I’ll never forget one of our first outings as a family of five. The thought of bringing three kids (under the age of five) out in public for a shopping trip was scary, downright terrifying, but my husband and I decided we were ready. To our surprise, the kids were actually amazingly behaved. No meltdowns, no broken items, no fighting. We were finishing up in the party store and got to the check-out line and the cashier said those five words that make me cringe.

“Wow! You have your hands full.”

I think if you have more than one child, you have more than likely experienced the same comment. I can just never figure it out. Are you trying to insult me? Do you want a gold star for recognizing that we are, indeed, outnumbered? Is there really nothing more kind you can think of to say? To this day, I cannot figure out the purpose of this statement.

But I will forever love my husband for his quick response, “Full hands, fuller heart.” God love him. I could not have been prouder to call him mine than at that moment.

Are our hands full? Yes. Absolutely.

We have three kids and two adults in our home. You do the math. There are four hands to manage six little hands and six little legs. But guess what, I think we do a darn good job. And that particular day, we were crushing it.

RELATED: A Big Family is a Little Extra Work—and a Lot of Extra Love

In this home, we are eternally full.

Our eyes are fullfull of beautiful moments we want to forever engrain in our brain.

Our ears are fullfull of laughter, full of our 5-year-old’s new knock-knock joke we’ve heard 20 times, full of “I love you bigger bigger mommy’s.”

Our brains are fullfull of schedules to remember, full of those moments we don’t want to forget to tell each other, full of trying to remember every dinosaur species because it is that important to our oldest.

Our laps are fullfull of one, two, or three little boys at a time, full of the huge pile of books they give us every night to read to them before bed.

Our arms are fullfull of endless hugs, full of snuggles for our weekly Disney movie nights.

But most importantly, our hearts are full.

So darn full of love.

It is an unbelievable feeling watching your heart walk around outside of your body. Multiple times a day, I pause and look at these little beings we created, and I feel my eyes well up with tears because my heart is that full. And no, that is not a cheesy line. That is the truth.

So, to the people who feel the need to remind us parents just how full our hands look while trying to manage a small army in a grocery store, maybe try commenting on what a beautiful family we have or compliment one of our children’s behavior or you could simply say nothing.

RELATED: I’m Going to Have my Hands Full? I had no Idea.

And to the mama or papa feeling completely defeated after being reminded for the umpteenth time that you do indeed have your hands full. Maybe even feeling like a failure for not managing your little army of one or ten flawlessly enough, thank them. Thank them for reminding you of your fullness. Because in this beautiful life called parenthood, no part of us could ever be empty. And at the end of the day, would you really want it any other way?

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Jaclyn Middleton

I am a stay-at-home, COVID-turned homeschooling mother to three boys, complete #boymom and love every minute of it. I also gained the title of special needs mama and medical mama following the birth of our third child. His journey has been quite the ride, and one that still provides frequent obstacles. I have been married to my husband for almost 10 years now, and while it isn't always easy, I couldn't imagine riding this rollercoaster of a ride with anybody else. 

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