Four months ago, my husband and I welcomed our third child. Since then, I have been surprised to learn that apparently, this is some kind of outrageous feat. I grew up with three siblings, and many of my friends came from large families as well. I never considered having more than two children unusual. And yet, I can’t leave my house with children in tow without hearing at least one of these statements. Please read carefully and commit to memory, so that you never utter one of these thoughts to a mother (or father) who is out and about with multiple kids. We’re busy enough with three kids. We don’t need to talk to you about how we have three kids.
1. Looks like you have your hands full!
What gave that away? The screaming baby? The toddler who repeatedly throws items out of the grocery cart? The seven year old who keeps wandering off, when she isn’t taunting her brother with her freedom to walk rather than ride? Is it the double stroller, diaper bag, purse, phone, coffee cup and keys I’m juggling? Is it the unshaven legs and t-shirt with oatmeal crusted to it? Here’s how this works: either help me carry something, or shut up. Preferably, shut up.
2. You’ve certainly been busy!
Busy baby making? Because that’s a really invasive and uncomfortable thing to say to a complete stranger. Why yes, Random Lady In The Mall Parking Lot, yes, we have been! We make hot, sweet love every chance we get! We are absolute animals in the bedroom, my husband of nine years and I. You wouldn’t believe the shenanigans we get up to!
3. You look great for having three kids.
Thanks? First, please don’t comment on a stranger’s body, ever. Second, don’t tack on qualifiers to your compliments. Third, the way I look is not a reflection of something I have overcome. My body’s ability to stretch and expand and make life and recover is my own intensely unique and private journey. It does not require your approval, appreciation or commentary. Finally, I am 33 and have three kids, and I weigh 108 lbs four months post partum, so suck it. I don’t look great for having three kids. I look great. Full stop.
4. Enjoy it now. They won’t be small forever.
I already think about this at least 37 times a day. Our ability to know a thing and separately, simultaneously, feel another thing is something distinctly human. I am allowed to get frustrated with my children and my life. It does not detract from my mothering, nor does it mean I take these days for granted.
5. I hope your husband helps out.
Seriously? 1965 called. It wants its mentality back. My husband is a stay-at-home-dad, while I work long hours at an integrated marketing agency an hour from where we live. He wears the baby in a Moby wrap, cuts the grass with a manual push mower while the kids play in a paddling pool, takes our oldest daughter to dance and acting classes each week, knows how to get piss and shit out of the carpet way better than I do. And, he makes a mean lasagna. He hopes I help out, thank you very much.
6. You look tired.
Do I? Do I??