Wardrobe Wednesday: If you see a mom at Sam’s Club…

I’m not a fan of rants. Well, public ones anyway. Ask my husband whether I like rants, and based on the number of times I’ve come home from errands to regale him with tales of the people (and, more importantly, their comments) that I encounter while out and about, and his answer would probably be yes. But, while there is a kernel (or a bucketful with extra movie theater butter, depending on the day) of true angst in my ravings, I mostly do them to make him laugh and tell him about my day.

But that’s my husband—the person in the world that knows me best. And here, I feel constrained—by the space (both literal and figurative) created by technology, not to mention the slippery nature of the written word, which, even with mountains of emoticons, is very open to misinterpretation—to edit myself. Don’t worry. You still get the real me. You just might not completely get the real me, uncensored, immediately following a, um, interesting (see? censored) trip to Sam’s Club, for example. Again, I’m not trying to be disingenuous, but I cringe every time I read a Facebook update that reads something like: “OM GEEEEE. What is WRONG with people???! Why can’t they just learn to keep their mouths shuts already?!! Ugh. I am soooo annoyed right now!!!” Which is why I usually don’t even begin to go there.

So, with that longwinded and quite possibly completely unnecessary disclaimer out of the way, I will now proceed with my…well…not rant so much as…

Well, let’s just call it a public service announcement, shall we?

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(or any other public errand-running location)…

And she is wearing an expression of determination and focus as she performs a juggling act of selecting the right kind of ground turkey (because last time, she accidentally got home with spicy turkey sausage, and her offspring wouldn’t touch it) while depositing goldfish in not one but two babies’ mouths and answering a toddler’s inquiries about why potatoes are brown, it might not be the ideal time to plant yourself in the middle of the aisle so she has no choice but to acknowledge you as you inquire about the age, names, and possible future professions of the three small children in her basket.

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Also, you might consider listening when she gently emphasizes the word “she” in answering your questions after you repeatedly say things like, “He’s sleepy isn’t he? Is that why he’s fussy?” You also may not want to do a double-take with an incredulous, “They’re GIRLS?” after you ask what life with twin boys is like, and she finally breaks down and informs you that the tiny elfin creatures riding in their floral pink car seats while wearing floofy floral pink dresses are, indeed, female. P.S. Since you noticed the baby girl’s fussiness, it’s probably best that you take your hand off her basket and let her get moving since being still while closely examined by strangers does not tend to improve fussy babies’ moods.

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Additionally, when the mom informs you that she does, in fact, know what life with boys is like because she has two of them, it might not be best to say anything like, “You have how many children? Don’t you think it might be time to invest in a television? Or a DVD player, perhaps?”

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Along the same vein, once this mama has managed to get all the way to the checkout line and is busy heaving 200 count diaper boxes and toilet paper packages the size of small ponies onto the conveyer belt, it is perhaps in questionable taste to get as close to her cart as possible, lean over within six inches of her babies’ faces, examine their identical looks and dress at length (while playing with their toes), and then recoil in surprise and exclaim, “Are they TWINS??”

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After she nods with a weary expression on her face, if at all possible, refrain from saying: “And are they ALL yours?” with the same flabbergasted expression on your face. Because, yes, all three of them, including the set of identical twins, which she certainly wouldn’t be shopping with if they weren’t hers, are, in fact, hers.

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And finally, if you have the urge to flag people down as they pass so that they too can gape at this mom’s kids and call the twins “handsome boys” while you all speculate about everything from her organizational skills to her figure to her parenting methods…do everything in your power to resist it. Because, while she may look (and be) preoccupied, she is also only standing 2 feet away and has not been made deaf by her legions of small children (yet).

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P.S. Yes, that is the outfit I wore to Sam’s Club yesterday (top: Marshall’s, $10, Shorts: Old Navy, $2, Jacket: J. Crew, $45, Shoes: GAP, $10)

P.P.S. Della insisted on having a photo shoot of her own despite her own state of undress. She may or may not have been paying close attention when I pose.

P.P.P.S. Any tips of your own for avoiding M.O.S.C.A.? (which is also the word for “housefly” in Spanish. Coincidence? I think not).

P.P.P.P.S. I am aware that the vast majority of people mean no harm and are not trying to be rude or presumptuous. If that is all you get out of this post, then I’m sorry, but we may not be able to be friends.

P.P.P.P.P.S. I am not looking for any suggestions of how to get my children to eat spicy turkey sausage. But if you feel compelled, feel free to share below.

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47 thoughts on “Wardrobe Wednesday: If you see a mom at Sam’s Club…

  1. Oh I will take those people over people with mean in them. But I feel ya. Sometimes you just want to get on with it. Best not to contemplate too hard why people ask strange questions or make strange remarks. Sometimes they are just in their own little world. May your next week be rant free and fulla people admiring from afar! Cute shorts BTW! (I say that from CLEAR across the country!)

  2. Oh, as a mom of five I feel your pain…and I don’t even have twins. I think you were too polite. I’d probably have smiled answered the first question and then turned the cart toward the produce isle. My m-i-l could not resist young children in the grocery store. She would stop every mom of a baby and ooh and cooh. I think this happens to a lot of ladies as they age. She passed away in March, and now I would love to answer her asking me over and over if I get any sleep or what the boys name is (she never could remember everyone’s names)

  3. I, and a few others, shared a rant this week as well. Must be something in the air. I just grab one of those giant bags of Halloween candy from Sams (or Costco) and magically, thangs are all better.

  4. That’s why I stick to the short and sweet, “such beautiful children,” when I absolutely must say something because, as a soon to be empty neater, I am suffering from baby fever.

  5. ugh. i had one of these people TODAY. I am taking care of a friend’s little baby girl. she hired a housekeeper who started today… when she found out i homeschool, she informed me that it was abusive and i was interfering with his rights to a public education and that i was isolating him and that homeschool led to improperly socialized children and adults.

    I just looked at her and said, “hunh. we don’t have any issues with socialization.”

    What i wanted to say was, “and where did YOU learn social skills? because lady you HAVE none…”

    But I held my tongue… it was hard. and i may have to have the tip of my tongue surgically reattached… but i held it…

    *smh*

    mind your own dang business….

  6. I can definitely relate to being an “oddity” when out in public. My husband and I are houseparents at a Christian children’s home and care for 7 teenage boys in addition to our 3 kiddos. We are a mixed group ethnically, and when we roll up in our big van and kids just keep piling out like a clown car people always have that look on their face like, “Does not compute.” It was even worse before we got our van and I was driving a vintage station wagon from the 70′s. All you can do is laugh, and celebrate the weird, wild path God has set you upon. Love your blog, and your willingness to be “weird” for all the right reasons.

  7. Please take the picture off this site of your unclothed child! There are weird people out there who prey on children( you know what I mean)This is not safe!
    Barbie

  8. You made my day! I’m well past that part of my life (sad) But even way back when…I too had the same trouble. I only had 6 children (no twins, how much worst that would have been!)But some times I would come home crying at the rude comments. We weren’t safe anywhere. “do you know what causes this?, “have you heard 8 is enough?” (even though we have 6!!) We even had a woman try to give us shoes she had in her car! Oh, and I can’t forget.. a man stuck his head in the back window of our station wagon to make a comment!! All that being said, there were nice comments too and I always took them as God patting me on the back and saying “they ARE a blessing, take time to count your blessings” Being past this part of my life and being a Memaw now, I always try to make eye contact with the mom and smile and hope she gets that little bit of encouragement that I mean to send her way. Love ya, this too shall pass

    1. I do some encouraging, sweet comments too, and I definitely don’t mind when the little old ladies want to come over and gaze at the twins. They’re sweet as can be. I don’t much care for the men who make comments or touch the kids though. Ick. : (

  9. This summer while my hubby was out of town, I tore a muscle in my leg during a softball game. I insisted it was just a cramp and went to bed. Upon waking (and not be able to walk) I realized this was serious and took all FIVE of my GIRLS with me to the ER at 8am…..which is wonderfully empty at that time of day:)

    The nurse in the ER asked if they were all mine?!?!?! “Actually, I thought that it would be a GREAT idea to pick up a few extra kids on my way in this morning. You know, just to make it interesting, since I basically crawled in here and had to have my oldest try and push the double stroller with my two littles.”

    Good laugh this morning, cause I’m right there with you most days, except my two youngest are actually more than 2 years apart, but the same size. I get twin and how close are they questions ALL THE TIME:) At least you can say yes and move on. I have to “explain” that my 4th is just SUPER small for her age.

    1. Bahahaha! Yup, I just swung by a few girlfriends’ houses so I would have lots of company at the ER! P.S. When i have them all with me, I constantly get asked if I have two sets of twins because my boys are close in size and looks. Sigh. No winning! :)

  10. Loved your rant! I think people should instead be complimenting you on your “courage” in even taking your kids to the store, because I know plenty of mothers who can’t/won’t even do that. Also, how many of those people mention how amazing you look, for being a mom of five? :O

    1. The thing is, people DO compliment my “courage,” but it’s usually like, “Wow. You’re, um, *brave.* (And I can tell they really mean CRAZY!). But lots of folks are nice and encouraging too. And I get lots of “You’re so skinny!” comments which I usually just brush off because I don’t feel like explaining that I work out a lot. :)

    1. And the best thing is that most of the time, I don’t mind a bit. But when they just. won’t. stop. after a while, it gets old. Lots of people have more self awareness and just kind of holler Go Mama as you race by. Those people are awesome! :)

  11. well, I am going to confess that the old ladies in the anguishing tales; especially the one that bothered the children, the parents, the restaurant cook, the waitress was my mother in law. the only reason I am telling on her is to let you have some understanding about where the rudeness is coming from. She actually could talk about how the world needs people with a bit more personality and her being willing to have our errands and lunch out take hours longer than necessary was making the world a better place. She ignored the frightened shreak from the people reading a newspaper over coffee when she flipped it to get attention or wandered into the kitchen of the restaurant when we made the mistake of letting her walk slowly behind us. I will tell you SORRY as I did all those times before. even when the little ones cried at her gruff voice.

    1. Oh, I know that some people just can’t help themselves and probably are wondering where the fire is as I am racing for the door. I don’t mind slowing down a bit, but I’m just not up for the 10 minutes convos! :)

  12. I can so relate! I also have 5 kids and since we homeschool and are home together every day, they usually go grocery shopping with me. I am always amused (to put it nicely) at the people that ask me if the kids are all mine. Like I would chose to bring a few extra kids along with me to grocery shop?!?! It’s always such a blessing, though, to hear the kind and helpful comments that come our way now and then.

  13. I “only” have four, and unfortunately, I remember those comments all too well. And my two oldest boys, who are NOT twins, were always being mistaken for twin girls (they’re 21 mos. apart). I’m going to guess it was the long curly eyelashes. Certainly it wasn’t the denim overalls and boy themed shirts they were wearing. And we still get the ‘don’t you own a TV’ “joke”. I’ve given up trying to convince people that our fourth was actually planned – no one believes I ‘willingly’ want four kids…lol

    1. It’s always a good life lesson in guarding our own tongues, isn’t it? I try to be extra careful what I do and don’t say because I know that, while I don’t mean anything by it, I don’t know the battle that mama (or whoever) is fighting today.

      Not that I always succeed, mind you…

  14. Oh My! You make me laugh. Some people are, um, a tad clueless. I have a friend who has 7 kids under 9. She gets a lot of comments that are both inappropriate and annoying. You could have told her that her hair was a gorgeous shade of brown (insert colour that it really is instead of brown) and then ask her if it were her own natural colour… perhaps she was having what we fondly refer to as a violet crumble moment (Brown on the outside, blonde on the inside). Ok, that might be a little naughty. Love, love, LOVE what you were wearing – and I think you might just have a “mini-me” in the making. Della is so cute – complete with bag of snacks. She’s a natch infront of the camera (Do you say that in the US? Natch = natural).
    Sheree

    1. I love your comments, Sheree! And, yes, we do use “natch” (though mostly in writing), but we don’t sound nearly as charming without the Australian accent!

  15. I enjoyed my visit with you!! I ♥ your posts.

    I just had to “follow” you so not to miss anything! It would make me so happy if you would follow me too. :)

    Have a beautiful week!

    Lots of BIG Hugs,

    Deborah

  16. I’d like to know too… my husband and I were at lunch with our 5 month old and this older lady just kept coming by to play with his feet, feel his hair and even kiss him! I didn’t know what to do with that at all… plus we were trying to eat and have a conversation and she kept interrupting us…

    1. I actually don’t mind the older ones nearly as much. I know a lot of them are lonely and don’t think that anyone could ever think they mean any harm by intruding on personal space/boundaries, etc. But kissing him is definitely a bit much! Kill ‘em with kindness I say! :)

  17. Love your PSA! So very true! We could totally be friends. I can only imagine the unwanted attention you get when you are out & about. I think you need a stylish graphic T-shirt that says “Yes, they are all mine. No, I’m not crazy! (But I’m about to be if you keep talking)”. LOL!
    I only have 3 kids + 1 on the way and it is always a zoo navigating through Sam’s or WalMart or any store for that matter. It was always a pet-peeve of mine when people would ask….”Awwwwww….why is he crying?? Is he hungry?? He looks so tired!” Ummmm, yeah…..all of the above…..but I’m trying to get out of here ASAP before the whole thing breaks down and Momma starts crying too….so MOVE IT!!
    LOVE the pics of you & Della! Your outfit is great (love the colors in the shorts)…..you must have been the most stylish momma at Sam’s. And Della is just a doll! Love her minimalist style and the Goldfish really help pull the whole outfit together :)

    1. We totally ARE friends, Leigh Anne! Just separate by way too much Texas desert. ;)

      And, yes, I’ve considered the t-shirt for sure.

      And, yes, Della’s “minimalist” style is quite fetching, no?

  18. Absolutely no advice here!!!! I can feel your pain… My kids are getting bigger at ages 11, 9, 7 1/2 and 6, and I have 4 not five (and no twins which I am sure only quadruples the amount of attention you get!!!!), but there was a time….when people were just stunned and thought I needed to talk about the kids, how I got them, how I handle it….now it’s just the discussion about how I homeschool them everytime we are in the store in the middle of the day; sometimes, it’s just good to remember Mom’s at stores with kids are not really in chatty moods….we just want to get it over with as soon as humanly possible!!

    1. MEGAN! You totally get me, girl! That’s my entire point. If I’m browsing the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby looking all relaxed and leisurely, by all means, approach and ask questions. But if I LOOK like a woman on a mission, I AM!

  19. This is hilarious! I *only* have four children (and yes, three of them are still very little), which I hardly think of as a “large family” but oh, the comments I get when I’m out with them! Also, it is so shocking to people that I have three boys and then a baby girl. And then people often ask “Is it a boy or a girl?” about the baby, even though she’s wearing a pink dress and a big hairbow. I thought that dressing her as girly as possible would prevent people having to ask that question…

    Oh, and I’m thinking you’re going to have to eat that turkey sausage yourself.

  20. You could let her know that y’all just came from the pediatrician where they were diagnosed with a highly contagious virus and need to home asap. She might leave you alone…maybe. But you’d be lying. But it might be worth it :)

  21. I usually counter with a body-shot ‘Wow! Are those your REAL breasts?!” or, ‘Are you SURE you want that cheesecake?’ while knowingly glancing at one or the other. I mean really, if someone is that crass, they won’t get a subtle barb.
    I have 3 boys under 9. Yes, they are all mine. Nope, we aren’t trying for a girl but thanks for being the eleventy-billionth person to ask. Yes they do keep me busy and no, I am not a SAHM. Yes thanks, sometimes I DO get tired of being the only female, but that just makes my mood-swings more effective. No, I don’t worry about them being obsessed with anything (boobs/girls/boys/nakedness).

    People REALLY need to use their Edit Button before opening their mouth!

    1. Julie,
      I have two little boys and all I ever hear is, So are you going to try for a girl?
      It gets so old. Yes, we may have another child, but whether it’s a boy or girl makes no difference to us and it’s nobodies business but our own. :)

    2. Can I be honest? I might or might not have committed this sin…though ONLY with close friends…never with strangers. I’m sure it is very annoying, though.

  22. Once I had only two of my kids in a cart (this hardly ever happens) and a lady walked up(I cringed as she looked over my children) and said “They are so cute. You should have more.” I laughed and said, “Oh good, because I have three more at home.” She looked shocked and walked away! Small victory for MomKind.

  23. That’s when I’d start singing ‘shoo fly don’t bother me’ in an effort to simultaneously soothe the fussy babies, teach the toddler a new song, and give the busy bodies a hint. :)

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