Hands Free Parenting

hands free bike ride woman

There are all sorts of labels used to define parents.  If you hover and over-control your child, you are a helicopter parent.  If you try to let your child lead the way, people will say you are being irresponsible.  Some parents are strict, while others aren't afraid to be carefree and wild.  Some parents are demanding, expecting a lot, such as The Tiger Mother, while others choose to be satisfied with things the way they are.

One thing is for sure, if you are a parent – then this world of other parents wants to put you in a neat and tidy box with a label that is supposed to define who you are as a mother or father.

As your kids get older, no matter what you think right now, your ideas about parenting will change.  You will find that there are a lot of “I nevers” that will slap you in the face.  You will realize why some people make the choices they do. 

Let’s be real.  Not one single one of us is perfect.  We are learning as our children grow.

Recently however, I came across an article by a woman who was making a concerted effort to partake in what she referred to as ‘hands free parenting.'  Hands free, meaning she would sort of drop out of the hustle and bustle of being a parent, quit trying to control everything, and would stop constantly scheduling herself and her children to conform to what broad society believes is important to develop healthy, strong, emotionally sound children. 

And instead of being less involved, hands free parenting is about being MORE involved – in the relationship of the parent and child

It is about seeing a child as a perfect individual, with individual needs, wants and desires in life – and allowing our children to literally show US, LEAD US, in the right direction. 

Hands free parenting is about letting go of the millions upon millions of distractions in our lives that keep us from staying connected to our lives and our families in the most important ways.  It is about choosing to live day by day, hour by hour, with faith in the knowing that everything you need or your child needs, you already have. 

In other words, it is about parenting mindfully.  Being fully present in our lives, living authentically, and showing our children how to recognize what is important and what is not. 

For the author of the article I read, hands free was very much about letting go of the rat race, and the numerous committees that she was on, throwing out the child rearing books to follow her own heart, and saying ‘no' to constantly trying to fill the shoes of the so called ‘perfect parent' more often than not. 

In my own life, I have seen how easy it is for a family to be smothered under stress and to-do lists, schedules and appointments.  Even though most of my own plans, the things that keep life so busy, are for things in life that I feel my children need or are important, I am realizing more and more each day that the kids grow AWAY from us more quickly than we think. 


Then one day, you wake up and realize that they are gone.  And you missed on out on so many opportunities to just cherish the time together over what?  A PTA meeting?  A soccer game? 

I have begun to ask myself every day, “What do I want my children to remember about their childhood?”  And, given a situation where I am forced to choose between spending time with my kids or jumping on board the fast and furious train of life  I ask, “Which will matter more in 5 years?” 

I think learning to be a little more relaxed in our lives and with our children is a great choice to make at some point.  Living mindfully, and parenting mindfully – following your heart rather than someone else's advice, a book, or an expectation – will not just make you a happier parent, but will also help you to raise happier kids.  And in the very end, that is what is most important. 

Do you ever feel so stressed out with the responsibilities of parenting that you don’t enjoy your children enough?  Do you ever wish you could simplify your life a little bit?  If so, then try a little hands free parenting of your own. 

What do you think?

Hands Free Parenting

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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  1. abbigail says:

    I agree with Nicole.. somewhat.
    My children are 5yrs and 9 months. They can both easily entertain themselves without me, but I’m not above getting down on the floor to play with them. My 5 yr old daughter and I do all kinds of things to entertain my son.
    We live way out in the country, the only time my daughter gets to play with other kids is at school or if we’re at a family function – I don’t mind being their playmate personally. We have a lot of fun and I feel like I’m a lot closer to my kids.
    I do my own thing during the day time too and so do they. I don’t coddle or baby them. They’re both capable of being independent (as much as their ages allow that is)

    We don’t have a strict schedule. I tried and all it did was create more stress & cranky kids.
    We have a general guideline for how our days go and that works well for us.
    I don’t stress about keeping the house perfectly tidy either. My mom did that to us and it drove me crazy. I left that toy out cause I planned to come back for it later!
    As long it’s clean, I don’t care if there are toys on the floor or a few cups in the sink.
    We only have so much time to spend with our children before they leave us. I plan to make my time as memorable as possible while shaping my kids into strong adults.

  2. Nicole says:

    I’m sure no one will like me for this but I make time for being an actual adult. That means my 1 year old son knows how to entertain himself while I sew for a living from home and and he does not have access to 24 hour entertainment from mom when she’s not working. I don’t remember ANY of my friends or myself having non stop parental attention yet NONE of us turned out needy the way modern children do. Probably because we learned our parents were parents not playmates.


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