Please tell me I’m not the only mom who hears the phrase “you’ve got your hands full” nearly every time I step out in public! I have really great kids, but I have five of them, and so it is guaranteed that there are five different little kid interests happening in those five little heads. Just today at the grocery store with my 5 kids in tow, I heard that phrase, or variations of it 5 times. This is typical, and NOT helpful!
I choose to grocery shop with my kids for a few reasons that range from manners to math. The main reason I shop with kids is: when my husband is home, I want to be home too. I don’t want to leave him with the kids as soon as he gets home so that I can go get my stuff done. I choose to take advantage of what precious little time we get to spend together as a family. Therefore, I get to hear this saying all. the. time.
So, I’ve heard some people say “full hands, full heart”, and things like that, but that’s just not my style. I end up saying something ridiculous, or just walking away from the situation thinking “we must look like as much of a circus as this feels!” (I have even had someone in the checkout line once admit that they followed me around the store because it was just so entertaining to watch us.)
As I passed two other moms in the grocery store also struggling to various degrees with their four children each, I realized we need to change the mindset. We need to be supportive of those who very obviously need it!
Some alternate phrases could be:
“You have beautiful children”
“You are doing a great job”
or my personal favorite that gets an extra reward to the kids:
“What well-behaved children”
A good rule of thumb is, if the response can be “thank you”, it would be a great thing to say to anyone who is appearing overwhelmed with life no matter the circumstance.
As we support the mothers around us, we support those who are raising the future. I feel good about myself and the job I am doing raising my children when I hear compliments, rather than phrases that may suggest that people would rather not be in the same space as me.
My kids are great kids, but they have their good and bad days the same as I do, and they are kids! Let’s foster positivity and let those around us know when they are doing a great job. Motherhood (and grocery shopping with 5 kids) is no small task.
How do you respond to comments about full hands?