We're all guilty of it. The dreaded inappropriate question or comment about family. Whether it be about the growth of someone's family, pregnancy, the advice about a newborn, we've all said something we can't take back. "Are you finished having babies now?" "You are sooo pregnant!" "You think this is tough, just wait until you get to the point when..." A dear friend of mine taught her sons about the words they use by this example. She and her husband bought a brand new tube of toothpaste. They gathered their four boys, sat them down and let them take their turns squeezing the full tube onto their table. They LOVED it. Fun, right? Then, after the whole tube was empty mom said "Okay boys, I"ll get a spoon. You put the paste back in the tube." Well, it just can't be done. What an awesome illustration of words. Once their out there, you can't take them back. You can't put the toothpaste back into the tube once it's out, try as you may.
Being a mom of four, people ask me all of the time if I'm done having babies. It's amazing what random people will say to you in the grocery store. It usually happens when my baby fills his diaper with toxicity. I'm pushing the impossible car shaped cart, that fits about seven items in it, and always has a wonky wheel. I'm pulling another cart full of the rest of my items. My ' super-power-ninja-turtle-ranger-man' four year old son is jumping from shelf to shelf down the cereal aisle demanding 'fruity choco puffy bites with marshmallows'. You know the scene. Mom's probably already threatened him for fighting with his sister who's sticking her tongue out at him the whole time. We put on the mom voice, "Sweetie, please stop or you'll have a consequence". WHY do the kids not understand that this voice is a little bit psychotic, as it is not a voice we ever use another time? If we're at home and they act like that we will raise our voice or put them in time out. When I see another mom use this voice, I look at the kid and think, "oh man. You better shut it quick. She's about to loose it!" But, they don't. The four year old doesn't stop until he lands on his nose on a display of Nesquick. The baby is not going to change himself. If big sister rolls her eyes any farther back in her head, she may loose one. Mom is embarrassed.
"Are you going to have any more?" asks the lady carefully choosing her granola bars for her tiny grocery basket.
"Well, I don't know I'm thinking of starting a circus. What do you think? I'd love to have your input!" I think.
But I've been guilty of putting my foot in my mouth from time to time myself. Having four children gives me mad street cred. I have been through a lot of trials, and many more still to come. I have a lot of advice, and have trouble not giving it. When a new mother is exhausted and confused, I want to pour out my information on her and say "listen to me, I've done it.". But, that's not any different. New moms do not want to think about how you are doing it well, what you did to figure it out, or how it could be worse. They want to be in the moment, enjoy their baby and survive the night. They want to get rest. They want you to bring them a hot meal, or hold their baby while they take a shower. New moms don't get to take showers, did you know that? So, I'm trying very hard to be conscious of my words. I can't take them back. So, I'm trying not to start sentences with "Just wait til..." or "It'll be better when..." or "What I always did was...". NO one wants to hear that mess. It's so much more of a blessing to just listen and stop talking. I'm trying.
So when I ask "are you going to have any more babies" I"m always thinking, "you should". Which is really none of my business except for in my own home. When I have found myself asking that question, I always mean it as a compliment. When someone asks me I always hear it as an insult. Isn't that the way our minds mess with us?
I love my children, the monkeys that they are. They are individual and unique, even if sometimes that means being weird and down right odd. They are funny and smart. The funny and smart part they use to their advantage all too often and nearly cross the line of being sarcastic and sassy. We're grading on a curve here folks. I want to be graded on a curve, it's the least I can do in handling my little three ringers.
So, when will I be done procreating? I won't. Ever. I will never be satisfied and have enough babies. I love being a mom. I love being pregnant. I know how strange that is. I love delivery. I love the period of time right after you have a baby, when everyone you know will do anything you ask them to do. I love cooking for them, picking out their little clothes, teaching them how to be independent. I do love my sleep. I love the idea of my body having a shape again. (Interestingly enough, losing the baby weight often leads to my husband noticing, then we start all over.) I guess the point is, I'm really grateful for the wonderful family I have. I know how awesome it is that I have four children. It's amazing that God's given me this blessing FOUR TIMES. I don't think I'll ever say, "I don't want any more babies." But, I am fairly certain that there are no more openings in this traveling, three ring circus I am leadig. So, while I will never fully feel done. At some point you have to quit. And I will be doing well to remember how complicated that answer is before I ask it of someone else. It's like toothpaste, messy.