Scene: A lady walks into Target with 4 kids. You immediately say, “Boy! You sure you have your hands full!”
I hear it 15 times a day or more.
You don’t say! Really?
And yes they are! They are typically full of laundry, babies, groceries, back packs, toys and so much more these hands do everyday, but what parents’ hands aren’t full?! I find myself repeating to the kids as they go up stairs “full hands up, full hands down” – a saying from my restaurant waitressing days of younger years. Little did I know that my job of cocktail waitressing would only be preparing me for my duties as a mother to four kids. At dinner they think in a waitress anyways, but my kids are lousy tippers.
Being that we have 4 kids under 9, I am finally used to strangers doing the visual count and double take of how many kids I have and the quick double take back to me to see if they all look like me. I can only imagine what they are thinking. The silent sweet smile comes next. (I have now mastered how to read stranger smiles.)
Or what’s even funnier (as this JUST happened on our date night) is that we get into a nice conversation with a stranger, and they ask us the dreaded question, “how many kids do you guys have?” To which we respond truthfully and get the obvious, “you must have your hands full!” Of course we do!
I’ve also come to accept that my patenting is immediately on display the moment I walk into any public establishment. Think about it. You see a family of 6 walk – four little kids in tow- into a restaurant or even better, an airplane. You think to yourself:
A.) Man, they have their hands full.
B.) Let’s see how well-behaved they are
C.) Please don’t sit near us.
D.) All of the above.
What was your answer?
People are voteristic by nature. They want to see things in action. I take this on as a challenge. They want to see how we handle things. How we parent. What it takes to keep four kids in line at the store or how we do it. I get it. I’m curious too. And kids are like loose cannons. You just never know when ones gonna get set off and blow up in your face, at the most inappropriate time of course.
Yes. It’s a known fact. For anyone to see me walking my brood into Target with a toddler in the cart, a preschooler inside the cart and two kids behind me. My hands are full, obviously, but do we really need to point out the obvious?
Some think we are blessed (and I know this is the truth) and others think we are fucking nuts to have four kids… (and I know this is the truth as well.)
I’ve got used to the stares, the comments, the snickering, the people who think we’re too young to have 4 kids (I like this comment!) I catch many smiles with the silent thoughts of “holy shit that’s a lot of kids!” or “let’s see how well-behaved they all are.” I think all parents have to develop a thick skin about how they parent and must feel confident that they are parenting to the best of their ability. Not thinking or caring about what everyone else says.
I have also seen the kindness of strangers -complementing me on my kids (which makes my day) or helping me with doors, groceries and umbrellas or telling me that they too were from a big family and they didn’t know how their Mom did it, as they look at my family and reminess.
I also have an amazing village of family and friends helping me with my kids, offering to drop off and pick up or play dates to give me a break. I am greatly appreciative of it all and have learned that I am DEFINITELY not superwoman and no, there is no way I could do this alone. And thankfully, I don’t have to.
My hands are always full and I like them that way. Weather that be with kids, my career or my life, I thrive here. I’m in my zone. (I get things done better with four kids in tow actually! Crazy I know!)
My hands (and life) are full of so much more.
My house is full of laughter, smiles and the pitter patter of 8 little feet.
My house is full of kids and I’m always up for having more kids over for play dates because the more the merrier.
On Saturday mornings, by bed is full of kids that all we can do is laugh as we all squish together and watch cartoons.
My hands are so full from the grocery store, that my son uses a wagon to bring in the groceries.
My heart is so full with love for these little people.
My hands are full of 4 lives that are my responsibility to guide them into being good people and making good decisions.
My hands are so full that I sometimes I do break down because let’s face it, it is a lot of kids and a lot of work.
I love every minute and loathe every other minute of having my hands full. It is the best of times, the worst of times. It’s not for everyone. But it’s also not that bad either.
Soon, my hands won’t be this full. I will have kids in high school or maybe they just won’t want to be around me as much as they have to now. My days of having my hands full are numbered. I sometimes can’t wait. But I know it’s only a short term wish. On the days where I’m upset or frustrated that the work of four kids really is just too much (because some days it just is) I try to remember that it won’t be like this forever. And I’m sure I will long for them to be this full again.
So to the next person, who tells me, “You must have your hands full!” I’ll just smile and say my usual, “You know, they are! Can you help me to my car? That was so nice of you to offer!”