Before I became a mother, I didn’t know just how much effort it took to leave the house. I didn’t know how easily a bedtime routine could take an hour..maybe two. I also didn’t know that fixing the food that my children asked for often turns into one of the biggest arguments of the entire day. The amount of laundry to be done, the amount of groceries to be bought, the amount of coffee or Red Bull to survive on a daily basis or the discovery of what little sleep you actually need to survive. I’m sure the list is continuing in your mind of all the things you have taken on when you became a mama.
It’s a lot. I think we can all agree on that. At the end of every day, it’s still one of the most rewarding things in life. Their smile, their giggles, their canaille little ways of getting into everything..even our hearts. All worth it.
One of the things I don’t think I was completely prepared for was doing a lot of this own my own with my husband. You’re probably reading this saying, ‘ well duh, Christen, what else did you think?’ For a lot of my close friends and family, you already know my story. You know that my husbands parents and my mother were called home to be with the Lord, while my Dad lives 200 miles away in the hometown I grew up in. I’m thankful he is still alive and can be here within three hours if I ever need. I try not to abuse that option but when it’s necessary, he’s here just as quick as he can. So, what I mean by ‘my husband and I doing this on our own’ is, we literally do this on our own. And while I don’t want to throw my husband under the bus, he is also a fireman and a small business owner. He’s gone a lot. Not complaining, it’s just a part of our life. But with that said, majority of the things fall on my shoulders. It’s just a lot and there are very few breaks. That’s all I really know to say.
You know those moments when you’re trying to bus your children around and you try to walk in to a building and someone is walking out of the door you need to go into and they say,” You have your hands full?” and then they just keep walking and the door slams shut and they keep walking? With a baby on your hip, a diaper bag over one shoulder and a toddler trying to break free from the death grip of your mama bear hands? Oh, come on..you know those moments I am talking about. It’s happened to you too, you know it has. I’d like to pretend that people aren’t that rude but it’s happened to me quite a few times. But then there’s other times when those sweet little old ladies or even fellow mama’s who just see you and hold that door open even if you’re a mile away. I love you people. You are proof that God hears me when I am struggling. When I finally make it to the door, they usually follow up with that key phrase,” Oh darlin’, you have your hands full!”
Is it just me or does that phrase rub you the wrong way too? I have heard that phrase hundreds of times and every time I heard it, I would literally feel raged inside, even more so when that door would slam shut right in front of me. I have had to get myself in check quite a few times after this would happen because it would literally bring me to tears.
You see, I know my hands are full. They’re not telling me anything I do not know. Especially since my husband is gone a lot for work. So again, it leaves a lot on me. I know my hands are so undeniably full that I tend to slip and fail my children, my husband, God, my other relationships and most importantly myself, daily. Y’all, I seriously had to get myself in check because every single time someone said those five little words to me, it would send me over the edge. And bless all those little old ladies and all the other strangers hearts..it’s not their fault. They don’t know what a harmless little phrase like that does to me and they don’t have to. It’s my problem, not theirs. It just goes way beyond what they see on the surface. On the outside I appear to be juggling a tiny circus with my bare hands but little do they know just how much more I am struggling on the inside.
So, the question is…how did I deal with this? How did I move forward and stop making this phrase bother me to the core? I found my answer one day just trying to see the upside of the situation. There I was trying to get inside a store while chasing squirrels and..surprise, surprise, someone comes along and says that magical little phrase to me as they were walking ahead of me. Instead of smirking and saying yeah or I’ve got it..I actually startled myself as I said the words,” You should see my heart.” The look on their face was priceless.
So now, that’s my go to phrase in response to those five little words that used to upset me. Without fail, every stranger stops and usually has something admirable to say about it. Not only are my hands full but my heart is full too. And just like that, they also hold the door open for my tiny circus. Everybody wins and everybody has a great day. And now, I can appreciate that sweet little saying again.