if you can’t say something nice {GUEST POST by Jenny Ramsey}

What I wish other people knew my choice to have children #motherhood #parenthood #bigfamilies // bring-joy.com

 

As a mother of more than two children who are not at least four years apart in age, I have grown pretty accustomed to getting comments regarding my family whenever we go out in public.

I’ve talked about this, I know. It’s nothing new. And it’s nothing unique.

If you have three children, “you have your hands full.”

If you have two children who are not separated by half a decade, your hands are full.

If you have four children, you obviously don’t know what causes pregnancy.

(It’s sex, by the way, in case you have four children and you didn’t know. You can stop having kids now, I’ve solved the mystery. Enjoy sex too much? Never fear, evidently the solution is to buy a television.)

I’ve said this before too, most of the time these comments don’t bother me. In fact it’s sort of become a game. I reward myself with treats for every silly comment or question I get.

I have perfected my list of comebacks for the most frequent remarks.

“Are they all yours?”

“All except the brunettes.”

“Do you know what causes that?”

“Lemonade.”

“Are you having more?”

“Thanks for reminding me, I’m late to meet my husband.”

I’ve been responding to questions about my family size, structure and planning for so long, I could probably do it in my sleep…if I ever got any.

It’s pretty rare for anything to surprise me or offend me. If anything, I’m just jealous that anyone would have the presence of mind to notice other people and their kids in the grocery store. The fact that they can take the time to add my children is, in and of itself, impressive.

But every once in a while, it happens.

Someone says something that leaves me speechless.

This happened to me the other day.

I had the four youngest with me, the three boys and our new baby girl. I have had plenty of comments lately about how exciting it must be to finally have a girl. I get it. Everyone thinks that’s ideal, having both genders. And I’ll be honest, it is fun. I love having a girl. Those comments don’t bug me.

The other day, however, as I was walking out of the store with the three boys and baby girl in the car seat, a lady stopped me and said, “Three boys! What do you have in the car seat?”

I told her it was a girl.

A look of relief washed over her as she looked me right in the eyes, in front of my sons, and said, “Thank God.”

For the first time in a long time, I had no comeback, no witty rebuttal. I was speechless.

My jaw literally fell open and I stared for a moment before simply turning and walking away.

By the time I got to my van, the back of my throat was burning and tears were filling in my eyes.

I wanted to go back and find her and tell her all the things going through my mind, the good, the bad, the ugly. I wanted to scold her.

How dare she say that to me in front of my sons.

Who on Earth did she think she was?

I wanted to hug her and cry on her shoulder and stick a bar of Ivory soap in her mouth all at the same time.

I didn’t go back to find her. I loaded up my babies and I drove home.

But if I could write her a letter and send it to her, here’s what I wish I could have told her that day.

 

Dear stranger at the grocery store,

 

3 things I wish you knew about my choice to have children:

  1. I do thank God, every single day.

    I thank Him for my precious baby girl and for her six amazing siblings on Earth, and for her big brothers in Heaven and her incredible dad.

    I thank Him for my family with every breath I take. I thank Him that I have the opportunity to be a mother, that I was able to conceive and bear children with my own body and that I have had the awesome privilege of creating a family with my husband.

    I don’t give extra thanks for my daughters. I give extra thanks for health, for kindness and occasionally for good sleep. Sleep doesn’t care about gender. Neither do I.

  2. My boys are not the dirt I had to dig through to get to the buried treasure.

    I didn’t have another baby so I could “finally get to the good stuff.”

    I got pregnant knowing (and expecting) that the baby could be a boy. Were we excited to have a girl? Of course we were. But please, please don’t mistake that excitement for relief.

    There is nothing, I repeat, nothing about a healthy baby that I don’t celebrate.

  3. Children hear you. Did you realize that?

My little boys with the dirt in their hair and sandals on the wrong feet are listening. They hear you saying that they are somehow inferior because they are boys or because they were born first or because they share a gender with a majority of their siblings.

You want these boys to grow into men who will respect and treasure women but you just told them they aren’t special because they are boys.

How can you ever demand the respect from them when you don’t show it? I know you’d probably say the same things if I had three girls in a row. It wouldn’t be true then either. Children are a gift and every last one of them is precious and worthy of love.

I have had some time to calm down and collect myself.

I’m not angry at you anymore. I am not upset or hurt.

I do, however, now have a bar of Ivory soap hanging out in my diaper bag. Make another remark like that in front of my children and it’s going straight into the upper opening of your digestive tract.

Other posts by Jenny:

 

Other bring joy posts you might want to check out:


 

Jenny is a wife, mom and self-proclaimed vampire expert.jenny

If she's not scraping children off the ceiling or smooching her hubby, she's probably curled up with a tub of Blue Bell Lemon Bliss ice cream and a book (not the enlightening kind but the swoony, immature, urban fantasy kind).

She is passionate about motherhood, her family, her church & chocolate. She currently resides in Richmond, Virginia with her crazy family, a bearded rabbit & a very lazy cat.

Comments


  1. Unisonbiomed
    on May 19, 2015 at 1:56 am said:

    Thanks for this,also i welcome everyone to our motivational health & fitness.

  2. Amanda K.
    on May 8, 2015 at 9:14 pm said:

    well said. i usually go to the grocery store to get food, but since i had kids i realize that some people go to the grocery store to say rude things to strangers.
    at 39+ weeks pregnant i’m a magnet for rude comments. it’s hilarious, insulting, shocking. people just don’t think.
    xo

  3. Cadry
    on May 8, 2015 at 10:38 am said:

    What a terrible thing to say, especially in front of your sons! I can see why it totally took your breath away and left you speechless.

    I am often flabbergasted by the openness with which people will share their judgement of other people’s choices. I am childless by choice, and like you, I’ve been subject to other people’s disapproval. There’s been everything from dismissal, “You’ll change your mind.” (I didn’t realize they knew me so much better than I know myself.) All the way up to hostility, “You’re so selfish!” So from an unlikely source, you have my empathy. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Jenny! It was a really interesting read.

    • Jenny Ramsey
      on May 8, 2015 at 11:55 am said:

      Thank you, Cadry!
      I feel like most people mean well but every once in a while…well… 😉

    • Janae Wise
      on May 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm said:

      “So from an unlikely source, you have my empathy.”
      I love this. I appreciate you bringing up the point that we all need to be more understanding & empathetic towards one another. We all have a different path in life, with different backgrounds, talents, & aspirations, & we need to acknowledge our differences but focus on the things that bring us together. And support each other in our choices. Honestly, most times, I would just love more support! Even if it’s nothing more than a smile or kind word from strangers, when I’m overwhelmed with my kids that little act of kindness means so much.

      Regarding the choice to be childless, I find it a fascinating one. Coming from a huge family & now surrounded by my own brood, not having children is a foreign concept to me, but one that I’d love to get your perspective on if you don’t mind sharing. I’d love to know some of the main contributing factors towards your decision & why it’s a good fit for you & your husband. Certainly one need not be a parent to love children or others, so I’d just love to know more about your lifestyle, if you feel like sharing! From what I know about you via your blog, you strike me as a very gentle, kind, & compassionate soul. Love that you’re sharing your goodness with others. xo