No Pictures, Please.

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Categories Higher-Order Multiples, Mommy Issues, Multiples in the News

Ok, so I have to start with a disclaimer…I am writing right now with a bit of a ‘bad taste in my mouth’.  May as well put it out there – I’m in ‘a mood’ because I made the error in judgment to turn on ‘E!’ whilst tidying up the tornado the triplets left behind in our family room today.  Anyway, ‘E!’ was featuring a special – ‘Jon & Kate – Separate Lives’.  I know, I know…but again, mindless background chatter to decompress to after a long weekend. 


Bottom line – I was appalled.  (And that is not a word often found in my vocabulary!)  The show was obviously focused around the couple’s recent marital troubles, including suspicions of infidelity on Jon Gosselin’s part.  Now, regardless of what your opinion is of:

A)    the show itself

B)    Kate & her personality

C)    their decision to expose their children to a reality show

D)    Kate’s hairstyle or WHATEVER!

…they are human beings.  They are parents with the task & responsibility of raising EIGHT human beings.  As I do not find myself in that particular situation, I choose to reserve judgment.  The media (and many others) however, apparently feel quite justified not only in chasing these people down, but quite harshly & presumptuously judging their lives, their choices, and their audacity to “overwhelm” the employees of a jewelry store by bringing their “entourage” in so that the kids could make their own jewelry!  The nerve!  Next time, Kate, keep your “entourage” at home, behind closed doors.  Don’t you know that you have no right to lead a normal family life??


I know – maybe you’re rolling your eyes & talking aloud to your screens right now, reminding me that they signed up for this – the celebrity, the spotlight.  Trust me, I’m not saying that their choices align with mine either, but do they have to?


This is the thing.  It’s somewhat raw for me because it’s all just a little too close to home; especially this weekend.  No, not the mansion on fifty acres or whatever it is, not the book tours and box seats to Phillies games.  It’s the attention and the assumptions.  It’s the judgment and the lack of consideration when people choose to speak – to speak about a situation about which they have no clue. 


Now that the triplets are no longer diggin’ spending their days surrounded by toys in their corral, we try to get them out fairly regularly.  (Admittedly sometimes more for my sanity than theirs.)  may-june-2009-160


This weekend we were on the move more than usual.  The itinerary included a local carnival, our son’s seventh b’day party (seven is both his age and the number of parties I think he had this year…) and a Father’s Day outing to IHOP and the park. 


Now, I get it – triplets are not ‘common’, and triplets ‘plus one’ is, well – even more!  But seriously, I just don’t think we’re the side show everyone makes us out to be.  There was the usual:

“So do triplets run in the family?”  (aka – Did you do IVF?)

“Boy do you have your hands full!” (Yes, do you have any to spare?  Because one of my kids is getting away as I take the time to acknowledge the biggest understatement of the century.)

“Wow – you must be busy!” (Yes, yes I am. Appreciate the insight.)

But what irked me this weekend were the less frequent, more insidious ones like:

“We only have two; I’d kill myself if I were you.” 

“Wow – I feel really sorry for you.”

And “You come out (to the carnival, to IHOP, etc) with ALL of them?”


Believe it or not, that last one really got me. It’s not as often as we’d like and it takes much longer to get out the door than we’d hope, but yes, we do go out!  It takes more work, more patience, more prep time and more equipment, but what’s the alternative?  Our family may not be typical, but we are ‘normal’ in terms of needing to get out, experience new things and enjoy living life together.  So what is it about seeing a family with multiples that suddenly robs others of social graces & good judgment? 


Alright, so maybe I’m projecting a bit on J&K+8.  Maybe they don’t mind the attention and scrutiny quite as much as I do.  Maybe it’s just growing pains on my part as a MoM.  Maybe all of the attention and the comments just start to fade into the background with each passing outing?  Well, here’s to hoping!  (Us MoMs are good at that!)

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18 thoughts on “No Pictures, Please.”

  1. Great post.

    On the Jon & Kate front, I’m with you. All of the coverage just makes me sick. Regardless of your opinions on their relationship or their situation or whatever, it’s just crappy to see people go through such a hard time, especially with 8 little kids at home. I’m trying to avoid it as much as I can.

    And honestly, people just feel like they can say insane things to people with multiples, don’t they? I get the “I’d kill myself” bit, too, just with my twins. Especially when they were infants. What the hell kind of thing is that to say to a person???

  2. Rude people are just rude. They can’t help themselves.

    Honestly, I feel a little sorry for the folks (like my mother) who can’t fathom the concept that a family can go out as a unit and enjoy themselves.

    You know what’s right for your family. Rude strangers don’t.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..How do you do it? =-.

  3. I feel that I don’t get as many rude comments as other MoMs and I think the only reason is I have this look on my face like, “Please do not speak to me – it will just slow us down and we’re on the clock!!”

    But still, we constantly get the, “You have your hands full!” comment. Which I don’t get. I mean, doesn’t a mom with a toddler running around the store and an infant have her hands full, too? But no one would ever say that to a mom out with her very young but different aged children. It must just be the fascination with multiples thing that makes people forget their manners.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Makes My Monday: 7 months! =-.

  4. I agree about Jon & Kate. Some co-workers were talking about them and some other celebrities being caught in unflattering positions. I told them I’m glad people aren’t following me around 24/7 recording everything I do and say. If they did, I’m sure everyone would think I’mhorrible too. I could see the ‘huh, I didn’t think of that’ on their face.

    I could also do wihtout the comments from strangers. I can only imagine what it must be like with triplets. As much as I would love to say something equally rude back, I just can’t make myself do it. Mom taught me too well.

  5. As for Jon and Kate, well, they signed up for the show.. but I’m not convinced they understood how popular it would become or how intrigued the entire country would be. Regardless of whether they signed up for it, it’s sad that they’re personal life has become such public fodder.
    I get comments all the time. Sometimes I humor people, other times it really bothers me. The one that bothers me the most is “You have quadruplets? My condolences.” The first time someone said this to me my jaw dropped… then I regained my composure and said “Condolences? Why would you say that? I’m pretty happy with my life.” I realized multiples have a “curiosity” factor, but I really wish people would think before they speak. I was at my local moms of multiples picnic a few weeks ago and a set of triplet brothers had on shirts that said something along the lines of “Yes I’m a triplet, but I’m a human, too.”
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..What Goes Down Must Come Up =-.

  6. I actually just commented about this on another blog… We have three children, a three year old and 16 month old twins, and have heard it all and then some! The worst was a woman who felt compelled to whip out her camera phone and take a quick pic of us at the grocery store…. without asking, without trying to hide what she was doing, and without the slightest hint of shame.

  7. I feel your pain. When I take my 5 out in public we get this invisible sign that says “petting zoo.” I cannot tell you the number of times that I have had to tell people to stop trying to touch my children. We need to get out of the house just like everyone else and I know that we are not the “normal” 2 kid household but our children are still children and still want to do everything that every other family does it just takes more prep, stuff and patience for MoM to do it. With J&K+8 I just cannot watch a grown women treat her husband with so much disrespect and then expect him to be the husband that she wants. The kids are the ones that suffer and that is the bad part.

  8. We have been photographed too! By Japanese tourists! I thought it was pretty funny, actually.

    When we are out in public now, almost no one asks if they are twins. Jonathan could easily pass for 3 and Faith looks like the two year old that she is, and I confess, I miss the popularity a bit!

    I think most people speak without really thinking…they are mainly just trying to make conversation. As for multiples in public places, twins and triplets are so common now, you would tihnk the general public would be getting used to us!

    I have often wanted to take up consulting in public places and give them a heads up about how their pretty displays block doorways for double strollers, etc. Think anyone would pay me?!

  9. There once was a thread going on my twin club’s message board where people wrote all the comments people made about their families while out in public places. Some of the comments were funny, but some were just plain inconsiderate and mean. I wish a compilation of these types of comments could be written up and written about in some sort of publication for the general public to see along with commentary from MoMs about how these comments make us feel. Perhaps if people knew, they wouldn’t be so intrusive and so insensitive.

  10. We have had the “You have your hands full” comment so often that my older daughter now says that phrase to anyone who trys to stop us…it always stops them short of actually making a comment. The odd comments and stares came mostly in the early days when the twins were in carseats in the double stroller and my older daughter (15 months older) was in the shopping cart…we were quite a sight i’m sure. All this tapered off for awhile, but now that the twins are older the age difference does not seem as obvious and people are starting to ask me if they are triplets…

    But above all the comment I hate the most is …”Grandma really has her hands full today..”

    I’d like to say this doesn’t bother me…It’s not like I don’t know how old I am…but come on … if you’re unsure if I’m mom or grandma, wouldn’t you rather err on the side of being nice and not insulting?

  11. I totally agree with your comments on the coverage of Jon&Kate. Every time I’m standing in the grocery store line, I feel sick for them. I’m so tired of hearing people make comments to the effect that they asked for it, (as if that justifies the way they’re being treated), or the comments that Kate deserves it, it’s her fault, she’s lucky he didn’t leave sooner. They are people, and they are trying to raise their children. It horrifies me how little compassion people have for them, Kate in particular. I have twins, and that’s enough to test our marriage, our patience, my sanity. I can only imagine the stress and complications of dealing with another 6. I feel so bad for all of them, and I’m so disgusted with how people are treating them.

  12. I am so feeling your pain. We have four under four and the questions and stares when we bring them out…. It makes me want to have more just out of spite!

  13. I’ve been thinking about this after taking our three to the mall Friday and being stopped at least a dozen times. I’ve decide that when people stop me to tell me how busy I am or how I must have my hands full. I will just politely smile and say, “I do have my hands full and I’d better keep moving while they are all quiet.”

  14. People ought to show respect!! How about Congratulations!?? How about “They’re beautiful..well done!” If they can’t say something to that affect before blocking my path or snapping a picture, then how about something simple and respecful like …

    “Nobody knows what you are dealing with..” and leave it at that…

    “Wow triplets!..I’m so sorry!”…

    What is THAT!?? You’re sorry!? What are you sorry about? How about you step aside and stop slowing me down before I make you sorry you ever laid eyes on myself and my children. Do you walk up to other parents who have 3 or 4 kids that don’t look alike or are the same age and say sorry to them as well?

  15. Okay- I CANNOT believe so many of you have experienced people taking pictures of your children in public- ha! That’s unbelievable! What’s with the above and beyond fascination of multiples??
    I, too, have gotten all those silly comments. I truly have to ‘gear up’ to go anywhere- like ask myself: am I in the mood to talk to everyone in the world and smile a lot? If the answer is no, I better just not go. :)
    (totally agree with you of J&K + 8)
    .-= amy´s last blog ..How Do You Do It? =-.

  16. I don’t have twins. I have 2 that are 16 months apart. Someone said “doesn’t a mom with a toddler running around the store and an infant have her hands full, too? But no one would ever say that to a mom out with her very young but different aged children.” I have that, and people always says to me “You’ve got your hands full.” I think anyone commenting on my kids is just trying to be nice. If they thought I was crazy or felt sorry for me, I don’t think they would say anything at all.

  17. I am just finding this a year after the fact but BOY can I identify! The general public feels as though we (parents of multiples) are all J&K+8 & that our entire private life is on the table for their entertainment. The personal questions astound me & the rude comments (especially when they are in front of my older son) make me question humanity! People are so rude. In this country, children are seen by so many people as a burden rather than a blessing…I find that so disturbing & sad.
    .-= Charity´s last blog ..Every Color Under the Sun =-.

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