someday, my daily agenda will be determined by my heart’s desire, not by tweets, beeps, and dings. Someday, I’ll say no to heading up bake sales and book fairs and the quest for spotless counters and perfectly styled hair. Someday, I’ll say yes to puddle jumping in the rain, disheveled ponytails, and extra bedtime stories. Someday, I’ll look into my children’s eyes and hear every syllable of their tender, silly words. Someday, I’ll close my laptop and kiss my spouse before he walks out the door. Someday, I’ll remember what it feels like to laugh, play, relax, and enjoy life. Someday, I’ll have time for what truly matters.

A life of simple pleasures was an elusive dream that, at full-throttle speed, I could not grasp. Each time I told my children, “Not now, Mom’s busy,” my chance for a meaningful, joy- filled life edged farther away. Even in that exhausted moment on my bed, as my children slipped into pajamas and chose bedtime stories just one floor above, a peaceful existence seemed little more than a fantasy.

As I lay there, too drained to cry and too ashamed to ask for help, I realized just how bad my condition was. I was buried—buried beneath the weight of my distractions. I was no longer living. I was just barely existing.

I knew I’d come to a crossroads. I could continue my distracted ways, separating myself farther from my idyllic someday existence, or I could start digging—digging for air, for hope, for life.

I chose to dig.

Because someday is nowhere to live your life.

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