On Black Friday, I had the crazy idea to go shopping--with the kids, of course.
It wasn't the best idea in the world, but sometimes you just want to TRY something, you know what I mean?
So I did. I packed the kids (which was a 15-20 minute process, because it involved diaper changes, coats, socks, boots, diaper bag full of just-in-case supplies, etc.), and we headed to town.
My first stop ended up being a dismal failure. When I walked into the store, I realized that all the carts were in use. ALL of them. And carts are pretty much my BFFs, when I'm shopping with three.
I told the girls they were going to have to walk around the store, while I carried Matthias, who was strapped into his carseat. By the way, Matthias-in-carseat equals extremely heavy. Just saying.
I gave the girls strict instructions, but sometimes even good little girls can be incredibly tempted by wanting to touch everything. I was getting frustrated, and the girls were roaming.
Rachel asked if she could go play with a toy oven, and I told her "no," which led to a very loud outburst of tears. So there I am, leaning down to try to calm my 3-year-old, and I felt like the whole store was watching.
That's not true. It just felt like that, and it's not a good feeling at all.
I finally decided that it wasn't worth standing in line to buy one item, so I grabbed the carseat, and told the girls to head for the door. On my way out, I passed a display covered in men's shirts, and I accidentally bumped the carseat into the display--which knocked down a pile of perfectly-folded shirts.
While all of this was going on, a woman passed by, and didn't say a word. I was really hoping for a Good Samaritan!
All this to say, sometimes shopping with the kids can be hard. Something motherhood in general can be hard. Often times pregnancy isn't easy.
And many, many times, while we're dealing with all of THIS, we're also dealing with the criticism that comes with doing these things.
"So... you're pregnant again? HOW many kids do you have?" "Have you ever considered putting the kids even in a part-time day care?"
This is the best part (excuse my sarcasm): Someone asks you how your pregnancy is going. You respond, that it's not always easy... you have such-and-such symptoms. It's hard taking care of three little ones, while you're 6 months pregnant.
The questioner responds, "Well, YOU'RE the one who's not using birth control!" Yep. Just like that. Thrown in your face.
Or, they don't say anything. Nothing. It's like you talk about your life, and they just stare at you.
It's okay... people might not understand completely why I'm doing what I'm doing. But it's also "okay" to still be nice, even if you disagree with us.
So, to you relatives, friends, or even strangers... if you see a mom out-and-about with her small children, offer to return her cart. If her children are being well-behaved, compliment her!
When a mom finds out she's pregnant, congratulate her! Say you're excited for her. Ask if there's any way you could help her.
I know I'm not supposed to be living for the approval of men, I know that. It's just... I want to encourage people to give a cup of cold water--you know, words full of encouragement--to us mothers out there, because there are many days that even a smile will brighten our day!
I would know. I've been there. ;)