I have a confession, I don’t really like to play with my kids. I would rather engage with them in a different way. Making a craft, taking a trip to a park, children’s museum or the library is much more my speed. But when they look up at me and ask me to sit and play with them, my mind starts running with ideas for how to get out of the next 20 minutes of Legos, Barbies or the dreaded “house”.
But reading Rachel May Stafford’s book “Hands Free Life” has challenged me to adopt a new approach to motherhood. I decided to give in to their requests, sit beside them and simply play. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. My mind still wandered to thinking about my ever growing to do list, my habit of obsessively checking my phone reared it’s head, and I couldn’t help but think of this scene in my kitchen….
But I quiet those thoughts, slide the power button on the phone to “off” and sit with my son and play cards. As our game of war intensified, I began to lose track of that sink full of dirty dishes and instead noticed how competitive NoNo was at the game. I thought about how playing a game of cards has become a game of days gone by. But what an opportunity this was to sit and talk with my seven year old about school, soccer and his latest Minecraft creation all while we battled over a deck of cards. In that moment, I got it.. Rachel’s idea of hands free. Bellies down on our family room carpet, it was just my son and I and the rest of the world, the messy kitchen, the laundry, the other kids, all fell away. NoNo reveled in the attention.
So throughout the week, I paused when given an opportunity to play. Rather than planning my morning runs alone, I took my budding athlete with me. With Cakers and the littles in the double stroller, my pace was slow and my miles were short but we stopped to look at the hot air balloons crossing the sky and I heard stories of Shopkins trading and fall break plans. I could have “run” those miles for hours.
It was in those moments that I paused, played, stepped away from the busyness that usually fills my time and gave my kiddos some undivided attention that I remembered one of my favorite lines from Hands Free Life,
Rachel’s book is beautiful, thought provoking and inspiring. Get your copy, a highlighter and a quiet space. You can also get your own “live hands free” bracelet from handsfreemama.com. It’s a simple reminder to stop, pause and play.
This is my second of three blog posts inspired by Hands Free Life. You can read the first one here!
*Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Hands Free Life and other promotional material in exchange for a review. But my heart and soul loves Rachel’s philosophy, writing, work and all of the opinions above are my own and true.