Every single time I am in public.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I was at the grocery store with my kids just the other day. 2 kids in the front basket by me, 2 kids in the car in the front of the cart and 1 inside the cart/on top of the car (both of which are frowned upon by the grocery store employees.) I'm casually strolling through the store, grabbing free fruit for the kids and every so often glancing down at my grocery list on my phone.
Naturally, whether or not my kids are being "good" on that day or if they are rambunctious and loud, we are being starred at. I'm used to it by now.
We round a corner and an employee exclaims, "Wow! You really have your hands full!" I just smile and nod.
I never know what to say. How do I respond to that?
We don't even make it 10 feet around to the next aisle and another worker says, "You sure have your hands full."
Dude... did you NOT just hear your coworker say the EXACT same thing? Yes yes, my hands are literally full, I get it.
And I kid you not, a few minutes later, walking down another aisle, a fellow female shopper walks past us and you guessed it.... tells me my hands are full.
Is there nothing better for you to say to me? Is it SO necessary that you got that out of your system upon seeing us? I just don't get it.
Until the day... I said it to someone.
A few years ago, a friend was expecting her 4th child. She had an older child and then twins and now was expecting the next baby. We were chatting about it and what it would be like to add another one while the twins were still so young. And like word vomit I spewed out to her, "You will really have your hands full."
She paused for a moment and had a slightly strange look on her face and said something like, "Well, not really, it's justhow life will be."
And I felt like a total idiot.
Besides the fact that I already had 4 kids myself at that point, I had no idea why I muttered those words. I wished so bad I could be back in time and THINK before I SPOKE. All those years of my mom and dad warning me and here I am, a total loser just spitting out words before I process them in my brain.
I didn't even mean what I said, it almost just felt like something you should respond with. Like an involuntary muscle. Just doing what its supposed to do. I was on total autopilot and didn't know how to shut it down.
And at that point, I realized I should have more grace with other people.
I didn't even mean to say those words. It's not even what I really thought. I had 4 children myself (5 as I write this), and although my days can be crazy, my house can be loud and messy and my arms can literally be overflowing with holding kids in them, I love it all. And also, it's not ALWAYS like that. We have moments of peace and quiet and times of free-flowing unity in our home. And times where my arms get a rest.
If I myself, a mother of 5, accidently said that to someone, not even meaning it, maybe some of those other people just feel like its something to say. Maybe they aren't trying to be rude or negative, but just trying to make an interaction. Or possibly a sort of compliment. It may not always be that way, but I want to try to not always assume the worst.
Like when you are driving, and someone swerves in front of you and cuts you off. I don't want to automatically assume that they are a road lunatic with no concern for others. Instead, I will explore the possibilities. Maybe they didn't even see me there. Maybe they are having a hard day and were crying and didn't notice my distance from their car. Maybe their car isn't working so well so they need to adjust their driving. Maybe a child in the back distracted them. I try to stay pretty calm and not assume the worst in those situations. That can carry over into other areas of life as well.
While at the Young Living Essential Oils convention in Utah this summer, Gary Young, the founder said something I loved.
He said, "I trust people until they give me a reason not to."
I loved that. It was a great reminder for me to try to see the good in people firstand not always assume the worst.
And I try to apply that in my daily life. I don't know what the intentions are of the people telling me how full my hands are. And I'm not going to assume that they are negative.
Most of the time I reply with, "Yes, but we have a lot of fun!" or "Yes, and it is so great!" Because it really is.
I would love to know what you respond with when people say that to you? I would love to hear your thoughts if you have ever said these words to a mom yourself.
I would love to have a friendly witty comment to respond with. Or just something uplifting (but not super cheesy like, "Yes, and my heart is full too.) << insert winky face.
Anywho, it's all part of the journey. Yah, I totally have my hands full. And there is always room for more.