For whatever reason, nothing invites unsolicited commentary like a mother and her child - whether she has one or ten. Thoughts on sleeping, what they're eating, whether or not they have socks on their feet, their behavior - strangers love to offer an opinion. I am not claiming innocence in this department, but I am learning my lesson.
"You sure have your hands full." Oh how often I hear this phrase. At least daily, and from almost every single stranger I meet.
"You look tired."
"I don't envy you."
I am going to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they just don't realize that words have power. I think people think they are empathizing with my plight when they look at me with pitying eyes, click their tongue and take it all in. You would think people had never seen kids before.
Let me set the record straight: my boys are not perfect, but they are pretty awesome. Especially in public. For as many tantrums as my little man has thrown in the confines of our home (three today, thanks), he has yet to do it in public. Eddie might get a little antsy in a shopping cart, but he has never cried over it. There are folks out there with problems, people. My children were my choice, and while they do drive me crazy on a semi-regular basis, I wouldn't trade them for anything.
You know what would be awesome? If people turned those phrases around to speak life and goodness to one another. These encounters have taught me the practical side of "think before you speak". It would be just as easy to say
"Wow, what a good looking bunch of boys!"
"Looks like you're doing a great job."
"I have never seen such perfect children." (okay, that one is a stretch)
Because if I am being honest, most days I am thinking:
My hands are full! I am tired! (Thank goodness for americanos, baby.)
But I wouldn't trade any of it in for more sleep or empty hands. My boys really do bless me, (sometimes literally).
So that's my goal for the week: words of encouragement for those I encounter. We all need to hear it once in awhile.
(And thanks to all of my dear friends who really do build me up - especially my husband - couldn't do it with you!)