"You've Got Your Hands Full!"

I hear this statement multiple times a week, which always slightly baffles me because (a) my kids are *usually* not acting like a handful when I get this comment, (b) I am *usually* not flustered or disheveled or otherwise bedraggled at the time, and (c) three isn't really all that many kids.

As the fabulous posts for next week's Family Size Blog Carnival roll in (yes, there's still time for yours!), I continue to reflect on our family's size. What I keep coming back to is how, for me, having only one child was much more of a handful than having three. Much of the challenge with one was rooted in my own lack of experience, confidence, and perspective. I thought for sure that those newborn nighttime fussy periods would last for decades, that potty training would forever make me a captive in my own home, that my toddler would never eat a green vegetable. All of these concerns took up a lot of mental energy, energy that with more kids naturally goes elsewhere.

With one child, there was a lot more boredom, a lot more endless winter afternoons, a lot more time to stew over my parenting approaches and question my tactics. With more, I gained knowledge, trust, and perspective, but I also gained helpers and my kids gained playmates. Days got busier, fuller, more fun, more rewarding. I learned to let go of the silly little things that once irked me, like toddler nightwaking or picky eating. I learned to take better notice of the passing of time with my little ones. I learned to remind myself that even on those tough mothering days, those days when nothing seems to go smoothly, that I chose this job, this privilege of mothering three precious people, and it's up to me to do it right.

"Yes," I answer to the passersby: "Full and fulfilled."