Parenting Twins, I’m So Glad I’m Not You

 

A Parenting Twins Conversation:

Is there a time when this phrase would be appropriate to say to someone?

A homeless person on the street? A person in a wheelchair? A friend? A person going through infertility? Someone suffering a loss? A Mom With Multiples? … how about not all all …

Today I was stopped by a woman, who asked the phrase that I could not possibly have heard before {sarcasm}, “Are those twins?”. Chuckling to myself I said, “Yes they are” and smiled proudly at the two toddlers smiling back at me.

The lady laughed and said, “I’m so glad I’m not you”. In an instant my smile dropped and my eyes bugged out. She continued, “I’m so glad I didn’t have twins” and looked lovingly at her own 3 children beside her {who must have been 18 months, 3 and 5}.

My mouth dropped in shock as she actually looked at my twins in disgust! She meant it!

Beside the point, but possibly worth a mention: my twin toddlers {at this point in time} were quiet, well behaved and happy. She, on the other hand, had one crying baby and an older child who was going through her purse and tossing items out onto the ground. Was this stranger beside me, really judging my own children and thinking hers were perfect? Having no previous knowledge of me nor my children, I was shocked that someone could say a phrase like this – for the only reason that I had 2 children, who are exactly the same age.

I’m not going to say that having multiples is easy, or hard for that matter. That’s not the point. Simply put, they are my children. And whether they were born together or 20 years apart, I love them all the same. I would only assume that each parent would feel the same way.

I would never EVER say this phrase to someone, in any circumstance. Sure, there are preferred and ideal lives which we hope to live, such as winning the lottery or never facing death or sickness. Yet to look down on someone’s life because of the age of their children?

There are hard days, hilarious days and fabulous days when raising multiples, just like any other person who is parenting children. Despite those hard days, I see my children as nothing less than a blessing. A double blessing!

After trying to recover from shock, I fought everything in me to not reply, “And I’m so glad that I didn’t have your children”… just to point out the insult. Yet, I forced that fake smile and looked away, literally biting my tongue until it hurt. I tried to keep in mind that maybe she wasn’t just that rude, and might of been having a terrible day. I hope it was the latter, but is that really a reason to speak before thinking?

I’m so glad I’m not you” is not a phrase I would say to anyone whether I knew them or not. In this case I chose to shut my mouth and not respond to the comment, yet I might just put kindness aside next time and not hold back. Assuming my life is hell just because I have multiples {?!}, well, Hell hath no fury like a pissed off Mom of multiples.
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Comments

  1. She probably just meant that you are awesome and she couldn’t have done as good a job as you raising twins :)

    Well done on biting your tongue. Sometimes it is just best to assume people don’t mean things how they sound. Not worth the fight and all that right?

    I do that when people say that about me and my son with Autism.

    • Tammi says:

      Yes, it was all jealousy, right? lol
      Really, some people and there lack of tact just astounds me… just terrible.

  2. Lynette says:

    The world is full of interesting people! There are plenty of people who would love multiples!

    I am thankful that you are not like her and rose above the circumstance! Cause I can only imagine how An upset a mom with twice the anger and twice the smarts could put a woman in her place!

  3. I had 3 kiddos under 3 (my oldest was 32 months old, 4 months shy of 3 years old, when my 3rd was born). I was told this same thing more than once. It really offended me. I actually asked one lady who said it to me, “How is that supposed to make me feel?” She was obviously stunned by my question, stammering, “Well, um, I just know that I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes…..” To which I pressed again, “It’s OK to be thankful that you’re not me, but telling an exhausted mom with 3 tiny people in tow that you’re glad you’re not in my shoes can only make yourself feel better. It isn’t at all encouraging or helpful to me. If you don’t want to be punched by the next sleep-deprived, toddler and infant toting young mom, I suggest you keep your thankfulness to yourself.” (It was a particularly difficult day for me, and I was up to my eyeballs in ‘comments’ and sideways glances from people who had a lot of room to judge and no decency to even hold a store door open for me to get through….) The woman exited quickly, eyes wide, and I have no idea what came of that ‘conversation’… but I did feel a little better! LOL! And whenever I see a mom with littles, or multiples (my sister had TWO sets of twins) I always ask how she’s doing and if she needs a hand. It’s how I would have like to have been treated when I was in her shoes!!

    • Tammi says:

      I loved this:
      “telling an exhausted mom with 3 tiny people in tow that you’re glad you’re not in my shoes can only make yourself feel better.”
      that is so correct!! Instead of stating the obvious, which doesn’t help anything, offer to do something about it!
      Great words to live by, thank you!!

    • This is very nicely put and your reply to that woman is excellent !! I sometimes get in situations where I wish I had this cool answer and .. I just don’t know what to say..haha (of course later at home I’d be like: I should’ve said this and that and grrrr !!

  4. Oh how I wish that the oh so poplular face slapping of the old black and white movies was back in vogue!

  5. I think someone’s need to say something like that isn’t a reflection on you at all… perhaps her children were hard to handle and the idea of having 2 of them at the same time seemed like a fate she could never work herself through.

    I think having multiples are great, met a women who had triplets just on Saturday, while I can’t imagine her shopping bill when purchasing 3 of the same items, 3 pants, 3 shirts and 3 shoes that wont be worn again next season, I guess that is the best worst case scenario.

    Kids are great,… don’t let someone else’s reflection of their life affect your family… by all means you are happy and that’s all that matters!

    • Tammi says:

      Hi Angie, you are right – sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have triplets and not twins. People always wonder how I manage with 2, yet I have 2 arms. lol
      I carried them both as babies and I still do now at almost 35 lbs. Yet, with triplets, you really can’t carry all 3 {I’m assuming}. yet I do know, from experience you adjust, you learn and adapt. I see the interaction of triplets and it makes me smile. Same as twins, good as well as bad days {and yes, always an added expense with each additional child} – but I know I would be just fine. Great point of view!

  6. Hailey says:

    I always wonder what some people are thinking (or not thinking as the case may be). I also often wonder when I have, in my own way, done the same thing without realizing it (I’d like to think never, but that’s not likely).

    However, it’s comments like this that make me want to ask the person *what are your intentions in saying that?*. My guess is she was more referring to her stress level with her own kids, and trying to imagine having two of THEM at the same time was overwhelming to her.

    I have several friends with twins and all have said, that although it can be difficult at times (but so can parenting one child), they LOVE it and wouldn’t trade it for anything…twice the cuteness and twice the fun!

    I bet your kids are just dolls and if she had any idea what kind of fabulous life you have, she’d think twice before repeating her comment!

    hmph…some people!

    • Tammi says:

      Who knows what her life/day was like at that moment – yet I did take it as an insult. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive about some twin-remarks. Sometimes when people see us out, it’s shopping and trying to tackle kids/groceries/rushing. But, YES, they are sweet and cute – and the interaction between them just takes my breath away.

      I am happy to be their mom!
      :)

      • Hailey says:

        I imagine I would have taken it as an insult too….while I don’t know whether she meant to be so rude, I can’t imagine there were honest intentions with a comment like that – how else could it be taken?
        When a friend of mine got pregnant after her 4th child passed away (he was 16 months old) a lady said to her *Oh, I see you got a replacement there* (referring to her pg belly). I was so impressed with her restraint in saying *Oh, there could never be a replacement for him*….I think I would have lost it and likely burst into tears on the spot. Sometimes people just have NO idea how ignorant their comments are. I got asked EVERY day when I was pg with Jonah if I was having twins, even once triplets. I know I was big (ie, a friend of mine who was pg with twins was smaller than me…lol)…but it definitely got old having everyone feel the need to point it out.

        I think you handled yourself remarkably well…sometimes we are so caught off guard by a situation or comment we aren’t sure how to react. We all have difficult moments, even with the best kids, singles or multiples….but to made to feel like our children or situation is horrible can be just plain mean. :(

  7. Tara Kaberry says:

    Twins are fascinating and such a novelty. Some people just can’t handle not being a part of the action. Their way of coping with that is to dismiss or even discredit that which they envy. Pity her insecurity. Relish that you conducted yourself with poise and grace. Good job !

    • Tammi says:

      Thanks Tara, everyone does handle things differently. You never know, she could have had a bad experience herself to feel so strongly. I only know my side, just as she only knows hers. Some are so quick to judge though….

  8. I can’t believe someone actually said that to you! Come on. Everything that pops into someone’s head doesn’t have to exit their mouth.

  9. I had a fear of being a parent of multiples. This is right up there with, “oh, your child (children) are, well, ummm, very interesting to look at”.

    I have a low tolerance for ignorance and while I applaud your self-control, I would have handled things very differently. VERY differently. But, that’s my hangup, my shortcoming. I believe the ignorant ought to be, let’s called it, enlightened. :) Some folks just need a kick to the head.

    • As an ‘ignorant’, I would entreat you not to jump to head-kicking, please. I totally agree that this sort of of comment is completely inappropriate and definitely doesn’t come across as a compliment (although it’s possible she meant it as an insult to herself – like, “I don’t think I could have handled that” not that it’s any better that way) but I come from a family of people who seem to have no ability to stop the phrases they think from flying out of their mouths – ignorant? Definitely. But because they are ignorant (as would be the definition of ignorant) they really don’t know better! And growing up like this has made it more of a challenge for me to learn what is ok, and what is not ok to say to people. There really is no ‘common sense’ when it comes to things like this. Correct people for their rude conduct, but please don’t kick them in the head…

  10. Kim M says:

    We would get a lot of stares when we went out with our 5 children and not just because their where 5 of them but because their ages also. You see I had 5 children in 4 1/2 years and all single births. I never had any rude comments but some would be wowed by the fact of the closeness in age. We took them for the first time to a sit down restaurant when the oldest was 6 and had a lot of stares and very nice compliments. We drilled them before we left on how to act and they did very well. I am sure some people thought we were crazy with the children so close in age but looking back 26 years later I would never change a thing. I agree with Tarasview.

  11. She probably meant she couldn’t handle two of one of HER children… lol…

    A friend of mine with twin babies said she thought my one baby was more work than her two were. I didn’t mind because I knew it was true… My daughter had acid reflux (that went undiagnosed for a while because of drs. ignoring my concerns) and so she was having problems sleeping and cried a lot.

    I’d take this lady’s comment more as a reflection of her own kids than yours…

  12. I get dumb comments too all the time as a mom of 3 kids — one is 17, one is 5 and one is 10 months. Stupid stuff like wow, that’s a huge age difference! Or are you even old enough to have a 17 year old?? Why don’t you have your children closer together? Now that my kids are big enough to understand what these rude strangers are saying, I respond appropriately and stick up for my kids. Yes, I was a teenage mother — not that it is any of anyone’s difference. I worked my butt off and raised the most well mannered young man by myself. I’ve also lost two pregnancies between the 5 year old and the baby. Pregnancies that were very real to our surviving children. When strangers assume something, they literally make an ass of themselves. My 5 year old daughter has told people on more than one occasion that I tried to give her brothers and sisters closer to her own age but they died. People need to mind their own f’ing business in my opinion!!
    If I wanted people’s opinions, I’d ask them for it:) Good on you for not taking her to task but remember that you’ve got those two sets of (adorable I’m assuming) ears listening to those strangers comments and how you respond to them. I wouldn’t want two of a loud mouth woman’s poorly behaved children either!!

    • Tammi says:

      So you relate then, Paula! Even to ask ‘why didn’t you have your children closer together’ is an odd comment. Having kids isn’t sometimes by choice, and there can be so much involved in life – really, were they expecting a simple answer? If anything, for me, it would be a, “Smart woman – you have a babysitter {your oldest}!!’ lol

  13. Ok, so I guess I’d never walk up to some complete stranger and say that UNLESS for some reason we were engaged in conversation somehow. BUT, mine would be in reflection of ME, not you. I have four kids and after having those four kids, I can’t possibly imagine having 2 the same age. Yes, I can open my mouth and insert my foot, but it’s about me and not about you. No clue what this woman was like and from what you said she actually meant it! I like hearing about these situations because I can learn from them. I’m not a total schmuck, just a human who can do and say stupid things. On behalf of this lady, I apologize!

    • Tammi says:

      Love your honesty, Mimi!!
      Believe it or not, friends have said the dumbest things, but I guess we take those with a grain of salt and not word-for-word like strangers.

  14. I can say that I can’t imagine having two little ones, same age – a blessing no doubt! Maybe it’s because I haven’t walked that mile. My kids are 4 years apart and even then they were a handful. But as you said, they are mine.
    When I see parents with multiples I grin inside and out. <3

    Last week I had a company that I'm considering working with comment and ask me, "Wow, how old were you when your oldest was born … you had to be like 11!"

    Seriously? 11?
    No, I was 18. Couldn't you have used just a LITTLE more tact when asking me that. I was and still am flabbergasted by her remark.

    Some people really should signage assigned to them to forewarn the rest of us that they're on the way ….

    Hell hath no fury like any woman scorned, be it a mother and you're in a lot trouble.

    Hug your cuties from me!

    • Tammi says:

      Hi Rose!
      11 ….. wow. I have no remark except to shake my head at that one!
      …Maybe because you look so young!!! ;)
      Take it as compliment!

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