I have three children under four years of age. Throw in the fact that I am a stay-at-home mom, and LIKE IT, the reactions I get from others range from minimal shock to full on confusion.
I have three younger siblings and growing up, I never felt out of place or thought that our family was large. I was in grade school when I realized for the first time, that for some people, four children is one too many.
One day my mom went to get a haircut and took me with her. While at the salon, my mother got pulled into a conversation with the lady sitting next to her. When it came out that my mom was at home with four littles, the lady’s disbelief and shocked expression startled me. I remember feeling a little embarrassed but not knowing why. The lady proceeded to make it known that she could never have more than one child.
Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I get to experience the world of not so helpful comments from strangers while out with my kids. Some of the things said have been unnecessary or hurtful while others bring humor to my day. I also walk away with a good story to share with my girlfriends. Here are a few of my favorites:
Are they ALL yours?? Nope, mine are in the car. These guys are just extras because I loooove kids!
Sure do have your hands full! Yes. Yes, I do.
How do you get anything done? How do you get anything done?
Did you have them all on purpose?? One of my personal favorites.
Do you ever leave the house? No, I stay home all day in yoga pants…because seriously, there are people out there that think yoga pants when they hear the title “stay-at-home mom.”
Do you want more?? Yes…No?..Maybe?
I don’t want to be mean. I know that in passing, I can say silly things that turn into terrible conversation”fillers.” However, I’m just not sure how to respond to some of the comments regarding the number of children I have when out in public.
I have three girlfriends that I see and talk to regularly. Between the four of us, there are twelve children ranging between 8 years old and 9 months old. We joke around about how hilarious it would be to all go grocery shopping together and make it look like the most natural, every day occurrence.
A couple of weeks ago I met up with a girlfriend for coffee. Her name is Becky and she paves the way in number of children with her four kids. We met at Lazy Jane’s which is an adorable old house turned coffee shop/restaurant on the east side of town. After ordering scones and our coffees, we counted up the littles, making sure to not misplace one. We made our way up to the kid friendly area that included a comfy couch and adorable vintage books and toys.
As we were getting situated at a table, a woman sitting in the corner motioned for me to come over. “Excuse me, ma’am, are you a day care?” The man sitting next to her had his gaze locked in at the crew of children behind me. It might be helpful for me to note that Becky’s and my littles can be very passionate, loud and high energy. I don’t blame anyone for staring at our small circus.
Because it was obvious that she was sincerely asking, I tried not to laugh out loud at her question or make her feel silly for asking, so I smiled and said, “Umm, no, they belong to my friend and me.”
The woman slapped her hand on the table as if to celebrate winning the bet that they must have made seconds before. “See! I told you!” The man next to her slowly shook his head and muttered out, “Amazing.”
Everybody has a different story that explains the number of children they do or do not have. For many, the stories can be filled with pain or frustration in long seasons of trying to build a family. Other stories seem effortless and fruitful in number. Remember to take time to listen without judging and try loving a mom well whether she has one child or twelve, because whatever the number, kids bring crazy to a whole other level.
Maybe we could all work on coming up with some more tactful conversation fillers? Just a thought.
Three is the new crazy, y’all.