It’s a grab bag: you never know what you’re gonna get.
I don’t mean pink or blue. 🙂 I mean when you take your pinks and your blues to the grocery store. The grab bag is that you never know what people will say. And people will say things, believe me. Kind things, shocking things, and all things in-between. Older people, younger married people with kids, single people, teenagers…just when I think I’ve heard all things from all age groups, someone surprises me. Like the lady who smiled, came up to us (and I thought she might say “wow what well-behaved children you have!”) and said, “Doesn’t it cost a fortune to clothe them?” This kind of comment is usually code for, “You know, if you stop having kids, you won’t have to spend so much money on them and you can spend more on yourself…you do know that, right?”
Ask any mom with three kids or more. They know what it’s like.
You might get, “What a beautiful family! They are so cute and well behaved!” (thank you!) or you might get, “Are they all yours? Are you done now?” (yes they’re all mine, I’m not in the habit of stealing other people’s children) or you might get something really mean (So, so, so not fun).
So, what to do?
You could stop bringing your kids to the grocery store…but that’s not practical for many of us, and even if it were, it isn’t a great idea. You have to buy food, and you can’t always get a babysitter. Even if you leave a couple of the kiddos home with daddy you could still get comments (although then you get to have some fun when you tell them, “Oh I have 3 more at home!” Haha 🙂 ). Plus, a grocery store is a good place for your children to learn about the value of money, what foods we should buy the most of so we can stay healthy, and things like that.
You could have a great comeback planned, but it is almost impossible to have a comeback prepared for every comment you might get. I still get caught off guard by comments, and I’ve had a few years of practice with this. 🙂 Having several “jewels” to use as comebacks is a good idea, but take some time to ensure that you pick something clever, kind, and cute. A great comeback that isn’t rude will help get people thinking, and perhaps the next time they see a large family at the store they won’t make a similar comment.
Whatever you do, keep a smile on your face. You want people to know you are normal, you have not lost your sanity, and – most of all (and this is truly what surprises people) – that you are HAPPY.
A lot of people these days don’t realize that it’s possible to have a lot of children and still be happy and fulfilled. Yes I spent $50 this month on diapers instead of spending it on my hair at the salon, but does that mean I am unhappy? People honestly don’t understand this, and your example may be that one time they get to see a large family out and about who is truly happy and living out God’s will. Having the size family God intends for you and your spouse is one of the great ways to be happy in a marriage. As a wonderful priest once said in a homily, God gives you the number of children your marriage needs.
Do you have a large family? If so, do you run into this kind of thing when taking your children to the store? If you don’t have a large family and you see one when you’re out shopping, consider saying something encouraging to the mother/father – it could just make their day, especially if they’ve been on the receiving end of an unkind comment already during their grocery run. 🙂
The featured image is taken from here.