i took the boys downtown the other day. we’ve been a few times lately because i like the library downtown better. it’s huge and old, the way libraries should be. just across the street from the library is lake eola. its a popular spot for walking/jogging and renting swan-shaped paddle boats. on the side of the lake farthest from the library is a playground.

so we started the day learning about creatures of the night at a session they had for the kids at the library. we saw a tarantula, opossum, the cutest little screech owl, a bull frog and a couple other critters. then we went for a walk around the lake. saw this cute turtle mini-island.

i packed a lunch so we stopped on a shaded bench just to the side of the path to eat. there was a man, probably in his 60s, speed walking. as he past us he said “good job supermom!” i thought, what a spectacular way to comment on a parent with a lot of children! about 15 minutes later he passed us again and said “God bless you, have a great day!” so this guy is obviously a role model to us all, but it made me think about some of the other comments i had received the same week and how they made me feel in contrast to his.

~ trip to walgreens to pick out candy for the $1 movie: “oh wow, 4 boys. i had 2 so i know how you feel <<eyes wide, eyebrows raised>>” my thoughts were something along the lines of “if you only had 2 then i’m not seeing how you know how i feel. and come to think of it i feel fine!

~ then there was the trip to target for fishing hooks: “you’ve got your hands full today!” my thoughts, “well everyday, but yes…thanks, i think?”

~ in checkout: “oh wow, 4 boys, i only have 1, i don’t know how you do it!?” me:”well once you have multiple they start to entertain each other”, him: “yeah, yeah, i guess i could see that…” <<i don’t think he bought it>>

overall i would have to say what i hear most is “you have your hands full!” when people say this i know they are expressing sympathy to me, and i appreciate that effort. and it doesn’t necessarily require an answer from me, so that can be nice. its sort of like the universal hello to a mom with kids isn’t it? but to the mom hearing it all the time, it gets old.

like just picture if you had a certain unique quality about you and everyone commented on it all the time, but they didn’t say “i love your ‘x'”, they just commented. like “wow, those are some eyes you have” or “you sure have hair!” its like, thanks for the observation, i’m not sure if you think its a good thing or a bad thing… and you come away from it feeling too different from your fellowman.

so if you are reading this, and you’ve ever used this phrase on a parent. next time try out, “good job supermom (or dad)!” and watch their face light up.




  1. Back in the pre Facebook days, there was prodigy. I had several friends I found because we had large families in common. And those words was our chief complaint! We all wanted to wear signs that said, “YES, I know where they come from … NO I’m not catholic … YES they’re all mine … SURE DO, have my hands full so back off!” The very worst for me was the constant joke about “you do know how that keeps happening, right?” Winky, wink, wink. Used to make me soooo mad. To one man, I said, “I will bet you’ve had sex with your wife more than (x number) times, huh?” Embarrassed him. We would go to a grocery store or a restaurant and they’d say “are all those yours??” I would say, “no, we drove around the neighborhood and picked up random kids to annoy us at the store … Yeah, they’re all mine!” Did that stop them? No. Nope. Then they’d proceed with the questions above. I like what you said. I will remember that.

    • Ha, I love this! Every single friend I have who has four kids or more receives these comments all the time and can’t stand it. I worry that I may have said something like this before?? I hope not. In Utah you’d fit right in! In fact, the comment I get here is, “So you only have the three?” while the families with 4+ kids don’t even get a second glance! Seriously. Haha! People are CONSTANTLY making “I’m so sorry” comments to me all the time about Jared’s job though, as though I have such a horrible life. It drives me nuts and I want to be like, “I chose this life! I’m happy with it! I’m just grateful that my husband has a job!”

  2. Well said. I have these same feelings and sometimes the hardest to handle are the “looks” or stares because I’m wondering what they possibly could be thinking. My mind always goes to this article ( ) and it rests my soul. Her analogy of parenting to climbing mount everest is so true and so hilarious. It’s hard sometimes because we are doing it right and I relish the “karios” moments in my crazy days!

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