“Man you have your hands full!”
“Don’t you know how birth control works?”
“Are you DONE yet?!?!”
On any given day my family will hear at least ONE of these questions/statements. I think we’ve all been there: walking through the aisles at Target, basking in our baby-free-ness, and we see a young mom. She is frantically pushing a shopping cart, has one baby strapped to her, another child trying to climb out of the cart, and still another child hiding between in the clothes rack (probably doing some messy business). We look at her and instantly feel sorry for her. She’s clearly having a hard time. Obviously she is in over her head with all of these children. Why didn’t she just wait for her husband to get home so that she could run her errands in peace? We stare, catch her eye, give her that pitiful look and approach her. “Man you sure have your hands full!” The words flow out of our mouth like verbal vomit that can’t be caught and returned to where it came from. She looks at you, trying not to cry and/or scream, offers up some nervous laughter, and hurries passed you praying she doesn’t run into you again.
Being that I AM this woman, can I just offer a little insight into EXACTLY what is going through her mind? She can see you approaching and knows exactly what is coming. She prepares her arsenal of witty comebacks to the intrusive/rude comments regarding her family size and age of her children. In a split second she wonders if she should just turn around and run, leaving her unruly brood to fend for themselves, or if she should continue to wrangle her “angelic offspring” and deal with yet another awkward confrontation questioning her parenting choices. “Maybe I have it all wrong,” she thinks, “maybe they will just tell me how cute my children are and then move on.” And then, you open your mouth. The maybes and hopeful thoughts fade. You just stated the painfully obvious. Inside her head she exclaims, “of course I have my hands full JERK!” But instead of being a bad example to her children she laughs, and hurries by gripping her poopy child with one hand maneuvering the shopping cart with the other, careful to not jerk it too much so her pint sized dare-devil doesn’t fall out of the basket in her haste.
I said before that my family hears at least ONE of these comments/questions every single day. And it’s true. I have 4 children ranging from 6 years to 6 months so people feel bad for me on all sorts of levels. I’ve started coming up with fun little “shocking” comebacks when people start to offer up their opinion regarding my reproductive choices.
They Say: I Say:
“Man you sure have your hands full!” “Better full than empty!”
“Don’t you know how birth control works?” “No! Can you please explain it to me???”
“Are you DONE yet?” “I don’t have enough for a baseball team yet…”
“Just wait….” ::looks around nervous:: “For what?!?!”
Most of the time these “comebacks” are met with the nervous laugh that I used to offer up when I didn’t quite know what to say, other times the people smile, and sometimes I get dirty looks.
Even though I have all of these pieces of wit to combat the idiocy of passersby, deep down I get sad that they will never understand. God has chosen to bless me with 4 amazing children. He has decided that these specific little beings would be a great fit into my family and that my husband and I might just do a superb job at raising them. I welcome any blessings that He sees fit for me to have. Because I know that, “Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him.”
So what do I say when I see that mom juggling her little gifts from God? “Wow, you are so blessed!”