~Clairee Belcher, Steel Magnolias
It's time we had a talk. Again. And maybe this talk isn't necessarily for YOU, but I'm sure it could be beneficial to someone you know. So feel free to recommend this post to others. It is my mission, after all, to educate the public on what NOT to say to us Mothers.
I. YOU'VE GOT YOUR HANDS FULL!
If you see a mother, with any amount of children, the words, "You've got your hands full." are unappreciated. Because here's the thing... WE KNOW. And chances are, even if the little monkeys are hanging upside down from the side of the shopping cart, pleading for extra boxes of sugar-filled cereals, we Mommas may feel that our hands are full. But not nearly as full as our hearts. So back off. If you feel compelled to comment in such a situation, "Bless your heart." or "Hang in there." (with a sympathetic smile on your face) would be the better way to go.
II. Y'ALL DO KNOW WHAT'S CAUSING THIS, DON'T YOU??
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's just not funny. And by the way, we DO know what's causing this. That's our problem. We LOVE doing it. If you feel compelled to comment on this subject, DON'T.
III. YOU'VE GOT FIVE KIDS?? BUT YOU LOOK SO NORMAL!!
"Thanks. Hey, could you help me find my other three sister-wives?? Our husband dropped us off an hour ago, and said he'd be right back, after he got the oil changed on our school bus that we use, since there are 27 children between the four of us. I must have gotten left behind while I was nursing my three-eyed baby. HELP ME!!!"
Seriously though, that comment gets made all. the. freakin'. time. It happened again, just last week. It really irks me the most when said in front of my children. As if, something is wrong with there being FIVE of them. Okay, so five may seem like a lot to some folks. But here's the thing, those of us with large families don't see our kids as a NUMBER. They're all super fun, super neat, super awesome kids with completely different personalities. So lay off the whole number thing. Which leads me to my next one....
IV. YOU'VE GOT FOUR BOYS??? BETTER YOU THAN ME!
"Yep. My kids would agree." I've actually said that one. Because it's true.
V. YOU LOOK GOOD TO HAVE FIVE KIDS.
"Awww, thank-you. But what if I only had one kid?? Would I look good then?? No?? I mean, what is it exactly about my body that shows those five kids?? The fact that I'm 30 lbs over weight, or the permanent bags under my eyes??" My suggestion with this comment, is stop with, "You look good!" or comment on my cute diaper bag, (compliments of my Momma). Otherwise, I'm going to walk away feeling chubby and calling you a liar.
VI. HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT HOW YOU'LL PUT THEM THROUGH COLLEGE?
"Why, are you interested in making a donation??" I've said that before, too. You wouldn't believe how many total strangers have commented on college tuition these days. First of all, that's none of your business. Period. Second, Bert and I both went to college. That's where we met. So duh, we're kinda aware that such a place does exist. So unless you would like to offer us a scholarship, don't worry about it.
VII. ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE MORE??
Hmmm. Where do I even start. Again, it's just none of your business. And this goes for every woman, kids or no kids yet. I have friends who would love to have more, but are dealing with fertility issues. So to them, it's a constant reminder that things aren't working out as planned. For me, it's a constant reminder that people are too dadgum nosy. So if you're wondering, just wait about nine months. If you see her nursing a new baby, she was planning to have more. Which brings me to my next one...
VIII. DID YOU BREASTFEED THEM ALL??
"Yep. Wanna see my battle wounds?" Truth is, I did breast feed all my kids. But, it's not something I pride myself on. A fed baby is a healthy, happy baby. That's all that matters. I hated breastfeeding. Mainly, I did it because it was FREE, and sometimes convenient (read: when we were at home). I breastfed all of them for different periods of time. Some kids got cut off after only a few weeks, others longer. Hail was the only one who made it a whole year. And only because he REFUSED bottles, and could nurse on both sides in less than eight minutes, plus he didn't cut any teeth until he was 13 months old. So, it wasn't too bad with him. And honestly, he's the CRAZIEST one of the bunch, so if we were a case study, (and we probably should be for many different reasons) one might conclude that breastfeeding exclusively for that amount of time did not get the intended results. And NO, I don't have any regrets, nor do I feel guilty over any of their feeding situations. They are ALL healthy, thriving, happy, intelligent children. And if I had it to do over, I wouldn't change a single thing. Well, not where breastfeeding is concerned.
IX. DID YOU MEAN TO HAVE THEM ALL SO CLOSE??
"No. We don't know how this keeps happening." Okay, so truth is, I'm fertile myrtle. Some were expected a little more than others. And again, if we had it to do over, we wouldn't change a single thing. Obviously. So, just don't ask about that.
X. YOU'VE ONLY GOT ONE GIRL?? I'M SO SORRY.
"I'm NOT!" Idiot. This one upsets me for two reasons. A.) Her Highness has no idea that she's missing out by not having a sister. Please quit reminding her that her life could be incomplete. Granted, I have two sisters that I love deeply and adore. But in life, all you know is what you know. So, reminding Her Highness that she doesn't have a sister is like reminding me that I'm not a millionaire. There's really no point. Because I'll never be. And she'll (most likely) never have a sister. And both of those reminders could make us sad, so stop it.
B.)This one really upsets me when said in front of my boys. I do realize that while they may be covered in dirt, wrestling in the floor over the last stick of gum found while plundering through my diaper bag, or laughing hysterically over the fact that one of them just "Pooted and it weally weally 'tinks!" those crazy, zany boys are still MY boys. And though they may embarrass the mess out of me at the grocery store/church/school/park/restaurant/sister's dance recital/pool/playdate/office/birthday party/ball field/and everywhere else we ever go, I could never love them any more than I do. I would literally kill for them. And may, if these ignorant comments don't stop.
So, it's your civic duty. Please inform all the socially inept people of the world. So I don't end up in a state penitentiary... Where I would live in a secluded cell, with only a bed and one toilet to clean... and might actually get to sleep through the night... and eat without cutting up other people's meat... and only one outfit to wash and fold... and... hmmm... wait, what? Oh, ummm, yes, please feel free to refer any/everyone you know that might could use this reminder: If you don't have anything nice to say, go sit by Clairee. Us mothers don't have time for it.
Note: These can apply to a Momma of ANY number of children. Five is just the number I have. So, if you've been referred here by a friend, please make a mental note that saying these things to ANY MOTHER is unappreciated.