I know there are some other blessed mummies out there who have had 3 children (or more) in quick succession. You may or may not have noticed it. Having 3 children under school-age is counter-cultural. People don't expect it.
It feels as though everywhere I go with my 3 little ones, we attract comments (or, at the very least, looks). I cannot seem to blend in with the other pram-pushing mummies and be just another one of the "stay at home mum" crowd. I am always judged as "busy", "with my hands full", "amazing", "brave"...
When my kids are following instructions, playing kindly, waiting quietly, speaking graciously, acting enthusiastically... the positive comments and the looks of affirmation come. I am "amazing", "doing a great job", "a natural mother".
But, as soon as one (or more) child steps out of line (as children are prone to do!), I am judged more harshly than a mother of one misbehaving child might be. After all, I brought this on myself. Behind the clicking tongues I can hear the thoughts... "She can't deal with one child, let alone three"
What annoys me most about being watched (or judged) in this way is not so much what other people say or do though. What annoys me is my own reaction. Basically, that I am just not good enough at being counter-cultural. I want to appear like all the other 30-something mums. I don't want to stand out all the time. I want to be what society expects me to be, for better or worse.
So, when I hear the same comments again and again, I say what (I think) people expect me to say. I almost apologise for having 3 children close in age.
When someone says I have my hands full, why do I give a rueful smile and roll my eyes? Why don't I say proudly "Yep, and I love it!" When someone asks if we planned our family this way (a pretty rude question really!), why do I sigh and say "not exactly..."? Why don't I say "Maybe not, but we couldn't be prouder or happier about how God planned it for us?"When someone asks if we plan to have anymore children, and I say "maybe", why do I have to rush on and say "but not for a while!"?
And, you know what the stupidest thing is? I am a Christian. I should be well-rehearsed in being counter-cultural. It is what God desires of all His people, not just the ones with 3 small children.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed through the renewing of your mind... Romans 12:2
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