Monday, October 17, 2011

"You Have Your Hands Full"

I think every woman who has more than the average number of children has been asked the question "Are they all yours?" Usually followed by the statement "You've got your hands full!"  I have three children so far, and I don't think that's a very big family, but ever since my third child was born I have heard those two again and again!  Often it's from people who only have one child, which I can see how overwhelming that might seem, seeing someone with three times as many children as you have.  I imagine it's how I might feel seeing a woman with nine children!

I don't mind that people think three kids makes a "big" family, but the way people say "You have your hands full!"  Has always rubbed me a little wrong, even though it's true figuratively, and often when they say that it's true literally (carrying a baby in my arms while pushing a shopping cart filled with groceries and a toddler with a Kindergartener walking along side, and using my foot to turn the heavy shopping cart around a corner), but the phrase always seems to carry an element of drudgery to it.  I'd been trying to think of a response to this to express how much I enjoy my kids.  I though about responding with "If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart." but that was too long, or I could just say "You should see my heart."  But then I got to thinking that that could give the impression that anxiety from having several children giving me a coronary condition.  So then I tried saying "I wouldn't have it any other way."  But then people seemed to get the impression that I thrive off highly stressful situations rather than I enjoy being a mother.  I just can't win!  Finally I came across a blog, that I can't even find again, where the woman said that she responded to that question with "Full of good things."  So I tried it out.  I was at the library and my kids were playing in the kid area with another little girl.  The little girls mother and I got to talking, and she was under the impression that only the two boys were mine (she seemed a little amazed at that) when I told her that all three were mine she uttered the inescapable phrase "You have your hands full."  With an overwhelmed and almost worried expression on her face.  I smiled and said, "Yep, full of good things!"  Her face softened and she smiled and said "That is very true!"

So that's my new response to "the comment."  Does anyone else have any tips?

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