In two-months (I can't BELIEVE the babies are two months old) I have ventured out with all four kids a total of three times. And not once was I alone. I warned my mom when we first climbed into the minivan on our way to do a quick shop slash frozen yogurt run with the kids that people were not typically jazzed to see a "spawntourage" (and yes I totally bought spawntourage.com. It was available so how could I not?) of children marching down the street, especially during lunch-hour. She told me I was paranoid and insane. I told her that during the eight-months I spent pregnant, I needed a shield to ward off the judgmental comments every time I ventured out with two kids plus my pregnant body. (My favorite was the time the dude behind me in line at Trader Joes straight-up called me a "breeder" to my face. Okay so it was the BACK of my face and he was on the phone with his buddy but DUDE! I can HEAR YOU.)
Truth be told, he wasn't wrong. I had two kids with me and three boxes of Joes O's ALREADY in my cart. What was I thinking carrying a third (and a fourth, little did he know) child on my person? Didn't I know that the maximum capacity for the local city-dwelling parents is TWO CHILDREN? Even the rich and charitable get shit for having more than two kids in this town. What's a mother of four to do? Or better yet, how's a mother of four expected to step out with all of her children and feel accepted in her neighborhood?
Moments after stepping out of the minivan and onto the strip, I proved my mother right. As it were, I was not even slightly paranoid. People were straight-up mean. Doors slamming in our faces mean. "They're all yours?" mean. "Excuse me. Your people are in my space" mean. "Damn. I feel sorry for you!" mean. I could go on. Even my mom confessed she felt she needed a stiff drink after our little sojourn.
"What is with these people?"
That was when I had an epiphany. "We're a Hummer in the land of the Hybrid! " And that was exactly it. Stepping out with four children in a place where two kids is sort of an unwritten "maximum capacity" seems to be a crude, selfish act. Like driving a big car or throwing up on a stranger.
The thing is, after six years writing a "parenting blog" and being judged almost daily in the comments, one would think I would just stop caring what people think. And, sure, in a way I do. I'm a confident woman and parent and am totally fine with people not liking me. Sometimes I think I suck as well. But blogging in the dead of night and erranding in the light of day are two very different beasts. I respect the opinions of those who actually "get" me. Of those who have taken the time to get to know me and my family by reading this blog, who have decided for whatever reason that I'm eye-roll worthy... totally cool. But the chick in line at Starbucks rolling her eyes with her BFFs makes me feel sad. Not because she thinks I'm a "breeder" or a "Hummer" or the Ari to my Drama, Vince, E and Turtle. But because she doesn't know me. She doesn't know my story. She doesn't know my kids. She doesn't know how hard we rock out during our Friday night Palladia dance parties. She just read somewhere in a book or saw somewhere in a movie or believes based on false assumptions that I am something. When I'm actually someone.
Of course, not one week later, while shopping for a postpartum style segment (coming soon), I ran into a family with seven kids and felt myself immediately recoil, terrified. I might have even made a face!
And there you have it. I'm just as guilty as the next person.
Because I judge, you judge, we all judge for judge-judge. Because we're humans and don't know any better but to want people to be more like us. To believe what we do. To parent like we do. To LOOK like we do... Because everything else is strange and scary and weird and doesn't make sense in our unique and custom-made worlds. Because trying to park a large car in a compact parking spot may seem like a totally dick move, but sometimes, It's the only parking spot available. (I now know this to be true.) Because from the outside, of COURSE we look a little crazy for having four children in Los Angeles. But from the inside? I know we'd be crazier not to.
P.S. The above momversation is a new format we're experimenting with. Dig? Or not so much.