Recently, I went to the local bowling alley with all three of my children.
This is nothing new for us. We go places all of the time just the three of us, because, well, we have to. My kids and I like to go out, and they can’t drive or be left alone, so our options are slim.
On that day, a well-meaning employee at the bowling alley commented to me that I was “brave” for taking three children out.
I responded by telling him, “We go everywhere together. They are my kids.”
After his shock (which I’m not sure why it presented itself) left his face, he followed up with a comment “Wow, they are all yours?!”
I’m not sure what is so shocking about a woman in her thirties having three children or her taking them to a bowling alley—or anywhere for that matter. But this by far is not the first or only time strangers have shared with me that they find it impressive and courageous to be out and about with my three young children.
While I do know that the majority have meant no harm by their words and in fact, they probably find their words to be more of a compliment, I’m still requesting that such comments flat out not be made.
Why? Because, in my opinion, the truth is this:
It is a brave decision to have children, but it is also a very brave decision not to have children; to live life for yourself, for your relationship, or to pursue your passion. It is a brave decision to give birth to three or more children, but it is also very brave to give birth to one or two children. It’s a brave decision to foster or adopt.
What’s not brave is going to any establishment with my three children—there is nothing brave about that. Everything about that is normal, average and standard for our family. Everything about that is everything that motherhood is.
So, I guess if you are saying that motherhood, in general, is brave, then yes—I completely agree with you.
However, calling the fact that I’ve merely ventured out of my messy home with my three children—not too commendable.
Wait—they did all have pants on, matching socks, and only one of them threw themselves on the floor for back-to-back mini, slightly-epic tantrums.
On second thought… commend away.