I cannot go anywhere without getting this comment. Seriously. I hear some variation of it literally every.single.day.
“Looks like you’ve got your hands full!”
“You’re one busy mama.”
“You must be exhausted!”
My favorite was actually directed at both Eddie and I:
“Wow, you two have really been busy.”
Yep. That’s right. Because the key to having lots of kids is having lots of sex, right? And everyone knows you get twins by doing it double the times.
Jim Gaffigan has the funniest line about being out with multiple children.
In regards to the whole “Looks like you got your hands full there” comment:
“Why would you say something like that? That’s like me going up to a guy in a wheelchair and saying, ‘Looks like you’re not doing much dancing lately.’”
To be completely honest, I’m a little drained from addressing these comments every single day of my life. If it’s not a comment about the number of kids (which – let’s be clear – having four kids is fairly common. It’s not like I’m driving around in a bus with my twelve children. I suppose it’s just that mine aren’t in school yet so they are with me everywhere I go) then it’s a comment about the twins. Sometimes it can feel a little like Groundhog Day. It’s different people and different places but it’s the same comments and questions over and over and over again.
Sometimes I catch myself rolling my eyes and letting out an internal sigh “here we go again…” which is embarrassingly selfish and really, quite shortsighted. Because honestly, those little comments have sparked some of the best, most encouraging little conversations with complete strangers.
One day I met a woman who had naturally conceived triplets twenty years ago – they were her 4th, 5th, and 6th children. How motivating to realize that someone can successfully raise multiples WITHOUT THE INTERNET!
Another day I met a woman who was never able to conceive and our conversation left me completely overwhelmed by the way in which I’ve been blessed. It gave me perspective.
One day I met an OLD women who had just left her first date with a man she met online. She was quite a lady. Energetic, animated, and incredibly blunt. I looked at her and thought I’m pretty sure that’s me in 40-50 years. Her short life story, although peculiar, left me excited for the future (for being OLD!). I went home and told Eddie how thrilled I was to go senile with him.
Last week I met a woman who had SIX children, three of which died as adults. In our (maximum ten minute) conversation she showed me what it looks like to find joy in the midst of depressing circumstances.
I could go on and on about all the worthwhile conversations I’ve had with strangers in the last year that all started with You sure have your hands full.
So, yes, my hands are full. Yes, I occasionally get irritated trying to come up with different responses to the exact same completely unhelpful statement. At times when the day has been long and my hands have felt full, it takes everything within me to stop myself from verbally vomiting on these poor unsuspecting strangers. But far more often I find myself BLESSED – not only by these four babies to fill my hands and my life but by the opportunity they give me to talk to and learn from new acquaintances.
It’s kind of like the whole single man with a puppy theory. Walking a dog is supposedly a proven way to attract women. The women see the cute dog, come up to pet it, and bam! there’s your in with the girl. Without the puppy, no girls. Without my kids with me, these people would never approach to comment and we’d never have these short, encouraging little conversations.
What a bright side to an otherwise mundane and forced exchange.