Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yes, My Hands Are Full

Now that Moira is older and Liliana can (at times) understand reason, I have started to dare to go out in public with all three girls more often. They are usually well behaved, since I try very hard to time these outings so that they are not overly stressed or tired, and I keep the outings short. They don't make trouble, they aren't very loud, and they stay under control.

Still, every time, and I mean EVERY time, that I have ventured out, someone has felt the need to say, "Wow, you sure do have your hands full." And so I nod my head, and laugh, and say, "Yes I do" or "We have a lot of fun." Other comments I receive are "Are they all girls?" to which I reply, "Yes, and I have promised my husband a man-room in 10 years." or "Are you going to try for a boy?" Me- "No, if we have more it will just be for a healthy baby." yada, yada, yada...

So this afternoon I take the girls with me grocery shopping. Liliana cried for probably 10 minutes because Grace seatbelted her into the car they were sitting in (at which point I seatbelted Grace in as well, haha). I actually saw a 20-something man smiling to himself as I casually ignored Liliana's cries and calmly responded to her whines. I was impressed that he wasn't irritated. And then near the end a middleaged woman caught sight of Moira and doted on her a few moments. At which point Grace stuck her head out of the car to claim some of the attention (which she got) and so I felt the need to inform her of Liliana on the other side of the car, which the woman was delighted in seeing all three and told me how beautiful they all were.

But then I entered the section of ready-made meals and deli sandwhiches where, at 5:30pm, it was full of professional women in their late 20's/early 30's picking up dinner for the night. They swished by me in their well cut dresses and designer outfits, not taking any notice of me or my abnormally sized brood. But I noticed them, and I noticed my 4 year old capris and 3 year old t-shirt with a day full of childrearing on it. I didn't envy them- but perhaps I felt less than them in that "I know I'm not cool enough to play with them" way.

At this point I actually started thinking of blogging this post and I started going over in my head the demographics in which I live. Reston is a nice place. There are million dollar homes around, as well as a nice professional singles scene near Reston Town Center (or so I hear) with its highrise apartment buildings. At times I honestly don't know how we live here with our 3 children and $100k student loan debt. We seem so out of place, or maybe I just feel out of place. I mean, my three children are such an oddity that people feel the need to comment on them, and yet I probably spend less on food in a month than most singles do. Contradiction, anyone?

And it all came together so neatly in the checkout line. The only people who don't give me the "hands full" line are other parents of multiples. Queue the well dressed woman who got in line behind me with her 2 boys, one of which started playing with Moira (totally adorable to watch). She asked me if the other two were girls and said yes. We started chatting and she said that her husband wanted a girl, but that she was sure that if they tried, that it would be a boy, and she wasn't about to lay down the money for gender selection. I laughed, thinking she was joking, but then she added, "My friend had all girls, so they did that to get a boy- he's the most adorable thing." And there it was- multiple kids and more money than you know what to spend on all rolled up into one. And again I felt totally out of my element and a little silly- I mean, I want another kid and I honestly don't care what the gender is... how could I be so careless as to not plan ever detail- and not have their college fund in place before they are even conceived? (yes that was sarcasm, i know sometimes it's hard to pick up in the written word, so just in case you were wondering...)

So if you ever hear me say that I feel alone, or out of place, or weird, this is why. My husband is a young professional in the DC area with a family the size of a typical middleaged professional man. He is where he is because we paid for his masters degree with a loan (ya know, back when you could actually get a loan, haha), but now we are dutifully paying it back, which makes our budget tight. I'm not complaining- there's not much I'm missing in my life other than the deed to a house, but I'm coming to the realization that Kaylon might never agree to that anyways. It's just that compared to my peers around me I'm different, and that is going to take some getting used to, since I'm coming from a place where I was very much the norm. I love my life- I love being a mom to three girls. I guess I'll just have to get a shirt made that says:

Yes, they are all girls, but
No, I'm not trying for a boy.
Yes, they keep me busy, but
Yes, we want another.
Yes it's expensive, but
It is worth it every day.
Yes, my hands are full,
But so is my heart.


Debbie's said...

Oh Shawna, I love you! I'm glad you blogged it- so many observations! I'm surprised that you frequently get asked whether they're all girls- they're all darling! And to be honest, I think almost anywhere you go (outside of Utah) you will be bombarded with comments like "Woah, you have your hands full."
I like the t-shirt idea- you should totally copyright and market it! Might be the secret answer to "fitting in" with those uppity mommies sooner. At least right now you fit in with me *wink* Hang in there!

Emily Hayes Photography- Washington DC Wedding and Portrait Photography said...

What I love about you, Shawna, is how you write honestly about realities of your life (the great and the not so great moments). So many blogs I read just show the happy times and make peoples lives appear to be perfect. Your down to earth and I love that! I really like how you summed it up in the end. Its all about you being personally happy, knowing that you have a great life and family. Todd and I felt sort of out of place when we moved to MV (being in a family place with kids), but we have just embraced it and adjusted and now we love where we live! I miss you guys!!


The Druhe Fam said...

Bravo! I love this post! I can relate on so many levels...we live in suburbia (where most people have 2 or 3 kids) but I still get similar questions/ comments: "Are you DONE yet?", "Oh, aren't you SO glad you got your boy, now you can be done!", "Wow, you sure have your hands full", "You're home with them ALL day?" I totally know how it feels to be the odd one out. Most of the people in our city live to give their kids fancy lessons, designer clothes, and private preschool, even if it means that both parents work outside the home- something we are not willing to sacrifice. Sometimes I feel unworthy because we don't give our kids any of those things! Like you, I've come to realize that these are OUR choices and I don't have to defend them to anyone. We love having kids and hope to expand our family again. We don't mind hand-me-down clothes and I certainly don't think my kids are missing out because they aren't on the fast track to Juilliard...LOL. I've always felt that you and I had a lot in common; now I know that to be true! Let's both keep in mind that we have healthy, happy, intelligent children with a bright future ahead of can't put a price on that! Love you!!!!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your honesty. I should blog like that. I lvoed your T-shirt idea, because I get the exact same questions about my situation, only, my shirt should say: Yes, I am expecting
I am due in October
No it is not my first
I have a nearly 3 yr old dtr
It is a boy
Yes, we're excited, but
No, please don't congratulate me on being "done", because, believe it or not, we don't think we are.
(& if I happen to be walking Charlie with Sophie)...Yes, it seems my hands are full, but I am enjoying my moments of peace while I still have them (because the hands will be more full!)