I took all three of my Littles out a few days ago. We went to the store to pick up a few things I had forgotten in our weekly grocery run; then out to lunch. Two eight week old babies, and a three year old. I’d forgotten to grab my wedding rings off of the shelf before leaving the house as I often do. Usually when I’m leaving the house I’m going to the gym and the gym equipment scratches my ring all to pieces so I opt to leave it at home. If it’s not Saturday or Sunday I’m generally ring less lol.
Anyway, so we all pile into the restaurant. Me carting two infant seats and my oldest bouncing around beside me. It wasn’t the biggest restaurant in the world, a small shopping center affair, so it was a bit of a challenge but we made it work. We order our food, sit down at the table and begin eating. I’m not ignorant to the fact that many of the other patrons are watching me and my figurative herd of elephants tromp through the small restaurant, but we are quite a spectical at the moment so I didn’t take issue with it.
After I had finished most of my meal and was busily coaxing my oldest to finish hers, one guy decided to break the ice and ask me if I had twins. It was a little awkward, because I mean where else am I going to get two babies from if they aren’t twins? I’m not even really sure what he wanted, because while he was very interested in the babies he completely ignored my daughter. Which is a good thing because honestly dude was kind of a creep and I didn’t feel comfortable with her talking to him anyway.
That weird interaction started off a whole chain of other people coming up to me and congratulating me on my courage, spunk, and bravery to be out in public with my children by myself. One woman went so far to ask if I was a single mother. Not knocking any single moms out there, but why would that matter? I answered honestly and told her my husband was working, but then she proceeded to praise me for taking my kids out to eat by myself anyway.
I’m sure everyone aside from Creepy Guy meant well, but it was really awkward to have all of these strangers feel compelled to offer unfounded encouragement to me for taking care of my own kids. I’m not saying parenting isn’t a challenge, and I’m not saying there aren’t days when my kids push me to the edge of patience and what feels like my sanity, but I’m a parent. It’s my responsibility to take care of my children, and if I can reasonably do that plus eat a sandwich on a Friday afternoon how does that make me special in anyway from the other moms and dads out there?
My kids are pretty easy. The Twins fuss as much as eight week old babies fuss, but they’re relatively content 90% of the time unless something is wrong. My toddler has been an only child for the past three years, and she accompanied me everywhere from three days old. She knows the drill about how to behave in public. There are very few things I do in my daily life that aren’t child friendly. If I can’t take my kids I generally won’t go. So I don’t quite understand how eating lunch out with them makes me “brave” or “special”.
Isn’t that what parenting is? Taking your kids out into the world so they can learn how to behave and assimilate into humanity at large? Am I supposed to sequester them away until they turn 18? Or am I supposed to spend the first few years of their life locked away in a McDonald’s or Chuck E Cheese? Like… I don’t get it.
Having three kids out in public doesn’t make me special. There are some parents out there who have their hands full with one kid, and others that can organize a whole soccer team of children and not bat an eye. Parenting in general is hard no matter the number of kids in tow, or marital status. It might have been meant as a compliment but it really struck me as condescending. FROM AN ENTIRE RESTAURANT FULL OF PEOPLE.
The only people who didn’t stop by to offer me praises were two fellow moms. They were silently judging me from another table as my kids slept and ate quietly while their kids cried and ran around like mad men. No encouragement from them, although they probably could have used some encouragement of their own.
But that’s just it. That’s what I’m saying. Parenting all together is hard. Just because I have two infants doesn’t mean I’m some sort of superhuman, amazeballs, savior of man kind. Lol. Hardly. Maybe those other moms were doing everything on their own, and they were being exceptionally brave bringing their kids out in public due to some unseen challenges? Why did the masses skip over them and zone in on me with their shower of praises?
I’m not an exceptional mother by any means. I love my kids, and I do my best. Doesn’t every parent?