It happened for the 4,356,837 time today. As my four (not 10, not 21, just four) children and I stood in the checkout line at Walmart with their new flip flops in cart, someone behind me decided to say it.
“Wow! You sure have your hands full!”
We moms typically don’t know whether this is a compliment or not when you hear it, until you see the body language and facial expression that accompany the much over-used line.
I turn and look to see a nice thin, tall hippy/earthy looking woman in her fifties who has the look of being happily single her whole life and terrified of kids. Yes, I looked. No ring. Only a look of horror on her face as she took in the view of my little brood. She surely has cats.
I put on a smile, so as not to scare her and rattle of my well-rehearsed standard response.
“Well, better than empty. At least they’re full of life.” Sweet smile…turn back around to my kids.
And then, THEN…
“I just can’t even imagine… WHAT possessed you??”
Yes…she did. I couldn’t make that up.
I took a deep breath to reel in my inner Madea and turned around again, using my happiest sarcastic voice…
“What possessed me? As in… demons? Do my kids look like the product of demon possession to you? I actually have REALLY good sex with my husband. And often. As for possession, these four are the most amazing people in my life and worth more than any other POSSESSIONS that I have. No demons involved in that. Thanks for asking such an interesting question.”
She started to sputter about her brother having 5 boys and it just looked like so much work….Oh, goodness.
I looked back one more time and just said. “It’s really fine. Have a great day.”
And then as it was my turn to check out, and all four were working together to unload the cart very nicely, the poor cashier smiles at me… and says…
“You sure have your hands full!”
Oh. Lord. Help. Me…. Poor innocent, unaware, little Walmart employee.
I put the smile back up and said “EVERYONE has their hands full. It’s up to you what you choose to fill them with. I choose them, every single day.”
She thought it was sweet. I didn’t look back at hippy free woman but I’m sure she had some sort of interesting response.
So in the defense of our full hands, moms, let us all remember that not having them would only give us empty hands to fill.
Maybe with a life consuming career. Look up the definition of consumption, will ya? I don’t want life consumed.
How about 700 cats like this lady. Maybe just one or two cats? Or how about be a lover of dogs so you can approach a mother at Piedmont Park walking her adorable baby in a stroller, with the dog along, and fawn over the K9 while ignoring that there is an adorable little person right there that is actually more valuable. Oh wait, because they aren’t as important to you.
And we have pets. Well loved pets. It’s the section of the childless crowd that values their pet over small PEOPLE that get to me.
Ladies, we could have our hands full of money!! If we didn’t have them soooo full of our expensive spawn. We are REALLY missing out.
You really don’t want to get me started on possession and the American need to fill our lives with stuff instead of… LIVES. Because if we had more, we’d never be able to take them aaaallll to Disney!?!?
You could just have empty arms without them, and fill them with whatever man you want. History has shown that does not lead to the most FULL-filling lifestyle.
And, mothers, let us never EVER forget the women who have empty arms not by choice.
A disdainful comment of “You sure have your hands full.” is just as offensive toward them. Those who would give anything and everything they can get their hands on, to fill their arms with the life and love we experience every day in our children.
So, rock your full hands. Look at them in wonder and awe… And come up with a really great standard response to be prepared for the millions of times it will be said to you if you have more than the standard two children. Because until our society values these small people over possession, we will continue to shock them day in and day out.
For extra evidence to defend my point, here are my parents, with all 10 of us children, 8 children-in-law, and over 20 grandchildren (2 more on the way!). Do they look like they need pity? They made huge sacrifices for us. And I am so, so thankful for it every day.
THIS is what blessed looks like. Don’t ever doubt that.
To be fair, I have a career, I love our pets and I absolutely enjoy extra money and shopping. It’s valuing these over children, even when they’re not your own, that makes fire spew from my ears. It’s a small portion of the population, but they all seem to approach ME.
Comment with your favorite response to the remark, “You sure have your hands full.” I could use some fresh ideas myself.
UPDATE: After being asked a few times today why the statement “You have your hands full!” is offensive, I spent some time thinking about it and wrote a follow up.
Raise BOTH Hands if Your Hands Are Full- 7 Reasons the statement offends
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