At the risk of aging myself I shall reference a commercial from my childhood.
“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” a hopelessly attractive woman implores her audience (it’s a young Kelly LeBrock, in case you’re interested). She goes on to talk about her hair, and how Pantene shampoo contributes to her evident allure. Here’s the full video:
Now you’re probably wondering what this plea from a rising young starlet has to do with kids, parenting, work-life balance and child-related topics – all of the things that this blog usually covers. Well, I couldn’t help but see a parallel between the phrase “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” and a phrase that time and time again I hear swirling around in my head: “Don’t hate me because I have twins.”
Let me explain.
My husband and I have been unwittingly catapulted into the secret society that exists for those who have had the fortune of birthing not one, but two or more children at the same or almost the same time. This society is one where members can spot each other from a distance with a knowing glance or a split-second look that reveals the pallor of an exhausted and frazzled parent. But I digress. On a lighter note, we “twin parents” are a happy bunch, most of the time. Sure, we’re sleep-deprived (if our twins are toddler-aged or younger), and sure – we may be wearing mismatched socks and this morning’s oatmeal or spit-up on our clothes in public, but in the larger scheme of things, is that really a crime?
Well, you would think it is, considering the comments that we get on a regular basis. Some examples:
- “Better you than me.” – Stated quite smugly by the parent of a friend of our seven-year-old upon seeing me pushing a stroller with not one but two babies, aged six months, in tow;
- “I don’t know how you do it.” – Stated by almost everyone who does NOT have twins and seems to think that it is a heroic feat to do what any parent would do – take care of their kids, whether there’s one, two, three or more;
- “You’re really brave.” As if something I had no control of – identical twins – could be categorized by an adjective that is often used in situations where one has some semblance of control; (for the record, identical twins cannot be planned, and are random and not genetic)
- “Boy, you’ve really got your hands full, don’t you?” – Stated by (again) smug “well-wishers” everywhere, from the supermarket to the local park to the coffee shop and beyond;
- “Twins? Have fun with that.” – Full story can be found here
I will state here for the record that all of these statements range from mildly irritating to out-and-out annoying.
Forgive the evident sensitivity that I am sure is now exuding from this post but frankly I’m tired. Tired of explaining that yes, it is a lot of work but I love my kids and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Tired of being pitied and deduced to a sad, exhausted mom who bitterly takes care of her brood, all the while longing for a life of leisure that cannot be experienced by someone who has been given her lot (okay, I admit to longing for a life of leisure, but the one I wish for includes my children, there’s just lots of nannies involved as well). Tired of…well, just tired.
On behalf of all parents of multiples or parents with a healthy complement of small children who are not multiples, we do not need to be pitied. We are fine. We manage our kids just fine. We are not freaks of nature, we do not belong to a strange cult that condones procreation at super-accelerated paces and some of us (parents of identical twins) are still walking around in a daze about the fact that we got two for the price of one (figuratively of course), who look the same, and that we have to look at for that extra millisecond longer to determine which child we are talking to (yes, I still mix up my boys once in a while).
N.B. This post was inspired by my recent encounter with the smug woman at the grocery store who smugly stated upon viewing my three club-pack boxes of diapers that she feels “really, really sorry” for me.
Questions this post:
How do you deal with strangers’ rude comments about your kids/family/situation?
What witty responses or comebacks do you have for these troglodytes?
Twin/Multiples parents: What has been the most rude comment or situation that you have encountered, and how did you handle it?
Looking forward to your feedback!