Yes, my hands are full.
No, I don’t need you to pull me aside at the grocery store or the church lobby to remind me.
I’m a busy mama to busy little ones. We have an incredibly active five-year-old, an almost three-year-old, and a precious little two-month old. In April, we’ll welcome baby #4, and we’ll have four kids ages five and under. Our family doesn’t look like other families, so I’ve come to expect occasional second-glances and unsolicited comments. But recently, as we’ve welcomed Eliza into our family through adoption and my bump continues to grow, I’ve been receiving the “OH, your hands are full!” and “OH, you’re going to have your hands full!” remarks at an increasing rate.
A few weeks ago, we stopped at a fast-food restaurant for lunch. My kids were thrilled at the rare treat and sat with me in a booth while Jonny stood in line to order. The boys were being super calm, and Eliza was sleeping in her carseat. It was actually the most peaceful I think our tribe could have possibly been, and I was feeling pretty awesome.
But thank goodness, an older woman made her way to our booth to pop that bubble. She felt it her duty to inform me of her observation that I had my hands full, with a little side-eye and passive-aggressive condescension for good measure. “Hands full, heart full!” I replied back to her with a smile, to which she awkwardly had no response and huffed away.
I laughed to myself, because from the way I was sitting in the booth she couldn’t have even possibly been able to tell that I was pregnant and we were expecting another babe soon. If she knew that, she might have choked on her cheeseburger.
The thing is, my hands are full. Really full. I often feel ill-equipped for the life God has given me. I’m tired. We spend a lot of time at home, because taking lots of littles anywhere is a huge feat in and of itself. And that can start to feel pretty lonely. Add the doubt and worry and fear that sneak into this mama’s heart, and I’m under no illusion that I don’t have my hands full. God has given me precious gifts and I’m just praying I raise and love them well.
Our life is so full, are hearts are so full, and I am so grateful.
What I want you to know is that I’m tired, but I’m happy. These sweet little ones fill us with joy that goes beyond what I could ever deserve. They are truly gifts of grace.
I am so grateful that God saw our open hearts and blessed us through adoption and birth. I am humbled to play a role in these little ones’ lives. Nothing is more refining than parenthood, and I’m floored that my life looks the way it does.
The next time you see a mom of young kids, encourage her. Tell her she’s doing a good job — I don’t know any mother who doesn’t want to hear that. Offer to carry her baby or wrangle her toddler. And if you can’t think of anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all.
And moms in the thick of it — I see you. I see you struggling with the escaping toddler and the baby in the car seat. I see you because I am you, and I want you to know that God has equipped us for such a time as this. We come to it in different ways, and it looks different for all of us, but I do know that mothering is a gift and a sacrifice. I know that so often you feel alone, but I want you to know that you’re not. And I want you to take all the quips and side comments with a grain of salt, and remember that God has called you to this one precious life, and now is the time for living.
Empty hands can come later.
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