Since the day I found out I was pregnant with my second son, I have been subjected to more than my fair share of assuming stares and prying questions. My sons are only 15 months apart in age and, yes, it comes with its challenges, but it's far from the presumed "doom" people make it out, especially after they've done the math. Typically, once they figure it out, I get dropped jaws and wide eyes, followed by the things every mom with kids close in age is tired of hearing. I'm talking rude comments, suggestive and intrusive questions, and resulting prayers that are offered to myself and my family, as if we're one toddler tantrum or crying baby away from losing our minds.
Don't get me wrong, having two kids under two was a huge struggle at times, but the struggle isn't something that's exclusive to parents with kids close in age. I mean, being a parent in general is a universal struggle. I'll admit that when I found out I was pregnant with my second son (and when my first was only seven months old) I wasn't exactly elated. Far from it, actually. In fact, I cried for weeks. The unique and chaotic circumstances of my family's life, at that time, made bringing another baby into the world, well, terrifying. I still feel guilty about it, because I know there are so many couples who struggle with infertility, or who have had miscarriages, that would have done anything for that positive pregnancy test, but we were struggling hard. Of course, one woman's struggles do not negate my own but, still, perspective is easily lost when you're a mother and pregnant and hormonal and exhausted.
We got through that hard time, though, and have come out on the other side with two spunky, messy, happy, and healthy little boys. A day in our house is nothing short of entertaining, to be sure, but despite being stressed and exhausted, we love every messy minute. If we can make it through the struggle and the chaos of having our kids so close together, and realize that having kids is just hard all the way around, you would think that perfect strangers in the grocery store could, too, right? Wrong. Everyone has something to say about my children's very minimal age difference and I, personally, could happily spend the rest of my life without responding to the following 11 questions and comments about it.
"Are They Twins?"
For me, this question isn't rude in the slightest. I don't mind people asking it, I'm just so damn tired of answering it. My toddler is the size of a miniature linebacker, and my (younger) toddler is on the high end of the growth chart, too, but there's a six inch height difference between them. They're look similar, I suppose, but I don't think they look like twins.
"You've Got Your Hands Full"
Really? I couldn't tell that my hands were full by the toddler on my left, and the baby (basically toddler at this point) on my right, literally rendering both of my hands useless. Yes, my hands are full, and my diaper bag feels like a suitcase, but it's not a bad thing. My hands are full of love and adorable boys, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. The problem with people saying this, is that so often it's said with negative connotations, like people genuinely feel sorry for me. Why? I'm busy and exhausted and stressed, but I'm happy. My hands are full, yes, but so is my heart.
"You Were Getting Real Busy, Weren't You?"
Okay, lady in the cereal aisle, let's not insinuate things about my sex life that;s clearly none of your business. Having kids close together in age doesn't mean I was having non-stop sex. Obviously, sex happened (because, you know, kids), but it was hardly keeping us so busy that it was interfering with our day-to-day lives, not that it's any of your business. It's just what happens when you get your kid to sleep in his own room for the first time.
"Thanks For The Birth Control"
First of all, rude. Second, you're welcome, I guess? Hey, I get that not everyone wants kids, and I'm completely cool with that, but don't act like my reality is your seventh circle of hell. If that's the case, that's fine, but just keep it to yourself.
"Did You Plan That?"
I think it could be said that every child on this planet was "planned," because women have rights when it comes to their reproductive health. When I found out I was pregnant, I had options, and having my son was my choice. So, yes, I planned this.
"Wait, They're How Far Apart?!"
I'm not going to lie, watching people try to do the math in their heads to figure out how far apart my sons are is pretty entertaining. I can literally see the light bulb turn on in their head once they figure it out, and it's usually followed by a shocked face and a dropped jaw. I mean, people seem genuinely concerned for my safety.
"Bless Your Heart"
I live in the south, so I know that when someone says, "Bless your heart," that's not what they actually mean. They're actually bestowing their pity upon little ole me, like having two kids close together is a burden or a curse or a hindrance, rather than an actual blessing.
"Do You Ever Sleep?"
No, not really, but that's not because my kids are close together in age, it's because I'm a parent, and parents don't sleep. I was actually pretty lucky with my kids' sleep schedules. We sleep trained both of them, and have had both boys going to bed at the same time since my youngest was around six months old. We still don't sleep, though. I'm assuming that's going to last until, well, forever.
"You Look Tired"
Thanks for noticing and it's probably because, oh I don't know, I am tired. Raising humans is no joke. I once read something Kim Kardashian said that her mother told her. She said, "Having one is like having one, and having two is like having 20." This couldn't be more accurate. Yes, all parents are tired, but having two does, sometimes, feel like having 20 little mini-humans running around. When you've got double the babies, you've got double the tantrums, double the snacks, double the diaper bag, and double the exhaustion.
"I Would Literally Die If I Had A Baby And A Toddler"
Why do people say things like this? I also had someone tell me that they would die if they found out they were pregnant. No, you won't, so just don't say this. Having any child is difficult at times, sure, but if you don't want a child don't have one and don't equate the lives of those of us who do have kids, to your imminent death. It's dramatic and it's rude and it's completely unnecessary.
"You Didn't Waste Any Time, Did You?"
Again, with the intrusive assumptions about my sex life. People who say this make me feel like I have some sort of sex addiction, like I just couldn't keep my hands off of my husband long enough to get our first child out of diapers. It wouldn't bother me all that much, I suppose, if people didn't say it in such a creepy and invasive way. It's like they want to pry into my privacy without coming off as horribly inappropriate. Fail.
Listen, having kids close in age certainly has its challenges, but I'm surviving it just fine. My boys are old enough to enjoy playing together, and seeing them explore the world side-by-side actually makes me feel a little better, because I know that they'll always have each other to lean on. As for my survival secrets? Well, coffee and wine. In copious amounts.