To the Mama with Her Hands Full: I See You


To the Mama with Her Hands Full: I See You | Des Moines Moms BlogTo the Mama with Her Hands Full,

I’ve been seeing you around town a lot lately, almost everywhere I go. You’ve always been there, I’m sure. In fact, for a long time, I was you. I guess that’s why I never really noticed you before—because my attention was so fully on my little ones.

But now that my littles aren’t quite so little, I’ve begun to be able to lift my eyes—to look up and to look out.

And that’s when I see you….

I saw you, mama.

I was the one sitting poolside during swimming lessons. I held a book in my hands, you held a toddler in yours. My kids’ lessons required deeper water; yours required you. Every morning, you showed up ready, clothed with a swimsuit and an encouraging word. The water was cold, but your smile was warm. You escorted your little one into the pool. You “ringed around the rosy” and fell down to get wet, all without a sign of regret. To the Mama with Her Hands Full: I See You | Des Moines Moms Blog

You showed nothing but courage to the little one watching you. And to me, the one soaking up sun and a breath of fresh air while my kids worked yonder on strokes and dives, you showed an incredible strength.

I saw you, mama.

Actually, I saw your situation before I saw you. I was heading into Target as you returned to your car. Your shopping cart was full of things to be loaded, your crying baby was hungry and done, and your little girl was asking a question. As my gaze shifted to you, I expected to see a stressed, frazzled mama. Your baby had lost patience; I figured you had, too. But you were calm and composed. You answered your daughter with a kind tone in your voice, and the pleasant look on your face put a smile on mine.

To the Mama with Her Hands Full: I See You | Des Moines Moms BlogI saw you, mama,

…in the restroom at the Iowa State Fair. You were wearing a baby on your chest and needing to help your toddler reach the sink. I offered to help you, but you said you could do it. I saw shadows of my own determined younger self as you hoisted her onto your hip and held her over the sink with one arm while reaching around your baby bundle to turn on the water with the other. In the ease with which you conquered the task, I could see that you were simply doing what you always do—those (big) little things that no one really notices.

But I noticed.

To the Mama with Her Hands Full: I See You | Des Moines Moms BlogI saw you, mama.

I passed you as we both were heading in to the library. I was stopping in solo, my kids now old enough to stay home alone. You were walking at the careful pace of the tiny toddler whose hand you held. Just as you clutched a baby in your opposite arm, your little one clutched a stuffed bunny in his. I was there for a grown-up book; you so clearly were there for them. There for them. I read it in the peaceful security on their faces.

Even in my hurry, your very aura gave me pause. For in that instant, the early chapters of motherhood weaved into the middle and created one larger view of the story.

See, I’ve been where you are, mama—not so long ago.

I know you empty yourself daily just to fill them up. I know your patience is tested and your energies taxed. And I know you’re so busy seeing to them that you regularly forget to see to yourself.

I want you to know that someday you’ll be here, where your hands will feel a little less full. You’ll have a moment to lift your gaze, and you’ll see another mama where you are now.

And even if you can’t see it yourself today—and even if you feel like no one is seeing—at that moment, you’ll see what you just showed me: the beauty—the importance—of what you’ve done—of where you’ve been.

And in the quiet strength of one who likely feels quite weak, your heart will be refreshed, your vision renewed.

I see you, mama.

In the fullness of your hands, you fill me up—not just because you show me where I’ve been, but because I see where you are and I’ve glimpsed where we’re going. And it’s beautiful.

To the Mama with Her Hands Full: I See You | Des Moines Moms BlogI can’t wait for the moment you can see it, too.


  1. This is beautifully written and such an encouragement to a mom who is halfway in your season and halfway still very much with littlest…Thank you for writing.


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