Friday, August 7, 2015

When You Feel Targeted For Having a Big Family

Here is a little snapshot of the commentary I've received from strangers recently.... And before I give some examples, I have to say this: No, no, no, no, NO!...  just because you're from the South/in the South doesn't mean everyone is POLITE, it just means they're "Friendly"-- which doesn't always mean nice! ;)  I have to say that I haven't always had this awareness.   But living in Maryland for 7 1/2 years meant that I didn't have to put up with unkind commentary all the time, because people simply aren't as "friendly" up there.  However, I also didn't have four kids plus a belly, so... there's that. :/

As I'm wheeling my cart out of Publix with my kiddos, an old man notices my pregnant belly: "Just what you need.. one more!"

A buuuuunch of elderly people passing us in the mall as we eat pretzels as a family for an early lunch/late morning snack: "And you're having another one?!"

An unkind-looking woman in Barnes &Noble recently (and many, many other people in my past): "Are you running a daycare?"

Every other person that I might happen to pass/cashiers who check us out/people in public restrooms/gas stations/elevators: .......... drumroll please:  "You've got your hands full!" or most recently, "You've got your HANDS full, girl!"

(this one was actually very nice;)
A woman at Disney World, noticing my belly and my kiddos as I climb the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse: "Wow... I don't know how you do it. You have such a beautiful family! I'm so impressed!"

Friendly stranger in the grocery store check-out line: "Wow- how do you handle all of them?"


Me (struggling with the heat/third trimester hormones/huge belly and big gaggle of children): In response to "Just what you need, one more!".... "I know, RIGHT?!" ((thinking: UGH DID YOU KNOW THAT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS TOTALLY RUDE?))

Me (Despairing over my children's behavior in public being embarrassing once again): "You've got your hands full!!!!"  .... "Um, thank you?" ((thinking: UGH DID YOU KNOW THAT EVVVVVVVERYONE SAYS THAT AND IT'S AN UTTER CLICHE?))

Me: in response to "Are you running a daycare?"    .... "????????" ((thinking: Tacy, just stop, take a deep breath, and walk away sloooooooowly)).

Rules of Conduct :

~ Do NOT (ever, ever, ever) make a rude comment to a woman with many kids and one on the way. She has no response for those types of comments, it hurts every time, and if you were wondering if it totally defeats her mood and deflates her spirit, you were right! It does! {Don't be a hater.}

~ Do NOT tell a woman with many kids and one on the way that her hands are full. Not only does she already know that, and she doesn't need you to "let her know" again, she is probably so very tired of hearing that from strangers, especially those who think they're being friendly and who expect some kind of friendly response in return. If you don't have a lot of kids : Consider: a woman with a lot of kids and a pregnant belly hears the phrase that you just uttered 300 times in one visit out to Target/The Mall/The Grocery Store/Office Max/Office Depot/The Post Office/Everywhere/Wherever.

~ If you say something (anything), be like the lady from my #5. "WOW! You have such a beautiful family! I'm so impressed. How do you do it?" is sooooo very appreciated by tired, worn out Moms (and no I'm not just physically worn out!  I'm tired of fielding questions like "How much longer have you got?" and tired trying to figure out how to answer the question "And you're having another one?";)

I've been trying to find out how others handle these types of situations... because obviously I'm not very good at it... :/

~ My cousin Dottie, who has six kids and always gets comments from strangers and just says: "I always wanted a big family!"

~ My friend Kristi from my parish, who has five always says: "I've always wanted full hands!"

~ And my personal favorite, a woman in my neighborhood who has a lot of kids says, "We never have a shortage of hands!"

And that, my friends, sums up your life when you are expecting your fifth, and you still attempt to go out in public..... (Liiiiiike I said, I feel targeted.... but I'm trying....really hard.;)

adding my link to 7 Quick Takes 


Rochelle said...

I hear you. A laugh and grin usually deters them... :) I think they must think either I'm crazy, or if I'm happy it must not be *that* bad. :D "The more the merrier!" And "It's a party! Sometimes a crazy party, but we have a lot of fun." Both seem to work well.

After my 4th was born and they were 6/4/2/new lots of people started asking if we were having more and of course that is totally inappropriate and none of their business, but I felt the need to keep it baby was born in August so for the rest of the year, and then starting again in March I would grin and reply, "Not this year!" That always got a chuckle and left everybody smiling. ;) I think most people are incredulous and think we must be miserable, so proving them wrong is key.

I just think the staring and comments are an opportunity to witness the love our family has and God's blessing that many people eschew.

Love your bigger family!

Tacy said...

Yes! I love it~ Leave them laughing. Let it be known that this post was borne out of a conversation I was having with my Mom a few weeks ago. About how I was struggling with hormonal emotions in this third trimester, and normally I'm much better at bouncing back - especially like you are saying. :-)

Jenny Cook said...

I love your cousin's response. It's honest and cheerful. I mostly get the "you have your hands full" one out in public. Thankfully at church we seem to have the luck of sitting near older couples who always tell us how beautiful our family is, which is nice.
I agree that the "family planning" questions are the most meddlesome. When Max was a baby, we got many people who said, "Oh, now you have your girl and your boy!" as if to say that we could "be done" without missing out on the full experience. To me it felt like some kind of indictment, especially when I became pregnant with Ben. Kind of like people saying, "Oh, you have a Washer AND a Dryer! What more could you need?" Well...they aren't appliances and it's not like getting another boy is like getting another washing machine. Kids can't be duplicated, no matter how many of the same sex you end up having. Sigh.
And yes, now we frequently get the hesitant question, "So...are you guys wanting to have more?" All I can truthfully say is, "Yes, someday." Which is probably all they need to know and perhaps more than they have a right to! ;)

Margaret said...

Never can believe it when people ask if they (I'm a grandma/aunt) will have / want more. How about, "We'll see!" for an answer? Or could launch a conversation about providence and sovereignty.

Karyn said...

When people ask if we're having more, I usually say, "We'll see what God sends. How about you, are you done yet?" I don't know if they get flustered by the mention of God or by having their question turned back on them....