Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just a lil' tip...

There is a haunting phrase that has been following me since I went from just one child to two. Now that I am a mother of three children age 4 and under, this grating phrase is the most common comment I hear when out and about with my beautiful cherubs. In all number of public places I have heard it. It has been uttered in varying tones from disgust to that all too familiar high pitched Texan tone that people use when they say "bless his heart" and really mean, "what a poor stupid soul". Some of you mommies reading this are already seething, knowing fully the provocative and boringly common phrase. For those of you still in the dark, scratching your head and wondering, here it is:

"Wow....you've got your hands full!"

So, what do I say to that? Literally speaking, with just ONE child both of your hands are full. So, are we not to have more than one child and go out in public? How am I to respond to a question like that without correcting them by saying that my hands are FULL of blessing and thus creating an awkward interaction? That's like telling a disgruntled teenage that he/she has a pimple on their nose. Don't do it--it's an obvious statement and is unhelpful to the receiver's state of mind!

Now, I know that my little family has crossed the normal threshold in more ways than one--particularly in how many kids we have and how close they are in age--but it is not like I am Mrs. Duggar--with my 19 kids trailing behind me at the grocery store (and even if I was, so what!!) Although, if you were in my shoes today, you would have thought that was the case. Almost every person who spoke to my children and I made a comment about my full hands and if they didn't say it, they thought it as they shook their head at me or glared in confusion as to my reality of a cartful of children who were less than happy to be confined to a shopping cart. I will admit that my little angels were acting more like little devils so I understand how I was ruining their grocery shopping experience. However, saying "Wow, you've got your hands full" is just a polite, unhelpful, passive aggressive way of telling someone that they have one too many kids. If that's not what the sender means to communicate then I suggest they come up with a better phrase. If engagement with a young mom and her many kids at the grocery store is what is intended, then how about this alternative phrase, "Wow...your children are (insert any positive superlative)!"

Whew! Glad to get that off my chest. To end on a more uplifting note, read over the beautiful, life-giving lyrics to the song copied below:

When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o'er life's finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

All I owe you paid for me
From all I owe I’ve been set free
And all I owe proves your great mercy to me

When I stand before your throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see you as you are
Love you with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

All I owe you paid for me
From all I owe I’ve been set free
And all I owe proves your great mercy to me

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Savior's side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.

All I owe you paid for me
From all I owe I’ve been set free
And all I owe proves your great mercy to me

All I Owe, by Matthew Smith