On some level, I get it, multiples are fascinating. They are to me now, but I’m not so sure they were in my pre-multiples life. I’m sure I would have gawked at a frazzled mom hauling sextuplets through the produce aisle, but twins would not have caught my attention. And I certainly would have never stopped the frazzled Mom to ask her a flurry of questions that range from very personal, to the complete and total obvious. While I know that the intentions are good, it does get a bit tiresome.
An outing with multiples is like chaperoning Britney Spears in her crazy phase. People stop, they stare, they shake their heads in awe (or disbelief.) The only difference is we don’t get paid millions and have yet to land a magazine cover. These reactions can take a quick trip into the grocery store for milk and turn it into a 45 minute process. While I try my best to be polite, there are just some days that I know I come across as “less than patient” when people ask me things like, Which one is cuter?
So, here is a list of things you should never ask or say to a Mom of Multiples.
1. My great grandmothers – niece’s- sister’s – Mom was a twin! While I’m sure that was very exciting for your family, I have a hard time faking enthusiasm during the 20 minute conversation that will follow about how they had a weird twin telepathy, did everything together and even dressed alike as adults… I’m sorry, I just can’t.
2. Whoa, Twins! Double Trouble! We do have a sense of humor (believe me, we have to!) and sometimes they do cause us a bit of trouble, but typically we like to keep sterotyping to a minimum. I usually reply with: “We think Double the Fun (or double the hugs or kisses or giggles..) ”
3. Were they conceived naturally? This does not good etiquette make. I’ve had people ask me this question in an elevator at the mall, at a wedding and in the middle of the grocery store. I get very defensive when asked this because I feel that it’s incredibly inappropriate. How we choose to make our children is our business, and if we are having trouble in that department the last person we’re going to confide in, is a complete stranger at the hot dog stand. I also get my feathers ruffled because people just assume that because you have multiples, they weren’t conceived naturally. Don’t make assumptions about this very personally matter.
4. Which one is cuter(!?,) your favorite(!?,) more dramatic, more outgoing…. etc. They’re standing right there! To ask this question in front of the children really puts a Mom of Multiples in a bind. When they are old enough to understand the magnitude of this, you have planted a seed that didn’t need to be planted. Multiples don’t really fall into those set roles. Everyday is different and when they are young, they are trying out lots of different things to see what works for them. Pushing them into a role doesn’t do anyone any good.
5. Boy! You have your hands full! We do, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
6. Did you have a c-section? Yes, yes I did! It was scheduled, they were early, and while we’re getting all personal, I didn’t nurse them (and before you ask that, nursing is possible, and many do it.) Again, I feel that this is inappropriate and puts me in a situation of feeling the need to over share. I don’t like feeling the need to justify to a complete stranger my entire pregnancy journey, and the decisions we made and why some were made for us. TMI.
7. Did you mean to have twins? Umm… Well. We really don’t know how to respond to that…
8. Don’t leave out the big/little brother or sister. I can’t tell you how many times my heart has broken just a little bit to see my oldest daughter struggle to figure out her place when her sisters are being adored in public by strangers. Usually she tries to insert herself into the conversation by answering for them, or claiming emphatically that she is the big sister, but sometimes she just gets her feelings hurt. If you must stop us and adore our children, adore them all. We do.
What is the craziest question you’ve been asked as a Mom of Multiplies?