The thing about being pregnant and having four kids is that people stare at me all the time.
I sort of get it because every time I see a mom with three or more kids, I’m like, “Whoa, that’s a serious handful” and then I suddenly remember that I’m in the same crazy boat.
But still, I hate people staring at me.
Like over school vacation, I took my four kids to Trader Joe’s. The one near us is pretty small and therefore quite manageable with my whole crew. Plus they have free mini coffee samples which I really enjoy. (Although my 2-year-old let it slip to my husband that I let her have a few sips of coffee so she’s now cut off.)
Now some customers seem very irritated by my presence in the store. Like a woman who was trying to get to the apples. But at that very moment, each child was placing a few apples into his or her own bag and completely blocking the aisle. I wanted them to move for this woman. I really did. But I just couldn’t orchestrate it in a timely manner. She finally huffed away angry and appleless.
But then other people seem almost envious.
Like an older woman came up to me on the same shopping excursion and said, “Your kids are so cute. All my children are grown now and all over the country. I used to buy so much at the grocery store and now I only need a few items.”
I felt so sorry for this woman I wanted to cry right there between the breakfast bars and the sea salt brownie petites.
And then she went on, “This is the best time of your life. Enjoy it.”
Oh man, not that again! Lady, I had four years at Tulane University that I KNOW were better than this.
It’s not that I don’t love my kids.
2-year-old Chase kisses me on the cheek 40 times a day and says, “I love you mommy. You are so pretty and so nice.” I don’t know where he learned it but it’s the sweetest thing EVER.
2-year-old Harlowe has the cutest tushy shake in the universe.
6-year-old Summer has the tightest bear hugs and the most sparkling smile I’ve ever seen.
And 8-year-old Dylan is so loving and sweet with all her younger siblings that sometimes I just stare at her with so much love and pride that I feel like my heart is going to explode.
My point is – I really adore my kids but this phase of my life is grueling. There are no days off. I barely shut my eyes at night and someone is calling me because they have to go to the bathroom, they want to be tucked in or their blanket is folded wrong.
I barely open my eyes in the morning and someone is fighting over something with somebody else. There are lunches to be made, days to organize and constant clean up. I squeeze in time for my husband, writing, exercise and friendships but mostly this time of my life is all about taking care of these little people.
So please please please don’t tell me this is the best time of my life. An amazing, crazy, chaotic, rewarding time? Absolutely. The best? Did I mention how much fun I had in college?!
But I don’t say any of this to the woman between the breakfast bars and the seat salt brownie petites.
I simply say, “Yes, I’m lucky to have all these wonderful children. I feel very grateful.”
These kids are loud and crazy and prevent good Americans from buying apples.
And I love them because they are mine.