I was motivated to write this post today because of a lovely comment I got while exchanging a belt for Mike (and then also picking up a cute $6 maternity top for moi) at Kohl's this morning. The checkout lady, obviously desperate for chit chat, notices my "Oh Baby!" top I'm buying and says, "So, how ya feeling today?" Me, not wanting to make small talk, because I legit didn't feel great, said, "Not great." She says, "Is it the heat or the baby?!" I said, "Probably both." She stops scanning items for a second, looks at me, and says, "I'm gonna guess you're due in December. Am I right?!!" I said, "February actually." She, clearly shocked, replies, "Oh wowwwww, that must be a big baby in there to be that big already!" I stare blankly at her and say, "Well, it's my third, so this isn't my first rodeo." She hands me my receipt and bag, and says as I'm headed towards the door, "So you're going to be big and busy! Haha! Take care." Gosh how much I wanted to flip her the bird for her small talk rudeness. But I resisted, and, once again, have taken to my blog here to vent.
So when we found out we were expecting #3 we were elated. SO EXCITED. Yes, we thought it may take a smidgen longer to happen since I was still nursing and my cycles were still all wonky (TMI, sorry. Not really.) but someone else had other plans and blessed us with another little one that we are THRILLED about.
I snagged this handy little chart from Grace over at Camp Patton and it is SO ACCURATE. I mean, SO ACCURATE.
Now, when we started telling people, the vast majority were very congratulatory and excited. Number 3! A tie-breaker for our already evenly-gendered family. However, some were more questioning our decision and albeit even shocked that we were (gasp!) having another kid when we already had one of each. AND having another one so close to our last at that. Lots of comments, not only about my early big size (as with the Kohl's checker above), but also our decision to have a third.
When I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned when I was almost 6 weeks along, the hygienist, upon seeing my patient history chart that I was expecting our third, said, "Ohhh wow. Was this a surprise?! You already have two so young; you're going to have your hands full. Are you going to quit and stay home now?!!" What.the.fuck. Excuse my language, as I tend to try and keep my blog here PG-13, but COME ON. Did you really just say that?! And when she did I got a huge pit in my stomach because it immediately occurred to me that THIS is the stigma of many in our country nowadays: more than 2 kids is no bueno. It must be an accident. And this wasn't the only such comment we got when we were sharing our news...we got many questioning, "Ohhhh, was this a surprise?!!" and "Oh man, a third...did you want this?!" Jeezus people. Even if it was a surprise or we weren't planning on it, that is NOT what you say to someone who just chose to share their exciting news with you that they're expecting again.
So, once again, just like I did last go'round with my 'Things not to say to a pregnant lady' post, I'm taking to my blog to vent my frustrations AND give you a glimpse into our world as to WHY WE WANTED this child. No, I don't feel like I need to justify myself to anyone, because, bottom line: our family, our decision, but I felt like I'd instead just give a little glimmer into our world and maybe, just maybe, if one of these thoughts crosses your mind to say to someone expecting their third (or heck, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc...) kid, you keep that thought to yourself and your trap shut.
"Wow. Another. I thought you were done since you had one of each."
Who on earth made the rule that having one of each gender was the 'ideal' family and you should stop there?! Yes, I feel very blessed and fortunate that we do have a boy and a girl, but that doesn't mean our family is complete and we are going to stop having kids. I'm sure if we had two of one gender people would be asking us if we are hoping #3 is a girl/boy (whatever we don't have) -- geez louise. Since when is having a baby all about filling a gender quota?!! I would be more than happy to only have all of one gender and whenever we felt like our family was complete, we'd be done and be happy with that, regardless if we have all boys, all girls, or a mix. We want a third because our family wants a third; we want to give our two kids a playmate (boy or girl! We don't care!) and that is that.
"Was this a surprise?!"
COME ON. This is a politely loaded question meaning, "Accident, huh?! Someone wasn't being careful and now you have a very expensive price to pay." This probably offended me the most when people asked it, and I'm sure they didn't mean it this way but it's how it came off. Um, no, this was not a surprise. I mean, yes, surprised as in with all of my kids (who all have been planned!) I was very surprised and shocked and excited when I got that positive pregnancy test, but not surprised in the least bit "that it happened." We were expecting it to happen soon, because, hellllllllooooo, we know how babies are made. No kids are surprises or accidents in my book: they all come when they are suppose to. Someone has a bigger plan than I do and I'm just living in His vision.
"Oh wow. You are going to be busy. You'll never sleep again."
First off, I have two kids. Two kids who are 23 months apart. I'm pretty sure I have a taste of what busy is like. I also work full time in addition to having my own photography business. I'm a pretty good time manager and organizer...and I can give most people who are "busy" a run for their money. I do know that throwing another kid just 22 months younger than my second in the mix will add a whole 'nother level of busy to my mix, but, guess what! I KNOW THIS. I knew this before I got pregnant and I know it now without you reminding me of it. Nothing makes me feel worse than when someone takes good news (another baby!) and fires back with negativity about how 'busy' it'll make me. And sleep?!! I'll argue tooth-and-nail with that. My kids are amazing sleepers and I can almost bet that this one (past the newborn stage of course) will be too.
"So, this new one won't even be two years apart from your last?! Wow. 3 kids bam bam bam. That's close."
Spoiler: kids' age spacing is the parents' decision, not anyone else's. So, the fact that we decided to have our kids "close" (which 23 months and 22 months apart is not as close as they could be -- I have plenty of friends with Irish twins just 12 months apart!) is our business. And just because our kids are close in age isn't a bad thing! It's actually awesome -- They'll grow up together, just be a couple years apart in school, and have a built-in playmate and enemy (depending on the day) at all times. How is this a bad thing?! And how is having a house full of kids close in age a negative?! Yes, it's going to be busy, chaotic, loud, but it's also going to be awesome, amazing, and fill our hearts with joy to see our kids close and playing together.
"I guess you're going to have to stay home now that you have 3 kids."
Since when did having kids = house arrest?! Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for SAHMs (stay at home moms), but just because I have more than 2 kids doesn't immediately equal the fact that I need to stay home. First off, Patrick is in preschool 3 days a week (full days!) this year, and next year he'll be 5 full days...and then the following year he'll be in kindergarten. Sooooo, that's 1 kid gone all day. Secondly, Mike's schedule is insane and irregular and allows for him to be home a lot of the time with the kids and not need a sitter, whereas the times we do need a sitter we have a sleuth of family helpers at our disposal...therefore, mama here can still work. I would absolutely love to stay home with my kids all day, but that's not in the financial cards for us now so off to work I go and enjoy my weekends and summers off with my kiddos.
"3 kids was a game changer for me. You literally have no time for anything and not enough hands to wrangle them. I wish I'd have stopped at 2."
OH MY GOSH. First off, did you hear yourself?!! This was a game changer FOR YOU. How do you know your experience is going to be the same for me?!! And how dare you tell me I won't have enough time for anything and won't be able to wrangle them. I'm sure your third kid would be thrilled to know you wish you'd have stopped before having him. Geez louise lady! This comment actually stunned me and all I could muster for a comeback was, "Well, I'm sorry your experience was like that. I think ours will be happily different." And then I got up and walked away. Again, people, if you don't have anything nice, positive, supportive to say (even if your experience was not that), DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. Just keep your trap shut and offer a congratulations. It's not that hard.
This isn't something anyone says, but it's THE LOOK I get when my clearly pregnant self is totting around 2 kids, one of them still fairly immobile (she'll walk in good time, right?!!). It's a look that screams, "WOW. Another kid. *eyeroll*" This look cuts right through me and almost makes me embarrassed to be having another kid, but then I remember other people can eff off and this is my life and I'm gonna do it how I want with as many kids as I want. The look I'm talking about is one of shock, disgust, questioning, and/or outright surprise. I get it A LOT, and I hate it. I don't need anyone's pity or opinions or anything -- why can't they just smile and be happy that we're being blessed with another kid?! Cause that's how I feel.
So, there you have it. If you have one of these comments crossing your mind when someone shares their news with you about expecting another baby, keep them in your head. Instead, shower them with congratulations and praise and excitement, and don't make them feel like shit for having another kid, whether it was a surprise or planned. Just don't.