Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If I had a nickel everytime someone said...

"Wow, you sure have your hands full!"

I typically just ignore whoever says it, because I HATE that comment! If it's a nice old lady, I might give her a big friendly smile. If it's a rude jerk, I might say, "Wow, I've never heard that before!" But most of the time, I just pretend I didn't hear them.
 
Yes, I have my hands full. Is that wrong? And is that the most creative thing you can think of? And could you kindly stop communicating the message to my kids that they are a burden, whether that's what you are trying to say or not? Just because you are stating an obvious fact does not make it okay to say (again and again and again and again). Do you really think you are the first person to say that?

Imagine me commenting to random strangers:

- Wow, you sure look lonely! (to the single)
- Wow, it must be horrible not being able to walk/see! (to the disabled)
- Wow, your family sure is small!
- Wow, you sure look old/young/haggard/fat/tired/etc.
- Wow, you sure are covered in tattoos!
- Wow, are you really going to eat the junk you just loaded into your cart?
- Wow, you sure are wearing an interesting outfit today.

I could go on. Remember, there is a time and a place to voice whatever your opinion is, such as "I think birth control is stupid and wrong," or, on the contrary, "the planet is overpopulated and people should stop breeding." You are fully entitled to your opinion. But you will not find me personally confronting individuals I encounter at the store about their choices. That's just common courtesy.  Now if it's something grossly inappropriate and reprobate, such as a big burly guy in a flouncy summer dress, you may overhear me telling my kids to stay far away from you and not look your way, but I don't think we fall into that category, so please resist the urge to add to the thousands who have said, "Wow, you sure have your hands full!"
 
So, what is your favorite response to this stupid remark?

95 comments:

  1. I like to say "Yes they are, full of love" or full of blessings. That seems to turn most around and say 'you are right' or they roll their eyes and stay quiet. Lol

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    1. I agree. It's just that at the store, I'm not the most positive person about having a large family, so in my case, it may come off wrong or sanctimonious.

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  2. You should say "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."

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    1. I love this one! Has just a touch of "leave me alone already", is short and easy to understand, can be said jokingly. It will be my new standard response. Thank you!

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  3. People say this to me all the time and it really doesn't bother me at all. I feel like it's their way of communicating to me that they recognize that what I am doing takes a lot of work and energy, which it does. I really don't feel like anyone means anything bad by saying it, so I just smile and say "Yes, I do!' or "Full of great things!" and then keep moving.

    I guess I've never come across anyone implying that it was a bad thing to have my hands so full. If I did, I would just shrug it off or react the same way I do now in an effort to shine Christ's light to them.

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    1. I realize most people are not trying to imply it's bad to have your hands full. But they are basically saying: "Your kids sure are a handful!" Which is absolutely true, but it does also imply they are burdensome. If I heard it every once in a while, I wouldn't care. But to hear it every single time we go out in public? That's not the message I want my kids to be facing every day.

      For example, we had a workman over to the house some time ago. When I opened the door, I faced a GIANT! My first words were not, "Hi, how are you" or something of the sort, it was "Whoa, HOW TALL are you???!?" His reply came, I think it was 6 ft 4. I had never seen anyone that tall. He had to duck to walk into some of the rooms, under ceiling fans, etc. But it dawned on me that he must get that comment all the time, friendly and benign though it is, and be quite sick of it by now. So I apologized. Nobody wants to feel like a freak of nature, even about something "cool" or benign like a large family.

      Does that make sense?

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    2. I really don't feel like they are implying that they are burdensome. I feel like to someone who is casually strolling through the grocery store all alone, when they see a mother with a bunch of small children - even when she has everything under control and the kids are acting like angels - people just like to remark that you have your hands full. I feel like it's almost a positive thing, like they can't believe how you're doing it. And for me, I often find that when people say it, it's their way of breaking the ice and inviting a longer conversation. Usually, if I engage with the people and say, "Why yes, I do. Kids are wonderful, aren't they?" or something like that, people want to talk about the days when their kids were young or something like that.

      I guess it doesn't make me feel like a freak. Sometimes it makes me feel happy that people notice the work it takes or that I have an opportunity to engage with people I otherwise wouldn't take the time to talk to while running errands. It seems harmless, but like I said, I don't think anyone has ever implied anything negative to me when saying it. I might feel differently if I'd experienced that.

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  4. I just said the words "You have your hands full" to a woman with a bunch of kids yesterday. She was behind me in line at the grocery store. I told her to go ahead because the baby started crying. The woman apologized and said thank you. I said "No worries, you have your hands full". I hope she wasn't thinking I was being snarky and judgmental. I certainly didn't mean it that way. They did have her hands full at that moment.

    You may take having 8 kids in stride but to others it's hard to imagine. You could be a positive example of why it's so great. Instead these ignorant people walk away thinking they are right - 8 kids are a hassle and make mom bad tempered.

    I don't understand you sometimes.

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    1. Thing is, I don't always take having 8 kids in stride. My newborn may be wanting to nurse, the toddler may have filled his diaper the minute we finally walk into the store, my preschooler may be begging me for a princess toy, my older kids may be scattering everywhere, and the oldest kids may be too absorbed in chatting with each other to realize I need them to lend a hand. That's just reality.

      We don't have a large family, homeschool, etc. because it's all sweetness and light, easy as pie, and pretty to every onlooker. We do those things because they are the right things to do, because the end result is a true blessing, but there are plenty of bumps along the road. Saying "You have your hands full" is not snarky and judgmental, it's tiresome and sometimes depressing. While I am always excited about my kids, I am not always excited about the amount of work that comes with having them. Chances are, the store is a likely place to make me feel that way. I do sometimes wish I could go to the store for a quick stop and it actually be quick, rather than to have to spend 15 minutes before going in, and 15 minutes after getting back to the car, just to get everyone loaded and situated.

      It was very nice of you to let the lady go first. I am certain she was thankful, and I am certain you only had the best intentions. Still, saying "You have your hands full" is a little stab into the heart of a mom who may be having a rough day already.

      We have our hands full. It's worth it, but please do not state the obvious. If we could have these kids with less trouble than they are, I'm sure every mom would be first in line.

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    2. Zsuzsa, this comment was so raw and encouraging. It is nice to know I am not the only one who can feel overwhelmed by the load of work!!! Thanks for being real. Miss you guys. Email soon!!! Love, Jessica Argon

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    3. I appreciate the honesty of the above comment Zsuzsanna. I feel like in the past your blog has been a lot about you having all the answers to everything, and doing everything perfectly. I can tell that you are changing here a bit. Maybe that's because of your recent struggles. It's nice to see this more authentic side of you. If the comment upsets you so much, maybe next time you could just say "Please don't say that in front of my children." Or even "That's a rude and discouraging comment." What's wrong with just being honest and straightforward?

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    4. You are right. I apologize for being so bitchy to you. While I will still tell moms with kids to go ahead of me when I am alone in the store, I will NOT say "You have your hands full". I promise!

      I do think the comments like "Don't you have a TV" or "When are you going to start trying" are incredibly rude. The Hands Full I'm not so sure about. It think it depends on who is saying it.

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  5. People do say that to me also I'm a family of 8, and I tell them we are all happy too.

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  6. People are always putting their nose where it doesn't belong. This doesn't apply to you but I read a story of a lady who had two kids and she was pregnant with her third. Her hands had swollen and she couldn't wear her wedding ring while she was pregnant. She was at the grocery store with her two little ones and obviously pregnant when a elderly lady behind her made a comment. She looked at her wedding finger and said, "I sure hope you are planning on marrying their father." Although she was married, she said, "oh yes ma'am, just as soon as he gets out of prison." lol. The woman had nothing to say after that!

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    1. Oh, goodness! I haven't worn a wedding ring in five years - it stopped fitting during a pregnancy and still doesn't fit even after losing the baby weight. I'll have to remember that comeback line!

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    2. You can get it enlarged at a Jewelry. My mother did after having my older sister (her first child). It's cheaper if you bring your own scrap gold. In her case it was a few chain links from a crucifix necklace which was too large on her anyways.

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  7. "Better full then empty" but I like, "full of love" better:)

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  8. My favorite answer is "Better then empty!"

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  9. Your realy not being like Christ about this at all, who cares if people say stuff be nice to them. Most people are just saying it cause they admire that you can handle so much, it's not a bad thing to say to people at all. I say it to people just cause I'm talking to them about something just to talk. I am concerned that your having post pardom depression cause yours coming through your messages that you post. I'm not one for medicine on this but you need slow down your human and everyone needs a break. Please don't be that way to people who are just trying to strike conversation with you, or if there being mean then show your children that your loving to them anyway and pray for them, it could be that they are lost and need some love.

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    1. What do you mean, I "need to slow down my human?"

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    2. Honey, anon July 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM. Your spelling is like that of a 6-year-old so go back to elementary school before ordering people around. I have a good guess about your background. You seem horribly uneducated, and it doesn't only show in your "wording" and "spelling". Go find a blog where they teach you how to spell. So long!

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    3. I mean that you are marking to much of it and waisting time stressing out over it. If you need a break from time to time just take two kids to the store once in awhile. Your oldest could watch them for a hour or so and give him a treat or money for helping you. I don't alway take all my kids to store. I have left the with their 13 year old sister for a bit. You just seem tired.

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    4. You are right I don't spell very well at all but I ust to spell much worst. I am learning more and trying to learn. I was only trying to share my thoughs that not all people are trying to be mean by saying you got your Hands full. I'm sorry my spelling is not good. I think I may have come across wrong. I admire suza a lot .

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    5. You are right I don't spell very well at all but I ust to spell much worst. I am learning more and trying to learn. I was only trying to share my thoughs that not all people are trying to be mean by saying you got your Hands full. I'm sorry my spelling is not good. I think I may have come across wrong. I admire suza a lot .

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    6. If you wanted to hurt me you did a good job. Whoever said I'm not educated enought to give my advice. I have always struggled to learn my whole life and been put down a lot and made fun of. You don't know someone by the way they spell. I am sure you would not have ment to hurt my feelings but you did. God will still use me even if I can't spell well. And God will help me learn to spell better through time. I did not get much schooling at all cause of how my life was but I read a lot of bible and other books. I can't afford to go back to school I was a drop out at 8th grade so ya you nailed it about the level of a 6th grader. Pray for me.

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    7. "Bullies complain the loudest". You came here with your insanely ill manners, horrible wording and English, talking (if not barking) down from some badly drawn high horse telling Zsuzsanna to be quiet and act like a "Christian". Since when is it okay for anyone to offend Christians? You came here thinking no one will call you out on your unacceptable behavior? That you could just say anything and get people intimidated by your rudeness and no one will stand up to you? While learning how to spell... do bother taking classes where they will polish your bad manners. So you attack her, then you come back boo hoo-ing and ask people to pray for you? My palm itches, but I'll put it out by praying - for anyone that has to endure your. Piece out! PS Dropout at 8th grade and you tell people what to do? And since when do free evening schools cost money? Please, leave and come back when you have got your act together. Your manners firstly.

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    8. I am so sorry suza for my message, my bad spelling, and even saying anything in response to this blog. I have always gave you nice messages in the past. And this message was not ment to be mean. I am not stupid just because I never Finnished school or can't spell well. I was wrong the way I worded things and had no right to say you had depression. I AM SORRY please forgive me.

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    9. No need to apologize. I had no intentions of hurting you, as I am sure you didn't either. I do get tired of people trying to refute every argument with the standard "you are not acting Christ-like," as they themselves ramble on. I responded briefly and in humor, which I do not think was out of line. But I have no ill feelings toward you.

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    10. Also, for the record, postpartum depression is real and needs to be addressed in ladies who suffer from it. No need to apologize for thinking or saying that I had it. For those suffering from it, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Though of course I completely disagree with seeking drugs to fix this problem (nutrition will do a much better job of that).

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    11. I will never say to anyone again that you have your hands full again. Now that I'm know it is something some people would hate to hear. I do think you for sharing your life with so many, you are very educated and I admire that. I learn a lot from your example. Thank you, from the bad speller.

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    12. Whoever you are - please stop making fun of "8th grade education" She seems to have her "act together" much more then you. I pray for both of you.

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  10. Take it as a compliment, I can barely get out of the house with 2 kids, and not quite sure how I am going to manage when #3 arrives......if you can get all 8 to a grocery store that is amazing! Please tell me it gets easier.....I find your stories very inspiring.

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    1. Bingo! 9 times out of 10 I'm sure the person is coming from a place of admiration.

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  11. I hear this a lot too with 4 year-old triplets in tow. I've never taken it as a criticism of my parenting, even when my kids are acting up, but as an empathetic statement. I say it to people all the time myself, with a smile and fully intend to be communicating "I see you doing hard things, I've been there myself, hang in there." If I see a mom in struggle, I want to lift her up, if only a tiny bit.

    A couple of years ago I was in T@rget, after bedtime with three 2 1/2 year olds picking up a few things that I needed for the next morning. Not ideal, and my kids were losing their minds. I was so stressed out, I made a dash for the checkout and was just trying to get out the door before I lost my temper. I was frustrated and embarassed and knew it was my fault for taking my kids out so late, and I was becoming increasingly sharp with one of my daughters who was particularly upset. There was a woman behind me in line who saw the whole thing happening, and instead of shooting me "the look", she started talking to my kids in a gentle voice: "You girls are so lucky to have such a patient Mommy. Mommy is so patient, she is doing such a great job. What lucky girls to have such a gentle, patient Mommy." Her words diffused my anger immediately, and suddenly I was that patient gentle Mommy that my over-tired kids needed me to be. We paid, got into the car and made it home without further incident. I wish I had thought to thank the woman, she changed my life that night. Ever since then, when I see a parent in struggle, I do my best to smile, to say something positive about their parenting, to lift them up like and carry them through the moment.

    So, long story, but that's what I hear (and intend to communicate) when that phrase is mentioned.

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  12. That's so funny! I would find the "Are they all yours?" comment very hard to take, but I actually don't mind the "You've got your hands full!" comment. I find that people are usually being admiring or kind or sympathetic when they say it - perhaps I haven't heard it in the same ways you've heard it yet.

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  13. -Look down at my empty hands and say "they don't look full to me"
    -look over at my 6 kids and shrug and say "we have ten more at home"
    -say "yes but they're worth it!" And give a sweet smile

    We sometimes get the "are they all yours?" When I'm out with all 6. If my oldest (13) hears she will usually say "no she bought me on ebay" she is a lot more clever than me!

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  14. As to the "Are they all yours?????" stuff, I think it would be best if your husband replied since they are ALL HIS, too! He's the father to all of your children, not like looking at the children wouldn't make it totally obvious : ))) He's the one that guides and guards them in life, the one that supports all of you, who makes sure your house is heated/air conditioned, that the family has money to buy foods, clothes, toys and educational stuff, etc. So yeah, it's all yours AND his. Some people can't even pull this off with TWO children... And some cannot even choose a father wisely and they end up on eleventy gajillion matchmaking sites being the 21-year-old single mothers with the "huge ego" and the "you don't know my story" headline. Since there is at least half a million of them, sweethearts, we DO know your story. I wouldn't know how to word it appropriately since it's impossible, but everyone knows your story. If it is okay to have a tv show called 16 and pregnant for dropouts... everyone can kindly close their adorable lil lips about actual families that raise many children TOGETHER. The end.

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    1. Have you ever heard the saying, "Going shopping with your husband is like going hunting with the game warden." So yes, I rarely go to the store with him :)

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    2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I have never heard that saying-- hilarious! I've taken my husband grocery shopping several times, but he can't quite grasp sticking to only buying the items on our list. Those several times we spent a lot more than we budgeted (and ended up with random junk food that he likes and I don't buy...). Now I go while he's at work, which means taking the entire family, but it's worth it to not spend too much and end up with a pantry full of snacks. :D

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  15. Hmmmmm!!! You could just get excited and thank God when people say it to you. And eat ice-cream and be happy.

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  16. Your drawing more attention to yourself with all that gear. You have a big family and people are just making conversation. Why does it irritate you so much when your all having so much fun? People are human and can't say everything just how you like it. I have so many flaws that I have to tolerate those who tolerate me.

    I don't mean to be nasty but I have just come out of a church full of perfect people and they are hard work to deal with. I used to be like them until I realised, it's the blood of Jesus plus nothing else, that makes us perfect.

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    1. All what gear? A shopping cart? A baby sling? That's the only gear I use in a store.

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  17. This happens to me all the time but everyone that says it usually has good intentions or I'm basically too busy to care what they think. I have all boys so I'm also use to hearing "you have enough for a basketball team!" or "still trying for that girl" or "poor mom!". I'm secure that my boys know I love them to pieces and wouldn't trade them for a little girl or wish for less of them. I reiterate that every time I get any comment. I usually say back " they keep me busy, its a lot of fun!" Or "they are the best!"

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  18. My daughter was unloading her 4 children from their van and a complete stranger asked if they all belonged to her. She responded that they did indeed. He then yelled, "Don't have any more." I am quite certain that her 5 year old took that nasty man's comment in the way that it was intended. I totally get where you are coming from.

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  19. Who cares, I say it to people all the time and people say it to me. I think you're over thinking the issue. I see it that some people state the obvious, as a conversation breaker because they are genuinely fascinated. But the question I absolutely hate which usually follows the comment 'wow you must have your hands full' is this: 'When are you sending them to pre-school/day care?' Because for some reason, it sends people in a mad spin each and every time I say 'I'm not.'
    Also, you're so harsh on people with bad spelling. Has it occurred to you that English might not even be their language and they are using google translator or something? Every time I use google translator to read comments written on your blog in German, the spelling and grammar is not that great either. I love the blog, and I love your posts but I have to admit I'd hate to think that I'm trying to be conversational and pleasant with someone at the grocery check-out by making a friendly comment and that they are thinking evil thoughts at me...Amy

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    1. It is very rare that I point out people's misspellings. And, I only ever do it after receiving a long-winded, rude comment from a complete stranger.

      The particular person commenting above may post as "anonymous", but her spelling and syntax is so characteristic that it identifies all her comments. She never says anything nice. It is always rude, longwinded, unsolicited, and sanctimonious advice. As a matter of fact, I do not publish the vast majority of her comments. I did today because on a topic like this, I am more open to giving voice to those who disagree (as opposed to on a post about family happenings, etc).

      It's fine to have poor spelling. But in that case, just maybe, your calling is not to dispense unsolicited, written advice via a medium such as the internet. People may laugh at that, and dismiss whatever you have to say as nonsense. It is my guess that nobody would consult with "Dear Abby" if her spelling were this atrocious.

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    2. Yes, you're right. It would be likened to a pastor with a stuttering problem. In that case his calling would not be for the pulpit.
      I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude and I wasn't trying to wrist slap you either. I have noticed that you get a lot of terrible comments from people...
      Thanks for having the guts to run a blog like this (with comments being enabled). I honestly look forward to every post, even those that come out of the woodshed. :) No hard feelings! Take care...Amy

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    3. You know... when people learn languages, they also learn manners and culture. Unless they are dumb and rude as common weeds. I'm fluent in more foreign languages that I have eyes and limbs and I have all of them. Whenever I bothered to learn a language and not just to "pick it up"... I did learn about the mentality of the people, the history, their pop culture, telling the difference between casual and polite conversations.
      English is Zsuzsanna's 3rd language, and it's my 4th.
      I will make SOME spelling and grammar mistakes in every language, including my own mother tongue while speaking either casually or politely. Sometimes even after TYPING. When, you know, you have the opportunity to proofread your own stuff before pressing "publish". So when someone's spelling wouldn't even earn a D in first elementary... they should take their sweet time and make sure they don't sound like rude and dumb (mild bleep here)s before attacking people online and telling them what to do.
      Also, Zsuzsanna never points out grammar mistakes or spelling mistakes. It takes a real, nonsensical blabbering for her to ask what someone was trying to say because all you see is " blah blah u do no good, y u no can kind u Chrisshun u no bla bla u dont good". If someone would start talking to me like that on the street... and did it probably loudly and in a violent manner, I'd blew my whistle I carry with me, and would ask for help because it feels like being attacked and threatened by an insane person and this has NOTHING to do with a few misspellings, but everything to do with rudeness, violence and bad intentions from their side.

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    4. English being your fourth language, I'm surprised you never picked up on the more gracious phrases, such as "Learning languages can be more difficult for some than others, and I'm so lucky to have that talent." Here's a lesson: calling someone else a common weed is likely rude in any of your umpteen languages. It is equally possible for the newly literate and the fluent to come off as scornful, sad creatures who have really very little better to do than pick on those who perhaps haven't had the same advantages in life.

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  20. I get asked those questions quite regularly (six kids), but I think most people are either just interested and trying to start a conversation or giving acknowledgment that they know it takes a lot of work to raise kids. I've never thought anyone was actually trying to be rude.

    Even with questions like, "Do they all have the same father?" I happily tell them "yes". An intact and happy family is a rare thing, and people are fascinated by it. Don't crush them!

    Sincerely,
    Diana

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  21. I don't get that one yet but I do get people singing a certain song with my older son's name in it. I chose it because of the Bible character, not because of the song, but they always sing the song and then say "I bet you've never heard that one before, eh?" Um, yes I have. Every time we meet someone new, thanks!

    ~J

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    1. The only song that popped into my mind with a Bible name in it was: "Zaccheaus was a wee little man, ..."

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    2. The song I thought of was "Hey Jude."

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  22. The "you look fat" comparison is perplexing. One has nothing to do with the other. Mothers are not the only ones who are told that they have their hands full. The same idiom can be used to say that one has her hands full managing a busy restaurant. They're simply validating that you must be busy. Take it as a compliment. There are people who do not validate that taking care of children falls under the "busy" category.

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  23. My response when I approach someone with a large family is to say " you are a truly blessed woman". They are usually quite shocked to hear that :) I belong to a church that has a lot of large families, and the children in these families are awesome in how they really genuinely care for one another. My husband and I are older, but if we could do it over again, we would have allowed the LORD to decide how many children we should have. One of my daughters is getting married this year, and I hope and pray for lots of grandchildren :) Bye the way " you are truly a Blessed woman" :)

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  24. I was paying for my groceries one day with only half of my kids (4 of 8) and the clerk said this to me so I just replied to her "but my heart is full tool". I also hate this comment.

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  25. Oh my gracious... This "We sometimes get the "are they all yours?" When I'm out with all 6. If my oldest (13) hears she will usually say "no she bought me on ebay" she is a lot more clever than me!" So funny! I need to tell my kids to start saying that, lol... I agree the comment gets so tiresome, but I am finding that it usually doesn't annoy me much unless I'm really frustrated. Taking 10 kids to the store isn't too fun and when I'm frustrated from it that comment makes me want to scream. "Isn't it kinda obvious that they're full? Duh, I'm grocery shopping with 10 kids!" This is why I am so thankful that my kids are getting old enough that I can just take a couple as helpers and leave the rest at home :) I do realize that "most" people are just trying to be friendly or just saying because it's rare, but it's just so frustrating to try to corral them all and keep them on their best behavior (so you don't get those other comments) all while trying to get groceries and remember the things you forgot on the list that obvious comments are just unwelcome. I just want to hurry and get out, I don't want to talk. It's getting easier as I'm getting older to be a little more patient and answer nicely, but it's still annoying.

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    1. Ironically, I most often get the "you have your hands full" comment when the kids are acting their best. Do people just want to tell themselves that I am burdened during times that I make it look easy? Such as yesterday, when we were walking up to the store, a perfect image of family bliss: Me with baby in the sling and toddler buckled into the cart, and each of the older siblings holding the hand of a younger sibling as we orderly and safely entered the store. Only to have a slovenly, unkempt, and otherwise typical Wal-Mart shopper remark, "Wow, you sure have your hands full!" Really? Why not analyze yourself instead of us?

      Annoying!!!

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    2. I suspect some people just can't be pleased. Your kids were behaving beautifully, clearly you're overworked and stressed out keeping them so neatly in line. Had the baby been crying, your toddler wafting from his diaper and the older ones pulling each other's hair she would have declared you an unfit mother. Had you only one child you would have been depriving them of the essential sibling experience. All girls? I'll bet your husband is disappointed he hasn't got a son to carry on the name! Whatever your family size and behaviour of the kids she wouldn't have been impressed. Some people just enjoy finding fault in others.

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  26. I too have been told that a lot as has most anyone with at least three little ones. :) I don't even need to have half my children with me to get that response. I have never taken it as a negative thing though and neither have my children. I often think that when these people see our larger than normal families we stand out like it or no and they want to say something to us....so they tell us our hands are full. You know our hands ARE full. It is not a bad thing and I don't think that is the impression they are trying to give.The smiles we give in return give the message that yes our hands are full but we ARE blessed and my smile shows that I could not be happier with the gifts I CHOSE to accept. Some of those people grew up in families where just one child was enough to make things seem full .They can't imagine a home where though things don't go perfectly.....we live in a fallen world. We LOVE our job and are the happiest we could be in this world.

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    1. Honestly, I totally agree that most people mean no harm. But it's still annoying. To me, "you have your hands full" is implicitly negative. Like I'm tied down, my kids are a burden, sucks to be me. It makes me upset for our kids to constantly hear this, and besides, I am a human, too, not exclusively "that lady with all the kids."

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  27. I hate it when people say, "You have your hands full TODAY." I assume they think I'm the grandma or something. I have also been asked if they have the same father.

    R.S.

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    1. Ugh, and ugh! Asking about the paternity is incredibly insulting.

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  28. I just had my third child about a year ago, so we are still a smaller family. Right now I get a lot of "oh, how cute! Stair step children!" My dad, on the other hand, who believes "one child per family" has been pressuring us to get sterilized. I tell him that as long as we aren't being paid for by tax dollars (or asking him for assistance) it's really none of his business how many kids God give us. I live in South Texas where large families are the norm mostly because of the demographic. When I do get the "you must have your hands full" remark I just flash a smile and tell them it's never a dull moment. TBH, I think your idea of buying your family a round of ice cream every time someone says something like that is genius!!!

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  29. "I've got to stop buying kids from Costco, they only come in packs of 3."

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  30. My grandmother had 9 children and she's gotten those comments her years - I've been witness to them. But they were always said in a positive manner, and there was never any implication that having that many children was burdensome. Frankly, my grandmother has always liked the attention and loves talking about her 9 children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I think people are genuinely in awe of any one who has so many children because they know how much hard work it is, not because they think it burdensome.

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  31. I married late in life (at 43) and without fail, every wedding I went to, I was asked "When is it going to be your turn?" by well meaning ladies in the church. I know they didn't mean anything hurtful about it but was hurtful nonetheless. I longed to be married and asking me a question like that was hurtful even though I know they did not mean it that way.

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  32. You seem to be taking this a lot more personally and offensively than many of your commenters. Of course everyone thinks they're a comedic genius when they quip "don't you know what causes that?" and it's no where near as funny as they think, but your reaction seems unwarranted. Buying brightly coloured shirts with passive aggressive statements, the personalised plates, all draws more attention to the fact you've a large family, and then you are surprised or annoyed when people comment.

    I know words and blog posts only convey a small selection of what goes on, but I am sensing a strong sense of resentment, exhaustion and dissatisfaction at present from your recent posts. Please, rest and nourish yourself, both physically and emotionally, I would suggest seeing a counsellor to be honest. It sounds as though you are worn to the very quick and something will have to give soon. You have had an exhausting and tumultuous few months, and I suspect you would benefit from someone to help you reflect on, and acknowledge the trauma and grief you experienced.

    Please, slow down, take care of yourself. Get someone to take care of you too. Even if it's just ordering your groceries online for delivery, find ways to take the load off so you can have more time to rest and reflect.

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    1. My husband and I have yet to wear our shirts in public. I realize the message is passive aggressive, so the use of them is restricted to places where we encounter a lot of opposition, but people have a sense of humor, such as going to a theme park in California, etc.

      As for "a strong sense of resentment, exhaustion and dissatisfaction at present from your recent posts" - I really do not know what you would be referring to. I have been blogging about family outings and the like. I am by nature a cynical person, but even that has hardly been showing as far as I can tell.

      I certainly do agree that every mom needs to take care of herself, especially after adding a new family member, and that I have needed a bigger dose of that following this birth than any other.

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  33. My heart hurts for you. Every time someone comments on the size of your family and tells you how full your hands must be, your heart aches for the baby you only held for a few moments. It's not that your hands are full, it is that they're not as full as they should be, and the speakers in the shops, do not see the hole in your heart and your arms.

    I can't imagine how much it must sting to be reminded constantly of your sweet Jachin gaining his angel wings. Unfortunately from what I have heard, these reminders come from the most unexpected sources, and it will be some time before the rawest of stings eases, and even when that is gone, a dull ache will always remain. You are walking the path of a grieving mother, I am sorry that it is so rough for you. I will hold you in my prayers and dearly wish that you find strength and comfort.

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    1. This. I hope you have not suffered the loss of a child to have such understanding.

      Before the boys were born, I often wondered if or how I would be able to graciously respond when questioned about my family size, let alone confronted about it. I was afraid I might tell some unsuspecting, most likely well-meaning or curious stranger I just buried a baby that I would have loved to get to keep, and could they PLEASE stop asking moms at the store about their reproductive habits? I really have no intentions of making people feel bad, unless they are just openly hostile towards our family (which is extremely rare).

      It has been easier than I thought. Nobody has been openly negative. I really don't like the "poor you" message that comes across in "you have your hands full", nor do I like for the kids to be told they are a handful day after day, especially when they are acting their best. But it's been annoyance more than grief, simply because during the day, that door gets shut and not opened to the people of Wal-Mart.

      If I could give a PSA on this, it would be: "Don't question anyone personally about their family size, you have no idea what they may have gone through." When I see a lady with no children, I don't ask, "So, when are you going to start trying?" I once saw someone ask this of a lady who had been struggling with infertility and repeated miscarriages, and I could see the question cut to the very core of her. It made me so sad for her. In general terms? Yes, I believe birth control is wrong, and I believe most ladies would have many children if they abstained from it. But on an individual level? I have no clue who is and isn't struggling in this area, so I won't go digging into their business.

      Thank you for your kind and understanding comment.

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    2. I am fortunate not to have experienced it first hand. But I have walked beside my oldest, dearest friend since her son took flight just over two years ago. I was actually present at his birth, which went from joy to tragedy in mere minutes. So, although I cannot pretend to understand exactly how a grieving mother feels, I have seen how thoughtless, nosy or even well meaning but careless statements reopen or add salt to wounds, even if not in the moment, but later in the privacy of her house. I admit in the past I have jokingly commented "You must be busy!" to mothers I have spoken to in the shops, but seeing how those comments can cause pain, I avoid them, and opt for "What a lovely baby/family" or, if the child is being less angelic and mum looks embarrassed "we've all been there, it was mine last week, you're doing a great job!" (I will offer to talk to the child if I sense it will not feel like an intrusion on mum's parenting, but welcome assistance too. Never scolding of course, but a gentle distraction and small talk then a cheerful redirect back to mum "Oh it looks like mum needs to go, it was lovely to meet you!" so she can move on. It's surprisingly effective, I learned the trick from another mother who helped me with my own furious toddler once.)

      I am glad my comment was able to resonate with you, and bring you some comfort, although I am sorry it was over such a sad thing. Wishing you well and praying that your recovery continues smoothly.

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  34. Why would you care? But for the record, it's just small talk like "nice weather". It doesn't have any meaning, may even be a compliment. Not everyone is naturally gushy. If they really thought it was deplorable they probably wouldn't say a word.

    It's nothing like being told "you're fat". That is meant to be an insult. I am fat but I've never heard anyone say it to my face. Maybe because I wear it well/don't care though.

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    1. Just because I have a large family does not mean I want to (or have the time to) small talk every time I leave the house.

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  35. Wow!!! I have never seen this side of you.

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  36. I am truly impressed by large families and love to see them out and about because I came from a large family. I always wished for one of my own. I usually try to catch the mother's eye and offer a smile. If I can, I will say 'Your family is beautiful." However, one time I did just this - complimented the mother on her lovely family and I got the dirtiest look and she mumbled something about being tired of the attention. Then, I happened to read another blog by a mother of many, where the author was saying how SHE hated any attention while out in public. And I started worrying that I've been doing it all wrong.

    I would never make a comment such as what you've mentioned, but I always thought a bit of encouragement would be welcome. Maybe I shouldn't acknowledge these mothers at all? Thoughts?

    I say this, not to minimize your frustration - only to add a little twist to the situation, I guess.

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    1. Personally, I never mind the positive comments, even if I'm in a hurry or it's repetitive. I can see why someone who is more shy might not like the attention, but I love hearing others' positive feedback, and more than that, I love for our kids to hear it.

      I only take exception to outright rude comments ("You need to get a TV" etc.), or the "sucks to be you" comments like "you have your hands full."

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  37. Oh Zsuzsanna (bet you never heard that one :- ), I’m sure people do not mean the comment in a bad way. I do understand how the comment could be annoying but it’s still not as bad as the comment to a parent w/ a child w/ disabilities “I don’t know how you do it!”. I always want to say back “Uh me either, but I didn’t realize I had a choice!!!!”. I did have to laugh w/ this posting b/c I said to a woman w/ triplets last week “Your girls are beautiful!” and her comment back to me….”Thank you - They can be a handful!”

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  38. Wow, so many comments. I think this is an issue that every people faces. Not only the issue of mommas receiving nerve-screechingly stoopid comments. People tend to comment on anything they see anyway. So yeah, like you mentioned the singles, singles get comments from parents, too, ALL THE TIME, like: you should try having children yourself! Like husbands fall from the sky every morning and you should just collect one randomly. Or like, it's natural for everyone to get pregnant easily and have an eventless, easy pregnancy that results in a healthy baby. I think, no matter who we are, what we are... we receive dumb comments from random strangers. Comments on our accents, our weight, height (I once had a group of Asian nanas chuckling at me as I overtowered them in an elevator and they spoke about me being a giant "water goddess" in a language that I understood *awkward moment seal here*). Old people get the comment "you have nothing to do all they". Yeah... catering to their own household needs ALONE or maybe taking care of a sick spouse mostly consists of watching TV all day... sure... happy people that laugh get called loonatics. Obviously religious people get called freaks for (name it). Totally clean Indian friends of ours that don't smell of anything get called garlic smelling roti pratas. (Roti prata is a flat bread and it doesn't smell of anything.) I think if we bump into the wrong persons and we are unlucky enough to get their attention... no matter what we are, there will be something said just to pierce a hole in our self esteem. This world would be a better place if people wouldn't take out their anger on others, and if they decided they MUST comment on other people, make that comment NICE. Like, wow, beautiful children. Wow, nice outfit. Wow, adorable baby. (Boaz is a heart throb.) Wow, you all look happy. Giving a compliment and making someone's day feels AWESOME, it lasts all day for everyone involved. There should be a national awareness day for this. Pay someone a compliment-day. Rant over : )))) Sorry to frequent this site so often, but this is some sort of a therapy to me. I learn so much and I tend to pay attention to things that I say more. Also, I hope it doesn't come off as weird but you have got the strength that my own mother never had, so I admire your strength and you are some sort of a mother figure to me. I love strong women, I respect them. I love the fact that you go out of your ways to keep your children SAFE and HAPPY. I had neither, never, as a kid. Thank you for this debate idea of yours, it sure was fun and a true food for thought. Us people should be nicer to each other : ) Much love

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  39. As far as health foods, I live by the fruit and rice diet. Recommend people to try it.

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  40. If I had to deal with the comments as much as you do, I think I'd type up a list of thoughts and responses and carry copies with me to hand out to people who make the comments. I would also include a remark on how it is rude to comment on other people's reproductive habits.

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  41. If I were to see you out in public with your children, I would probably think, “Wow, that lady has her hands full!” I probably wouldn’t say anything because I am a shy person by nature, but I would be thinking it and remembering back to when my own children were small and I took them out in public (and I had only 3!). I don’t think people are being critical of you for having so many children. More than likely they are looking at you in admiration and possibly remembering when their own hands were full. I do have a suggestion for you. When my children were small, I usually tried to do my shopping in the evenings and on weekends when my husband was at home. That way I could go out and enjoy some peace and quiet on my own while running my errands. Little Boaz is adorable, by the way. Your other children are as well. I am so sorry for the loss of your little one.

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  42. I have heard this also, but not because I have many children...God had other plans for my life. He blessed me with my hearts desire when I was 45. I am nearly 50 with a four year old!
    When this comment comes my way I point out how long I waited for this blessing and I love every minute of my very busy and tiring life!!
    Desiree

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  43. That comment doesn't bother me , people don't see that many large families so it takes them by surprise . If they do look on it as a negative I don't care, their just ignorant and stuck in a world mind set. I see a lot of people looking at me with a stunned look on their face when I go out with all of my kids. The stunned face people those are the ones talking about you when you walk away.

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  44. I've only heard that comment a few times, and I only have two (number 3 due in October). "You've got your hands full" doesn't really bother me, but I can definitely see how it would bother others. The phrase that I hate, and I don't know why I'm already starting to hear it, is "don't you know what causes that?" Oooo it just gets my goat! Like having babies is so horrible you should try to avoid it at all costs! Why is it that everyone wants every other blessing and reward God has to give, but try to avoid the one thing he took the time to specifically say was a blessing and reward, HAVING CHILDREN! I've heard all the stupid arguments for birth control and they all fall flat and void when you compare it to Scripture. The next time someone asks me "don't you know what causes that" I'm going to respond with "Yes, and we quite enjoy it too." Or maybe I should give a mean response like "Yes, but obviously your parents figured it out too late."

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  45. I have said that before, and I never meant it as an insult. Quite the opposite, in fact! I have always thought it was a compliment, and to let the mom know I realize how hard she is working! Please take the compliment for what it is!

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  46. As I said before, I wouldn't so much mind the comment, if it weren't for the fact that my kids are there to hear it.

    Do you people who think this is an acceptable comment go around commending parents who have a disabled child? "Wow, I really admire how you handle that!" What about an elderly gentleman pushing his wife around in a wheelchair (or my husband pushing me when I was on bedrest): "Wow, you sure have your hands full!"

    My kids have ears. Yes, it's a lot of work to care for them. Yes, you may feel it's admirable. You can even say so if they are out of earshot. Just please acting like I am accomplishing the hardest job on earth in front of them.

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  47. I would just smile at the "hands full" comment people.

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  48. I can relate to your frustration. I opted out of parenthood and believe me the public views having zero children just as "unacceptable" as having more than three. I'm older now so I don't have to deal much with this anymore but there were several instances during my early thirties with comments such as: "You're next!" (with that annoying knowing little smile) or "You'd better get going soon !" (with the unbelieving look and brief head shake as if the very earth depended on me) and then of course the proverbial dropped jaw when I communicated that fact that I had decided not to have children.

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  49. I saw a mother with four children in a Trader Joe's store this weekend. Remembering this blog I refrained from the "are they all yours" comment. I think there was at least one other child in the family, one of the employees asked the mom about the absent "baby."

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  50. > - Wow, are you really going to eat the junk you just loaded into your cart?
    How many time I have bitten back these words while waiting at the checkout counter, I don't know.
    It's particularly hard when it's young mothers with kids. The poor things don't deserve to have their nutrition messed up like that!

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Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.