"You really have your hands full."
It started while I was pregnant with my third son. "Three? Wow. Three. You're outnumbered now!" Strangers chuckled, wished me luck and kept moving. Sam, 8, and Isaac, 3, would eye me quizzically, wondering what we were all in for with a new baby in the house. I shrugged it off but also started to wonder myself.
Now that Gabriel is here, I see their point. I recently purchased six yards of jersey knit cloth that, the package assures me, magically transform into a baby carrier when tied just so because my hands are in fact full and sometimes sticky. At 4 months old, like all babies, he requires time, love, care and energy; Gabriel and his toddler brother need all that I can offer them as their mom, besides the homework help, key conversations and daily maintenance that keep the world turning for Sam.
Three boys are a handful. Someone says it at least once a week and that phrase resounds. They're not wrong but that isn't the whole picture. Yes, it's chaotic sometimes but I love the experience even if I don't exactly love every minute. That part isn't required. What they do need is kindness, love, quality. There's so much I want to do and see and say with them. Have it all, do it all, be it all. That pressure is self-inflicted, sure, but it's real and stands out among all that keeps us busy, on our toes, up at night.
It's true that as moms, we have a lot to carry, often in ways less tangible too. It was no surprise to me that on MetroFamily's recent Facebook question about what moms really want for Mother's Day, the answers consistently had to do with naps, housekeeping services and quality time.
Moms love and hold and hug and yell and criticize constructively. We choose to remember the happy and clean up the messes and worry about what we know each child needs, both the visible and the invisible. What they're thinking. If they need anything. Where they are when they're out of sight, out of state, out for the night.
I look at my smallest son's baby feet, kissable and new for now. Where will they take you?, I wonder already. A different era is coming, sure as a heartbeat, to worry about so much more than just stained carpet, full hands or an iCalendar with conflicting appointments.
There are some incredible moms, of all varieties: super moms, moms who fear they aren't super enough, stepmoms, foster moms, grandmas. Aunts, neighbors, good citizens who step in and fill a role. Women who didn't count on motherhood but that it came to in one way or another. This Sunday is for all of us.
Dads have their moment, in raising children and celebrating all that they do to be great dads, but May is for moms. My mom. Yours. Us too.
"If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart." That's my answer to the "your hands are full" thing. A family friend who happens to be a mom of 10 shared that thought with me and she's right: full days, nights and hands do make for a full heart, not just the for the cumbersome aspects of raising children, no matter how many.
Have a restful Sunday. Let other people honor you. You deserve it.
Happy Mother's Day!