Every parent in the world knows: this is hard. It's just hard! Even on the easiest, best days, it's hard. We're raising actual human beings, and trying our damnedest to raise them right so they grow up to be good people. One thing that can contribute to how hard parenting is can be the comments people make. It can be a comment about how our children are behaving, or about how we manage our kids. Most of the comments are well-meaning in nature, but sometimes they can sting. The thing about parenting is that it helps if you have a lot of support, and not just from people you know. It can really help ease the burden if you know that there really is a "village" out there. People who aren't there to judge you or the choice you've made, or comment on your parenting.
A blogger recently shared a Facebook post about a comment she overheard, and it got her thinking about these innocent little comments and how they can be perceived and received. It's a good reminder to us all that being kind and supportive costs us nothing, and can help a lot more than some pithy little comment.
Sherry White is a mom of two who blogs under the name The Messy Christian. She overheard someone tell a mother of four that she "must really have her hands full!", and while that kind of comment can seem innocuous at first glance, it got Sherry thinking. Thinking about what COULD have been said to make this mom feel more supported. Sherry says, "The person didn't mean any harm and I'm sure I've said things like this before myself, but somehow this time it just seemed awkward. There was just nothing positive about the comment at all! And I couldn't stop thinking about it. Like, what was this mom supposed to do with that comment?" Yes, she had her hands full! Anyone with kids had their hands full! One kid, two kids, four kids, it doesn't matter. Parents don't need to be reminded of that, especially if the comment was made in an unkind way.
Sherry says she started thinking about what she could have said to this mom of four that would have left her feeling joyful instead of perplexed. And she thinks she would have told the mom, "Wow, you must really have your HEART full." Isn't that such a sweet sentiment? Because we know, no matter how many kids we have, we juggle it all. We only have two hands, but our hands somehow learn to function as if there are eight of them. Our hearts do the same - we don't try to fit all our kids into one loving heart, our heart grows to fit all out kids. So the next time you consider making a comment like that yourself, stop and think about what you really mean by it. Our hands are full, yes. But not as full as our hearts.