15 Things to say other than (ugh) “You’ve got your hands full!”

Once I had Rose a mere thirteen months after I had Ruth, the common refrain that seems to be the soundtrack to my life these days began. “Looks like you’ve got your hands full!” Now that I have two toddlers and a baby, I can’t leave the house without at least one person saying it to me. I don’t think it is usually said with malicious intent. I just think people feel the need to say something when I start to notice the fact that they are staring at us, mouths agape. At this point, I am so dang tired of hearing this, I just thought I would offer some alternatives to this expression. If you see a mother with more children than is considered socially acceptable, feel free to use them. I am certain she would appreciate the refreshingly new comments.

1) You are so blessed! (My dry cleaning lady always tells me this. I love her for it)

2) You must love babies!

3) Can I help you with the door? (I ALWAYS need help with doors.)

4) Treasure this time with them!

5) The days are long, but the years are short! (I love this one, such a positive reminder.)

6) Your children are beautiful! (Lie if they aren’t. She won’t contradict you.)

7) I miss those days! (An old lady told me this when we were in line for lunch with tears in her eyes. I will never forget it.)

8) You are doing a great job! (Moms need plenty of encouragement. Trust me.)

9) They are so well behaved! (Only if they are. The mom will laugh if they aren’t.)

10) I know you must be proud of them.

11) What a cute family!

12) Dad is a lucky man.

13) Wow. (Not my favorite, but at least it’s different.)

14) Your heart must be full!

15) You are rocking that big family, mama!

What are some of your favorite things that people have said to you when you were out with your littles?



About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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32 Responses to 15 Things to say other than (ugh) “You’ve got your hands full!”

  1. Pingback: NETHERLANDS: Full - World Moms BlogWorld Moms Blog

  2. Alana says:

    Even though I have a dry sense of humour and find the comments that I’m brave to have my kids so close together to actually be a bit euphemistic, there are certain things people say that do get under my skin. For instance, “At least you’ll get it over with quickly” by strangers as a response to my children’s age difference. Firstly, I didn’t answer your question in the hopes of getting consolation. Secondly, I didn’t sign up for motherhood in the hopes I’d get it over with fast. And finally, who knows if we’re done having kids.
    I absolutely love what you wrote, and will share on Facebook. So well thought out!


  3. Ha! So true! I now get a lot of head counting and “Are they all boys?” but that doesn’t bother me. It is kind of funny that we were probability odd balls. I LOVE it when people actually complement us on them. We should all do that for each other more often. Every moment that the child is behaving is definitely a moment to celebrate!


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  5. Elise says:

    Great Post! I can’t wait to share this one with my husband. He gets this all the time and is always offended. He was certain it was a gender issue because stay-at-home Dads are kind of rare and people aren’t use to seeing it. I assured him it was just the fact that we do indeed have our hands full and that I get that comment too. We have four of our own, but my brave husband isn’t afraid to venture out with the his niece and nephew that he provides daycare for as well. That makes a party of five (our oldest is in school, and this is the max our van can transport). He gets a lot of comments when out with the kids ages 4, 3, almost 2, and 2 three month olds. My least favorite comment is “you know what causes that don’t you?” Which was mostly directed at me in regards to my fourth pregnancy.

    PS – I was impressed with our accomplishment of successfully fitting 5 car seats in the mini-van, that means we could in theory go for one more 🙂


  6. I love when I’m out with just my baby. People ask me if she is my first. When I reply that she is my sixth, the jaws drop! Then I get the “you don’t look old enough to have six kids” comment. I’m 28… I wasn’t aware there was an age requirement to have x amount of kids?!


  7. morgan says:

    Oh wait! I remember another one: “Oh you’ve got kids like organ pipes.” Mostly followed by some laughter. Haha. Not.
    I got that a lot when I was growing up, since I had three siblings AND my dad is an organ builder (yes, those huge things in churches with the pipes and all. sorry, had to explain that also a lot).
    So now, everytime someone tells me that I internally cringe.
    At least when they are not asking me if I got twins. (Hello? They are almost exactly a head apart in height. How should they be twins?) And then their eyes are bulging out when my answer is “no”.


    • sylcell says:

      People ask me if Ruth and Rose are twins all the time. And then I have to tell them that the bigger one is a full year younger. And I chuckled at the organ pipes 🙂


  8. Siné says:

    What a great list! Shortly after I had Atticus, an older gentleman took the time to seek me out after Mass and let me know that my husband and I reminded him of him and his wife; he then let me know that “it gets easier”. Seeing as they had 4 kids in 5 years, I believe that it must actually get easier. Comments like his really make a difference to a mom of (at the time) three children 3 years and younger.


  9. Ashley P says:

    Have a newly TWO year old (sept 11) and a 10 1/2 month old (nov 13). Get comments all the time and if my husband and I really want to make people talk, we take my sisters two youngest who are the exact same ages as mine. The comments and stares are hilarious. But I do appreciate when I see a genuine “you are so lucky” smile or a comment such as “God has truly blessed you”. But my favorite comment came when I was five months pregnant for my second. I was by myself in the store and this lady walked up to me and asked how far along I was. I told her five months for my second and she said “I am so jealous of your stomach. It is so cute. I am six months pregnant and I wish my stomach looked like yours”. I told her thank you and then thought in my mind wow this lady does not even look pregnant and she was a month further than me. Then I smiled because all I’ve ever heard for both pregnancies was how “big” I was. I “carry” all in my belly and have nine pound babies so it was so nice to hear someone say that my stomach was cute!


  10. I get the “You have your hands full!” and “You must be very busy!” ALL THE TIME when I’m out with my 4 kiddos. I even get that when I’m out with 2 kids! My response is to smile happily and say “Yes, I do” or “Yes, I am, but it’s a lot of fun!”


  11. katylady says:

    I get the “hands full” comment a lot with just two, probably because the 1 year old is almost as tall/mobile/talkative as the 3 year old. And when I reply, “Yep, and we’re getting a baby brother next year!” folks’ eyes really bug out. My favorite comments are when I’m (rarely) solo and people ask if this is my first baby–and I reply, “No. 3, actually,”–and they go, “Wow! You look great!” Which I interpret to mean,”Wow, you have two kids at home and are awkwardly pregnant, yet look like you’ve showered and brushed your teeth!” Which isn’t always the truth. 😉


    • sylcell says:

      I get that I look great sometimes too. I’m not sure what kind of hot mess that moms with kids are supposed to look like, but I’m glad that some days I’m not it;)


  12. cheryl says:

    I love when people tell me “you are so good with your babies!” because I’m usually feeling like I’m about one spilled sippy cup from loosing it! Hearing that I”m doing a good job really gives my heart and patience a big boost 🙂

    My least favorite is when people say, “you have a boy and a girl, so you’re done RIGHT?” I usually respond with a big smile and say “Oh Lord, I hope NOT!” and they pipe down pretty quick 🙂


  13. Mary Elizabeth Stone says:

    Yes we also get this all the time! I look back at them and say, “Yes I do; in the BEST possible way!” Love your list!


  14. morgan says:

    Amen! Great list!!!
    I always laugh when someone is telling me no. 9. Cause, they are only when in public (and not always even then)
    Also I hate it when someone is pitying my daughter for having to grow up with two boys. What the…? Someone should pity those boys, cause she really is something else 😉


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