It never fails. Everywhere I go I always hear: “You’ve got your hands full!” I don’t even know how to respond to it most of the time. What do you say to something like that? “Uhm… yeah, I do…” or my usual and quiet, “Thanks…” Even though I have no idea whether they actually mean that as a compliment. Parenting a large family doesn’t come with a rulebook and comebacks to comments like this. *Usually* this is what people say when they’re not sure what to say, but they know they’re gawking and are actually thinking, “Holy moly! That’s a LOT of kids.” If you’re reading this and know you’re guilty, let’s agree not to say it anymore. If a mama is juggling a toddler and a baby, while her five-year-old has to be reminded twenty times to keep her hands in the cart, she knows. Oh, SHE KNOWS. She’d wave the white flag in surrender if she had an extra hand, but, they’re full and all. And if you’re that mama, I feel your pain, and I know how full your heart is.
There’s always someone staring when we go to the store. If you’ve felt those judgy eyes on you, just know I’m right here with you, girl. I’ve felt and will probably continue to feel the heat creep up my cheeks when I’m in the store, and I can feel someone’s eyes on me and my brood. Who knows if that’s actually why they’re staring, I could have a booger or something in my teeth, but I prefer to assume they wish they had a large family. It’s what gets me through those comments about how we need cable or a hobby.
I once ran into a lady at Randalls. The kids all had to go to the bathroom, and all had excess park-energy, and I was a bit frazzled. She started with, “are those all yours?” I was worried it was going to turn into one of those, “did you do that on purpose?” conversations, but it didn’t. “Wow! You’ve got your hands full.” *Cringe* But then, she told me I was blessed. That she never could have children and adoption didn’t work out for her and her husband. That she longed to have a big family, but it just wasn’t part of her plan. And then, she promised she’d pray for my family. If I was a crier, you could cue the tears here. Kindness is out there, and if you can convince yourself those stares are because they think your kids are adorable, and your big family is awesome, it will make your trip more enjoyable.
So, the next time you’re out and about with your crew, and the looks you sometimes can’t ignore are just getting to you, remember what I do. Remember that sweet woman who stopped me not to ask me how I do it or to tell me how she wouldn’t, but to say how blessed I am. Remember the friends and family members that congratulate your fifth and sixth pregnancy and offer love and support in those first and last tiring months and not those that ask why, or if it was planned. Imagine each stare comes from a place of love or admiration. Even if you just know they’re trying to figure out how to get you a one-way ticket on the Crazy Train.