5 of the most ridiculous responses I got when I told people I was having a third baby
As regular readers of my blog will know, I had three children in just over four years. Little Miss E was 21 months when her brother, Little Man O was born. When Baby Boy I came along, she was 4 and a quarter, and Little Man was two and a half. For some reason, compete strangers feel the need to continually comment on my family set-up. I’ve written about it before so I won’t repeat myself too much, other than to say it started from the moment I announced my pregnancy. I feel like I’ve spent the last two years defending myself about a decision that has nothing to do with anyone other than me, Cardiff Daddy and our children. I know that sometimes people are just making conversation, or they don’t mean anything by it – but a lot of people say these things in front of my children and they say it with a look of horror or disgust on their face. My big two aren’t stupid, you know. They’re 5 and 3.5 understand what you are saying. It happened again today. Someone I didn’t know said something very cutting and rude about me having three children, in front of them. I bit my tongue… and then wrote this.
Here are five of the most common and most ridiculous responses I got when we announced we were about to become a family of five. Any other parents-of-three relate?
1. Was it planned?
Usually from people I’d only just met. I wanted to scream at them, “Do you normally ask complete strangers about their sex lives? Do you tell them about your life between the sheets?” I never quite had the guts though. It’s like they wanted me to come up with some exciting story about how we got carried away on one rampant night of passion and then that panicked ‘oh crap’ set in when we realised. Now, I’m sure for many parents of three, that’s exactly what happened. But when I say that our third baby was very much planned, they’re always disappointed and/or confused. And it usually leads to one of the following.
2. “Why do you want a third? You’ve already got one of each.”
Why are people obsessed with this idea that having one of each is the ultimate family set-up? Friends with two girls get asked if they were disappointed the second wasn’t a boy. Friends with two boys get asked if they’re now going to try for a girl, or not risk it, in case they get another boy. Friends with one get asked when they’re going to have another. How about, “I wanted a third because I wanted a third. I always wanted to have three and feel incredibly blessed that’s happened. If I’d had three boys, I would have been happy. If I’d had three girls, I would have been happy. If number three had been twins, I would have been happy. End of.”
3. Congratulations…. But I think you’re crazy.”
Really? Well, I think you’re downright rude. How about “Congratulations” full-stop. No need for my children to hear you loudly proclaiming you think their mother is a mad woman and that there is something wrong with having three children. Another reminder to instil into my children the mantra of “If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.”
4. “I’d rather you than me.”
Yes, that’s why I’ve chosen to have a third and you’ve not. I don’t question your choice to “only” have one or two children – and especially not in front of your children – so why do you feel the need to question or undermine my decision? Your family set-up doesn’t impact on me, and mine doesn’t impact on you.
5. “Are you planning on any more?”
I actually feel quite strongly that you should always think hard before asking someone if they’re planning on having any more, unless you know them very well and you are prepared for what that response might be. Maybe they’re trying and nothing’s happening; maybe they’ve had a miscarriage; or maybe they want another, but their partner doesn’t and they’re going through a rocky patch. There could be any number of reasons why this isn’t an appropriate question. However, when I tell people that we’re sticking at three, they always look quite disappointed. Despite the fact they thought I was crazy for having three in the first place. Go figure. Sometimes I want to tell them I’m going to keep on going just so I can see how people respond to a fourth pregnancy announcement.
Are you a parent-of-three? Does any of this sound familiar? Let me know in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy
People are so rude! I *think* I did used to ask if people were going to have more pre kids. I’ve so learnt not to these days unless I know the person well. I’m hoping that some of these stupid questions were from the older generation? Because then I have the cruel but correct assumption that at least they are dying out!!!
That just made me laugh out loud! Not so much old people – I guess bigger families were more common back then. It’s more people of my age. It’s not so much what they are saying, but how they say it, the way they shudder with disgust and turn their noses up. So rude!
I do adore these comments, I am always left completely gobsmacked by how people perceive their comment is going to be received…. if you’ve nothing nice to say and all that!
I get a great sympathy vote as I had three children in 22 months. The best comment I remember was someone commenting that they could never have had twins. The idea that it was somehow an option raised a wry smile.
I love having three children, and so close in age, and whilst I’d go back and do it all again tomorrow if I had my way, I’m glad to be able to sit back with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy them playing together.
Yes, I often wonder how people think you are going to perceive their comments. How am I supposed to react to people telling you that you are completely crazy in a disgusted tone? I think three so close must be lovely. That comment about the twins…. ha! What a ridiculous thing to say!
I am a mama to three and I have an even closer age gap with my first being only 3.5 when no.3 was born. I also have all boys which means I constantly get asked whether I wanted a girl and whether I will be trying for a girl. When I say I would love a fourth boy I see a look of horror on their faces!
I love that you say that to them! I think three boys so close in age must be fab. How lovely to have a little gang of brothers. x
I am a mum of two but am undecided as to whether we will go for a third. Would love to get some insights and thoughts on what it is like having three kids? X
Well, personally I love having three and feel very grateful for my little family. There are days that are busy, when everyone needs something from you, but I think that’s true however many you have. I do worry sometimes that I can’t devote as much one-to-one time as I’d like to each of them, but then I see their relationship as siblings and it melts my heart. x
You are not alone! These comments are making me smile daily! The worst is the will you have more question I think, just for pure ignorance of the heartache some people go through to have one, never mind trying for more. Personally, I also don’t want people I barely know to tell me when they are trying for no.2,3,4,whatever – very personal and why would I want to know you’re at it like rabbits?!
Yes, having experienced a miscarriage, I would never ask anyone their plans for children, unless they brought up the subject with me. It can be so difficult to hear those comments and questions. I would certainly never ask a complete stranger, and like you say I don’t want to know if people are currently trying!!
I am a mum of 3 boys, my first was 21 months when 2nd was born and my 3rd was born 3 days before number 2s 2nd birthday, I hate it when I am stopped in the street by complete strangers saying ‘wow! You must have your hands full’ or ‘you must be off your head’ ‘are you disappointed your 3rd wasn’t a girl?’ Drives me mad! If it don’t affect them, why but in!
Yes, it’s so rude when complete strangers stop you in your tracks to make rude, unsolicited comments. I know that some people are genuinely curious, but some of the comments are so insensitive. I think three boys sounds brilliant, how lovely to have three brothers so close in age.
I completely agree with all of this! I am currently pregnant with my third and already have a boy of 5 and daughter of 2 and all I get from people (usually people I don’t actually know very well) you must be made to have a third… Was it planned? Why have another when you have one of each?? Etc! We chose to have our third as we always wanted a larger family. I can’t wait!
Congrats on your third pregnancy! That’s lovely news. I absolutely love having three – it is busy at times but brilliant.
I am continually amazed by strangers who think it is their business to comment on such personal issues. Why would I discuss my family planning with complete strangers?!
Oh yes, we’ve heard variants on all of these while we were expecting our third and afterwards – while ours are spaced similarly to yours, having had two boys first at least we never had the ‘one of each already’ line. It does seem odd that so many people assume two is the accepted norm. I’ve seen single or no-child families come under the same scrutiny for similar reasons (‘why only one/none – isn’t that selfish?’ etc)
It strikes me that, as you say, it’s very much a personal decision how many children you have, and there’s no right or wrong as long as they are brought up with love. And sometimes we don’t have a choice: medical complications, the unplanned pregnancy and so on. Some people are too willing to judge parents based on headcount by comparing them to their own ‘right-sized’ family without ever bothering to consider the story that lies behind the family. If they did consider that there might be something beneath the surface, maybe people would be less insensitive about it.
Yes, I can imagine you have heard it all. I know some people are just making conversation but I agree with you about the consideration bit of what lies beneath the surface. I have a couple of friends with “only” one and I know they find all the comments difficult as there have been multiple miscarriages, fertility issues and so on and they would love another child. If only more people would think before they speak.
My third is 9 months old. I got a lot of these comments too. I had two boys so I got a lot of people assuming we wee trying for a girl. We weren’t and we got another boy.
“Was it planned?” is so intrusive. I hate when people ask that.
Yes, it is so intrusive when people start questioning your family planning when you barely know them. I think three boys sounds fab – how lovely to have a little gang of brothers.
I have two (one of each) and we’re pretty sure we want three. I can easily imagine people saying these things. It’s like the unbelievable things people say to you when you’re pregnant!
Oh, I know! It is amazing how some people can be so intrusive and insensitive. I love having three, it’s fab. x
Oh my god yeesssss!!!! Why are people so so rude when it comes to numbers of gender of children. I’m 23 weeks pregnant and I’m finding people’s favourite thing right now is to tell me they really hope I have a girl (we have a 4 year old) as if having another boy would be some kind of consolation prize. Pre pregnancy I got a lot of “don’t you want more?!'” We actually got told we couldn’t have more so replying with that was very interesting. They’d look absolutely horrified and embarrassed and then mumble something. Whyyyyy do people do it?
It must have been difficult having people saying that to you about having more, and also very insensitive about the gender. I know some people say things to make conversation or out of curiosity but some people are so insensitive and rude with it. Whyyyyy exactly! x
Yes as a parent to three i can totally relate to this! when i had my second daughter everyone said oh so will you be trying for a boy soon then, then when i did fall pregnant when she was just five months old i got asked if i was hoping for a boy, if it was planned and did i not own a telly. Then when he was born last year i had everyone saying oh you have your boy now your family is complete and i bet you have your hands full and i must be mad. I even get asked when i am having another and my son is only 9 months old and my daughter has just turned two. Yes i am happy i have a boy after having two girls but i would have been happy with three girls and did not try for a boy. Some people are just rude when you have more then two children xx
Oh god, I had these too! And it drove me mad. So thoughtless
Love this post! I am a Mummy of one and sticking to one so constantly get asked are we not going to have another, not usually by complete strangers though but by friends who have already asked 2 or 3 times before and had the answer no and the explanation! Like you I tend to avoid asking people’s plans on more unless I know them really well and my friends and I often joke when they ask me why I knew to stick at one, usually when they are sat there falling asleep having been up with 2/3/4 kids since ungodly o’clock in the morning.
This is so true! I always felt a bit miffed when people commented on how I must be mad. Why couldn’t people just say “congratulations”? And I’m always being told I have my hands full – yes I do: full of beautiful children and full of love and happiness! (Ok, and full of sleeplessness, stress, arguments and hard work too! But let’s not dwell on the negatives!) I feel lucky every day to have my three lovely children. X