Bearing the Load Part II: My hands are full because I am a mother


“Two little boys? You have your hands full!” says the woman behind me in line as I load up the conveyor belt with what groceries I was able to gather before both Collin and Frank entered simultaneous nuclear meltdown mode.

“You have no idea,” I told her, as I stuck a lollipop in Frank’s mouth and a lollipop in Collin’s so I could keep them from screaming just long enough to exchange pleasantries with the cashier.

As I rummaged through my diaper bag to find my wallet among a sea of drool-stained bibs, extra underpants, matchbox cars (HEAVY!) and enough socks to outfit every child at your nearest Chuck E. Cheese, I remembered that I forgot trash bags and paper towels for the second week in a row. Rather than running back for them, I made the semi-conscious decision to be more “green” this week by recycling more and using cloth towels.

People have asked me how having two children is different than having one. It’s simple: Double the fun, but double the work.

Double the Fun

I never believed I’d be able to love another baby as much as I love Collin, but it’s true: our hearts were built to grow.

It’s easier to take care of Frank now that I know what to expect at each stage, especially because I know they won’t last long. When my arms get tired from carrying Frank, I remind myself that he’ll be mobile in a few short months. Soon after that, he’ll be big like Collin and won’t want me to hold him at all…unless he’s really tired. 

Acting as witness to the formation of a sibling bond is the best part of having two children. Frank studies every little thing Collin does, which makes Collin feel important. They’ve even started having little conversations and giggling together about stuff only they understand.

My mom told me that my brother and I – who are a little over a year apart – baffled her in the same way. Come to think of it, we still do have inside jokes no one else could – or should – understand. (Ain’t that right, Paula Poundstone?)

The pictures I take of the boys together (particularly when they’re cuddling) make me say “Aww!” twice. Literally.

Double the Work

Adding a baby to the family does have its hurdles, however, as any parent of two or more will tell you. It’s been almost four months now, and in that time, I’ve discovered that:

1. One day of laundry neglect is like forgetting to weed a garden for an entire month. (It’s a little known fact that most mountain ranges were formed by the mothers of little boys who couldn’t keep up with their incessantly dirty clothes.) 

2. Leaving the house takes a minimum of forty-five minutes. (If I don’t need to return to the house for some forgotten item.)

3. Getting somewhere fifteen minutes behind schedule is an accomplishment.

4. Though my diaper bag is bursting at the seams with essentials, it never contains the item I need when  a crisis erupts.

5. My double stroller is more valuable to me than my car.

6. Getting back into the house after said grocery expedition requires a mathematical equation well above my computational ability. Figure out this word problem:


A mother needs to bring her 2 young boys and 10 bags of groceries into her kitchen, 50 feet from where her car is parked. Use the information below to help her determine the fewest number of trips she can take:

  •                The boys cannot be left in the car or the house unsupervised.
  •                For the given distance, the mother can carry approximately 40 pounds in each arm.
  •                The older boy weighs 38 pounds, the younger boy weighs 16 pounds, and each grocery bag weighs approximately 5 pounds


YOUR VARIABLE: The older boy is 3 years old. (That means he is perfectly capable of walking and carrying one five pound bag, but will refuse to do one, the other, or both, one out of every three trips.)


Both boys and any perishable groceries are taken into the house until the father returns home to play with the boys. When the mother brings in the remaining groceries, she will discover the garbage bags and paper towels she forgot to bring in several weeks ago.


If you figure out a better answer to my conundrum, please let me know! I’m particularly curious about how families with more than three children manage to leave the house at all!

For now, I’m off to read one of several books titled, “Things That Go, Go, Go.” I see a truck on the cover. Perhaps it should be a picture of a mom.

Catholic Review

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