Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Mom Hands Feel Like Velcro.

Those little fingers are no longer peely.  In fact, they are so soft you can hardly feel them.

I have to make a horrible confession here.  Growing up, I often judged my mother's hands.  Her hands actually looked a lot like mine.  Sturdy, somewhere in the middle of manly and feminine.  Dusted with freckles.  But they were much rougher than mine, the nails short and unpainted.  Her bathroom counter was lined with various lotions and balms she slathered on to smooth them, but it never really worked.  I don't think I ever saw my mom's nails painted.  I remember her saying she gave it up when she and my dad got married, but I never really did the math on what that actually meant.  I just thought she didn't care enough to keep them painted.  I thought that if she just tried a little harder, she could keep her hands smooth.  After all, I was a busy college student, I worked a lot with my hands, and I managed to keep my nails manicured and my hands soft.

But now I'm a mom, and my hands are not so smooth anymore.  And I did the math on the end of my mom's manicured nails.  I was born 13 months after my parents got married.  And 6 more kids were born in the next 11 years.  In that time my mother cooked and cleaned and crafted and gardened and bathed and loved and hugged.  Now that I'm a mother of four, I understand that most of those activities probably were taking place at the same time.

For instance on a typical evening, dinner preparation goes like this:
  • Wash my hands.
  • Take the chicken out of the freezer to defrost.  
  • Wash my hands.
  • While the chicken defrosts, help a child go to the bathroom.  
  • Wash my hands.
  • Pat the chicken dry, place it in the pan.  
  • Wash my hands.
  • Help another child go to the bathroom.  
  • Wash my hands.
  • Cut up the vegetables.  
  • Wash my hands.
  • Help a child with her homework.
  • Wipe a nose.
  • Wash my hands.
  • Work on dinner some more.
  • Wash my hands, and pick up the fussing baby.
  • Return to cooking while holding the baby.  She spits up all over me.
  • Clean off my shirt, but don't change it. Changing it would only invite more spit up.
  • Wash my hands.
  • Someone else is hurt and crying.  Kiss it, put a bandaid on it.
  • Wash my hands.
  • The first child has to go to the bathroom again.  Help her out.
  • Wash my hands.
That's eleven (ELEVEN!) hand washings and I haven't even gotten dinner on the table.  No amount of lotion can keep up with that.  Add in breastfeeding sucking every bit of moisture it can out of my body, and my hands are even drier.  Plus baths and dishes and gardening and laundry and life.

My nails keep getting shorter, too.  For one thing, they are dry.  For another, with everything I have to open, every sticker I have to scratch off of somewhere it doesn't belong, every orange I peel, my nails split a little more.  It's not even worth trying to grow them.  And painting them, hah!  One sink of dishes and my manicure is ruined. 

My nightstand is filled with various potions.  I often sleep with thick ointment and gloves on when my hands start snagging delicate fabrics.  But  most of the time, I'm really okay with having mom hands.  I earned them.  And I have 4 daughters with beautiful hands.


Janelle Southern said...

My hands aren't that dry, but they've seen their share of Momminess. At least two of my fingernails split during the last few years and have to be kept filed short or they tear horribly. I have callouses peeling skin off in places I cannot even remember touching things! I do still like to paint my nails though :) I have only resurrected nail polish recently (with young children in the house it's just BEGGING for trouble, and it's darn near impossible to scrub nail polish off vertical surfaces). I discovered a diy shellac nail kit at WalMart. It was $50 (SensatioNail) including the led curing lamp and all the bits. It took a little getting used to, but I had it so I could polish my nails and it STAYED! I had flawless nails for weeks at a time! Then I ran out of the polish. New colors are $10 -- a ton cheaper than a manicure, but I'm a cheapskate so it's waiting until I can squeeze it out of the grocery budget some week.... or some time when I get hubs feeling sorry for me ;)

Jenny said...

Yes!! Chris has made fun of me on multiple occasions for wearing gloves to bed. ha.

Katie B. said...

My hands aren't there yet - I become a full-time momma on Monday so soon they will be, but my poor knees are so calloused as are the tops of my feet. Nobody told me about "playroom knees".

Sandy said...

My hands are in terrible shape these days...and I'm afraid it's just a matter of time before they get wrinkly, too. Ugh. I usually don't notice until I'm sitting in church, though - maybe its the fact that its my one day a week to dress up and do my make-up that makes the rough hands stick out more :) I applaud you for your attitude!

The Bunker Family said...

Ditto the velcro hands. They also smell like onions a lot.