A Kentucky mother of three wrote an open letter to a stranger who randomly quipped about how busy she must be becuase of the amount of children she has. Courtney Lester says the exchange took place with a man in the aisle of a local Walmart — and she documented the entire incident in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.
“To the stranger in Walmart who said ‘I feel sorry for you, you have your hands full with all those kids,’ this is what I have to say to you,” wrote Lester in her post, which received more than 12,000 shares and 22,000 reactions.
“First off, my hands were empty as you can see in the photo,” she continued. “What you can’t tell is that I lost two babies before being blessed with my last two, so if you want to feel sorry for me, there’s the only reason why you should.”
Lester says that her children may not be perfect model citizens, but that’s solely because they’re children.
“Sometimes they’re loud, sometimes they misbehave, and sometimes they have complete meltdowns. However, you didn’t even see that side of them. What you saw was a young couple with a 4-year-old singing a song, a 2-year-old sitting quietly in the buggy, and a newborn sleeping in his baby carrier,” she wrote. “If that is your definition of having your hands full, I feel sorry for YOU.”
The truth is, Lester admitted, the children do keep her busy — but that’s not such a bad thing.
“Some days, I can’t wait for bedtime. My children keep me on my toes and one of them always needs something, but I have never viewed them as an inconvenience or a reason for someone to ‘feel sorry’ for me.”
“Even on days when they won’t listen, have meltdowns and when it seems like nothing I do is good enough, I have never felt sorry for myself and I don’t expect others to either,” the young mom concluded. “If having 3 kids automatically makes my hands full, so be it … but please, never feel sorry for me because my heart is more full than my hands could ever be.”
The post received hundreds of comments. While many were supportive, some suggested the stranger was simply trying to connect with Lester or make small chat.
As one commenter noted: “I’m going to toss out the idea that maybe (the stranger) didn’t say that with malicious intent. Referring to kids as a ‘handful’ is a very popular saying, one that I have heard my entire life. That doesn’t mean your children are less of a blessing. I’m sorry that you’ve experienced a great loss, twice … but I don’t understand the sensitivity surrounding this.”
Lester responded that the reason she was upset was because the stranger said he felt “sorry” for her, almost because she has three kids in the first place — something she considers to be a blessing.
“I told him that they were perfect and my hands were not full!” She responded to one commenter.
“Having kids is not a reason to feel sorry for someone and people should keep comments like that to themselves. Also, where I’m from, women, especially young women like myself, are highly judged if they have a kid at all, much less more than one. So comments like that made by people here are not meant to “connect” with someone.”
Still, the overall conclusion was that the stranger should have minded his own business.
“Three kids isn’t even a lot,” wrote one woman. “Besides, it’s not anyone’s business how many children you have. You are such an awesome mama! Love ya, girl!”