Juggling with Babies: My! My Hands are Full!

I get some of the strangest comments from the general public & I’m often astounded at what people will say out loud to a complete stranger.  I hear a lot of things, but what I hear the most is some variation of “My, you have your hands full!” This often comes in the grocery store when the toddler is walking beside the cart & the baby is in the sling on my hip, or asleep in his car-seat in the front of the cart.  I always hear an accusatory tone in the commenter’s voice, as if I’ve done something socially wrong by having two children so close together (they are 18 months apart).

Usually when I hear this, I just smile & nod or mumble something bland.  But sometimes I’m just in a mood & I say something back like “Well, only this one since the toddler can walk now”, or “That’s only because I stopped carrying them in my teeth like kittens”.  I mean, come on. I have two very small children. I am well aware that my hands are full.  And what’s with the tone? I’m not the first mother to tote two tots through a shopping mall. Are they assuming that they were accidents that I’m now paying for as if I didn’t know where babies came from?

When my kids are in public they usually are very well behaved angels, so I never feel like my “hands are full” at the grocery store, the shopping mall, or a restaurant. They don’t cry, they don’t fuss, so why people assume that my hands are full kind of baffles me. What’s also baffling to me is that most of these comments come from other women, who, I’m assuming have or have had children.  Perhaps they have/had ill behaved offspring & assume mine are as well and it’s just a strain of sympathy coming my way…I realize that most who people say this are really trying to say “I see & acknowledge that you have two children & feel that your life must be busy as a result”; although most people feel that that’s not the right way to say it, so something dumb falls out instead.

I can’t be the only mother with more than one kid who hears this, so it makes me wonder: why aren’t other people in society slapped with duh comments? I mean, if folks are “seeing & acknowledging” my kids, why aren’t there socially acceptable comments for seeing & acknowledging the morbidly obese, the incredibly stupid, or the fantastically fashion failures? Or why can’t we just say anything out loud about other people that pops into our heads?

You see, kids are like juggling. Once you get going, it’s not so bad. You just have to keep your balls in the air & maintain focus. With two kids I can still mop the floors, make dinner, teach the A B Cs, write a blog post, compose a grocery list, and put on eye liner, all with my free hand.  Once I get a couple things going, it’s no big deal and if I drop something, eh, whatever. I pick ’em up, kiss their blonde little heads & start over. There’s no need to assume that these children give me a hard time, just as there’s no need to assume that I’m paying for anything. Yes, my hands are full & I’m a busy mom. But you know what, that’s what I wanted & there really isn’t anything wrong with that. Duh!


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