Ok, I’m going to be real with you for a minute. I have 6 kids and usually I only take 1-3 of them with me to the store. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do but its also not the hardest.
When I’m juggling a whiny baby and a 3 year old that is begging for a batman toy that I already said he couldn’t have 3 times, I almost always hear someone say to me, “Oh wow, You’ve got your hands full!!”
I don’t think people are trying to be rude when they say this. Maybe they say it as a way to start conversation or maybe they are just trying to be funny. When I was a new mother, I would just smile and nod when someone would say this to me. But after hearing it over a thousand times now probably, I started to think about it more and I got a little annoyed. To me the implication of this comment is “Wow, you have way more kids than you can handle.”
“You’ve got your hands full.” What do my precious little children think when someone says that? Or when someone says (All of which I have heard before): “You’re brave!”, ” Do you know what causes that?! haha.” ” You poor thing.” “Were they all planned?” “Are they ALL yours!?” I’ve decided I need to start responding to these comments instead of just brushing them off. Not with the purpose to reprimand the stranger, but to respond in a positive way to show the stranger and my kids how important they are to me. They are not a joke. They are not a burden. I love them and I love sharing my life with them and being able to be there for theirs. Its the joy of my life to be their mother.
Just today I was in Walmart with my youngest and we were grabbing some groceries before picking up the other 2 little kids at preschool. I knew she was tired and needed a nap but I had to get my shopping done in this specific time frame in order to avoid going to the grocery store with all 3 kids later. We found some cookies that she really wanted to eat RIGHT THEN. But I put them in the cart and told her we had to wait till we get in the car. Then she started fussing of course. Crying a little , whining, trying to turn around and grab the cookies. Just then an old man said to me out of nowhere “Looks like she’s tired of shopping.” and walked off. She wasn’t tired of shopping she loves going to the store, (I’m in trouble soon I know), she just wanted those cookies RIGHT THEN and she needed a nap.
A stranger doesn’t really know why MY baby is upset. It’s not helpful or encouraging. I don’t walk up to a stranger and say, ” You look tired of shopping.” or “Wow, you have 3 packs of Reeses in your cart.” You don’t do stuff like that, its not polite.
I was at Walmart a few months ago and I kept seeing a mother struggling with her crying, screaming child. She kept calmly talking to him, but he wasn’t responding at all. I felt for her, I have been there, ALOT. I know that when I am in that situation it sure would be nice to hear some encouragement. So as I was leaving my parking space I saw her again, here was my chance to encourage her! I pulled up, rolled my window down and said: “I just want to tell you that you are doing a great job. I know its hard to keep calm when they behave like that. I just wanted to tell you that you are handling it so well. Keep up the good work momma.” She said thank you and I drove away. A little bit of encouragement goes a long, long way. You could make someone’s day by encouraging them!
So Here Are 5 Responses You Can Try When Someone Says “You’ve Got Your Hands Full”
#1. We Are Just Getting Started!
I cant wait to hear the different responses I’ll get to this one. 🙂
#2. Yep, and I enjoy every moment with them
Its true, even in the hard times! I’m so blessed and thankful that God gave me such wonderful kids to parent. What a privilege!
#3. I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way
There’s no denying how grateful I am for my children and this response makes sure they know that.
#4. I Couldn’t Be Happier About It
Sometimes parenting is super hard, but over all its pretty dang awesome.
#5. Want to Lend Me One of Your EMPTY Hands?
That would be the nicest thing someone could do, offer a helping hand to a parent they see struggling. We could all use a helping hand once and awhile!
One day I was at Walmart (Again, ugh! I guess I go there a lot? ha) and I had two 5 gallon water jugs in the cart with the baby and groceries. There was an older gentleman standing by his car waiting for someone. His car was parked right next to mine. I got to the back of my van and opened the gate. As soon as he saw me he came over and said: “Do you need help putting those waters in your car? I’d be happy to put them in there for you.” I told him, Sure! Thank you so much! He said, “God wants us to help each other, you know.” Yes, yes he does. 🙂