Saturday, 1 August 2015

Large families. Are you judged?

When I had two children, the lady in the cue didn't bat an eye lid. 

When I had two children people walked past me, I blended in nicely to what they deemed as socially acceptable. 

I didn't cause a stir. 

When I was pregnant with my third daughter, my youngest was only just perfecting her ability to put one foot in front of the other. 
The looks started, the comments of 'how would I cope' followed, and the very endearing 'I just couldn't do it, I'd go insane' 

Aaahh, cute, thank you for that helpful insight into your family planning.

I just wanted to give those people a great big kiss, go sit and have a Costa with them, and hear all the concerns they have for me and my family.  

And then after take my Tomme Tipee bottle warmer out of my hold-all sized change bag and smack them round the head with it. 

Little darlings. 

Hey, I'm a chatter, I'm a people person, I'll talk to you about my kids, hell I'm even one of those that will let you touch my planet sized baby bump. 
I get all my kids to say 'byeeee' to every shop assistant. 
I'm a lover not a hater. 

But, if one more person looks at me as though I have no self control around men, and stored under my pushchair is an eight pack of Heineken and my drug dealers phone number, 

I will show you how I have no self control. 

I will call your bluff. I will stop in my tracks. I will ask you how many children you have (God forbid you tell me three, I mean come on..you have ONE less than me!) 
I will ask if you think I'm a bad parent and to explain yourself. 
I will ask how many siblings you have and rip into you and your mother, if you dare say above two. 

I will cry uncontrollably. I will sob in the trolley park of Tesco's, as I'm unloading my children from every available hole that could be used as a seat (they don't cater for three under three) to make everyone stare at how you've made a lady cry.

I'll tell you how judged I feel, how you have added to the list of people that make a preconception of my clan every time I leave my house, how I question what I wear so as to appear more of a 'nice' mum, to make sure I don't project the image of the drop out parent you view me as. 
I'll tell you how I now shop in M&S and wear chinos, when really I want to be in jogging bottoms and a GAP hoody. 

*and breathe* 

By the time we were awaiting the imminent arrival of daughter number four, I didn't want to leave the house. 

I told my husband of all the looks, the comments. 
How it was embarrassing, it was embarrassing being pregnant with our child. 

I stuck to the safety of play groups and play dates, feeling accepted and cloaked from the world by those who knew me, who knew I wasn't trying to up my up my benefit amount by popping out a child every year. 
People that knew our fourth daughter was the biggest shock of our lives, who knew how hard my husband worked to give us a good life, and how I actually loved and took care of my children. 

Now, after my fourth daughter was born, the lady in the cue, always stares. 

She tuts as one of them starts to cry, I obviously can't handle the situation I've created. 

I would turn a pale shade of red, praying in my head for my girls to just be quiet, to stand nicely, to not be dribbling that chocolate bar I bought them each as bribery, down their chins onto their already stained t-shirts from breakfast. 

Please, please help me look like I've totally got this down girls, like I run the van traps and I'm about to go home and bake apple pie. 

Let's look like they want us to. 

Then it all changed. 

Something snapped. 
A man I had never met before, changed my whole view, my worries, my self awareness and my confidence that had been knocked, piece by piece, chipped away by strangers. 
This man asked me on the school run 'have you figured out how that happens yet love, do you need a lesson?' 

First of all the 'love' just made it ten times worse.
I kept walking. Saying nothing. 

My 7 year old daughter turned her head, looked up and asked what he had said, had I yawned as my eyes were red?

I got angry, my daughter was now an age she could fully comprehend a sly comment. She could hear and understand things that were said. 

I stopped. I turned back to the man and said with an overly annoying amount of shaking in my voice..

'Yes I do, and you know I just feel happy I have four healthy children, some people aren't so lucky' 

Yes I know. 
Not quite the comeback you were hoping for right? 
Me neither. I was completely gutted as it literally fell out of my mouth. But it was the best I could do on the spot. 

He just shrugged and nodded. 

I walked away, my heart hurtling out my chest with every beat, tears swelling ten fold. 

My daughter skipped ahead merrily unaware and had forgotten her question as she was pretending to be a ballet teacher to her sisters. 

From that small moment, I refused to be embarrassed again. I refused to let people talk to me however they deemed fit, because I had 4 young children. 

I told my self if I want to wear yoga pants to soft play by damn I'll wear them. I'll even wear my trainers. 
If my child cries, I won't leave the shop in MI5 style, ducking and diving trying to avoid as much eye contact as possible, I'll crack out the mobile phone and put Peppa pig on. 
Like all good parents should. And I'll do my shopping.
I won't feel ashamed for having these four beautiful, bouncing mini me's all wanting to hold my hand. 
I'll tell you how utterly blessed my husband and I are. 
How much I'm looking forward to over crowded Christmases and 16 grandchildren, to the 4 birthday parties we will have every year and that we have a higher chance than most of one of them becoming a millionaire.
I know how my beautiful girls are loved. I know how I devote every hour and every fibre I have to them. 
I know how much fun and laughter our large family brings.

So go ahead now and look, lady in the cue. 

I'll pose for a picture ifyou like. I may even pull out my baseball cap. 

Just let me hide the bottle of wine in my basket first. 


4 comments:

  1. Really judged yes - I wrote about it here - http://mummyfever.co.uk/are-they-all-yours/

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    1. Thank you Charlotte I will take a look :) I'm sure there are so many of us in the same boat!

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  2. I'm just a bit jealous, to be honest. I want five but they cost a bloody fortune with IVF and - well, we're not millionaires. I don't think four children are a lot of children; I bet your home is amazingly vibrant. I'm sorry that people don't stop you to tell you how cute your children are and how they bet you'll never be lonely when you're old.

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  3. Ah thank you Amber. I can imagine the stress and cost of IVF treatment would take its toll anyone, 1 or 20 children is a blessing :) yes vibrant definitely and noisey too haha! Yes I agree I don't think 4 is a large number, but when you go above 3 people find it very strange I think allot of the time! Not everyone, mostly people in cues ;)

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