June 27, 2014

"You Have Your Hands Full!"

Today I took one of my very typical trips to the grocery store with all 3 kids in tow.  I grabbed two grocery carts like I always do--one for Lila and Soren to ride in and the other to hold groceries.  Pushing two carts at once is not an easy skill to acquire, but I've become quite proficient at it and can maneuver those beasts through the aisles without running over other shoppers or bumping into the shelves.  Sometimes Kenadie volunteers to push one of the carts behind me.  Though it slows us down a little and though she frequently runs the cart into the backs of my ankles, she loves to be helpful and I don't dare stifle that desire when it's there!  Today Kenadie wanted to be helpful so I sacrificed my ankles for the nice break it gave my arms to only push one cart.  Plus, she is so proud that she only bumped into a shelf once the entire trip.  We got our groceries, I squashed a few pleas for candy, chips, crackers, ice cream, or any other goody that caught the girls' eyes, and we made it out of the store with only the baby crying--which means that it was a good grocery shopping trip!

During our 30 minutes in the store today, I received at least 3 "My, you have your hands full!" comments, to which I smiled and replied, "Yup!"  I can always count on hearing at least a few of these remarks whenever I'm out with the kiddos, and I know I'm not the only one........

Whether on blogs or Facebook status updates, many moms have remarked on how the "you have your hands full" comment is more commonplace than "hello" when they are out and about with their kids.  Some moms have mentioned how annoying these comments are, others have stated that they wished passers-by would just say something encouraging like "you're doing a great job, mom!", instead of pointing out the obvious as they strategically try to make it through their outing as if they were navigating a mine field.  It is true that during those particularly stressful days or in the middle of a toddler tantrum, it would be nice to hear something, well....nice, especially considering that grocery shopping with kids is always a gamble on whether or not the mom's nerves will be fried by the end of the trip.  However, while I have received some down-right rude comments about controlling my children or my children desperately needing a nap when we get home, the "You have your hands full!" comments have actually never bothered me--even when all 3 kids are crying in unison.  Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't enjoy having my children's emotional outbursts or misbehaviors on display to the public, but the "you have your hands full" comments are only stating the absolute truth: 

My hands are full.

And thank heavens!  

I spent my pregnancies puking my guts up, watching my ankles disappear, then experiencing the most exquisite pain in order to bring my 3 blessings into our family.  I've experienced plenty of sleepless nights with a screaming baby or sick toddler and I currently spend my day teaching, feeding, disciplining, and playing with my children.  It is a lot of work and my hands ARE full!  Perhaps people make these comments because they don't know what else to say, maybe some do mean to be offensive and are thinking to themselves that people like myself need to stop populating the world with such rowdy human beings, but the fact remains that my hands are full.  However, whether others know it or not, my hands are not the only things that are full......my heart is just as full. 
 They see a mom in yoga pants, messy hair, and no make-up pushing two carts through the store with a chorus of laughing/crying/whining children in tow, but they aren't there to see me sing and read to my children before bed, help them say their prayers, and then have them whisper "I love you, Mommy" and give me kisses and hugs before I turn out the lights.  They don't get to see my baby boy snuggle close to me or hear his crying immediately stop just by my touch.  They don't get to see the look on my daughter's face as she begins to sound out words for the first time, or witness my girls run to the door to welcome their dad home every evening and then beg him to play with them.  They don't witness all the moments that fill my heart and make the nightmarish grocery trips well worth it.  They don't get to see the beautiful benefits of having your hands completely full.  

We may have more chaotic and patience-trying moments in our household than peaceful, sweet ones (especially during grocery runs), but the sweet ones are more than enough to fill my heart completely, a blessing I don't think I would experience were my hands to be empty.  So whether it's said with sympathy, awe, or disdain, keep on saying it, fellow grocery shoppers: my hands are full!

And I am so grateful for it.

Having your hands full of preciousness is actually a pretty sweet gig.

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