Today I witnessed someone tell a mother of four "wow, you must really have your hands full" and the mom of four just...Posted by The Messy Christian on Sunday, June 2, 2019
Sherry White, a mom of two and blogger, recently overheard a comment that didn't sit quite right with her. In a post to Facebook, she explained how a seemingly harmless remark to a mom about how she has her "hands full" can be a little hurtful. After hearing this comment made to a mom of four, Sherry saw the woman in question give the commenter a half-smile, and it led Sherry to reflect on the interaction.
The person didn't mean any harm and I'm sure I've said things like this before myself, but somehow this time it just seemed awkward. There was just nothing positive about the comment at all! And I couldn't stop thinking about it. Like, what was this mom supposed to do with that comment? "Gee, thanks . . . ummm, yeah I do." Because anyone who has kids knows that yes, being a parent is all about "having your hands full." And no doubt, the more kids you have the more your hands are full. Because it's not like you have the ability to grow extra hands. You just become really good at holding more stuff. So in a way, your hands actually do grow, but in ability.
And that phenomenon applies to all parents, whether they have one child or nine. "I heard a mom of six say once that every kid has you at max capacity," she explained. "So if you have one kid, you are at max capacity, and when you have six kids, you are at max capacity. Because when you are a parent you are always working at max capacity!"
As far as the mom who received the hands-full comment goes? Sherry believes we can all be more supportive. "I was thinking about this and what could've been said to this mom that would've made her leave, not with a half-smile, but with actual joy in her heart," she wrote. "What could've been said that would've made her feel honored and praised for the fact that she does, in fact, have her hands full, but doesn't have the connotation that this is a bad thing? What might make her walk away feeling blessed that she is the mother of multiples? And I realized that you would really only have to change one word in that statement . . . 'Wow, you must really have your HEART full.'"
While there's no doubt that rearing children is a ton of work and often challenging, they are plenty of beautiful moments, too.
"I imagine this mom turning around surprised because for so long she has heard the other statement and had to just half-smile because here is just another person reminding her how hard motherhood can be, but now here is someone who SEES her. Not just the hard but the blessing, too. Not just these little bodies that she has to take care of but these little hearts and souls that she pours into daily . . . To others they look like work — and they are — but they are MUCH more than that."
Sherry continued: "She doesn't need to be reminded of how full her hands are . . . she needs us to recognize the rewards she reaps for having those full hands. A full heart."