I can still remember, plain as day, reading a quote and hitting the “like” before realizing it was from the “Hands Free Mama.” I’m pretty sure I never UNLIKED it, but I wanted to. I grumbled inside.
Y’all, I’m not proud of this.
But, in my mind, just the thought of being a “hands free mama” was more work than I cared to take on. See, in my way of thinking, the Hands Free Mama (her name is Rachel), had lost her ever-loving mind. Harsh, I know. But…motherhood is HARD. And frustrating. And my phone was an escape from the reality and hardship of motherhood. It gave me a break from the bickering, the endless questions, the “Mommy come play with me!” requests, and the non-stop craziness of being a mom. So let me have my escape already. Right??? Surely I’m not the only one who thought “Hands Free” meant embracing a form of insanity…..
But I owe Rachel, the Hands Free Mama, an apology.
You see, motherhood IS hard. And as moms, I truly believe we DO need an escape. But…. Recently, I’ve been convicted (not the same as mom-guilt, by the way. If you’re feeling mom-guilt when you read this, stop and read this post first.) Anyway, I’ve been convicted about how fast my kids are growing up and what behavior I’m modeling in front of them. You see, I do enjoy the brain-numbing release of scrolling…. But my kids are shooting up like weeds while my eyes are focused on status updates. They are desperate to share about their days at school, but reading emails and responding to text messages has been more important to me. And I’ve been SO wrong. In my heart, deep down, I know my kids are more valuable than the message I just got on my phone. But do they know they’re more valuable? Am I showing them?
And the kicker: when they’re old enough to have social media and email and messenger apps, whether or not they have as many social media apps as I do—will I want them scrolling as much as I do? Ouch.
But I mentioned that moms need escape, and they do. I do. And I haven’t dropped Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest. Yet. But I’ve begun to set boundaries and limits on myself and it feels GOOD. Not only am I enjoying conversation and interaction more with my children, but I’m also experiencing a peace I haven’t felt in a very long time. (For reference, I joined Facebook right before my oldest was born in 2008. Just in case Facebook has been stealing my peace this whole time….lol.) And I’m still escaping. I’m just escaping in somewhat different ways. I’m power-walking on the treadmill before everyone else gets up, and I’m making my Bible reading a priority every morning. Even if it means I have to get the kids in front of screens so that Mommy can be ready to face the day. It’s that important. If you haven’t already, listen to one of our first podcast episodes, “Finding Time with God.” The more I “escape” into the Word, the less I feel I need to escape my reality.
And surprisingly, it doesn’t feel like more work. It feels fun. Exciting. I am starting to make real eye contact with my kiddos and I see them opening up. Their eyes are bright, expectant, beautiful. I’m looking forward to summer break with them. It’s like…endless possibilities. Will it be tough some days? Of course. Will I break my own boundary sometimes? Definitely. But I want to do better. And they’re worth more to me than all of the pins, texts, emails, updates, and posts in the entire world.
So Rachel, I’m so very sorry for dismissing your ideas. And for thinking you lost your (ever-loving) mind. I humbly ordered your (first) book today, and I’m thrilled and excited to read about your journey to becoming “hands free.” I’m eager to get ideas on how to make it work for our family, and I’m sorry I waited this long. Please forgive me!
And Mommas, if you have ideas on what has worked for you, please pass them along! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!