Don’t Hate Me Because I Have Twins

by Samantha on May 2, 2011


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.”
Huh?
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).
Thank-you.
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!
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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly Ann May 2, 2011 at 4:32 am

Excellent post! My answers to most of your questions can be found in one of my own previous blog posts: http://www.twinsplusone.com/2010/12/as-matter-of-fact-yes-yes-they-do.html

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Samantha May 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

@Holly Ann Just read it and your post is great, Holly! Thanks for your kind comment :)

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Dolli-Mama May 2, 2011 at 11:52 am

I am with you! Raising twins is a blessing, not a curse. I wrote an entire post on the phrase “I don't know how you do it”.

Great Post

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Samantha May 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm

@Dolli-Mama Thank-you! Heading over to read your post now :)

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themobilemama May 2, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Great post! You've summed up the thoughts that go through my head every time I enter a store pushing my double stroller. “How do you do it” is another annoying one. The worst question I got was “did you want twins?” I felt like asking “did you want your child?”

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championm2000 May 2, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Loved this post! Like you, we have received our share of these comments. I try to take them in stride because I believe having twins is the single biggest blessing of my life. I smile when people stare. Like you said, “Don't hate me because I have twins” :-)

I wrote about the most common questions we receive here:
http://mamemusings.blogspot.com/2010/10/yes-yes-yes.html

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Daisy, Roo and Two May 2, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I get the “I feel so sorry for you” comments all the time! I usually answer “Why?” and they honestly don't know how to answer that, because to them it seems obvious that they should pity me for my three beautiful children, hmmmm!
You took the words right out of my mouth with this post!

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Callie May 3, 2011 at 12:56 am

All I hope is that I'm never the one to ask the rude questions. They are so insulting and I fear that because I'm a mother that rudeness will somehow capture me and I'll be making others mad. :)

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Samantha May 3, 2011 at 1:12 am

@championm2000 Thanks for your kind words! I, like you, couldn't imagine NOT having my twins. They have been such a joy :) Can't wait to read your post! Heading over there now…

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Samantha May 3, 2011 at 1:13 am

@Daisy, Roo and Two That's a good one! I never even THOUGHT of asking the obvious: “why? I will have to try this for sure. Thanks for your comment and kind words :)

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Samantha May 3, 2011 at 1:15 am

@Callie Callie – you probably won't be the one asking the questions, having been on the receiving end, I'm sure. Having to go through it makes one a lot more sensitive to others' feelings, I find. Thanks for commenting :)

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Cathy May 3, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I am simply impressed by anyone with multiples. Being overwhelmed with one baby, it is difficult to imagine more. Just for the record, if I've ever made any comments like that (and I don't recall having done so) but I feel I must apologize just in case!

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Samantha May 4, 2011 at 2:26 am

@Cathy
Cathy, you're too kind! The fact that you're worried about offending someone makes me think that it's highly unlikely that you said anythin offensive :) It's the people who don't think twice about running their mouths that we really have to watch out for! Thanks for commenting!

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Anonymous May 4, 2011 at 4:34 am

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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Beth C. May 5, 2011 at 3:15 am

Wear the fascinator, and they won't even notice you have twins! : ) Love reading your posts Samantha!

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Samantha May 5, 2011 at 3:23 am

@Beth C. Now there's an idea! The fascinator will fascinate and distract from the fascination with twins! Love the strategy! Thanks for your kind words, Beth.

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somemother.com June 17, 2011 at 2:56 am

As you know, I'm a grown identical twin. Pretty soon if not already, people will be asking your twins their stupid questions (top of the list, “Are you twins?” followed by “Which one are you?” and “I can see you being cousins, but not twins.” WHUCK?). I am STILL asked what's it like being a twin, and I respond with, what's it like being a singleton? Followed by some ha-ha-but-you-are-so-dumb expression where I point out I have no basis for comparison. (Oh I forgot, people ask who is shorter/fatter/nicer/smarter etc. Like such comparisons are useful, ARGH.). I don't mind sharing about being a twin, but it is actually quite personal, so don't ask if I don't know you. (I would gladly give you a preview of what's coming, Samantha!)

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Anonymous August 22, 2011 at 6:02 am

Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2011

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Samantha August 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm

@somemother.com
@Somemother – Thanks so much for this insightful comment and my apologies for this very tardy reply. For some reason, I didn't get notification of your comment when it was posted.
Anyway, yes – people do ask very silly questions, e.g. “are they twins?” which in my mind I'm thinking “Hmmm…they are the EXACT SAME SIZE and LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME. What do YOU think?” Of course I never respond this way – it would be rude, after all – but sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they ask these questions….sheesh!
Thanks for commenting!

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Amy August 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Love this post :) Greatness!!!! I am a single mother of twins two year olds….they are not identical however you would be shocked how many people say “are you sure they are not identical?I think they are!” HELLO they are mine…and yes almost anytime we go out “are they twins?” and trust me gritting my teeth through a smile at the smug mom with her singleton saying “you sure have your hands full” as my twins sit in the cart designed for two kicking the crap out of eachother the entire shopping trip …..seriously who thought kids should face eachother :( ….keep up the fun it helps keep me sane

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Samantha August 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm

@Amy

Thank-you for the very kind words, Amy!

Yes, it is really hard to maintain one's composure when some smug parent with one child in tow takes to denigrating you with your two, or three or more. It's certainly easy for them to say how “difficult” it must be with their faux pitied looks in our childrens' direction, isn't it?

The cashier at the grocery store who told me that she felt “sorry” for me pushed me over the edge, and I actually challenged her and said “oh, really? you feel sorry for me? WHY?!?” She was immediately humiliated and reminded of the foolishness and insensitivity of her question, and I think it snapped her back to reality. Whatever happened to that lesson that our mothers taught us way back when: If you don't have anything nice to say to someone, don't say anything at all? Clearly it's been forgotten my many. As a result, I say we must fight fire with fire and challenge the ridiculous comments that are lobbied in our direction!

Okay, will get off my soapbox now :)

Thanks for commenting!

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Samantha August 23, 2011 at 12:28 am

@Anonymous
Thank-you! I'll definitely do a follow up soon :)

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