This week's Large family topic at Chris' and Carmen's is comments and rude people. This is something parents of large families could go ON and ON about. I decided to join in on the fun for once.
I've noticed I've gone through phases in terms of dealing with comments. There was the frustrated period...this was generally when I had 4-6 kids and they were all little. I had to bring them everywhere and we WERE quite an eyeful. I also didn't really have tons of time to chitchat or placate someone who made comments...After all I had ALL these kids to take keep herded and take care of.
Then came the amused phase. I think this came about because I myself felt more confident in my choices and family dynamics. So "digs" didn't undermine my self-esteem (for lack of a better word ATM). This started when the 6th or 7th baby came along.
Now I've added in indifference. I've btdt WAY too long! There aren't many comments I haven't heard before. Also with the kids older I'm not such a spectacle anymore. Either we're not out all together much or it looks like there's more then one family making up the group. (yes, my older kids look like they could be the parents of my little ones!) I admit I tend to slip back into the former phases occassionally, mostly amused. Oh yeah and we can't forget appreciative but these mostly refer to the comments about how young or good I look. ;o)
Now we'll delve into all those comments floating out there...the common, the rude, the nice, and the newest type.
You have your hands full...My answer...If you only knew! (it's true because I usually only have a few kids with me. Makes the person feel good that they noticed. It also leaves it open to more conversation if I feel like it).
How do you do it?...I don't! or You obviously have never seen my house. (has to be said with a wink and a smile)
Do they all have the same father...my answer...usually just say yes while inside my head I think....What a sad commentary on society. (This is why I don't add this to the rude section...it's more sad then rude)
OH GOD! I'd SHOOT myself if I had that many kids! (said infront of my kids by a store clerk...I pick this for the rudest/most upsetting one)
Are all these kids your's...Yes...You must have a GREAT sex life. Your husband is a lucky man. (said by a biker looking guy...infront of my kids!...while standing in the grocery store checkout. See below for a PS on this.)
I wish you were my wife. (This isn't as rude as it was creepy since it was uttered by my OB while he was doing my initial internal exam for pg #5...I know he was just jealous and had terrible timing lol)
I thought we were the only white people to have that many kids anymore (said by a caucasian father of 10 who was purchasing our old van. No I did NOT try to strike up a friendnship with him and his wife thankyouverymuch).
Tell Tom to put a cork in it! (rude only because it came from a cousin when I was pg with #3. I've since determined she's JEALOUS..she has/had a crush on Tom)
Your children are so well behaved (first reaction is to look around to make sure they are talking to me and about MY children lol)
You look too young to have 11 children. (have to restrain myself from kissing them. Funny that there was a time when I didn't appreciate this comment)
You look good/great for having 11 children (have to admit I wonder if they'd think I looked terrible if I only had 2...how is a mom to 11 kids suppose to look anyways?)
You are so blessed! (YES I AM!)
This one is also the hardest to deal or know how to deal with...the unbeliever. They are the ones who insist you are joking or lying to them. Generally they only think it for a second and then go on to letting their jaw drop to the floor. The absolute worst time goes something like this....
Store clerk...You have 11 children!?!?!
You're pulling my leg right?
Nope, I really have 11 kids.
No, you're lying. You can't have 11 kids. No one has 11 kids.
Well I do
I know you're lying!
No, I'm not.
Come on! You can admit it. You're just trying to fool me right?
No, I'm not. I really have 11 kids.
Hey so and so(co-workers in the adjacent checkouts)...this lady says she has 11 kids. Can you believe that?! There's no way she has 11 kids. Have you ever heard of anyone having 11 kids?
The co-workers murmur responses, trying not to get involved...looking apologetic. Customers in their lines are now fully drawn into the drama. I'm left wishing I had a family picture to whip out...or that I could just leave the groceries where they are and disappear.
As I finish and start to leave I can still hear her standing at her register going on and on about it. If I wasn't so wiped out from shopping for hours and just wanted to get home...I might've talked to her supervisor.
PS Tom often heard/hears comments about our family size at work. Most of them are geared around sex. Tom came home one day after #3 was born and told me he got them! They were talking about all the sex he must have to have so many kids so close together. Tom looked at them innocently and said. Nope! We've only done it once! Kim says I'm so good that's all it took! And he's stuck to that story even 21yrs later when he told them we were expecting #11.