Visiting Salvation: Another Mom’s Treasure
Visiting Salvation is your story.
Today’s author is Laura: mother-of-two, swing-dancer, rummage-sale-manager and dreamer.
“You must be busy!”
As soon as she muttered, “yeah” and walked away, I knew I made a terrible mistake.
I was having a rummage sale and was making small talk with a 30-something lady as she purchased one of my toys. She told me, “I have six kids.” I blurted out those lousy words as I gave her her change. As soon as she turned away and muttered “yeah”, I knew I was one of way too many people who have told her that. Her “yeah” was definitely not one of resigned agreement. It was loaded with “yeah, I’ve heard that a million times but why does everyone have to say it, and fercryingoutloud can’t someone have six kids without people assuming that’s a horrible life???”
It really made me stop and think. While I decided that two kids was enough for me about two days after my second was born, there are women (and men) who are over the moon about the idea of a large family. While that sounds mortifying to me, she probably loves her life. Busy? You bet she is! But why does that have to be the first thing people reflect on? (I assume I’m not the only one). “You must be busy!” seems to imply that she didn’t understand what having six kids entailed and is now paying the consequences. Or that she can’t handle the busyness. Or she’s running amok, treading water until her six burdens leave home. Is being busy all she thinks about when reflecting on her family?
She was slender, she was out rummaging alone. Which implies that she takes care of herself and her kids can survive without her for an afternoon. She was calm and friendly, and probably leads a balanced life. I’ve decided that next time I meet someone with a large family I’m going to assume they are happy about it (instead of projecting my panicky feelings toward the issue onto them.) Maybe I’ll ask something like, “What’s it like to have a big family?” or even, “Wow, think of all the grandbabies you’ll have someday!” Maybe she’ll look at me and think, “hey, finally someone without an idiotic comment.”
I got a small taste of my own medicine at brunch on Father’s Day. My husband and I took our 3.5 year old and our 2-year-old out to eat. The waitress made the offhand comment, “Oh you’ve got your hands full.” And I immediately thought, “Not really, this is our standard routine. This is my status quo.” I don’t think of myself as having my hands full, just doing what I gotta do with two little ones. This is what I chose.
That lady was just doing what she’s gotta do with six. To each her own, eh?
Thank you so much Laura! I have been guilty of such comments (thanks to my fear of twins) so I’m going to take a page from your book and start assuming happiness comes in all family shapes and sizes. And then act on it!
I love reading your point of view on parenthood, fertility, birth, birds or how much candy is too much candy – if there is such a thing. If you’d like to Visit Salvation, erase my details, add yours and submit the form below. I will contact you with next steps immediately and with great enthusiasm!