My husband and I walked into a coffee shop this weekend. He was pushing the double stroller that carried both our boys as our daughter walked along beside us. When we reached the counter to place our order the barista greeted us and said, “Wow, you guys have your hands full.”
“That’s what people keep telling us,” was my husband’s response.
People do tell us that a lot. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me my hands were full, well, I wouldn’t be rich, but I could definitely afford a latte once a week.
It started when I was pregnant with number three. I would be waddling into a store, holding tight to my prone-to-wander two-year-old and my four-year-old rambling on about something while I was trying to keep the door open so we could all walk through. I probably looked tired because I was tired. And some stranger would pass by and say, “Wow, you’re about to have your hands full!” I would usually just laugh it off and agree. Really I wanted to respond with something like: “My hands are already full. Could you please hold the door open for me?”
Now, number three is here. I would like to think I look less tired than I did when I was pregnant, but I am constantly reminded of how full my hands are. Some might find this annoying. Most of the time I just take it as a compliment. It’s almost like they’re saying, “Wow, your hands are full but look at you doing motherhood like a boss!” I’d like to think that people are actually in awe of my ability to parent three kids while grocery shopping, instead of feeling sorry for the crazy lady with three rugrats.
My hands are full. It’s true. I have two hands and three kids, so my hands are more than full. But what people miss is that my hands aren’t the only things that are full.
My days are full of grocery shopping, potty training, and laundry folding. Between school drop-offs and pick-ups, play dates, and picking up the dry cleaning, we are constantly on the go. Even the days spent at home are full of cleaning and teaching. I’m either maintaining our home or shepherding hearts.
My phone is full. “Your storage is almost full” is a message I get on my phone at least once a week. This means I have to go through the mundane task of deleting photos. And I hate it because each one shows my five-month-old at a different angle and each one is cute in its own way.
My head is full. I always think about that Saturday Night Live skit where the people who are in charge of the brain have to delete old nursery rhymes to make room for more useless information. My head is full of so much, from silly things the kids say, to grocery lists, to friend’s birthdays, which will inevitably be the things that get erased so I can remember to pick up my husband’s dry cleaning.
Three kids. Three different personalities to get to know, three necks to snuggle, three sets of cheeks to kiss. Each of their eyes are a different color, and I love them each so much that my heart could burst.
My hands are full. It’s true. The next time some well-meaning stranger reminds me of just how full my hands are, I will say: “Yes, yes they are. But so is my heart.”
Originally published March, 2016.