If I had a dollar for every time stranger said to me, “Wow, you certainly have your hands full”, I would be sitting on a beach chair on my private island, served delicious cocktails by my butler, getting ready for my personal masseuse and sharing my thoughts on dinner with my private chef. BUT…I don’t, so I am sitting in my house writing this, thinking how long it has been since I had an actual massage and thinking what I will be slaving over for dinner.

At first, it was nice to hear, almost like a validation of, “Yes, you are one busy mama taking care of all those kids, so you go girl”. I welcomed the comments that made me feel recognized and appreciated. Now, I translate them differently in my mind.

If I am at the supermarket with my three boys, sometimes more if a friend is over, people aren’t congratulating me. Nope…they are pitying me. We all deserve a pity party once in a while, but I don’t need anyone feeling bad for me because I brought my kids to the store. That is just bizarre…I wasn’t forced into having three children and love when their friends are around.

Over the years, my kids have caught on and constantly ask why that weirdo just said that. My response…”because he’s a weirdo”. I tell them that raising kids is hard and when people see three little boys shopping with Mommy, some people either remember their time as a parent of young kids or simply can’t imagine shopping with kids at all. Should these “Weirdos” keep their thoughts to themselves? YES. Do they? NO. These comments leave my kids wondering if people like children at all. I am beginning to ponder the same thing.

People’s remarks have such a negative connotation that it makes my kids, (and me), feel like we are doing something wrong. As if I am insane for not hiring a sitter and leaving the kids at home. Even when the boys are fighting over which cereal to get and I have had enough, I don’t need someone telling me I have my hands full. No sh*t Sherlock.

I am proud to be a mom, not embarrassed. Yes, when I start hearing a choir of burps in aisle seven, I pretend they’re not mine, but I don’t need or want someone looking at us like we have ten heads. You don’t mess with a mom in a bad mood. It should really be illegal. That’s the thing though, I am not always in a bad mood at the store. My kids and I play games down each aisle, laugh and actually have fun while shopping.

I usually find that it is older men that cannot comprehend rolling around town with three or more kids in tow. They are the ones were are making most of the cynical comments. Now the older women have a completely different perspective. They smile and reminisce about the days they were in my shoes. “Oh, I have three boys too. I remember those days. It goes fast. Enjoy”.

My favorite comment is when I had five or six boys with me and had to run an errand to pick up extra food to cook for dinner. It’s not my preference but it was what it was. “Are they all yours?” I love messing with people and saying, “Yep…all mine. Aren’t I lucky?”. They just stare and look horrified.

Jeez, it’s not like I have 20 children. When you witness me shopping with 20 kids, grab me and immediately and take me to a mental hospital, although it’s likely I have been there a few times. You can then ask me if they are all mine but I’m pretty sure my uterus along with my boobs dragging on the floor behind me may be a dead giveaway.

It happens with just my three kids. Since when are three kids a huge oddity? I know people are just making conversation and trying to be friendly. I get it but I don’t go to the store to make friends, am I right?

Listen, people will always express their thoughts, no matter how dumb they are. Me, when I see a mom with a lot of kids at the store, whether they are behaving or not, I smile and we give each other a nod that says, “Oh yah, we see each other, we know shopping with kids can suck but we are warriors. Sometimes it’s fine. See you at the checkout line Mama”. We don’t judge, we don’t comment out loud, no way, no how. Others…not so much.

Next time someone says, “Boy, do you have your hands full”, here are some clever comebacks you can borrow.

  • “Would you like one?”
  • “Yes, I most certainly do…I am very blessed. Too bad the twins didn’t come shopping with me.”.
  • “Oh they’re not mine…I’m just the nanny.”
  • “These kids? Oh, I just found them in the parking lot…thought it might be a great idea to have them shop with me and pay for all of them to eat.”
  • “Hands full of love (followed by a very loud and creepy chuckle).”
  • “Thank you for saying that. I certainly do have my hands full. Would you mind entertaining them while I shop?”
  • “Yes, hands full, along with my heart. Now you have yourself a wonderful and fulfilling day as well”.

Shopping with multiple kids (or kids in general), has a bad rap, and perhaps this is because moms moan and express annoyance about it. (I may or may not be included in that statement.) Even so, comments from others are irritating and only we get to complain about it…as much as we want. People, say something positive to moms when you see them out and about. It can really make our day. Here are few examples on my personal wish list I hope to hear as I hit the supermarket later.

  • “There is no way all those kids are yours. You look too young, your butt is too tight and your boobs, way too perky.”
  • “Clearly you are a supermom who has her sh*t together. All moms should take a page out of your book.”
  • “What adorable children you have and so well behaved.”
  • “Your husband is seriously the luckiest man alive.”
  • “Leave your cart and go make reservations. You deserve to relax and get pampered.”
  • “How about I buy your groceries because you survived shopping with kids?”

Moms, share the lovely comments you have experienced while around town with your children. Remember sharing is caring because…

Together We Can Master Motherhood™

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