Did you know that? They are. And the sensitivity extends to kids in general.
I’m not one of those people who gets offended every time someone says, “You must have your hands full!” when I mention how many children I have. Why should I? They’re absolutely right.
What prompted this sudden outpouring of…um…incredulity? Well, a friend of mine shared a link to a Scary Mommy post on Facebook this morning. I read it, I laughed, and then I clicked on a related article on the same site called “10 Things Never to Say to a Mom Expecting Another Boy.” Also, the Day 12 prompt for Writing 101.
Anyway, back to the article at hand and my incredulity. Most of the things the author suggested you should never ask a mom expecting another boy are fairly harmless, in my opinion. Things like, “Were you trying for a girl?” Or, “Your husband must be SO excited!” I guess the reason those questions don’t bother me is because I was so desperate to have a girl (really, there’s no other word for it) and my husband was excited to be having a boy, and I will be the first person to say so, whether you asked or not.
I already had one boy and I wanted one of each, so my answer to the question, “Were you disappointed when you found out it wasn’t a girl?” is always, “Yes, but…”
See, I love my sons. Love them. Wouldn’t trade them for all the girls in the world. And Miss Tadpole is heading towards her crazy mixed-up teenage years full steam ahead, and I’m not sure I could handle anymore girls like her (mainly because I see so much of myself in her that it’s seriously frightening). I’m glad that I found out Thumper was a boy before he was born, because it gave me a few extra months to adjust to the fact that I was never going to have a girl of my own.
Of course, I should have known that I was in for a rough ride with him when he was born and the first thing I said to him was, “Now you behave.” There’s nothing quite as bizarre as lecturing a baby who’s only a couple of minutes old.
Some of the things the author recommended you should never say to a mom expecting another boy I had never ever heard before and, frankly, I found them really weird. Things like, “They say after three kids of the same gender, your body resets and you’ll have the opposite gender.” Or, “You’re losing your femininity.” Really? Having three boys makes me unfeminine? I’d like to know the science behind that, since it’s the man who determines baby’s gender, not the woman.
Anyway, I mentioned that this post was also prompted by the Day 12 prompt for Writing 101, and at this point, I’m sure you’re wondering how in the heck a Scary Mommy post relates to a writing prompt. Well, said prompt was to write about a conversation in the real world, and one of the many awesome commenters suggested another thing that should not be said: “Don’t you have your hands full?” This reminded me of a conversation that happened one day at work.
With four kids to keep track of, I’m usually pretty tired. I’ve always been tired, but this is a whole new kind of tired. As a result, I am über caffeine-dependent. One day in April, a couple came in to sign their taxes and the man noticed the 2L bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper I had sitting at my desk. “You won’t drink that whole thing today, will you?”
“I have four kids – I have to stay awake somehow,” I replied.
He seemed a bit taken aback and nodded, saying how that was a lot of kids, and a lot of work. His wife turned to him and said, “What do you mean, that’s a lot of kids? We had four kids!”
“Yeah, and they were a lot of work!” he replied.
Everyone laughed. It was funny, for heaven’s sake! And he was right – it’s a lot of work. But the way I see it, sometimes people don’t know what to say when you tell them you have a big family (because, let’s face it, four kids qualifies as a big family these days). They have to say something, right? So they’ll say something like, “Don’t you have your hands full!” It’s not that they mean to offend, they just don’t know what else to say.
So maybe we should collectively take a deep breath and remind ourselves that not everyone is out to offend. As parents, sometimes you need a thick skin; you need to be able to let stuff roll of your back, and this is a perfect example of that. It applies for writing, too, because if you can’t handle the rejection that’s inherent in professional writing, then you should really think about finding another career.
And, when all else fails, just ask for a hug. Hugs (and chocolate, and possibly coffee) can solve any problem.
Now, to track down that extra-large Diet Dr. Pepper. Like I said, I’ve gotta stay awake somehow… 😀
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