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Her Life Must Suck

by Krysta Manning

Going out alone with 18-month-old triplets is like herding squirrels in a nut factory. My kids are at that inconvenient age when they twist and fight to get out of a stroller, but they can’t be trusted to walk anywhere. Consequently, we don’t venture out of the house very often.

One morning, after listening to my son’s favorite toy play Skip to My Lou for the fourteenth consecutive time, I decided that I couldn’t stand being cooped up for another second. Without a moment’s thought, I grabbed a baby and started the assembly line of diaper changes. If I think about these things too long, I chicken out. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid. I removed three sets of pajamas, put on three shirts, and wrestled six tiny legs into three pairs of pants. I chased them down one by one to put their squirmy feet into six tiny socks and six small shoes.

I guided them slowly through the baby gate and down the stairs where I began packing for the day. I shoved sippy-cups, snacks, diapers, wipes, extra clothing, and toys for three into my tired, over-stuffed diaper bag. I grabbed their coats and began loading them into the car one by one. After forty-five minutes of prep, we were ready to pull out of the driveway.

To my surprise, the morning was a dream. We went to Target and out to lunch without incident. I smiled as I watched them play contentedly in the restaurant play area while I sat down for the first time all morning. I mindlessly pulled out my cell phone to snap a photo when I was jolted by the time—and the realization that naptime was a mere five minutes away!

Copyright Krysta Manning
Image source: The Thoughtful Mom

I pulled each child off of the play structure and fought to get their coats on as they leaned desperately back toward the slide as if being pulled by a magnet. After each one was stuffed in a coat, I let them run back and play before I grabbed the next one.

I had one kid strapped to my chest and was holding the hands of my other two as we literally took baby steps toward the parking lot. That’s when I heard it.

“I would never go out in public. Her life must suck.”

I almost stopped in my tracks. I considered turning around and saying something. Then I realized my children were resting in a delicate place between contentment and absolute exhaustion. One wrong move could set them off on a triple tantrum that would only serve to confirm her suspicion.

I settled for shooting her my best shut-your-mouth glare and headed out the door. The whole way home, I was seething. There was a knot in my chest and a lump in my throat. As I put the kids down for their nap, I found it difficult to remain tender and loving while all of the ferocious things I should have said were racing through my head.

Who was this horrible stranger passing judgment on my life? She didn’t know me. What basis did she have for her awful comment? And, furthermore, why did it bother me so much?

I thought about the last question for a little while. I realized that any insult with bite has to be rooted in truth. Does this mean that my life sucks? Not necessarily. Not all of it, anyway. But parts of my life do kind of suck. Like trying to maneuver out of that restaurant, or waking up fifteen times in one night because the kids are teething, vomiting, feverish, or screaming for no discernable reason. Or being a prisoner in my own home a vast majority of the time. These things, quite frankly, suck. And they’re a big part of my life right now.

Who knows what that woman’s issue was. Maybe she was never able to have children and is trying to convince herself that she is better off without them. Maybe she has low self-esteem and has to tear down complete strangers to artificially bolster her own feelings of self-worth. Or maybe, she is just thoughtless and careless with her words. Whatever the case may be, she had an impact on my emotions that day.

When the kids began to wake from their nap, I could hear the girls giggle on the monitor. I headed into their room and was greeted by toothy grins and big hand-flapping waves. I smiled. If that woman had seen this moment instead, or any of the hundreds of others like this, I doubt she would have been able to say anything but, “Her life must be wonderful.”

A comment from a stranger is simply an opinion based on a snapshot of your life taken completely out of context. While it may represent part of the truth, it cannot possibly tell the entire story. In the moment, it may sting. But when placed among all of the other evidence that makes up your life, it means nothing. As Eleanor Roosevelt so poignantly said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And you, sour stranger in Chik-fil-a, may not have it.

 

 

Krysta ManningKrysta is a mom of one-year-old triplets living in Louisville, KY. She recently quit being a military dentist to focus on her family. She can be found at her online home, The Thoughtful Mom where she strives to make other moms feel comfortable, normal, and happy. Her writing has been featured on other sites such as BlogHerScary Mommy, and Mamalode.

 

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17 Comments on Her Life Must Suck

  1. This could have been weitten about my life. Thank you for this. Seriously.

  2. Judy Rietkerk // May 7, 2015 at 3:13 pm // Reply

    way to go! As a mom of twins! Cherish every moment.

  3. Mavis Frazier // May 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm // Reply

    Just laugh to yourself and know that they will all be out of diapers about the same time and you can sit back and chuckle at all the singleton moms trying to wrangle different ages 😉 With the twins, yep the first couple years were crazy. But you know what? I don’t remember much of that now lol And they always have someone to play with! That makes life so much easier. I kind of feel bad for my youngest kid not having a partner in crime.

  4. You might have 3x’s the work but also get 3x’s the joy 🙂 which makes all the efforts worth it..nice article!

  5. I can totally relate to this! // May 7, 2015 at 7:50 pm // Reply

    I can understand this more than most! I’m a single.mom of 4…ages 3-13! I’ve had to deal with comments aND stares on more than one occasion. …

  6. It’s so comforting to hear that you all can relate to these feelings! It’s getting easier to get out and about with the kids, but it can still be rough from time to time. Luckily, there are more kind, helpful people around than there are snotty ones.

  7. Always, ALWAYS someone’s judgment is about them and not at all about the person they are judging. Even with that awareness, it can still sting, like you said.

    I have issues with my weight and have all my life and when I want to judge someone because of their body size, I know that it’s that part of me that wants to tear my own self down but instead, projects it out at someone else. What I do when I catch myself doing it is wrap that person AND me in a big LOVE HUG instead of judgyjudgy. That takes me out of the space of throwing my yuck onto them.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. Way to go! Keep your head up. I’m not a mother of multiples (I’m not a mother of anything besides my 2 year old golden/Shepard actually) but I am a triplet. I’ve talked to my mom (I may be a little biased but I think she’s the greatest) a little about how crazy it was to raise us and my older brother. Yeah, it was crazy, but life is crazy and she said she’d never trade it for anything. You children will grow up and be able to experience the truly unique life that being a triplet is, and they will be grateful for you doing all that you do! Keep up doing you!

    • I love hearing from triplets that are all grown up and doing wonderfully. It gives me so much hope for the future! And I’m kind of crazy about the fact that you think your mom is the greatest. I aspire to be thought of that way by my children someday.

  9. oh Krysta- I have been there so much! I don’t understand why people say such horrible things. Life for moms, especially moms of multiples, can really suck. But the work we put in now will be rewarded back to us tenfold. Thanks for such an great article!

  10. Well-played, Krysta. You are smart and have ‘class’. That idiot, however, is just that. Grrrrrr! Anyway, thanks for sharing that Eleanor Roosevelt quote. I’ll do my best to remember that one. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you so much, Joy! If you ever get a chance, you should read Eleanor’s book “You Learn by Living.” It’s magical. (And, yes, me and Mrs. Roosevelt are on a first name basis!)

  11. So, so good Krysta! An adorable picture of your kids.I wanted to punch that lady right along with you as I read this, and yes, anyone who would say that out loud clearly has some issues.

  12. Krysta, I have seen you personally with the kids, and you are the most loving mother with three adorable, always on the run kiddos. Don’t ever let anyone damper that. Maybe she has no one to love and that may have been her way of resenting her own life. “her life must suck!” Ha! You have a wonderful life, and so much love around you! Love ya, girl!

  13. I am the grandmother of one year old triplets. You are blessed and I am happy that you know it. My son and his wife are soooo blessed and even though they are a lot of work, especially for their stay at home mom, I know that they wouldn’t have it any other way. Just as my children are the best part of mine and their dad’s lives my grandchildren are the best of my son and his wife’s lives and are defideftly the light of their lives.

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