So while I was pregnant with my youngest son I was at Walmart shopping for some undies for my hubby. (The man needs me for everything, but I love him for it) A nice guy in a yellow vest walks up to me and asks me if I need help with anything? “No, I’m fine. Thank you, though.”
Guy: “No problem! Aww you’re having a baby! Is it your first?”
Me: “No, it’s actually my third.”
Y’all.. the look on his face when he said “Oh.. well that’s cool.”
Let me point out that I just turned 21 at this point and I look it. So the looks on peoples faces when they would see me big and pregnant walking around with two other kids was more or less a look of pity mixed with disgust.
Usually I wouldn’t let it get to me, because I know that stigma that surrounds teen parents. I also know that my kids are very well taken care of by both of their parents and they’re very loved. But there are other times when I can’t help but feel some form of inadequacy just for being so young. Which is dumb I know, but I can’t always help it. Believe it or not, it’s not even elderly people that do this. It’s 30 and 40 year olds that look at me like I’ve not only ruined my life, but my kids lives as well.
I can’t tell you how many times people would come up to me and ask if my husband was actually the dad to all of them. As if it’s any of their business in the first place or like their would be anything wrong if he wasn’t.
I do get the occasional “What’s it like having three kids so young?” I have a couple of different ways I could answer.
- Utter chaos. I’m way too young to feel this tired all the time.
- I sometimes contemplate just how sad I would feel if I took them to the fire station and left. Good news for them, I would be really sad so I don’t do it.
- It’s great.
I have to make people believe that I’m actually a good person so I go with the last one. Even though I’m 23 I still get the label of being a teen mom, so here’s what it’s really like having multiple kids at a young age.
1. You finally understand why your parents were so annoyed and looked so mad when you went anywhere. Especially amusement parks. These places are utter hell for parents. Why? Because instead of you getting to run around and do all the fun things you have to keep your eyes on three little kids all who want to do different things and throw a fit when we don’t go where they want. You have to carry a ton of stuff all the way from diapers to that hat your daughter promised she would keep on the entire time. All while your friends who don’t have kids yet run around and do whatever they want.
2. Going to that hip new restaurant with your kid less friends will usually end in disaster. “What do you mean you don’t serve chicken nuggets?” I dunno about y’all, but my kids don’t care about all organic or farm raised. They want chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs or it won’t do.
3. Planning a night out without the kids is a mission in itself. So long to the days when it was easy to convince someone to watch your one child now you have to bargain with someone to watch your three little hellions. There I am standing in the kitchen of grandmas house wearing a cute dress and heels with my youngest (who is almost 2 now) trying to convince him that I’m not going anywhere so he won’t start screaming his head off. Once he’s finally distracted me and daddy start sneaking the door and child one or two screams BYE MOMMY BY DADDY! Boom. instant tears and the process starts all over.
4. Shopping is for the birds now. After birthing three kids I have the bladder of a 90 year old man. So it never fails that in the middle of shopping I will have to go to the bathroom. I have one kid walking beside me, and two inside the buggy filled with crap that I’ve already picked up and of course they don’t allow merchandise inside of bathrooms and my oldest isn’t old enough to wait outside of the bathroom with her brothers without me having to worry the entire time that some creep will come up and snatch them. So I try to finish as quickly as possible while praying to God that by bladder doesn’t just go haywire and I pee all over myself. So if you ever see some crazy lady doing the “inconspicuous” potty dance with three kids. Its probably me.
5. This one more or less pertains to just having multiple kids rather than being young with kids, but they fight over EVERY THING! I kid you not. We have even gone as far as to buy them all the same toy so they won’t have to fight and they still end up screaming because they somehow know that the other one has their toy. Even though they are the exact. same. toy.
6. I have learned to function on about four hours of sleep thanks to my youngest. You are always told to sleep when the baby is sleeping, but how can you when you have two other kids who definitely do not sleep every 2-3 hours? I am always tired. There is a 99% chance that if you ever see me and ask me how I’m doing I will look at you and just say tired.
7. Even though I’m young I do not have the energy to play with three kids at once. You think they would play together? Nope. Well maybe for a few minutes before my oldest wants to play a very intricate game with a ton of rules that obviously her 1 and 4 year old brothers would never understand. Or until they all want to play something different and just spend the entire time fighting. Then fight again on the trampoline about how one of them doesn’t want to be bounced, but refuses to get off.
So yes, having kids young is great because you get to love them longer and maybe get to relate to them a little better when they’re older. But its not great all the time and that’s okay. You get through it, and I could talk forever about how much my life has changed for the better because of them, but my youngest is currently crying holding on to my arm because I decided to put some pants on for the day and now he thinks I’m leaving.
Don’t worry, Mama. You’re doing great!