Friday, February 28, 2014

Hands Free Mama (and Papa), the start of a journey

A few months ago, my husband emailed me a link to an article about yelling. This story really shook me.  The mother described a situation where she broke down, she yelled, and the child seemed to shrink back in complete submission and defeat.  It was a harsh picture, but it was a wake-up call: yelling hurts everyone.

Before we became parents, we decided that yelling at our children was something we would never do.  We would be very patient, we would rationalize with our children, and our children would always behave and listen to our requests. But then reality hit.  We would be rushed, our daughter was too young to rationalize with, and our requests would often sound more like demands.  "Please put your shoes on." would be followed by 10 minutes of dawdling... followed by more requests, followed by demands, followed by frustration, followed by someone breaking-down and yelling: "Put your shoes on NOW! I asked you 12 times already!" We didn't like being frustrated and yelling never did any good anyway: our daughter didn't grab up her shoes and say "OK!"

My husband and I came to the realization that 90% of our child's tantrums revolved around being busy.  If we had no schedules, it wouldn't matter if our daughter took and extra 30 minutes to get ready in the morning.  But, we both work, we both need to keep to the schedule.  Neither of us are "morning people," and getting two kids (both under 4 years old) dressed and out the door by 7:30am is a task that requires team-work and a routine.  Slight changes to that routine can throw off the entire morning.  No one wants to deal with a child's melt-down over a sock that just didn't go on quite right.  It's frustrating, but it's also time consuming.  We just didn't have timeor did we?

With both of us working, focused on career development, involved in pet-projects, and (oh, yeah), being parents too, we were beginning to experience a level of burn-out. Here was where we decided that this Hand's Free concept sounded interesting and appealing.  We both wanted to start making changes and spend more time in the moment: with our kids and with each other.  To help make this transition, we decided to buy the Hands Free Mama book to read and discuss together: as a couple. 

Of course, I wanted a quick fix to making me a mellowed-out, non-yelling, parent.  But, when we received the book we discovered this would be a year-long transformation.  We decided to meet weekly, and discuss the reading.  As we move through this journey, I plan to post sporadic updates throughout this year.  I think we all can benefit from taking a look at our own lives and evaluating how we spend our time (Are you also wrapped-up in being busy?  Are you feeling like life is passing by too quickly?).  I'm looking forward to sharing some of our thoughts throughout this year. We start reading and discussing in March of 2014: I encourage you to jump in anytime and join us in our transformation. Or, just follow us in this journey and maybe you will glean some insights as we reflect and ask ourselves some difficult questions.


  1. Really looking forward to reading your posts on this over the next year.
    I'm a WAHM so my kids and I are together almost 24/7.
    Some days it's really hard not to yell. I wish I could say that wasn't the case but I won't lie about it.
    It's also really difficult some days to stay fully engaged and hands on....I know I'm guilty at times of wanting to use the online world as an escape. I'm not saying any of that to belittle what you do as a mom who works out side of her home either because I can only imagine what it must be like. Parenting is matter what other jobs you do. Know that I'll be praying for you and your husband as you go through this journey together.

    1. Thanks Jessica! We are both looking forward to doing this together and having an opportunity to grow closer as a family.