Dear 30 Something-ish Man in line behind me at the grocery store,
A while back, I was at the grocery store with all of my children, and although shopping with 7 children is not without mayhem or challenges, all of my children were behaving rather well that day, if I recall.
We had finally made it to the check out line. I had all of my groceries on the conveyor belt, and my children were inspecting the candy there in the check out aisle and repeatedly asking if I would buy them such and such. A few of them had their own money and were settling on their own purchases and asking my advice, and the clerk was scanning my groceries when you asked me, “Are all these your children?” Now, I know that the sight of 7 children with one woman is rare, and I may have even looked a bit worn out, and maybe even a little crazy, but when I said, “Yes, they are all mine,” I said it with a bit of satisfaction and pride. I’ve also been asked your question a hundred times before, so I wasn’t surprised by it, but what I was surprised by was your answer back when you said, “Oh, I feel so sorry for you.” My heart sank. What? I gave a very awkward, “Huh huh,” back to you as I tried to process in my brain if you had really just said what I thought you said. About that time, the clerk finished ringing me up, so I paid for my groceries, then my children made their purchases and we left.
After I got to the car, and I had loaded all the kids and groceries in, I had time to process what you had just said and it saddened and angered me. I wish I had said to you then what I am going to say to you now:
Don’t feel sorry for me. I love my life. This is the life I chose. This is the life I want. I love my children and I chose to have them. They didn’t just show up on my doorstep one day like lost kittens or puppies that I had to take in and care for. It might have seemed to you that you were sympathizing with me, but to me your comment was an insult, and especially insulting to my children. How dare you imply that my children are a burden and worth less than what you think my life should be. My children were present when you addressed me, and how dare you imply that because of them I should be pitied. They and their father are the best part of my life. They give love and bring joy and indescribable happiness to my life. Being their mother brings a sense of fulfillment that I have not felt doing anything else. I’m not a mother because I wasn’t good enough or smart enough to do something else. I can do and be anything I want to, and I choose to be a mother. I’m happy with my choice, and I have never regretted it. I don’t feel oppressed, held down or held back by being a mother, so why should you pity me for it? Maybe you see a life as a mother as meaningless. Maybe you see a life without monetary pay and no worldly acknowledgement for the things I am doing, and to you that’s a shame. Maybe you see a life without freedom to travel and play, and that, to you, is a life to be pitied. What you don’t see is that to at least 7 people, I am the most important person in the world. To them I am totally irreplaceable. And, what you don’t see are the tender little hearts that depend on me to fix every little heart ache and problem, and the indescribable joy that it brings to me to be able to do that. Maybe to you, it looks like I’m just doing the dishes and the laundry and that nothing that I do everyday matters much, but I know that as a mother, I am changing the world. I know that what I am doing now in my home is so important it is effecting generations to come. I know no other job is as important to the world as being a mother, and I know I would not have such an impact doing anything else.
I know that the most important things in life aren’t bought with money, and that the satisfaction I feel from being a mother can not be found any other way. I know the relationships I have with my children bring a joy that I won’t find anywhere else. I’m incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to be a mother. I know families can be together forever, and I know that the only things we can take with us when we die are the relationships we have developed here on earth and the knowledge we have gained. I know that what I am doing as a mother will have more profound an influence on the world than anything else I could do. I love my beautiful family and I think I am the richest person in the world because of them.
I wish I had taken the time to share my feeling with you at the moment, especially, for my children’s sake. I let someone belittle my children and I didn’t stand up for them. Please, don’t feel sorry for me because I have children, feel sorry for me that we live in a world that doesn’t value children anymore, and that a life given in service as a mother is seen as no life at all. “Raising children is what changes the world the most.”–Rachel DeMille
A Mom Lucky Enough to Have 7 Children
“The shame and the downfall of a modern materialistic society is her inability to treasure, care for, admire, adore, cherish, value, revere, respect, uphold, uplift, protect, shield, defend, safeguard, treasure and love her children… If a nation or if a population of people fails to recognize the excellent value and distinction of the lives of her children and is defective enough to have lost the capability of expressing and acting upon these instincts then there is nothing that can save that nation or those people.” ― C. JoyBell C.
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