Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What to say INSTEAD of …

“Oh my, you sure do have your hands full”

My post yesterday made me think of how often I hear this

It was so refreshing to hear something different the other day.
But this is a PSA to all those people out in public that find it necessary to point out how how full my hands are.
Dear strangers… I do not know you.  But i am Mama Llama. 
I have 3 baby Llamas.  Yes, they are all mine.  No, the older 2 are not twins...yep, I do have all 3 with me at the grocery store. 

  The grocery store is accomplished with a 2 seater cart and wearing Helen in the Ergo Carrier.   Or if out at other stores, I put Helen in the Stroller or Ergo and hold the hands of the big kids.

Regardless, I often have 3 children with me.  

And yes, I do have my hands full.
But you saying that doesn’t help much, now does it? 
Unless you’re interested in taking one (preferably the middle one, please) 
Not to mention, that when that statement is said, 
I am usually not in the best “mommy” mood.  

I have heard that I should respond with 
“why yes, my hands are full…but so is my heart”
Isn’t that sweet.  
But honestly, like I mentioned above, my heart usually isn’t feeling very full in that moment.  I usually am feeling a bit overwhelmed.  

Or perhaps you have caught me on a great day 
where I am really enjoying my children… 
then you have to go and point out how I have my hands full. 

Thanks for ruining the nice moment… 
because right after you say how full my hands are, 
my kids are sure to do something to earn that remark. 
Like…pull each other’s hair, knock over a shelf of fruit snacks, scream to eat a free sample, tell me they have to poo poo, scream again because I won’t buy the chocolate-marshmallow cereal. 

So instead of telling me how full my hands are...
Here is a list of suggestions to say instead of  “my, don’t you have your hands full”

1—What a beautiful family you have!

2—What a fun field trip with mommy!

3—Can I help you with anything?

4—What good children you are being!

5— You’ll get through these early years!
(don’t add  “and i wouldn’t go back to that for a million dollars”)

6—I remember those days well!
(don’t add “and I thought I was going to die”)

7—You’re doing a great job

8—You are a great mom

-Do hold the door open for a mom with many kids

-Do offer to take my cart back to the store as you are walking in

-Do not stare if my children are having a tantrum
And please do not intervene… it often makes it worse, and we are often in a hurry trying to get back in time for lunch or nap…
hence the tantrum.

So, Dear strangers that I meet in public… 
please do not tell me again how much I have my hands full. 

Praise my efforts, encourage me, tell me you’ve been there and I am going to get through to other side eventually. 
Pat me on the shoulder and tell me what a great mom I am 
And maybe, just maybe… 

It will help to make my heart as full as my hands are. 



  1. I love you..... and I love this post. What mama doesn't know at least some portion of how this feels! You are a great mom and doing a great job. You have your make-up done too....much better most of us. Can't wait to have you in the area and we can go to Clemyjontri and let the kids just run together. Much Love- amy nelson

  2. I wish I could take this post and send it out to everyone in America... I only have two, but even with two I know how you are feeling here.. And my son has Autism and I would really like that encouragement once in a while. Yes, you are so right on!

    Happy Tuesday!

  3. Your post yesterday made me think the exact same things!! And guess what? Today, someone said to me "Your hands are full, but I remember those days" and then let me go in front of her in the line. It was really kind.
    I love your blog - it's always an encouragement to me! :)

  4. Becki- I welcome you to send to everyone in America!

  5. love this. my older two are a year apart and about to turn 3 and 2 and another newborn scheduled to be here right around their birthdays. i need a shirt or a sign with this written ON ME! love your blog.

  6. so funny and so true!

    Just found your blog - love it!

  7. I stopped in from SITS sharfest Saturday and followed you immediately- I have 3 little boys- the oldest two that people ALWAYS ask if they are twins- NO!

    I love your list of suggestions for what people can say instead. Perhaps you should have them made into a t-shirt- with the list on the back? I would buy one.

  8. Oh, and the comment love thing- I have no idea! It's been pulling up my Monday's post since then and I've posted every day. So weird!

  9. I really enjoyed this post, I'm not even a mom and I fully get your point! Dropping by from SIts and what a great family you have, keep on the fantastic work!
    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  10. So true....I very seldom go out with all 5 kids but I usually have at least 3 with me... I always hear "are they all yours?" and I hear "your hands are very full" very often. I love, love, love hearing "your kids are so well behaved" and the kids love it too. Great post and Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  11. This is so true!! I only have two and people always stare at me with the "I feel sorry for you" eyes.

    Happy Saturday Sharefest!!

  12. I know this is a really old post, but I just had to say "thank you." My oldest two are exactly 12 months and two weeks apart, so even when I only had two, I was beginning to get that comment. Now I have four: 7years, 6 years, 3.5 years, and 9.5 months and am pregnant with #5. I've been hearing "you're hands sure are full!" almost every time I leave the house for the past 6 years and I always want to say, "I don't need you to point out how overwhelmed I am in this moment. How about you just offer to help me out to the car with my bags or hold the door open instead?" I hate all the times when people say "better you than me" IN FRONT OF MY KIDS! So, yeah, I just relate to this so much. Thank you for saying it.

  13. Hi! I am new to your blog, referred by a friend. I love this post so much. My husband and I have been married for 10 years, and we have 4 children between the ages of 6-2. Our oldest are 14 months apart, the next two are 13 months apart, and then our little one is 21 months younger, so we get lots of stares and bless your hearts and your hands are full! I'm not so very outspoken, but sometimes I wish I were, ha! Thank you for making me know I'm not alone in the world :) My husband is a pastor, too. I look forward to following your blog!
    Thank you,


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