Today, while on a walk, a friend and I were asked if we run an at-home day care.
We each have four children.
Earlier this week, while playing at a nature center, I was told that I’m, “like the old lady who lived in a shoe.” You know the one… “had so many children she didn’t know what to do.” So much humor. Many laughs.
Let me reiterate: I have four children. Four. Also, these comments were just the ones that stuck out this week. I’m told on a daily basis how full my hands are. So many people are concerned with the fullness of my hands. They’re just so incredibly thoughtful.
I honestly don’t consider four to be that many kids. I mean, I realize it’s above average, but I’m not a Duggar, y’all. And even if I did have a “large” family, THOSE KINDS OF COMMENTS ARE NEVER HELPFUL. Zero times have comments on my family size ever made me or my kids feel anything but negative, judged, icky, gross, less than, or in the way. It is never appropriate or helpful to make those kinds of comments. Nev-errrrr.
And I feel like this conversation has been had over and over and over. I could list and link and count a bajillion (yes, exact number) examples, personal experiences, blog posts, instagram stories, tweets, etc, etc, etc, discussing how very inappropriate these kinds of comments are. And yet, the comments keep coming. Like a thoughtlessly asinine lava flow of verbal diarrhea, they just keep on a-comin’.
The friend I was walking with today metioned that a gentleman at church saw her last week and said, “You look so much better! I guess you guys are all done, now!” I couldn’t even pick my jaw up off the ground if I wanted to. She looks better than what?? Than the gorgeous life-bearing goddess she is and always has been? Gracious, I was riled by that. Very, very riled.
This all falls under the umbrella of “people are insensitive and judgemental and they say dumb things.” Okay, okay, I get that. I totally understand how difficult it is to communicate with strangers without first considering how my words may make them feel. I know how hard it is to keep my opinions to myself, especially since I’m always right and it’s my personal duty to let people know that their sex lives and baby spacing methods are just not normal, nor are they acceptable, thankyouverymuch. I know how difficult it is to choose between a negative, judgemental comment and one that is encouraging and uplifting. Such a tough call to make.
I see the struggle, y’all, so I’ve compiled this helpful list of possible talking points for folks who *gasp!* encounter families of more than 2.5 children. Please enjoy.
- “What a beautiful family you have! I bet you have so much fun together!”
- “You’re doing such hard, important work…I know it must be challenging sometimes, but it looks like you’re doing really well!”
- “Thank you for bringing your kids to the nature center/library/church. It’s so nice to see families learning together!”
- “Hey, there. May I entertain your toddler while you get those groceries onto the belt?”
- “I just love seeing energetic children exploring the world. Have a great adventure!”
- “Children are such a gift. Speaking of gifts, all of your children must be gifted because they’re clearly all Mensa material!”
- “You are a magical unicorn beast of womanly power and beauty. Thank you for raising strong humans to take care of us all in our old age!”
All snark and sarcasm aside, can we just be nice humans already?? This obviously doesn’t apply only to family size conversations. It’s applicable to families with brand new babies, families who look like they’ve possibly adopted or are doing the beautiful work of foster care. It applies to literally any human in any situation, not just in motherhood/child bearing circles.
Please hear this: It is more important to be kind than to be right. It is more to be kind than to have your curiosity satiated. It is more important to be kind than even the teensiest bit judgemental.
It is more important to be kind.
And just like I tell my huuuuuuge family of four children, if you can’t be kind, be quiet.