You Have Your Hands Full

I’m going to take a second to call you out. You ready?

I don’t like when you stop me in the grocery store (or yesterday, the post office) and tell me I have my hands full. When I hear that phrase, I hear these implications behind it:

You have too many kids. You look like a hot mess. You look frazzled. You have bitten off more than you can chew. You have lost all control. You have too many kids. Your kids are crazy. You are crazy.

Maybe that wasn’t your intent, but all I hear is you looking down on me for my decision.

I can put on a happy face and sit around saying that it doesn’t bother me, I know my kids, this is what I want, I don’t care what people think, blah blah blah. But it’s not true. I do care what you think.

Deep down behind my smile and high-pitched happy voice, there is a mom who spends an hour getting ready to go to Target. I get dressed, do my hair and makeup. My kids are dressed in clothes with no stains, we take baths, fill their tummies, their faces are washed. I have cups, snacks, diapers, blankets. I contemplate the best possible arrangement and decide whether I should go with baby carrier a, b, or c, figure out which of the three strollers should go into the car depending on kid temperament, and whether or not the place has carts. And whether or not those carts are big enough.

And then you see me.

And take a second out of your day to tell me, a complete stranger, how much you disapprove. Give me a “wow. (eye roll) Are all of these yours? (disapproving glance) You’ve got your hands full!”

Make me feel like crap just for the fun of it.

I am trying my hardest to raise my kids in a loving and happy home. I feel like I’m somewhat succeeding. They are happy. There’s lots of love around here. We have the means to provide for them and any other future children (God willing). I know I’m happy. I am beyond blessed.

This is what I want. This is what I’ve always wanted.

Regardless of whether or not I have my hands full.

 

I don’t want your sympathy! (and I don’t need it!). I don’t want you to feel bad for us. I am not the first person in the world to get these comments. I only have three kids, for goodness sake. I don’t understand why that’s a big deal.

And I’ve heard much, much worse comments from friends and real life and in the conversation that prompted this post.

There are really nice people out there. For every jerk, there are a handful of nice people. But like anything, the bad comments stick out and make us forget the nice stuff and make us feel defeated.

 

On behalf of the moms out there, please stop telling my I have my hands full.

Cause deep down inside, it hurts.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh man. If I had a dollar for every time I hear that phrase I would be buying myself a new wardrobe. Shopping with three kids is one of the biggest challenges ever and sometimes it just doesn’t go well. Those comments are so annoying to me too– ‘ma’am you are a freak show’

    • says

      don’t you wish that you DID have a dollar for every comment? I don’t know about you but man, I could use a new wardrobe. Three kids is nothin, I got this. But shopping with three kids? HOLY CRAP. That was the biggest challenge. It usually doesn’t go well.

      Keep doin’ what you’re doing… ;)

  2. Leigh says

    I dread going out with all 4 kids for this reason. I went to target last week and numerous people made it clear I was somehow annoying them by having 4 kids. Who knows why, 2 were in a cart and the other 2 were being well behaved, so I have to assume people are irritated because we’re doing what they feel they can’t do, being an awesome mom!

    • says

      I don’t get it! But oh well. You’re a great mom and your boys are adorable. And Helen too, although I haven’t gotten to meet her yet. :)

  3. Becky says

    As my mom would say, “You go girl!” I find shopping with 2 kiddos exhausting and we’re hoping for me. Though I know it will add to the exhaustion I love my kiddos so much it hurts and I pray that we will be blessed with more exhaustion filled shopping outings. Hang in there and I feel ya!

    • says

      shopping with any amount of kids is exhausting! I hear ya. And there’s always heading to the store when your husband gets home? I never thought I would enjoy Home Depot so much without kids. :)

      Thank you. I’ll keep your family in my prayers!

  4. says

    You’re a good mama, Ann Marie! Ignore rude people. Unfortunately there are just some people in the world who have no regard for other people’s feelings. Maybe they are just jealous because they don’t have much love in their life. Anyway, you make super cute babies, so keep them comin’!

  5. says

    Those comments are SO frustrating! You would be surprised by some of the crazy stuff I’ve heard while out with my triplets. Once I was in line at Joann’s and some lady in line behind me said, “My daughter just had a baby. She would kill herself if she had triplets.” Really?! Really. Do my kids (who were 5 or 6 at the time) need to hear that someone with triplets would KILL themselves?! I just shook my head…and got away from her asap!

    • says

      That is awful! Kids have ears. Nothing irks me more then an adult making a child feel like there is something wrong with them or their family.

  6. says

    Amen and THANK YOU!! I was so sick of this ridiculous comment! I even got it when I only had two children. I had a snde lady make reference to my children a week after I had a baby: “Oh my gosh you have three children and you are going to have another??”. Lady, please use your brain before you speak. I have a newborn, and yes my tummy is swollen still after six days.

    What gets me, is a lot of these commenters are older people who had just as many or more kids. It’s like they forgot or something. I’m sure you can imagine how it is for my sister with six children.

    One solution: you can move to Utah, which is where I now reside. Kids are the norm, and I haven’t heard a word since. Not on word.

    Hang in there–you, my friend, are raising the future of America.

  7. Mandy says

    People are cruel and thoughtless. I have gotten that comment before and I only have 2. One is 8 years old and the other 6 months. People tend to not think before they open their mouths.

  8. says

    Ann Marie, I know I probably have no room to comment since I have no children just one furbaby that I know doesn’t count to those who have children. Seriously, when I met you at Haven I had no idea you had kids at all! After chatting with you and learning you have 3 children I was beyond impressed and gained even more respect for you. You are an amazing person–don’t let the mean people of the world get to you. Keep on doing what your doing girlfriend!

    • says

      kids or no kids, you have room to comment! Please don’t ever feel that way even for a second on here, Katie!!

      You are so sweet. Thank you, Katie. That means so much to me. :) And I always wondered if I smell like kid but am just used to it because I live with it. Haha, glad to know that’s not true!

  9. says

    I agree-with all 4 of mine being boys, when I lived in CA it was just flat out baffling to people that I could possibly have that many kids and all of them boys (and I was just pg with the 4th at that point). I got stopped every 10 feet in the store. Then I moved to UT. I don’t get stopped anymore. :)

  10. says

    I just had my 5th baby 3 months ago and I have been hearing that comment for years. It doesn’t phase me as much anymore, I usually just smile and nod. I find it amusing when they say it when I don’t have all of them with me, I want to say, “This is just the half of it, lady”. I don’t think they are being mean hearted, but I feel your pain. I don’t need to be told my hands are full. I am living the life I want to live and I can make it through a trip to Costco or I wouldn’t be there. Smile on sister, and remember how sad we would feel if our hands and hearts weren’t so full :)

  11. Katie says

    I agree with Robin. I have 6 kids within 7 years and I get stopped all the time. My husband and I joke about the comments we get (most people think I run a daycare). I have never minded when people say I have my hands full. I guess I have never thought of it in a negative way. I just figure they know raising kids isn’t always easy and I like to assume that they aren’t trying to be mean. :)

    • says

      most people aren’t mean about it, and then I’ll just shrug it off with a happy “yep!” and a big smile. A select few are jerks. I met a jerk yesterday and that’s what prompted this, haha.

      thanks for commenting, the fact that you have six kids is AWESOME!

  12. says

    I agree with Robin and Katie, for sure. As someone who has no kids but three dogs and a busy life otherwise, I, too, hear comments like that. People love to point these things out to complete strangers but I think it really boils down to how others react when they aren’t quite sure how to react or you could appear to have something that they’ve always wanted themselves. Sometimes I do get super frustrated that it seems like others are asserting an implication on my life or the lives of my fellow busy mom friends but it is truly the commenting person’s own internal stuff and not an actual reflection of you, your lifestyle or anyone else. Just them. You’re awesome, and those folks obviously have their own work cut out for themselves whether or not it is as external or apparent as the work that they felt need to comment to you.

    Keep up the awesome work! You’re a rock star.

    • says

      Nice perspective! I didn’t think of it like that but will from now on. I almost pulled a “you’ve got your hands full” when you said you had three dogs. I certainly couldn’t do that, that’s awesome!

      thanks for commenting, Rachel :)

  13. Jennifer says

    If having 3 kids means you have your hands full, then just think of it this way. They’re full of love!! You have 3 beautiful children who will love you just as much as you love them!! Keep on doing what you’re doing!! Its working for you!

  14. Nadia K. says

    I hear what you’re saying. With three small children, I get that comment all the time, and I sometimes take it hard. I try to assume that the person said it because they thought it was funny or insightful (although it is certainly NOT), or they are admiring my ability to successfully wrangle three kids. Of course, if the children are screaming and misbehaving at the time, I can’t assume they are admiring anything. :-) I try very hard to make sure my kids and myself are clean and presentable going out places so that people won’t look at me and assume — “Frazzled, overwhelmed mom who has given up on caring!” And my children generally behave very well, and I feel proud of them as we walk through the store and they are mannerly and sweet. Sometimes, they act out and all I can do is stay calm and try to keep it together. Usually when people say the “hands full” comment, I reply, “Yes, they are such blessings.” That communicates that I am taking the comment in a positive way, and all of my children are wanted and intended and yes, I am a busy mom on purpose!!! Even if I am pushing a shopping cart full of three screaming children at Target!

  15. says

    I can totally relate. Just keep your head up, and remember your children are beautiful and loved, and no one can take that away from you! :-)

  16. says

    It’ll always be that way…people wanting to force their views on others. We have three kids too. Our two younger kids are very close in age. We went through fertility treatments b/c after only 8 mos. of marriage we were told we would never be able to have kids. Our last child was gift from the Lord because we thought we were done and weren’t doing fertility treatments any longer. People used to look at me all the time and say, “Are all those yours?!” Our oldest is 17 now so the new comment is, “Wow, your children are so well behaved. You must be so proud of them! Bet you had your hands full when they were little!” Funny how things come full circle! God knows what he’s doing & enjoy those little precious monsters every.single.day because they grow up way too fast! Three Mango Seeds

  17. says

    I hear ya! I get the same comments (and worse) when I’m out with my five. And my kids are right there! I hate it, because I don’t want my boys to start to get a complex about being part of a big family.

  18. says

    I get this all the time and I only have two. The issue people have with me? I’m guessing it’s the 19 month age difference. We plan to have more children. I don’t even want to think of the comments I’ll get then. This is what we want. That’s all that matters.

    • Stephanie says

      I like to say that I have great kids, that they are awesome, and so I will keep having them. Or, when my fifth one was little and they liked to make comments about how MANY I have (usually in a very negative way), I say “But if I only had two, I wouldn’t have this little guy.” Usually puts them in their place when they realize that each child is an individual and not a giant “blob of child” that you have to care for.

  19. says

    I get this sometimes and I only have TWO kids so it always shocks me. We’re Catholic, so we don’t use birth control, and we really don’t even use NFP to avoid pregnancy…just let it happen when it happens. So, in a few years when (God willing) we have a few more littles, I can only imagine what people will say. On the other hand, like you said, there are often several sweet comments for every rude one.

    • Aimee says

      This is us, as well. Many of those comments come from our own families (esp. My mother-in-law) since we’re converts and the only Catholics in our families. They just don’t understand why we don’t use BC, and I’ve given up trying to explain it. ;-)

      • says

        I don’t bother mentioning it to family unless they ask because really, they don’t need to know. Let them think what they want to think, you just keep living your life and being awesome.

        And maybe I need to take my apply my own advice from this comment to my situation? Oops! Do as I say, not as I do ;)

        (also, see my comment above this one. We are in a kinda sorta similar boat.)

    • says

      Looks like we’re in a similar boat. :) We are Catholic and don’t use birth control either. Many women in my family have fertility problems, and I’ve always wanted a big family, so we decided to be open with the idea from the beginning.

      I don’t bring up NFP usually, because we weren’t actively using it when we had those three kids. And I don’t want the “NFP doesn’t work comments” haha cause you KNOW people have those waiting to come out. I am not in a place to explain why or try and convince people to feel like I feel, nor do I look down on people for their beliefs, so I just don’t mention it. Maybe not the best way to go about it, haha but it works for now. Maybe I’ll bring it up when they’re done telling me how full my hands are. ;)

    • says

      Thanks, Kate! That is good to hear because 1.) I don’t like to complain, and 2.) I debated posting this because honestly, 9 times out of 10, the phrase doesn’t bug me. Only when accompanied by a stressful trip to the store and a lady who had nothing but negative emotions behind her comment.

  20. says

    With four kids six and under I hear it all the time. And a handful of times it’s been said in a mean way, with a sneer like you suggest. But most of the time when people say, “You sure have your hands full,” to me they aren’t looking down on me at all but are simply trying to find a way to make conversation and have a lack of imagination. For whatever reason “You have your hands full” is one of those things people say when they don’t know what to say. I think it’s more often meant like “hot enough for you?” or “How bout them (local sports team)?” than a way to criticize. I find that if I give them a cheery smile and say something positive like “I sure do!” or “Better full than empty” most of the time they smile back and agree with me and then say something nice abut how cute the kids are. Would I prefer them to just start off with “Your kids are so cute!”? Sure, I would. But I’ve learned to save my reaction for the people who really mean it and shrug off the people who don’t know any better.

  21. says

    This newly minted mother of 5 (ages 17, 6, 4yo twins, and a newborn) sighs right along there with you. I DETEST those comments.

    Know what I’ve started saying? ‘there are loads of things I regret in my life. Having more children will never be on that list.’

    You have 3 little souls who adore you. People are hateful sometimes, and it’s a shame.

  22. Aimee says

    THANK YOU for saying this! I was afraid I was the only mother of “many” who is secretly hurt by those comments, and I hear them all. The. Time. I have 4 children, 5 years old and under. I don’t get out with all 4 that often, but when I do I just have to brace myself.
    The exception was a woman in the grocery store who said, when learning I was pregnant with my fourth–I had the 3 others with me at the time–simply said, “Oh, how wonderful!” I wanted to kiss her. :-)

    • says

      I had an older woman smile lovingly at us and say “you are so blessed. Enjoy every minute of it.” Now I try to say something similar to what your sweet woman said. :) HUGS!

      • Stephanie says

        When I was pregnant with my fifth child a woman at the grocery store stopped me and very gently said, “You have such beautiful children- keep having those children.” It was super sweet and almost brought tears to my eyes. It was such a compliment it outweighed dozens of negative comments I hear all the time…

  23. Heather says

    I get that comment a lot when I’m out with my 2 boys who are 18 months apart. I’ve never been insulted by those words, because I assume they’re trying to make conversation/be nice and don’t really know what to say. Just how I feel awkward around high schoolers and all I can think to ask is, “how’s school going?” I hated that question when I was younger because I heard it so much. But now I say it too, and cringe.

    I’d much prefer “your hands are full!” with a smile than some of the other things I’ve gotten: one lady yelled at me “get your son’s finger out of his nose” when he was 2. Once in IKEA, a man who had obviously never had children of his own rounded the corner with his partner, saw our screaming child, said “ew, KIDS!” in disgust and stuck his fingers in his ears. He looked so silly I just giggled, but it did hurt – I wasn’t enjoying the screaming child either, and we were just trying to get out of there! Sigh.

    • says

      HA! That guy sounds ridiculous. Glad you were able to giggle. :)

      And I hated that too as a high schooler, ugh! Thanks for reminding me cause I know that I’ve said it myself! Blah. What kind of a question is that? “School is fantastic, I love it so much” said no one, ever.

  24. Abby says

    I have four girls and am expecting #5 in Dec and hear this all the time along with “Are they all yours? ” But a while back I heard the suggested response of “Better full than empty” and it really makes be stop and think and it’s a good reminder for both the kids and me not to take it for granted.

    • says

      I like that you brought up your kids! It’s a good thing for them to hear, instead of being embarrassed by ignorant comments. Congratulations on your new little one! That’s awesome. And no I won’t ask you if it’s a boy or if you hope it’s a boy or anything similar to that. ;)

    • Stephanie says

      I love that response! I found that the third one was, oddly enough, the most negatively received child in our “little big family” (oldest is 8 and #6 will be here in about a month). I figured that was because 2 was the accepted “norm” around here and we were breaking the rules. But the comments tended to be the same, 3-4 kids is “you’ve got your hands full”, 4-5 is “are they all yours?” and “wow, all boys?”, pregnant with #6 “how many are you going to have?” and “are you having another boy?”. I just wish they would stop asking. Seriously- do you even know me and really need to know all my child bearing details? I read in a blog of another woman with six kids that people don’t ask paraplegics about how they live their life differently- why must us parents of several children share?

  25. says

    I love this! And I soooo get it. My kids are 4, 3, and 2. I’ve gotten many of those comments before. I’ve even heard things when I wasn’t there! My mom-in-law posted on her FB asking for activity ideas to do with her grand kids (my kids). Someone actually said “stop breeding!” What kind of a “joke” is that?!!! I REALLY wanted to respond, but I didn’t know the person and knew it was pointless anyway. Luckily my MIL DID respond….she told him to shut up!

    • says

      oh NO!. That’s awful. My mom has probably gotten just as many comments about us as we have. I’ve been tempted to say something, but haven’t. The best was when she told a lady (whom I don’t even know), with a big smile, “don’t worry, we won’t ever ask you to babysit!”

      Good for your mother-in-law! That made me smile :)

      • Stephanie says

        That’s awesome. My mom had 10 kids herself so she’s very accustomed to rude people comments. She just likes to make sure they all know that she has almost 33 grandchildren now. So proud, it doesn’t matter to her what all those people say. =)

  26. says

    I have four girls, the oldest of whom is 6 years old. Baby #5 will be arriving sometime between Christmas and the Epiphany. I get the “hands full” comment with some regularity, but I can’t say as it bothers me much. I understand why it might bother some, but I don’t automatically interpret it as negative. A person can have their hands full with diamonds, dollar bills, abundant volunteer opportunities or all sorts of very good things. I do have my hands full but in a wonderfully blessed way. Honestly, the one I get that annoys me is “Are you done?” as though my fertility and my husband’s and my choice with regards to children was somehow a matter of public announcement not to mention the presumption that I am indeed somehow psychic and know the future since I haven’t adopted their contraceptive mentality that children are somehow some sort of accessory.
    When I get told I have my hands full, I just smile and say, “yes, blessedly so!”

  27. says

    I’m with Katherine in thinking that, depending on the context and tone, they may be admiring or respecting how much you have to do to even get to Target. But with 8 kids, I’ve heard comments so much worse and inappropriately personal or blatantly judgmental, that “You have your hands full” dropped off the radar long ago for the things people say that bother me… ;-)

  28. says

    I also hear that all the time– I have to say that I appreciate it! Unlike you & yours, we usually are a mess! I feel like people are acknowledging that it’s okay that I just screamed at my kids in public or forgot to bring water bottles to the playground.
    I totally admire your having it all together–I think people do feel bad for me when I am out with my three kids, and I totally understand why they do–
    Your kids are gorgeous!

    • says

      ha, I never thought of it that way! Similar to hearing “well bless your heart.”

      Don’t let my amount of trying fool you. We are a mess most times. Any amount of getting ready can not prepare the world (or Target) for toddlers. I feel like we’re always a three ring circus! But I wouldn’t have it any other way and I’m sure you totally get that. ;)

  29. Sarah says

    Whenever anyone has said this to me I never took it negatively. I always took it as acknowledgement that children took time and focus and kept a person on their toes. Thus my reply has always been, “Yes, they are full and I’m loving every minute of it.”

  30. says

    I posted a link to this on my facebook page. Happens to me all.the.time. Why do people think they can pass judgement like that?! Sigh. Anyway, thanks for sharing! At least we can identify, right?

  31. Rose says

    My kids are mostly grown now…and I still love seeing childrens faces when I shop, or out in the world. I know that at this point in my life (53) I couldn’t possibly deal w/ all the stress, decisions, juggling, etc. that you have to when the babies (children) are small. My own 16 yr old baby wears me out.. So just know that when someone else is thoughtless…they have moved beyond coping in their own lives and no longer have the ‘inate’ miracle it takes to keep it together while growing a family.

  32. Nicole says

    Just tell them, “Yes, my hands are full–full of blessings and joy!” If you’re feeling snarky you can add, “I wish yours were too.” Don’t let anyone rob you of your joy! “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” ~Nehemiah 8:10

  33. says

    I had five in seven years (and loved every minute). People would always ask me “which are yours?” implying that no one in their right mind would give birth to this many! I wish I was made-up with hair combed and clean t-shirts on the kids. You are a wonderful mother and pshaw on the nasties!

    • says

      well… I try. Whether or not we arrive at the store looking like something other than a hot mess is another story. Thanks for the sweet compliment, Miss Merry! And congratulations on your new grandson!! :)

  34. says

    Beautiful Mama! I can just imagine you getting your sweet family together before you head out the door to Target. We have 4 and one on the way, and I do the same thing! And have often gotten the same looks and comments. Answering with joy is the best way! But you wanna know the second best way?? Hand them a printed copy of this article. lol Maybe they’ll think again next time;)

  35. says

    I LOVE that you wrote this!! I’ve vented my frustration with this exact same comment before. My mom told me that people are probably just trying to make conversation, and while I think she’s probably right (most people don’t mean it rudely, although a few do) I can think of a million better conversation starters. As a mama of 4 young boys, I’ve even had people tell me that they feel sorry for me. Are you kidding?! I adore my boys, and that’s exactly what I say now when anyone says “You have your hands full” or any other comment along those lines. Thanks for putting into words exactly how I feel :)
    xo,
    Laurie @ Gallamore West
    p.s. I found you through Natalie at A Turtle’s Life (we’re in “the group” together!)

  36. Kori says

    Same goes for us moms of one. I often hear “Is he your only one?” It tends to make me feel like I’m a tad less of a mother because of the low number of children with me. What they don’t know is that I’ve been pregnant 5 times and we had a daughter, Kaci, who was stillborn two years before our 15 year old son Guerin was born. Obviously I don’t go into that (not all the time anyway), but it always brings back the sad memories of what I had hoped would be…siblings for our son. I love my one and only son and wouldn’t trade him for anything (most days, ha!) and feel so lucky that he stayed with us! Ultimately I wish people would think before they speak.

    • says

      I’m so sorry for your losses, Kori.

      It makes me just as sad when people pass judgement on small families and make comments. No one knows the circumstances. I don’t understand why one’s fertility and number of children needs to be such an important topic when talking with a stranger! I agree, we all need to think a bit more before speaking. Big hugs!

  37. jenifer m says

    Whoa good to know.
    I say it…..usually not to strangers….but I say it.
    Not out of disapproving don’t you know how this happens feeling but out of complete awe because I only have 1 and somedays I want to pull my hair out.
    I would tell you not to take it as disrespect but it is obvious it hurts you when it is said.
    I will think twice before I say it next time.

    As a Mom of an only child I get the….Oh why would you have just one?? Don’t you wish you had more?? I usually give one of two answers….1 being..God only gives us what we can handle or 2 being….Actually yes I was sad for a time because we tried for 2 years to have another one and it didn’t work. But my next comeback will be….Why would I need another one? Look at her shes so dang perfect!!

    • says

      thanks, Jenifer! :) And it was so nice to read your comment and the one below. I was coming off of a bad experience (and maybe a bit angry, haha) when I wrote this post. I have heard it in a nice way too, and most times I’ll just smile and say “yep!”

      I really don’t like when people give others a hard time for not having more children. Just as much as I dislike when people criticize big families. I know first hand that people can pass judgement on either end of the spectrum, and you never know the circumstances. Big hugs! You’re awesome. :)

  38. Lindsey says

    Funny, I just said this to someone the other day in the playground. I was there with my 3 yr. old son and was actually trying to make conversation (we just moved to Ireland and have NO community of family here). I couldn’t think of anything to say, that was the first thing to come to mind. I’ll think twice before saying it now, but I’d also suggest you consider subtext. Of course you can tell when someone’s being snide (as you described the eye roll; I imagine their tone of voice wasn’t friendly either) but some people may just be trying to reach out.
    Thanks for sharing though, I too like constructive criticism. :)

    • says

      you’re absolutely right. I have had the phrase said to me many time where I knew it was not meant in a negative light. And let’s face it, many times I do actually have my hands full, haha! I cringe to think of things I may have said to others back when I was clueless and child-free.

      Thanks for weighing in, Lindsey! Knowing the lovely age of three (sarcasm), I’m sure you have your hands just as full with your little guy. ;)

  39. says

    Okay, I did not read all the comments, but they are great. I have heard everything Ann Marie has heard and then some.
    My husband just tells someone he has 12 and the comments he gets are not printable.
    I sometimes feel the same way as Ann Marie, but now I feel comfortable saying to people when they ask “Are you going to have more?” Replying with, “If God blesses me with more.”
    When I am out with let say 6 of my children and people ask “Are these all yours?” I love saying, “No I have 6 more.” You should here the comments then.

  40. Ashleen Moreen says

    Don’t let other people pull you down because they actually don’t know who exactly you are.
    Lucky are you that you have a loving three kids that are lovely. Don’t mind those people they are just a matter of wasting your time.

  41. MelissaJane says

    Honey, you really, really need to come to terms with yourself – not strangers. That is not said meanly or unkindly. I have twins and hear it all the time, and often it is said with a smile, with a memory of the speaker’s own childraising days, with sympathy or empathy or just plain joy in my happy lively little guys. Why would you assume such negative motivation behind a stranger’s comment? That’s about your and your insecurities, your assumptions about other people judging you – it’s not about them.

    • says

      I have heard the phrase in a loving, nostalgic manner. Most times I will smile and say “yep!” But I have heard it in a negative connotation, and judging by the number of comments in this post, it looks like I’m not alone. I don’t know why, I just don’t like the phrase and I’m allowed to feel that way.

      I am insecure. Maybe I do need to come to terms with myself. I appreciate you pointing that out for me and will get to work on it. Thanks! :)

  42. kelly says

    Bravo! I have 4 kids from 7-12yrs old so I get it. I always reply ” its better then my hands being empty” smile and move on. I can genuinely smile because I mean what I say. I usually get a stunned reply of – you’re right. Lol

    • says

      I think many people don’t realize what they’re saying, and your comment (and their response) just proved that. Thanks for commenting, Kelly! :)

  43. Trish says

    I agree with so many of the comments. I have 2 children and did hope to have more but it wasn’t meant to be and so I just am thankful for what I have now. I LOVE to see moms with lots of children, it just warms my heart to know that people still value families as that is what is most important to me.

    • says

      My mom tried for 10 years to have more children until we were blessed with brother, and later my sister (now 13 and 11), so I know where you’re coming from. It makes me just as upset to see people judge smaller families, as they don’t know the circumstances!

      You are so right, we have to be thankful for what we have, and I love your outlook. Thanks for weighing in, Trish! :)

  44. Kelly says

    Once I was out with my three children under five, we stood waiting by an elevator and near us were two older-middle aged kinda cranky and grumpy men in conversation. As the elevator arrived they finished their conversation and one of them got on with us. In his gruff tone he looked my kids up and down and then said to me “you’ve got your hands full”. I had heard that one too many times…I looked him straight in the eye and said “full of a lot of joy”. He grunted and looked back at the floor. We got off the elevator and went in opposite directions, When he was about twenty feet away he stopped and said “Hey!”, I looked at him, and he said “Have a great day!” and went on his way. That changed my attitude so much! Instead of smiling and nodding like I usually did, I told this guy how it really was and I think it the end it may have just made HIS day better! What an opportunity these comments are to open a little window of perspective to those who just cant see it!

  45. Kari says

    Great thoughts…I get this ALL the time…ESP when we are all out together and people see our nine kids…when they say “oh you have your hands full” I just say ” yep full of Gods blessings but not so full that they can’t hold anymore blessings He wishes to fill them with” There is usually no response to that other than “you are truly blessed”

    I have to say I also love how people will come to us as they are leaving a business we are at (restaurant, store, etc) and say things like “I just want to tell you, you have a wonderful family and your children are so well behaved, thank you”. I do like the compliments but I always think “yep they thought, oh boy our lunch is ruined” when they saw us walk in!

  46. says

    Thank you for this. I have three boys five and under and I hear it constantly. It’s like pity and I feel so blessed for my children. I could also do without “when are you going for your girl?” that one I get a lot too.

  47. 9AllMine says

    Whether you have 1 or a baker’s dozen… Remember your example speaks volumes to those you meet! Being cheerful, well dressed, equipped with a smile, and a few catchy comebacks will be your best defense against the negativism that seeps into unhappy lives.
    ‘My, you have your hands full’… “My hands may be full but my heart is not “.
    ‘God, Bless You!’ …”I think he already has”.
    ‘Keep up at this pace and you’ll never be done’… “Just working on populating Heaven”.
    It is a fact that if you polled the elderly about regrets they have, the most common response is that they wished they had had more children.
    Instead of regrets, I gladly embrace those beautiful souls sleeping in the next room!

  48. Tonia says

    Amen!!!!! Keep up the great work!!! Don’t let anyone steal your joy!!! II’m a mom of 5…all but one are adults now. All are happy productive people who all love each other and bring us great joy!

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