On the way to picking up my children from school I got stuck behind another mother pushing her double stroller while her toddler walked behind her. Her toddler turned around, noticed me, and ran to his mother. She stopped to cram him into the stroller, as I passed her I said that she had her hands full, with a smile on my face, and a giggle in my voice. She nervously laughed and that was that. I was hoping it would open up more conversation. It didn’t.
Today as my children and I ate at a local bar and grill for dinner, the waitress, older than me, I would guess if she had children they were much older than mine, told me I had my hands full. In that moment I felt judged. I felt judged as a mother. I felt annoyed that she must think my children were rowdy or more than I could happily handle. And also in that moment I understood why the mother I was behind earlier walking to school didn’t have any desire to talk with me after I smiled and said she had her hands full.
I didn’t mean anything by it, it was just my way to say, wow you’re blessed to have all those children, and wow, what a good mommy you are. Instead of saying those words though, I just said what most people say when they see a mom juggling children; you have your hands full. I also realized that the waitress didn’t mean to offend me at all. The offense dripped away and I smiled and said thanks, I sure do, I am blessed.
I am blessed. I have three amazing young men. They keep me on my toes. They do and say things in public that make me wanna bury my head in the sand sometimes. They mostly make me proud and happy to be a mommy and to have this scared kingdom work I’ve been called to. And yes, yes I do have my hands full and I love it. I can’t imagine my life any other way. Instead of being offended at the next person who tells me my hands are full and gives me that pity look, I’ll just smile and know they mean no offense by their words.
Maybe next time I’ll tell that sweet mother pushing her three children, on her way to picking up her fourth child at school, what a joy it must be to have her hands full of little blessings. Because that’s what children are, little blessings.