In the desert…

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Out and about

Since having our third child we have noticed something kind of …..well, strange about how people look at us.  (Specifically me since I’m the one usually out with them on my own)  The looks that you get range from the ‘aww, how adorable’ looks to the ‘holy moly, you’re crazy and i want to avert my gaze, but I can’t help but be shocked’ look.  The former being from older ladies (consequently the same ladies who think Ez is a girl and Keely a boy!), and the latter being from other mothers who have it all together, carrying their coach bags with rhinestone studded cell phones in hand while their 4 year old screams for the new Hannah Montana shoes.  Now, I know that 3 kids goes against the average household of 1.7 children, but I don’t really understand why it’s such a big deal when I go out.  Normally people will say “oh my gosh, how do you do it?  You must be a saint!”  To which I reply “nope, not a saint in any way, shape, or form, it’s all by the grace of God, they’re a blessing to me!”  which meets with an even more interesting look and a smirk and then them walking away.  (most of the time…I have had the occasional person either agree with me or ask me something else related to children).

Now, believe me, I do not walk around with all 3 kids saying “yes, mommy!” to me when I ask them to be quiet or hold onto the cart while walking, or even NO to yet another car or Thomas the Train.  My kids DO show their true corrupt nature while in the local Walmart at times.  I mean, no, they’re not hitting me or calling me names, but their not always obeying either.  So, the whole “saint” sentence boggles me.  But I do not recall once anyone saying the aforementioned sentence when I had 2 kids.  Does anyone else with more than 2 notice this, or is this just me?  I’m getting used to it, but quite frankly it can be pretty frustrating…not only because I now feel like there is some sort of stigma associated with having more than the normal size family (which, really, 3 kids?  Not that big of a family!), but even more so because Ezra is starting “get” what these people are saying and asks me why they say it.  The implication of what they’re saying being that kids are too much work-making them feel unimportant and a burden.

Anyone have any good thoughts or things that I could be saying to these people in front of the kids that show how much I love them?  I have some ideas, but I know that in those moments I have sometimes wanted to actually tell them what I’m thinking.  Thankfully God gives me self-control at those times and helps me to remember the verse “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (prov 15:1).

Anyway, yeah.

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6 thoughts on “Out and about

  1. tracy smith on said:

    OK Amanda…LaShelle Bray and I were talking about this the other day. A woman at Wal*Mart asked me, in front of the kids, “Please (with an emphasis on please) tell me that these are not all YOUR kids!?” Stephen and Abbie seemed confused by the question and I…well I was angry at her insensitivity and really – it’s none of her business. I had all sorts of slick, sarcastic comebacks but thankfully, exercised self-control and explained. I think answering people joyfully with a “Yep – these are all my little blessings!” is a gracious way to answer nosy people. Sometimes it lends to discussions, sometimes not. I tried to share with Stephen and Abbie how the culture views kids and the number of kids a typical family has. They have a different picture b/c of our church where 4 kids aint’ nuttin’. With Ezra being 3, I would just try to communicate to him how happy you are that God gave him to you. He’s your only son – you’re #1 and you love him to pieces. Keep it up and keep it light. As he gets a little older, then you can explain how most people are nuts and do not view children in the way God views them!

  2. tracy smith on said:

    …I mean to say, He (Ezra) is your only son – your #1 boy…

    sorry, screaming kids forces my fingers to miss letters and entire thoughts!

  3. LaShelle Bray on said:

    Hey! I read your blog and can totally understand where you’re coming from. It’s funny that Tracy and I were just talking about that. Not only do I get annoying and insensitive questions, but my kids are biracial and that adds a whole new element. Do you run a daycare? Do they all have the same father? They can’t all be yours! One lady came up to me once in a store and said, and I quote, “Please tell me they are not all yours”. I said, “Okay, they’re not all mine”. And walked away. I was done being the gracious Christian woman and wife. Anyway, people can be so curious that they forget good manners. When we had the foster boys, who were all white, we got so many questions. People would constantly ask which kids we adopted, to which my answer was, “None!”. That got all kinds of funny looks. It’s not nice to say none of your business so it’s a good idea to come up with a quippy little answer that will answer their questions but still maintain your privacy and dignity. Tracy, your answer about your blessings is good. I like to say to people, “Yes, my husband and I have 6 kids and they’re a gift from God”. That answers the questions:they’re all mine, they all have the same father, and I’m not crazy. I actually wanted to have a shirt made that said “Yes they’re all mine, Yes they all have the same father, and No, it’s not a daycare!” Anyone want to get me a gift for Christmas? haha You’re not crazy, Amanda, you’re blessed!

  4. So, obviously… I’m not a mom. I’m not sure how to comment, other then singles get it too. Just, “oh, you aren’t seeing anyone?” “Why aren’t you married?” “Do you like men?” “You need to get out more.” “Flirt more.”

    And the list goes on and on.

    I do know this: when we view things from the way God views them, it is counter cultural. People notice. God says they will. He calls us to be the salt and the light. He says we will be persecuted.

    So, rejoice sister! You ARE blessed — because of the children and because of the “persecution.”

    And also, like when people make comments about my singleness — they don’t always mean them the way we take them. It is our interpretation. They aren’t sure how to communicate in an encouraging way comments on my singleness. I feel like they are saying, “Oh, there must be something wrong with you.” Instead, sometimes, they mean, “Men are stupid for not seeing how great you are.”

    Maybe, when they make comments about you being a saint, etc., what they are really saying is that they are impressed that you have 3 kids and are a functioning adult. They don’t have the grace you have. I’m sure that they love their kids, but maybe they can’t see that there is room in their hearts to love more than one or two.

    Just some thoughts… from your very single friend who would like the opportunity to trade comments with you. ;o)

  5. LaShelle-I’m totally making that shirt for you for Christmas.
    Michele-good points all around. I guess I’m interpreting things in the more judgemental light…probably because I’m judgemental! Ugh. And I agree with you about the singleness…people don’t always know what to say, even as Christians that would value singleness highly! Tricky, tricky.

  6. Veronica on said:

    Hello LaShelle, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed you and your family on Wife Swap. I would love to learn more about your religious beliefs as well as how your family is doing (via email or snailmail). Hope to hear back from you!

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