It's kind of weird the type of comments we get about our family...it ranges from the "yikes! all these kids are yours??" to, "How do you do it?" to, "wow! I wish I had twins" or "I always wanted twins" to, "I have kids 13 months apart- that's just like twins" to, "you guys are amazing. I could never handle all those kids"! It just never ceases to amaze me how people are going to react and I feel like I hold back or act "guarded" until I see how they react. I know it shouldn't matter how people react, I know I shouldn't care what anyone else thinks, and I know that nothing matters other than what Jesus Christ thinks of me, but I still struggle with it! In fact, I found out I was pregnant about a year ago and didn't tell anyone because I was so embarrassed and was so afraid of what people would think! (how pathetic, huh?!) So, yesterday, we got some not so wonderful comments from a lady and I thought I had been prepared for that and was almost "waiting" for it, but it still took me by surprise and angered, shocked and saddened me! All these reactions have been good for me, though. They have made me truly re-think my reactions to people and made me come up with some good "retorts" and really made me think a lot about what I say when people say things to me! It's always better to react to people and things in a positive way and even more than that it's better to react in a God-honoring way! It's nice when people say things to us like, "wow! you guys have really clean and un-smelly kids. I would never know you had 4 little kids" (ok, so it's nice to be held to such a low standard, but come on- would you really expect that I should have smelly kids, just because I have 4 of them?? besides- kids love water and Mom's love free time- they sorta go hand in hand) :) But, it's still not a "good" response! Because it's putting all the good on Korey and I. It's slightly less wonderful than saying, "you guys are amazing", but it's in the same category and it's basically putting us on a pedestal and it's a little scary to be up there. It's not only a lonely place and bad for my ego, but it's a place that I'm definitely going to fall from, because the chances of my kids being "smelly" or unkept looking or badly behaving is fairly good- we all have times where our kids look bad, act bad or smell bad, right?!
So, how should we react when people tell us stuff that seems horrible, awful or overwhelming?? How should we react to scary, intimidating or crazy news? (don't get me wrong- I still react negatively when I hear some news that seems "wrong" to me...I'm just working on it and trying my best to react correctly and say the right thing) I truly don't think that having 4 children is anywhere akin to having some sort of disabling disease or cancer or any other seemingly horrendous news, but apparently it is pretty awful- judging by the reactions we receive, so here are my top 5 things that we shouldn't ever say to a mom with a lot of kids!
You should never:
1)swear in front of children- regardless of how many a mom has, they still have ears and mouths and tend to pick up on words much better than you think!!
2)make a huge deal of how many children someone has...children are a blessing from the Lord and when we are given a blessing from God we don't throw it back in His face and say we don't want it
3)say "I could never do that" because you never know what you can do until you have to! You have an amazing strength resevoir that you probably don't even tap into most days! (as do I and I am guilty of not using it)
4)say, "God never gives us more than we can handle and you should take that as a compliment". As nice as that is, it's totally WRONG! God never promised not to give us more than WE could handle He promised not to give us more than HE could handle!! I think that's precisely why He gave me 4 kids that are so close in age- He knew I couldn't handle it and that each day I would have to rely on His strength or I'd fall apart and He likes to keep me at a place where I need Him daily!
5)tell a woman that abortion would have been an option for one or two of her children! NEVER, EVER, EVER!!
Instead here is what we should say:
"wow. Look at all those beautiful blessings from God. Your heart must be incredibly full of love. I have no idea how you handle it- I will pray for you!" (and then do it) :)
I think that regardless of what is going on in our life and what news we have to share, just telling someone that we will pray for them is always a great response! Because, truth be told- I don't know how I handle it, either...I just don't have a choice. I have to get up each day- feed babies, dress toddlers, make meals, change diapers, wash clothes, clean little bodies, talk silly, wrestle, play trucks, and enjoy life- and since no one is offering to do it for me and I wouldn't take them up on it, if they did, I just have to take God at His Word, grasp onto His promise of strength and "do" life!!