For all those older, wiser folk who stop me in the store

October 29, 2014 at 11:40 pm Leave a comment

There are a few categories of  comments to people with young kids get at the store.  The first and most frequent comment is… wait for it… everyone together now:

1. “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!”

Frequency: Daily

Number of kids required for comment: 1 +

Tone in which people say it: ranges from friendly to utter disgust

I know (about half of you) mean well by this comment, but please, stop.

 

This one is meant well but is just irksome:

2. “Enjoy them while they are young! It goes by so fast!”

Frequency: 2-3 times a week

Number of kids for comment: 1+

Tone in which people say it: Friendly

I know you miss those years but your comment only makes the ragged mom feel more guilt. Or lately I feel like saying “I am thank you.” I really DO feel like I am enjoying them as much as I can. We have great times together and with homeschool we are learning and sharing together ALL. THE. TIME. So comments like that makes me want to say “you don’t KNOW me, do you really think I want your advice?” I know I’m in the wrong for taking it in a pushy way and wanting to push back, but it happens all the same.

 

The next one is not as frequent and somehow always takes me a few moments to process, it’s something the the effect of:

3. “How much for one of them? Didn’t know they were selling those here, where can I get one?”

Frequency: bi-weekly

Number of kids required for comment: 1+

Tone in which people say it: Friendly

Since I have something that is actually for sale at the store active in my brain, when someone says this I automatically think something like “Sure they sell bread here, what in the world are you talking about…. Oh you mean my kids… I have no idea how to respond to this comment, just courtesy laugh and move away from the person, JUST IN CASE they are serious about wanting to by one.”

 

You know you have graduated to the next level of big family when you start getting this doozy:

4.”Are they all yours?”

Frequency: weekly

Number of kids for comment: 4 + (I don’t remember getting this one with three kids but I may be wrong)

Tone in which people say it: shock

I actually feel pride when I say “yep they are!” Even when it is said with a less-than-well-meaning tone.

 

The next one requires no words at all

5. The “Don’t you know what causes that?” judgy stare down as you walk by

Frequency: 2-3 times a week

Number of kids for look: 4+

Tone: Rude

Yes I do and don’t you have something else better to do than judge me?

 

This is the one I actually LOVE and the reason I am writing this post today. This comes from specifically empty nesters or nearly empty nesters:

6. Oh I had “x” amount of kids and it was so wonderful, we used to… (insert brief story here)

Frequency: Maybe a few times a month

Number of kids for comments: 4 (for me)

Tone: Loving

People like this loved their family.  Maybe they soaked up every moment or maybe they wish they could have done more.  Either way, what they have in common is this: When they look at my family, they lovingly remember their own and it shines through their eyes.  They recharge me. They remind me that family is worth it and there is much joy to be had.

As a parent with young kids, it is easy to focus on the hard.  It can be REALLY HARD.  I don’t know if anyone else does this but often times, when I hear the word “hard,” I brush it off like it’s not so bad. Much like when doctor’s use the word “sore.”  I had a very small minor surgery about 7 years ago.  My first experience with surgery really,  and the doctor said, “Take some of this hydrocodone if you start to feel sore.”  What he should really have said is “Take this within the hour or you are going to be in excruciating pain for a half hour until it kicks in again.  “Sore” is a euphemism for excruciating pain. Before I had kids and someone would say “parenting is hard” what they really meant was, is it is going to put you over the edge in what you think you can handle.

My point is, when we are in the thick of it with young kids, it is easy to only see the hard part. It is easy to be discouraged (another euphemism people use I have discovered for “utterly hopeless and in the depths of despair, convinced you are the worst parent ever”) It takes effort to focus on the good.  It takes effort to encourage rather than reprimand.  It takes effort to choose love and communicate. In all this effort to mold a little person into a well rounded individual, it is exhausting and if done with humility, I believe,  all the edges on ourselves get knocked off too.  In the end you can become a loving, selfless, Christlike individual because of all that effort of trying to inspire others to be that way. So after the kids who put you through the ringer are gone, you become a wiser person who’s been though it and remembers “the good old days.” They were “hard” but they were good because they were work.  You love what you put effort into. If there is anything that requires blood sweat and tears, it is raising a family.

I believe these are the people that often stop me in Walmart when they see my gathering of little ones along with me.  The people who came out a better person because of the work that went into their own family.  I see the love in their eyes as they remember the precious days of having little ones and they often tell me a little snippet of what they miss.  They might squeeze my hand or touch a child on the head.  There is no judgement, no overused phrase thrown out to be interpreted however my mood wants to take it that day. Only love, and that is what I, or every mom needs. Love.

To the commenters who want to throw out a one liner, choose:

“Your doing a good job”

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Entry filed under: The Family, Wendy's Posts.

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