Helping or Hurting?

Dear Girl who bagged my groceries at Whole Foods yesterday,

Upon seeing my 1-year old daughter in the cart and my 8-month preggo belly protruding from my midsection, you decided to comment on how difficult it’s going to be to have kids so close together, because yours were 16 1/2 months apart and it was a complete nightmare. Now let me ask you, was that really the best choice of conversation? Of all the things you could’ve said (or, ya know, NOT said at all), how is that even remotely helpful or encouraging to a mom about ready to pop? I’m sure you meant no harm nor did you have evil intentions. But just think next time before you speak, “am I helping or hurting?” “encouraging or discouraging?”…I suggest you choose the former whenever possible. In case you forgot, pregnant women can be hormonal, emotional, sensitive and…well, slightly crazy (or maybe that’s just me). So be sensitive. And even if I WAS living in ignorant bliss thinking that having 2 kids 14 months apart was going to be a slice of pie, is it really your place to burst my bubble, having just met me, while you bag my groceries for 30 seconds? No, no it’s not.

You tried to recover I think when you saw the annoyed look on my face, “unless your first is a good sleeper, you might be fine”, you said. Before I could respond in a snarky mom-brag tone “yes, actually she is a FANTASTIC sleeper. She sleeps 7pm to 7am. BOOM,” my husband chimed in and responded for me….sounding much less snarky than I would have. Thank you, husband.

Please know I am well aware of the challenges that lie ahead (well, I have an idea anyway). I had quite the emotional breakdown when I first found out I was pregnant. I know it’s going to be hard. But ya know what’s harder? Miscarriage. Loss. Infertility. Having gone through a miscarriage and being close to others who struggle with infertility, my perspective has changed. Yes, having kids 14 months apart will be tough. But I know people who would give anything to have the challenge of 2 kids close together, when they struggle to conceive even 1. Or others who have lost babies. So I view my children as blessings, not burdens, no matter the difficulties their age gap may bring.

So when you see me in the store, or any other mom, perhaps with 4+ kids in tow, here are some other more helpful and encouraging things you could say:

1. Congratulations!

2. Hey, I’ve been there/gone through that, it’s tough but you’ll survive (with a reassuring smile for good measure)

3. How great! Children are a blessing.

4. Good for you!

5. Rock on, mama!

Any of the above will suffice.

I’m sorry you had such a hard time with your kids. My experience might be similar, or it might not be. But you don’t know that yet (I haven’t even given birth to my 2nd, hence the huge belly). And even so, as fellow moms, let’s encourage one another instead of using the 30 second window of grocery bagging time to vent about how difficult it is.

That’s all I’m saying.

Sincerely,

The pregnant mom you bagged groceries for yesterday, not knowing you’d be the inspiration for her next blog post.

🙂