We were at Target and we were struggling. I picked one of those carts that can hold two kids on a bench and a baby. They're basically the semi truck of shopping carts that should come with a backup horn and a warning sign that says "wide right turns."
Five minutes into what I foolishly hoped would be a fun outing, the baby started hollering. I could have let her go and pretended she was just my backup horn going off, but it seemed like the lady in aisle A7 was on to me. I got... her out of her carseat and carried her instead.
That left me with one hand to pick up ten grocery items and a pair of shoes for our five year old. Frankly, that's not enough hands when said task involves playing "No come back here!" with a toddler, as well as choosing a practical pair of shoes for a little girl whose tank runs on glitter and heated arguments.
Let's just say we didn't finish our race strongly. We crawled toward the checkout line, me holding a giant infant with one hand, hauling our semi cart with the other hand, and wishing I had a few more hands to shake a fist at the employee who herded us toward a self checkout line. Apparently she did not notice my negative ratio of Mom Hands vs. Tasks To Complete.
As I maneuvered our disheveled caravan to the kiosk, we bumped into at least three people and their average sized carts. I gave a couple Midwest "Ope! Sorries!" But that wasn't enough to make up for the sad circus we just performed. Most of our audience offered a little side eye. But one person finally said it to me: "Looks like you have your hands full!"
The fact that I was sweating by the end of my shopping trip told me she wasn't wrong. And I'm reminded every day that my hands and mind are full from what it takes to care for three small children and their needs during this stage of life.
And yet, as I glanced back at my little Showbiz of Kids who just who just gave me a run for my money and for a size 12 pair of girls sparkly shoes, I smiled through the sweat. I wasn't enjoying the moment I was in, but these kids are some of the best things that have happened to me: the spicy one, the busy one, and the sometimes fussy one who kinda looks like me. And the one we miss every day.
The woman told me my hands were full, so I looked back and replied with the truth: "Full of blessings!"
Being a mom is so hard and sweaty. But I am so thankful for the opportunity.