In the past several weeks, I have repeatedly heard "You look good for having five kids."
whut tha whut??
First of all, what *SHOULD* I look like for having five children? Well, 6 when you count angel Francis. Seriously. What is anyone expecting? Frumpy? Dowdy? Do they expect that I'll be dressing like the stereotypical evangelical homeschooling matron? Do you expect that I am supposed to look like I just rolled out of bed in my clothes from yesterday like a slovenly teenager from a 1980s movie?
Stop saying that to people.
Either we look good, or you look silent. Full stop. When people say to me "You look good for having 5 kids", I have taken to snarkily responding with "How about I just look good, period." What people see about me is physical appearance, and it is one that people want for themselves or they hate me for it. I have said it before, and I will say it again. I. CAN. NOT. HELP. THE. PHYSICAL. PERSON. I. HAVE. Do not hate me for winning the genetic lottery, because it comes with caveats. My grocery bill will forever look like I'm feeding a herd of teens. My clothing is difficult to fit properly because of curves, a long rise, big feet, and broad shoulders, and what is available in stores is not always appropriate for my age.
What you don't know or care to know is that I am not the picture of health. I have weak core that my chiropractor has been nagging at me for 6 years to rebuild. I have not done it. I own my laziness, and I make no excuses such as time, energy, etc. I just do not do it. I know this. I admit every second of it. What you don't know or care is that I have a high metabolism, and if I skip meals, I get migraines. It has gotten worse the older I get, too. What you don't know or care to know is that I think people who say "You look good for....(insert qualifier)" are problematic. You need to know and you need to care about that last one.
When you tell me I look good for having 5 kids, what you are telling my best friend with 5 kids is that she's fat, slovenly, ugly, a pig, or she is lazy. A lazy day for her still outpaces my busy ones by a million miles. She battled an eating disorder and STILL fights it daily as an adult. She has diastasis recti which is only going to be corrected by surgery because pregnancy really did a number on her and physical therapy has only done so much to improve it. When you tell me I look good for having 5 kids, what you tell another friend of mine is that she is inadequate for not being able to lose all that weight after just one baby. She has PCOS and some other issues, not that it is any of your business. Maybe it needs to be your business, so you can educate yourself on the challenges of that situation. What you're telling another friend who doesn't have any children is that she is not enough because she's overweight, and has no excuse for it since she didn't have any kids yet.
What you're telling me when you say I look good for having 5 kids is that I am doing something wrong. You're telling me that I shouldn't "qualify" to look this way, or that I shouldn't "qualify" to have 5 kids. Nope, no way. I don't need to qualify for either equation. I am raising kids to be independent, capable of functioning without me in the adult world, and to have the kind of work ethic to be a leader that gets stuff done. THAT is what matters most. Am I proud of the way I look? Yes, I am. There is no shame in the way I look. I know I am easy on the eyes, but I also know that could change in a BLINK with one momentary turn of the world. Do I enjoy getting compliments? Absofreakinlutely! Who doesn't!?!?!
I do enjoy the reactions I get when people learn I am the mother of many, and that my oldest can make the beer run for me, or that I am nearing age 40. It's fun. It gives people something to think about in terms of looks being deceiving. It boosts my mood when I hear a compliment. But a compliment should not come with a qualifier, or at the cost of someone else. Lift up someone's soul without exception, qualification, or exclusion. Do it because it is the right thing to do, or because someone's spirits just need the boost. Don't do it because your expectations and their reality are in different lanes.