We're just getting back into the swing of things after spending the past 5 days in San Antonio. B had a dental conference there so the whole family came along. It was a great jump start to our summer! We had a super rough travel day getting there (see here) but all of that melted away when we pulled up to my friends house at one in the morning to quickly grab the pack n' play and 4 of my best girls had waited up just to say hello! How amazing is that? We hung out with our friends non-stop the next 5 days and had a fantastic time. We made some of the best friends of our lives in San Antonio and I can't tell you what a treat it is to see them again.
I may or may not do a recap post on our weekend there, but there is one conversation from my last girls night in San Antonio I can't get off my mind and its something I've wanted to blog about before. So here it is: When you're out and about with your kids, be it running errands or at the zoo and you're trying to wrangle your little ones and some astute observer comments, "Looks like you've got your hands full!"
This has happened to all of us. However I was surprised to find that out of all my girlfriends I was the only one who didn't perceive this comment negatively! I wouldn't say it's sweet per se, but I definitely take it as friendly validation for the hard work that is mothering. However, my friends all agreed that it comes across as a passive aggressive dig at their kids being out of control. To be clear, these girls are tops and not the easily offended type.
I know I'm in the minority here because I often see comments on Facebook or blog posts about moms hating that "you've got your hands full!" comment, which is why I wanted to ask about it here, because while I feel that I'm in the minority surely I can't be the only one who thinks this comment is friendly at best and benign at worst. First, people who have said it to me are almost always smiling and maybe even laughing at my kids while they're doing something crazy. Their tone alone just reads friendly. Second, as a special needs mom wrangling a little one and loading and unloading a power chair I DO have my hands full. And sometimes that validation feels great to hear. Yes! I do have my hands full, where's my quarterly bonus? Round of applause? At the very least can you hold my diaper bag for a second while I chase my 5 year old who's giving my toddler a ride in her power chair?
That being said, my friend who we'll call Lisha--who firmly is in the I-do-NOT-like- this-comment camp--has the best response in the world. Of course you'd have to know Lisha and know that 1) she is hilarious and 2) she can hold a straight face with the best of them. So once when someone said this to her when she was pregnant with her 3rd, while her other two kids were being crazy, she dead panned, "What are you talking about? This is easy. This is a piece of cake! Why do you think we're having a third?" We were dying when she told us this story!
And wouldn't you know it, yesterday as I traveled home alone with 3 kids +3 backpacks + 2 car seats + 2 bags + 1 double stroller and 1 power chair I heard from THREE different people*, "It looks like you've got your hands full!" And while I dropped the ball the first time, the last two times I didn't miss a beat.
"No way, this is easy! This is a piece of cake. We're gonna have three more!"
So tell me, am I the only one? Do you think tone and timing have something to do with it? If so, have you had people say it to you in a mean or spiteful tone? Or do you just find it an annoying I've-heard-this-a-million-times-it's-getting-old comment? Or like me do you find this comment validating and friendly? And do you think people actually are trying to be rude/passive aggressive or do you think they're not trying to be rude, but they're being rude anyway? The other thing that this whole thing gets me thinking about is just how differently our brains are and how hard it can be to communicate our true feelings to each other because words, tone and body language can be given and processed so very differently. What is totally not rude to me is very rude to others!
*The last guy who said this was the shuttle bus driver from the airport to our long term parking spot. He helped me load ALL of our stuff with a huge smile on his face, urging me to take care of my "precious cargo" and when we got in the bus he said, "I can tell you're a great mom. You've really got your hands full." Aww.... seriously, how could that be a dig?
PS If you're ever visiting San Antonio with small children here are some of my favorite sights to see and things to do. The photo above is along the Riverwalk along the Pearl.
Exploring the Riverwalk
King William District
Mission San Jose
Japanese Tea Gardens
Fiesta on Main