October 27, 2012
There are several things I could say about how people treat you when they see you are in the company of small children. I’ll say first that so far what comes out of their mouths and non-verbals is far better than what they said while the little person was in-utero – that’s a WHOLE other blog about social etiquette and the verbally inappropriate.
Typically I have been charmed by how helpful and sweet people can be: the Asian woman at the grocery store nearly abandoning her items and ten-year old to grab me a cart from the rack because I had a toddler on one hip and a baby carrier on my other arm – (which by the way, the carrier weighs about 300 pounds even when your baby only weighs eight).
Or the ultimate homestead of helpful – the airport. Navigating the underground tram to your gate which happens to be located in South Sweden and you’re at the check in counter in West Mexico; having the security man litmus test that six-pack of breast milk you brought; convincing the officer that your toddler and you at seven months pregnant do not need to go through the total body skeletal scanner; and finally arriving at your gate while realizing that its not actually a benefit to be let on the plane early, although thank you so much for offering gate agent – advice: BE ON THE PLANE AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE even if that means boarding last (unless you like being in a sweaty tin can with an irritated rhesus monkey). On my first trip sans hubby, a troupe of boy scouts helped gather my possessions onto the tram whilst I bottle-fed a screamer and since they weren’t getting off at my stop in South Sweden (B Gates), a nurse named Karen (they’re always named Karen or Jan or something else kind and easy to say) stepped up and said, “Oh allow me! I just love babies!” and proceeded to gather my stroller and entourage of bags out of the tram. Lovely people! Generally – this is exactly what people do and say and it’s renewed my love for strangers and perhaps humanity.
There is however a funny tic people seem to have – and, I assume, meant in the same way of kindness as the Asian women, the boy scouts and nurse Karen – but intended I think to be humorous. The phrase that oft leaves strangers’ lips when they see me with Big Bro (BB) on one hip and Little Bro (LB) on the other is…
“It’ll Get Better.”
The variants are “Oh Sweetie, It Gets better,” or “Whoa! It’ll Get Better.” These accompanied by the facial expression one might adopt if they saw a person with two broken legs trying to break dance. I then personally reflect to determine, “Do I look hassled or wrecked? Do I look like I’m struggling or hating having my littles with me?” Let it be known, having children and being a mommy is WAY MORE FUN then I ever thought it was . A primary worry of mine what just that – would I enjoy this and what if I didn’t and my kids noticed? But again, that’s a topic for a future blog.
So no, I don’t look hassled and unhappy – I actually like my kids and like being with them. Being a mommy has brought a whole new part of me to life. I am me – the same woman who loves shoes, sushi, my girlfriends, my man – and now I am deeply in love with two charming little boys.
So what gives? Why the expressions and phrases of pity/endearing relation/admonishment when I know I look happy and have my shizan together?
Humor – it must be that they think its funny. Or more actually it’s an expression of colloquialism that needs to be retired. So often people tell you – when your 1st is on the way – of the diaper explosions, the late nights, the “say goodbye to sex” and so many other negative life changes they say come with kids – because they think it’s funny to talk about. So when THREE (3) customers in Starbucks just yesterday said “Whoa honey, it’ll get better!” as I handled BB, LB and a cup of necessary, it must be because its commonly accepted to joke about how crazy and busy and messy and hassled child-rearing is – to them.
It’s SO MIUCH MORE FUN than I ever thought it would be.
So here’s the plan: in the future I’m going to let the conversation go like this:
Random Person (RP) : “Oh sweetie, It’ll Get Better.”
Me (Hot Mama – HM): “No way?! REALLY?! Awesome!!! I didn’t think it could be better. I’m actually having a great time. Thanks!”
Ok I totally won’t say that. Without sarcasm intended, it really is more fun than I realized and I think we should all drop the parochial jokes. It IS fun, it IS rewarding, it IS messy and sometimes a challenge, but the mainstay of negative – it isn’t. The jokes about it aren’t even clever and worse case scenario some new, unsuspecting 1st time parent might believe, or worse adopt, your negativity and stop enjoying their specific adventure.
“It’ll Get Better”- man, if it does than that’s above and beyond what I could ever imagine. After all though, that is what He is all about…
“Now all glory to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us.” Ephesians 3:20