I understand that a Mum with three little boys is slightly outside the norm. I know that strangers at the cafe, post office, park, supermarket, library etc. are trying to make conversation. I’m polite and always have conversations with strangers, but really my boys and I aren’t that remarkable.
Here are the most common remarks strangers make to me, they aren’t especially witty or insightful.
Are they all yours
Almost every time I am out with my three boys someone will ask me “are they all yours”? We’ve been asked so many times that the biggest lad now replies “Yes, three boys”, and then introduces himself and his brothers. I have three kids, three. Not seven or eleven, three. Surely that’s not unusual? Sometimes I feel like saying, of course they are all mine, do you think I am crazy enough to lump myself with extra kids? And dear stranger, a cursory glance will tell you that they all look remarkably similar. Obviously they are brothers!
Three boys or are they twins
Yep, that’s the next go to comment, “three boys”! Hello! I am well aware that I have three sons. They are loud and demanding and really hard to forget. I may be sleep deprived but I’m across the fact that I’ve got three kids. The other comment is “are they twins”? referring to the biggest two boys. Seriously people, look at them! One is significantly taller and bigger than the other.
They are close in age
You know what? My boys are all two years apart. So (a) they aren’t actually THAT close in age. There’s plenty of kids born much closer together, and (b) I know! What is with people pointing out the blatantly obvious to me? I gave birth in 2010, 2012 and 2014. I’m well aware of their ages. Then I am often told that two years is a ‘good’ age gap. Really, what makes a ‘good’ age gap anyway? There’s no right or wrong time to have a second or third child. It’s just the way it is, ain’t nothing going to change it.
You’ve got your hands full
Wel actually, given I have three kids and two hands I’d say my hands are more than full. I’d love to smile sweetly and say “my hands are not as full as my heart” or something equally sweet but I fear I’d not be able to keep the sarcasm from my voice. Here’s a thought, dear stranger, I do have my hands full so perhaps it’s not the most ideal time to strike up a conversation. Perhaps rather than comment on how busy my life must be or how full my hands are, just say something kind, or even better help in some small way. Trust me, you think you know how full my hands are but you have no idea.
You’re brave taking them all out
Lovely stranger, I am not brave venturing out of the house with three boys on my own. It’s called necessity. This mummy needs coffee, the proper stuff, so out of the house we go. The boys need to run around, get fresh air, be occupied so off to the park, playgroup, library, pool or other kid friendly spot we go. Do you think we’d all be alive at the end of the day if we didn’t leave the house? I’m joking, clearly, but we’d all be feeling a little fragile and the house would be in a state of chaos is I wasn’t ‘brave’ enough to go out. As an aside, why do people think going out with kids is brave? It’s just life.
Conversations with strangers always include comments about my three children being boys. These are the most offensive comments. I gat variations of “were you trying for a girl/will you try for a girl/were you sad the baby wasn’t a girl”. How are these questions appropriate or acceptable? I’m convinced that there’s a current societal preference for girls. But you know what dear stranger, I love my children. The stuff between their legs isn’t important to me. And, kind stranger, why do you care about the gender of my children? They are healthy, thriving boys. Really, what’s the issue here. Often people look at me with great sympathy and in a hushed tone say “Oh, three boys”. As the Thud says, three sons seems to be an epic disaster. There’s no need for sympathy people, it’s not a curse. My sons are all fabulous little people.
While this post sounds bitter, I love people and random conversations with strangers. I just wish that the conversations were a little more imaginative and I didn’t feel like I was receiving condolences. Often the best conversations are with Chinese, they literally pat me on the back for producing three sons.
I’m thinking about getting a t-shirt that says “Nothing to see here people, as you were”. Problem is, slogan t-shirts aren’t really my style! I’d love to hear about your random conversations with strangers.