Whenever I go out with all the kids, which happens quite a lot, people make comments. This doesn't just happen occasionally, it happens all. the. time. We will be at Wegman's and five or six different people will stop and make the same inane comments.
These comments make me crazy for many different reasons. I don't think four is *that* many kids. Sure it's close to twice the national average number of children, but many of the people that I know and come into contact with have three. I've even had people who have three children, tell me that they don't know how I do it with four. WHAT? Four is only ONE more than three, people. It's more laundry, but not *that* much more work. ;-) I also don't feel like I'm *usually* overwhelmed by my children. I don't feel like I seem frazzled or frustrated or vacant, any of which would make it seem as though four was, indeed, too many.
(As a side note, one day I foolishly took everyone to the Wegman's at 4pm. This was a terrible idea for many reasons, it was the end of the day, everyone was extremely tired AND very hungry. At one point in the shopping trip, every.single.child. was crying. I had several very kind people ask me if I needed any help. There was nothing they could do, but it was very nice of them to ask if I needed assistance. I'm sure I seemed frazzled, frustrated AND overwhelmed that day.)
The most popular question I get is, "Are they all yours?" What does this even mean? Why the hell would someone who had children hanging around that weren't hers take them all on a grocery shopping trip? This just seems like an amazingly ridiculous idea. There is NO WAY that I would take more than one child, who wasn't mine, on a trip to the grocery store. Do they think they are my daycare kids, neighbor kids, strange children I picked up in the parking lot? Why do they think that I would be insane enough to take said children to the store with me? I must seem slightly unbalanced. Unfortunately, my parents raised me to be polite when people ask questions. Usually I just smile and said "Yes." Sometimes I don't smile when I say it. And sometimes, when it has been a long, stressful day, I just nod, tight-lipped and curt.
The second most popular statement is, "You have your hands full!" What? Really? What are you talking about? I have four children? You're kidding! Oh my gosh, it's true! Let's count them together, one, two, three, four. Well, knock me over with a feather! I had NO IDEA I HAD SO MANY KIDS AND THAT THEY COULD BE A LOT OF WORK.....whew. ZenDuckMommy, Zen DuckMommy, ZenDuckMommy..... This statement just kills me. I do have my hands full. Yes, it's true that four kids is a lot of work. It's a lot of little people, with a lot of little (and big) needs, needing a lot of attention and love. But it's the work that I've chosen at this point in my life. I suppose people see us and all the noise and chaos and feel like they *need* to say something. Though I do wish that they would find something else to say....
I've spoken to other moms who have four children. They say they get the same sort of comments. I'm really not sure why four is the magic number. What is it about four little people that elicits all these comments?