The Day I Stopped Saying "Hurry Up!"

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By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist

We were so inspired by Rachel Macy Stafford’s (The Hands Free Mama) story “The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’”. Rachel describes how she, as a “frenzied soul”, rushed through life and onto various appointments in her tightly-packed and rigidly scheduled life, only stopping to smell the roses after following her 6 year old daughter’s beautiful example.


Zooming Through Life

“My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn’t,” wrote Rachel in her amazing blog. The turning point? Her daughter, now 6 years old, who is described as a “laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses type of child”, and a soul that was to give Rachel the lesson of her life.
When Rachel tried to rush around the world, her daughter would:


  • Stop to accessorise her outfit with a crown and purse although they needed to be out the door already.

  • Buckle her plush animal into the car when Rachel was ready to zoom off.

  • Talk to old women who looked like her grandma at Subway when Rachel wanted to be in and out in a flash.

  • Stop to pet every dog they passed when Rachel was trying to squeeze in her daily run with the pram.

  • Insist on cracking the eggs and stirring them slowly for breakfast when Rachel had a day to begin.



Each of these quirks was met by Rachel’s “hurry up we’re gonna be late”, “hurry up and get into bed”, “hurry up and brush your teeth” and “we’re going to miss everything if you don’t hurry up.”

hands free mama Source: Hands Free MAMA

The Turning Point

For this stressed out mama, the turning point came when picking up her older daughter from kindy. When the 6 year old lagged behind, Rachel’s older daughter said “You are so slow”. And then came the moment of revelation for Rachel: “And when she crossed her arms and let out an exasperated sigh, I saw myself—and it was a gut-wrenching sight.”
Rachel made a promise to herself and her child then and there: “I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you… I promise to be more patient from now on.”


A Second Chance To Slow Down And Enjoy Life

Rachel started to banish “hurry up” from her vocabulary- she left more time for her daughter to get ready in the mornings, saw how people on the street responded to her chatty ways with a smile, saw the way she noticed flowers and small insects. “She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That’s when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.”




For 3 years- Rachel has slowed way down. After a bike ride to a snow-cone shack whilst on holiday, the mother and daughter sat down on a park bench to enjoy their treat.
“Do I have to rush, Mama?”, her daughter asked. Rachel told her child to take her time, and immediately saw the tension disappear from the girl’s shoulders.
“And so we sat side-by-side talking about things that ukulele-playing-6-year-olds talk about. There were even moments when we sat in silence just smiling at each other and admiring the sights and sounds around us.”

Rachel concludes her story with a beautful wish for all mums out there:

“I will not say, ‘We don’t have time for this’ Because that is basically saying, ‘We don’t have time to live’.
Pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live. Trust me, I learned from the world’s leading expert on joyful living.”


Find Rachel’s whole piece on her blog Hands Free Mama.

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