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Dear stranger: Yes, my hands are full...

Even though you don't quite know the right thing to say, I'm going to believe that you want to say the right thing. You really want to tell me that I'm an excellent mother and that I'm doing a good job but you don't know how to say that exactly.

Dear stranger: Yes, my hands are full...

I was in the supermarket juggling two children under two years old when a gentleman came up to me and said, "My, you have a fussy baby."

Ahem—excuse me? I smiled sweetly at the man and said in jest, "Would you like to take him with you?"

He laughed and shook his head. I left the interaction feeling like I handled it well. After all, I could've popped him over the head instead. 🤷

I'm a socially forgiving person. I love to talk to people in public and often think about quick phrases I can say that are clever and kind. Occasionally I say awkward things with good intentions. So I just assumed that was the case with this gentleman.

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Before I move onto how we should be forgiving to those who say ridiculous things, allow me to just air a few more that have been said to either me or friends of mine. (Because there are a lot. And they should be shared.)

"You're letting your son chew on that nasty cart?" This was to my friend who was at the store with her kiddo and had turned her back for a minute.

To my other friend who has three young boys someone said, "Third time wasn't the charm, eh?" (I mean!)

To my 18-month-old son (while I frantically tried to make it through my weekly grocery shopping trip) someone said, "Still sucking on that pacifier?"

Lastly, the common phrase that it is so unhelpful that many mamas have experienced (and that makes me want to throw my arms up when someone says it to me) is "You've got your hands full!"

Now my thought process is—we can either let these things aggravate us or we can share them with one another and laugh.

Yes, life is chaotic and we may or may not look like maniacs to people in public. We tote around small children, large carts, a thousand bags and countless snacks and drinks. We often go unshowered, without makeup and an outfit quickly thrown together (raise your hand if you've left the house in mismatched shoes.)

We have the highly-practiced ability to tune out whining children and we pretty much "power shop" in any store we are in. Look out!

On top of all of that, we are likely not getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night and are just plain tired ALL OF THE TIME.

To the untrained eye, this can be a disconcerting sight, one that onlookers feel warrants some kind of comment. I am choosing to believe that people who are out in the world not with children see me coming with my two littles and they take pity on us. They want to say something nice, and it comes out in the form of, "Got your hands full, huh?"

Bless you, fellow shoppers. Thank you for noticing that life may be a little on the harder side these days. Even though you don't quite know the right thing to say, I'm going to believe that you want to say the right thing. You really want to tell me that I'm an excellent mother and that I'm doing a good job but you don't know how to say that exactly.

Here's what I'm going to do for you. I'm going to smile and say, "Have a great day." Then I'm going to be on my way.

There are enough people in the world who say truly nice things to balance out those who do not. I'm going to focus on the friendly guy who held the door, the elderly woman who told me my son was handsome and the clerk behind the counter that handed me a set of colorful stickers.

The more I let the thoughtless comments roll off, the more I view the world as a playground full of people to enjoy and less like an obstacle full of people I have to endure. My attitude brightens and my sons take notice.

On those rare instances when I'm in public without my children, I make an effort to hold doors, smile at kids and tell the mamas that they're doing a spectacular job.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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