Ep 74: Living and Loving with Authenticity with Hands Free Mama Rachel Macy Stafford

Ep 74: Living and Loving with Authenticity with Hands Free Mama Rachel Macy Stafford

I’m honored to share today’s episode, a conversation three years in the making with Rachel Macy Stafford, that arrives during remarkably challenging times, just as we need Rachel’s wisdom most.

Rachel is a writer with one goal: to help people choose love as much as humanly possible. A New York Times bestselling author, her latest book is Live Love Now: Relieve the Pressure and Find Real Connection with Our Kids. She’s also the New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, and Only Love Today; a certified special education teacher with a Master’s Degree in education; an in-demand speaker featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Global News, TIME.com, FoxNews.com, as well as in hundreds of other online and print publications and a beloved blogger who inspires millions in her weekly blog posts at HandsFreeMama.com and through her supportive Facebook community, The Hands Free Revolution.

Like so many of her followers, I stumbled upon Rachel’s work years ago, and her writing immediately became a light on my path to more fully live my purpose.

I’m so grateful that I had this time to talk with Rachel, to explore the threads of presence and authenticity that weave through so much of her journey, to understand that facing our truths is just the beginning of unexpected invitations, and to remember what’s possible for our children to live a present-filled, purpose-filled life when we step forward to do that first. 

This conversation with Rachel and her beautiful new book, which I hope you will get and savor as I have been doing, will make you want to show up for yourself and your children in profound new ways and to embody her underlying message, to Live Love Now.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.


This Episode is Dedicated by Samantha Arsenault

Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic gold medalist, high-performance consultant, mental health educator, speaker, and entrepreneur – and she’s a mother of four and recovering perfectionist. Samantha holds a master’s degree in education and spent six years teaching high school science and coaching swimming. After a near-death experience with her then 12- month old daughter, Samantha knew it was time to pay forward all she’s learned about achievement, emotional resilience, rising from failure, and finding happiness.

In 2016, Samantha founded Livingstone High Performance in response to the mental health crisis impacting adolescents across the globe, specifically those in the athletic arena. LHP provides pillars of support to organizations, teams, and individuals to elevate mental health and improve performance, and build a more empowered village. In addition to private and group coaching, Samantha offers online courses and consults with teams and organizations on athlete wellness initiatives, leadership, strategic planning, rising skills, and developing high-performance cultures. She is a certified instructor of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement and Mental Health First Aid.

Samantha is an engaging public speaker who has more than 19 years of experience, which includes her TEDx Talk: The Weight of Gold: An Olympian’s Path to Recovery. She’s been featured as a keynote speaker, expert panelist, workshop facilitator, and seminar leader. She’s worked with high-school, collegiate, and professional athletes in a group and 1:1 setting; school districts; athletic departments; coaching organizations; women in business groups; wellness entrepreneurs; and national governing bodies, most notably, USA Swimming.

Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls. To learn more about her offerings, go over to www.samanthalivingstone.com.

To learn more about her offerings, go over to www.samantha livingstone.com. You can join Samantha’s FREE 5-Day I AM CHALLENGE at www.samanthalivingstone.com/i-am-challenge  

Facebook @slivingstonewellness

Instagram @slivingstn

Linkedin @sarsenaultlivingstone


In This Episode We Talk About:

  • The way Rachel’s mother gave her the gift of “presence” even when she couldn’t be physically present.  
  • Rachel’s quest for purpose and the legacy she wants to leave

  • How reflecting on the question “How do I do it all?” on a run one day became the “spark moment” that pushed Rachel to choose herself

  • What Rachel means by her connection to her “dreamer girl”

  • Why facing the truth is really just the beginning

  • What it means when Rachel says to her children “I want to love you by your book.” 

  • Hands-Free Mama as a way of being

  • The pressure and insecurity of online life and how screentime distraction becomes the biggest obstacle to living purpose-filled

  • The 3 roles that will allow us to walk beside our kids

  • Finding your place of refuge and helping your kids find theirs

  • How we can “find our people” by doing the things our heart calls us to do

  • The tear-filled pledge I made to Rachel, reading from a promise in her book on p.57 


This Week’s Challenge:

For this week’s challenge, Rachel encourages us to think about any hurtful comments, criticism, consciously and unconsciously, that we’ve been carrying around that’s holding us back from truly fulfilling our purpose. Reflect on it and slowly turn that pain into purpose.


Learn More Rachel Macy Stafford

Rachel Macy Stafford is the New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, and Only Love Today. Her fourth book, Live Love Now, releases in April 2020. Rachel is a certified special education teacher who helps people overcome distraction and perfection to live better and love more. Rachel’s work has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Global News, TIME.com, FoxNews.com, as well as in hundreds of other online and print publications. Her blog (www.handsfreemama.com) currently averages one million visitors a month. Rachel loves taking long walks, baking, and volunteering with homeless cats and nursing home residents. Rachel lives in the South with her husband and two daughters who inspire her daily.


Follow Rachel on Social Media


Resources Mentioned:



Honoring George Floyd By Stepping Into Empathy And Action

I want to acknowledge the pain and horror so many of us are feeling at the killing of another black man by a police officer, in the death of George Floyd. Rachel’s gift is to invite us to be present and purposeful in our lives and that same presence and purpose calls us now to take that pain and turn it into deeper understanding and action.

To support that, in the show notes, I’m including a link to an episode I recorded a few years ago with the co-founder of Mother’s Against Police Brutality Sara Mokuria, and to a set of Anti-Racism resources that Rachel shared in a post, she wrote today. Also in that post, Rachel offered these words from her new book Live Love Now, that I invite us to sit with, along with a few moments of silence, to honor George Floyd, and so many other men like him.

“What if we responded to the injustices inflicted on human lives with empathy and action rather than defensiveness or apathy? What if we lived as if we truly believed it’s not ‘your back’ or ‘my back,’ but ‘our back’?”


Resources Mentioned in the Opening Call to Action in Honor of
George Floyd: 


The Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge is technically over, but the Reflection Journal, live videos, and reflective prompts are all still waiting for you in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group. Follow along at your own pace by registering here: www.mothersquest.com/manifestochallenge and coming on over to the private group here


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