Today I witnessed someone tell a mother of four "wow, you must really have your hands full" and the mom of four just half smiled and walked away and it made me wince.
The person didn't mean any harm and I'm sure I've said things like this before myself, but somehow this time it came off as "wow, sucks to be you." 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, yea 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.
I heard a mom of six say once that every kid has you at max capacity. 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!
So 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. 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.
And because I'm a hopeful and whimsical person, 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. Her babies. Because to others they look like work...and they are...but they are MUCH more than that. They are flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone. They are her treasures. And she doesn't need to be reminded of how full her hands are because they are the reason her hair is up in a top knot and she hasn't had time to replace the toe nail polish that is all chipped off. She's fully aware that she is at max capacity.
She doesn't need to be reminded that parts of her have become second in the raising of her kids, she needs to be reminded that all she is doing is worth it. She doesn't need to be reminded of how hard the work of parenting is, she needs us to recognize the rewards she reaps for having those full hands. A full heart.