on being a mother of four

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to have four children. I am one of three girls and we always wished we had one more sibling to round us out.  When I met Ryan, he had the same desire for a large family.  Among so many other things, I loved that we had similar ideas for our ideal family.

So here we are, 14 years later, with our precious family of six. To tell you the truth, we didn’t try for any of our kids, yet we feel so thankful for the perfect timing and blessing of all four of them.

But let me be honest with you …

Having four kids is hard.

I wouldn’t trade it. Never, ever. But sometimes {like right now} I just sit and cry from exhaustion, frustration, feeling like maybe I’m not well-enough equipped for this task of raising four little ones. FOUR! Sometimes it is just plain overwhelming.

Yesterday after church I needed to grab lunch for the kids on our way to visit Ryan who was working at the fire station.  The easiest thing would have been to go through a drive-thru, but we are trying to make healthy food choices and since I wasn’t in a major rush, I decided to stop into a sandwich shop instead.   I should have realized that a quick lunch place like this would be overflowing on a sunday afternoon, but by the time we parked and walked to the restaurant, it was too late.

First of all, let me say that I regularly have all four kids with me.  Ryan works for 24 hours at a time and so I’m on my own every couple of days. I take the kids to church by myself. We go out to eat. I take them with me on errands.  We frequent the post office, Costco, Target, our local Mexican restaurant.  While it is not always the easiest or most enjoyable way to dine or shop, it is the life of a mom with kids.

So taking the kids to lunch yesterday was normal for me.

We found our place in a long line behind an older woman in a hot pink sweater. She took notice of the kids and seemed friendly. #3 {4} went off climbing on some sign. I brought him back into line. Then Audrey {2} made her way over to the sign and I grabbed her too. At that point the lady turned to me and said,”are ALL of these YOURS?”.

“yep. All four of them”.

“Well, it looks like you finally got your girl.”

Let’s stop right here. This is just about the WORST thing you can say to a mom of three boys and a girl. Can you image what the boys think when they hear some stranger assume that his parents just weren’t satisfied with them and so they kept trying for a girl? I know they are too young to put this idea together, but someday soon, they won’t be. And NO, we did not keep trying for a girl. We didn’t even try. We just got her. Of course we were thankful. Of course I wanted a girl. But we would have been perfectly happy with our three boys.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard the finally-got-your-girl statement. I hear it regularly. Normally I just smile and nod. Or say something to turn it around like “Yes … she sure is lucky to have three big brothers to look after her.”  It normally doesn’t get to me too much. But for some reason, I was not in the mood for the statement from the hot-pink-sweater-lady.

She went on …

“I have three girls. We stopped after three because I did not want a boy”.

To which I just smiled.

Then #3 started pushing #1 who elbowed him back and she started shushing them and telling them to stand still and not hit.

She moved on to order her food at one register. I moved to the next.  It was chaos. I fully admit to that. Ordering for four kids who change their minds every three seconds is a challenge.  The whole process of choosing chips or an apple, whole wheat or sourdough, white or chocolate milk can fluster anyone, let alone a mom who is also trying to corral three boys, hold a squirmy toddler and find a wallet in a vast black hole of a purse.

As I was finishing up, hot-pink-lady tapped me on the shoulder and chuckled, “you sure are brave.”

Maybe she was just being funny. I don’t know. But it made me fume.

I wanted so much to turn around and say:

That is not helpful. Can’t you see that I am trying my best? Can’t you see that I love my kids and want to feed them healthy food and do fun things with them? I could have just gone through the drive-thru and I probably should have. But instead I decided to make a lunch date out of it and you are not helping. Can’t you remember when your three girls were little and what it was like to take them to a restaurant by yourself? It is not easy. But it is worth it. Because I want them to know how to act in public.  I want them to experience life outside of our home. Sometimes they misbehave, they climb on things they shouldn’t or elbow their brother or change their minds at the last second.  But they are BABIES. I’m trying lady.  I really am.  And your condescending tone telling me I’m brave is basically a cute way for you to say I’m a bad mom and that my kids are not welcome here. It is not helpful. 

Instead, I ignored her; I didn’t even turn around. I knew if I did I would say something snippy and that wouldn’t do any good.

We ate our lunch. Audrey spilled her yogurt down her shirt. #1’s sandwich dropped on the floor. #2 ate all the chips. #3 cried when we left because I couldn’t hold him.  It wasn’t a perfect lunch date. But we sat together at the table and enjoyed the few minutes of a tasty lunch.

When we got in the car and drove to the fire station, I fell apart. My feelings were so hurt by the lady with the hot pink sweater. I felt criticized, so looked-down on. There was no compassion in her tone of voice or the way she interacted with the kids.  She was mean. And she probably wasn’t even meaning to be.

I’m not sure why I’m writing all of this for the world to see. I think I just need to ‘journal’ this part of my life. I’m a mom of four kids and sometimes it is hard.

I try {as I’m sure most other adults do} to look right, act right, say the right thing when I’m out in public. I don’t want to be embarrassed. And yet I have these four little clueless children who seem to sabotage my appearance everywhere we go. They are good kids – they really are. But they don’t think the fabric store is all that fun and they take spools of thread out of its appropriate spot and leave it on the floor. That’s embarrassing. They throw fits in the toy aisle when we’re picking out a birthday gift and they don’t get something for themselves. That’s not how I’m raising them! They do that dreadful arched-back-so-buckling-is-impossible thing when getting in the car. Mortifying to think other people hear my sweet angel-baby sound like I’m torturing her when all I’m doing is trying to protect her by buckling her car seat.

Someone once said that parenting is not so much about teaching a child as it is about refining a parent. There is no one who can teach me more than my own children. I see my behavior, my words, my food preferences, my mannerisms reflected right back to me through them. And I don’t always like what I see.  I can try to look good on the outside, but my kids see the real me and its not always the patient, put-together, grace-filled, selfless person that I wish it was.

My kids embarrass me, they do. But no more than I should be embarrassed by my own ugliness that I so easily hide.  I may not leave spools of thread on the floor or throw myself on the ground when I don’t get what I want, but I sure do think some unloving thoughts or mumble under my breath when I don’t get my way.  I’m thankful to them for the ways they refine me, teaching me about grace and forgiveness and new mornings after particularly exhausting nights.

The speaker at church yesterday said there’s a funny thing that happens when you have children. You don’t need them to be complete. But once you have them, you can’t imagine being complete without them.

I love my kids. I learn from my kids. I can’t imagine my life without my kids.

I’m sure you feel the same if you have children of your own.

No matter how challenging they are, or how exhausted I may be, I would never trade this life.  I just wish there were fewer pink-sweater ladies who make me feel like I’m not doing a good enough job.

So here is what I want to say to wrap up this long-winded thing.

If you see a mom who looks like she needs help, HELP HER. Even if she says no.

If you see a mom who is doing a good job, ENCOURAGE HER. Even if it is awkward.

Whether you have little children, grown children or none at all, you can make such a difference to a young mom.

We’re all struggling through this thing called motherhood – some days are better than others – and we need each other. We need community.

I needed that Costco worker who distracted Audrey from her crying fit. I needed the man who held the door open for my entourage. I needed my best friend to watch the kids for an extra hour so I could enjoy a few minutes of free time. We needed the elderly couple at Starbucks who complimented Ryan and me on our well-behaved kids. These simple kind gestures made such a big difference to me.

I am thankful for the chance to raise four kids. I am so proud of who they each are and continue to find more things to love about each one. Yes, it can be hard. Yes, its chaotic and exhausting to keep up. Yes, I fail and will continue to make mistakes. I’ll probably run into more critical old ladies at restaurants and my kids will probably continue to elbow each other. I’ll probably be embarrassed and maybe even cry about it again.

That’s life.

That’s my life.

And I wouldn’t trade it.

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407 Responses to on being a mother of four

  1. tara February 16, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    I love this post! I am positive I have read it and probably commented last time, too. I am a firefighter wife, mom to three, who spends the majority of outings alone, who’s kids embarrass her sometimes, but who is determined to teach them how to act in public … even in Hobby Lobby (oh, the horror!). And I am also determined to be the woman who acknowledges and encourages that struggling mom when I am out alone because I soooo know what it feels like to be told when and where the Mother’s Day Out Programs are (so rude, by the way). I soooo feel you on this post. And I will probably read it again one of these. Probably with tears in my eyes again. And long after my kids are driving me crazy at sandwich shops and Target and Hobby Lobby and wherever else I drag them to, I hope that I am still reading this post just so I can remember what it feels like to feel slightly defeated in this mothering thing and that it will encourage me to encourage that young, kid-crazed mom I run into!!

  2. Malia {Playdough to Plato} November 14, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Amen!! I have three kids 5 and under {2 boys and a girl} and know exactly what you’re talking about – the awkward stranger comments, the well intentioned lunch turned stressfest… parenting is so rewarding and so hard at the same time. You summed it up perfectly. :)

  3. Amy May 6, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    Love this post, and the one comment that follows. I understand both and as the mother of 4, three boys and one girl, totally understand the hurt and misunderstanding that can happen. I love that you share so honestly what we all feel, and I know that is the best part of your blog. Honesty is so rare in a world of people who want to look good. Love what you write and relate so much, so THANKS, from the bottom of my heart!

  4. Grandma M February 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    This is an entire year after you posted it – so you might be the only one reading it – but you are the most important one. Having been the mom struggling with the children and now the “older woman” standing in line….might I just say….sometimes….people say something and people hear another. I say that because there has been more than one time when a comment I made (with my heart in the right place and my most sincere thoughts) has totally come out wrong and been misconstrued as snarky or mean. And when it was pointed out to me I was shocked and hurt and totally confused why my meaning wasn’t clear. Sometimes people say things just because they want to connect, to offer some word to say “I see you, I see you struggling. I recognize that today is not a great day.” Maybe they didn’t articulate it well, but their heart was in the right place. Don’t believe that everyone that says something to you is judging. Sometimes they just want to reach out and verbally acknowledge your presence and your life. As much as you deserve a break on some days, maybe they do too. Maybe you just took it wrong. Believe in your life and your way of raising your children and just let it be. You will look back some day and put it all in perspective. It’s just hard when you are in the middle of it. Peace and grace to you….especially on the bad days!

  5. Shannon G February 26, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Emily, I just love this post and find myself re-reading it after certain long days with the babies. We have one and a half – year – old triplets, and we receive a lot of attention from curious onlookers. Sometimes I feel surprised by strangers’ kindness and consideration. Other days I find it difficult to give a gracious response to a hurtful comment or indiscreet question. I appreciate your honesty and your example of not being easily offended and being patient with someone who is not helpful. Thanks.

  6. jenny February 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    I am also a mom of 4 littles or monkeys as we call them. they are 12, 11, 9, 4.5. boy, boy, girl, girl. all adopted. my husband and i also talked about having a big family and now that i have it, we are thankful for them and at the same time extremely tired. life with 4 is always a crazy circus. thank you for your frank talk, your honesty is so refreshing. i love to meet other moms who know that life is crazy and not perfect and that is okay. my house is clean about 70 percent of the time but my kids are loved and my food is homemade most days. I am proud of the people my kids are becoming and i know that you are proud of yours too. xoxo jenny

  7. Jena Yoder February 8, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    I just stumbled upon this post and couldn’t help but get teary eyed. I am a mom of four. We have two boys and two girls which are five years and younger. Our 16 month old girl(sofia) was born on our 5 year old boy(cash) fourth birthday. Then karston(boy 4) and lily(girl 2) are sandwiched between :) My husband works about an hour away from home. He owns a custom trim buissness which requires alot of his attention. I often make trips to the supermarket, well just about anywhere with all four in tow. I often get comments like you said “oh wow your brave” or “don’t you know what causes that?” really??? I think. But then I get the occasional, “God has blessed you so” or My 2 year old daughter belting out to the top of her lungs Go tell it on the mountain and the sweet little lady smiling at us and saying sing louder sweetie. and no my kids are not perfect. We have tantrums over toys candy etc. But they are learnig experiences for them and me. So glad I found this blog and post. Something I can really relate too Thank you for the encouragment.

  8. Lydia January 26, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    So I know this was a post from last year, but reading it again just brings tears to my eyes. As a mom of little ones myself I so understand. We had a boy and then a girl and everyone just assumed we were done since “I had my girl” well, we’re not and I’m pregnant again (and maybe again if God wants in the future) and now everyone asks if this baby was planned! Like having more than 2 is some insane idea. Thank you for this wonderful post, your blog is amazing and I am amazed at all you do all while raising your kids in a loving Christ based household. Thank you for your encouragement that moms like me can do it as well

  9. Gayla January 2, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really enjoy your blog and reading your “story.” I remember reading this post when you first posted it in February. I thought then how I could relate since I had young children as well. At that point we had three kids, with no intention of having any more. Very much to our surprise, we found out we were expecting our fourth child. We are so thankful for our baby boy. I thought it amazing that he was born November 13th, exactly 9 months after I read your post On Being A Mother Of Four.
    It is hard and exhausting. I too often feel overwhelmed. I am thankful for God’s grace, strength, and peace.

    “Someone once said that parenting is not so much about teaching a child as it is about refining a parent. There is no one who can teach me more than my own children. I see my behavior, my words, my food preferences, my mannerisms reflected right back to me through them. And I don’t always like what I see. I can try to look good on the outside, but my kids see the real me and its not always the patient, put-together, grace-filled, selfless person that I wish it was.

    “My kids embarrass me, they do. But no more than I should be embarrassed by my own ugliness that I so easily hide. I may not leave spools of thread on the floor or throw myself on the ground when I don’t get what I want, but I sure do think some unloving thoughts or mumble under my breath when I don’t get my way. I’m thankful to them for the ways they refine me, teaching me about grace and forgiveness and new mornings after particularly exhausting nights.

    The speaker at church yesterday said there’s a funny thing that happens when you have children. You don’t need them to be complete. But once you have them, you can’t imagine being complete without them.

    I love my kids. I learn from my kids. I can’t imagine my life without my kids.”

    So well said.
    Thank you.
    Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

    –Gayla

  10. Ariccia December 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    I really appreciate this blog post.

  11. Alicia @ La Famille December 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    HI! I know you wrote this post back in February, but I just so happened upon it on a day I’m looking at my pregnant belly with my fourth infant inside it and doubting my abilities to parent four children and beating myself up miserably. We were always on the fence about having a fourth and we are so excited about this one…we know it was meant to be. It just so happens to fall at a time when we’re really uncertain about where my husband’s job will take us…money fears…needing family support when we’re living 1500 miles away from them…it’s been hard.

    Thank you for these sweet words of wisdom and reminding me what a blessing this gig really is.

    Oh, and I loved where you said that you ignored pink sweater lady…totally something I’d do. Kinda cracked me up :)

    Looking forward to reading more of your sweet blog!

    xo,
    Alicia

  12. Amber November 18, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Oh my! I just found your website through Mandy at Biblical Homemaking and … I think that we are twins! Well, except that you look like a model. LOL! I have lived this day with our 4 kids (who are great kids and we love dearly!). I have always been so irritated when people feel compelled to say, “Wow. You sure have your hands full!” Why does that irritate me so much? It’s usually said when the kids are being wonderfully behaved! But, it’s said and I always feel judged, like what they really mean to say is, “Why on earth would a responsible person have so many kids?” It must be the accompanying attitude and tone with which its said. I have treasured random moments when starngers ahve said complimentary, kind things. My friend and I always tell each other, “When we’re old grandmas, we’re going to coo over all the darling children in grocery store lines and encourage thier mommas … whether the little ones are being darling or not!”
    Wonderfully encouraging post!

    ~Amber

  13. Melissa October 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Dear Emily,
    I so needed to read this today. I have 3 young boys, ages 4, 3, and 9 months. I can so relate to good days and bad days. Even on the bad days, I would not change my life for anything. And people are constantly asking me if I’m going to try for “that girl”. I am really not sure how to answer that so I just smile and say “who knows”. What exactly do they mean? That I am only having kids to have a girl? Keep your head up. Being a mom is the best thing ever!

  14. Sherry September 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Hi! Recently stumbled upon your blog (and am now obsessed with it, as many others seem to be as well) and loooove it. I read this post under “favorites” and hung on to every word. I *only* have 2 little boys (ages 4 and 2) and simply couldn’t imagine what it would be like with 3, or 4, or more. God bless you ladies who have multiple kiddos! I’m relieved when I only have to bring one of them along with me for a quick trip to Target, you probably feel the same when you only have 3? :) Anyway, sorry that ol’ lady gave you such a hard time at Panera (it WAS Panera, right?…apple, chips, yogurt). She probably meant no harm but could have chosen kinder words without a doubt. And thank you for the reminder to help fellow mothers or to compliment them…nobody ever forgets a compliment they receive about their kids!!

  15. Krista June 25, 2012 at 5:10 am #

    Loved this. I had my 4th this past February. I second all of your thoughts. Thanks for writing this for me! :)

  16. Rebecca May 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Same here. Honestly, there isn’t much anyone can say to me when I’m out in public with my kids that I don’t take offense to, unless of course they do offer encouragement or give assistance. I’m just that “high strung” when I’m out with them. I must relate this quick story, because its a feel gooder and it meant the world to me. When I my 2 oldest were toddlers and I was expecting #3 I took a plane trip without my husband. I knew that it could be a crazy, miserable experience for everyone on board so months ahead of time I began micromanaging the trip. I talked to my boys about what to expect, every step of the way and I had various treats or activities that they could have at specific times. The trip went PERFECT. Not a single meltdown. They even laid down and slept right when I told them to. Now for the best part. We got off the plane and as I was packing my boys up–on in the stroller one in a carrier someone tapped my shoulder. He said, ” I sat behind you that entire trip and I have to say that it such a relief to see a woman who knows how to be a mother.” I am not sure how I responded, but I felt like I had just been the given the gold star of a lifetime. Honestly the stress of the whole trip just came to a head and held back tears on my way to baggage claim. Funny, a calm and uneventful trip for everyone else is a ton of work for mom!! Anway, I don’t always live up to that compliment, but it feels good that at a time when I put so much effort into something my success didn’t go unnoticed. In contrast, the man right next to me complimented my kid’s on their good behavior and I thought, “do you have any idea what I’ve been doing for the last 2 months just to accomplish this?” I mean, my kids did do great, but I appreciated the gentlemen giving mom a pat the back too. We need it!

  17. b April 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Emily, I’m kind of embarrassed to be writing this with tears in my eyes (especially since I haven’t even finished reading this post) but you’ve just hit on soooo many things that a mom balances. We try and sometimes we don’t do what we believe is our best but we try and we love our little ones and our husbands and our little (or big) families and we pray and we try some more and… and it’s not always easy. You captured a moment that every mom has had to experience – the unsolicited comments from an insensitive bystander critiqing our delicate balance of mothering. it hurts but, you’re right, she probably didn’t even realize how hurtful she was being. You handled it with grace and patience and THAT is what was truly BRAVE. Good for you. You get an AWESOME MOM MOMENT award! Thank you for sharing. – b

  18. Jessica April 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    As many others, this really hit home for me… I am a mother of 3 (13,12, and 7). I also work full time..I don’t want to, but one income doesn’t cut it right now. I can relate to taking all the kids somewhere by yourself, it can be overwelming, detracting, frustrating.. but like you said, they need to know how to behave in public and you want to do fun things with them. Mine are a little older now, but I feel like the older they get, the harder it is to be a parent. Also, you said “..I see my behavior, my words, my food preferences, my mannerisms reflected right back to me through them. And I don’t always like what I see.” This made me sad, because I don’t always have it to together, I can be lazy, short tempered, slacking on meals.. and I don’t want to be that way. :/ I feel like working full time isn’t the best thing for our family, but we need 2 incomes… I hope to work from home someday soon. Not sure what I will do yet… something creative.
    You inspire me, being a young mother with multiple children, like me, and working from home, all you’ve accomplished. It makes me hopeful. :) Thank you for this blog.

  19. Rachel April 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    Thank you so much for writing this and sharing your thoughts. It is so refreshing to hear that other families and mothers in particular feel the same way sometimes. I am a mother of three (8,5,3) and I work full time and commute 2 hours a day for my work. LIfe is busy and some days are harder than others but at the end of the day when they all give me a big hug and kiss and say, I love you, mom, I know everything will be ok. I have learned the past few years to take it one day at a time and always reminding myself that the Lord will take care of us. God bless all the mothers and fathers who work hard to raise amazing children in this crazy and busy world.

  20. Kischa April 4, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Oh Emily, You took words out of my mouth! It is hard work. I too am a mom of 4 children (1 boy and 3 girls, our son is the oldest) ages 5, 3 1/2, 2, and 8 months! I think what gets to me most is when people say “Oh my you’ve got your hands full” or “How do you do it?” or “that’s just crazy”. Oh I fume alright. But I’m quick to remind myself (ok, ok I’m not so quick all the time, lol) that God is gracious and blesses me time and time again. I wouldn’t EVER trade them for anything or anyone. And quite frankly I LOVE THEM TO PIECES! Some days are a walk in the park (the days that no one spills, or all 4 take a nap at the same time etc.). Other days, I wish I were a turtle… I’d tuck my little ol self in and let the world pass me by! Yes, there are days that are just that hard! Thank you for this post. I want to print it (and all these wonderful comments too) and frame it so that I can remember that I’m certainly not the only mom doing her best… and feeling that sometimes it’s just not good enough. But, then again, we are our worst critics!!! Power to you mommy of 4 from a mommy of 4 all the way in Hawaii!!! :)

  21. Jessica March 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Thank you SO much for this post. I stumbled upon your blog following a pinterest link of free printables… and now I am in total awe of you. I can’t stop reading all your posts, but this one especially really hit close to home. I have three children, twin 3 year old boys and a 1 year old girl. I can’t even tell you how often I hear the “thank goodness you got your girl so you don’t have to have more kids” comments, and I know I don’t have to tell you the exact number because you clearly understand. I love knowing there are other moms out there who think, feel and act just like me. This post helps keep my head on straight. Thank you so much for taking the time to “journal” for all of us. I now feel empowered to get through the rest of the day.

  22. Sharon March 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    I should not have read this in public as it made me dash for my tissues for the tears because it was so good, and SO close to home!!

    I too am a mother of three boys, then a daughter and that lady in a pink sweater has LoTs of faces! Like you, that wasn’t our goal, and I worried more about being a mom to a girl than I ever did to a boy. I had lots of experience with growing boys, but not girls. What a steep learning curve for me ;-). I always feel bad for the other kids listening when people say thoughtless things like that…. Too bad the adults didn’t have a mother who cared enough to teach them kindness!

    You brought back these memories…. I had been graduated from college several years before becoming a Mom but looked 16 or so (a looongg time ago ) and had to fly for several hours. When I boarded with my bag and 4 month baby, I had to ask to get by the business man in his suit sitting in the aisle seat. His angry look said more than he ever could have with words…not happy, expect crying etc. My son slept ate, we played games, I read to him, as planned. The only noise he made was laughing. When it was time for the man to get off he grabbed his bag, then bent over and very kindly said “You are a good Mom.” My tired mind and worried heart really appreciated those simple words!
    Our babies are all 19- 26 now. At the last parent-teacher conference I went to, the first teacher proceeded to tell me my son was going to be a failure in life if he kept the trend up….at the time he had a B/C in this math class he hated (a/b in the rest of his classes) …and the teacher just kept ripping on my 17 yr old son who started his day at basketball practice, then worked his job at for two hours, then went to school, then went and worked on our house we were building, then went back to practice! From that teacher I went to a different son’s teacher who began with, “if I was a parent who cared….then proceeded to rip up that son (also an A/B student)! Neither teacher had kids of their own so were perfect parents maybe ;-). Both of those son’s graduated from college with honors, one with a minor and major in 3.5 yrs, and both had jobs lined up upon graduation and I never went to another PT conference after these teachers.

    I tried to learn from these adults and remember to say kind words to parents, and offer to help if I can. I wouldn’t trade being the Mom of four for anything, and understand how hard it can be. Your kids are lucky to have a Mom who cares!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Sharon
    dexterdays-sdk.blogspot.com

  23. Hollie March 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    from another Mommy of four (3 handsome guys and then a little gal): You rock! I loved this article…especially the part about “you finally got your girl”. That drives me bananas! I also get a lot of “you sure have your hands full”, to which I reply “you should see my heart.”.

  24. Nan March 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Emily, I get so excited when I get an e-mail from you. You always have such good ideas and thoughts. I’ve behind in reading my e-mails due to a catastrophe in my house (water leak). I wanted to tell you that I come from a family of 5 girls. Same comments were made to my mom. “Well, I guess you never could get that boy!” After the 5th girls, I remember people asking her if they were going to stop trying. I have a sister that has 5 kids and another sister that has 7. When the 7th child was born with down’s syndrome, her mother-in-law asked her (while still in the hospital) if she would please tie her tubes. Horrible, just horrible. On another matter, when I receive your e-mails, I always click on the different links that you include. I don’t know if you knew this or not… but your link to the “speaker” in your church that day takes you to Peter Rollins website. While I was there, I clicked on the heading “The Contemporary Church is a Crack House”. Pretty good reading! Then, I started listening to the song that was included in that article. The “F” word was used over and over in the song. Very strange to me. I know you can’t police what goes on in other people’s websites and maybe you were aware of that song and the profanity. But, what I thought was going to be a sweet uplifting song quickly became the opposite. Just thought you might not be aware of what was on the other side of your link.

  25. Pattie March 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    I just read this post. I am the mother of 4 children, all adults now! We have three boys and a girl, yes, she is the youngest. I have also had to answer all the insensitive question, comments. Someone actually asked me if they all had the same father and if we were catholic. My best friend also has 4, and when together, someone asked if we were a daycare! Yes, 4 children are a lot, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our house was always filled with friends, fun, noise, chaos and lots of love. Hug your children tight, they willbe gone all too soon!

  26. Carey March 5, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    I’m doing a horrible job of keeping up with my google reader, and with over 300 comments, I don’t know that you’ll read this anyway! But I just wanted to take a moment to say, I’m with you. I”m with you ALLLL over. I’ve said the same things myself – we MUST speak up and encourage each other. Don’t keep the thoughts to our selves. And HELP when the help is wanted and needed. I know there were times I was pleading on the inside for some help, and I only have two (that were 20 months apart – the first two years of that were quite challenging). You ARE doing a good job, Mom, and you are training them well. To learn, we must fail. And lastly, the “finally got a girl” comment burns me up, too!!! My grandmother acts this way – all of her great grandchildren have been boys, until my daughter. It infuriates me, and I”m sure my brother, that it as if the other lives God created didn’t matter as much because they are just ‘boys’. Grrrrrr.. I’m glad you chose to write all this and I appreciate you being transparent and sharing it.

  27. Elizabeth S March 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    I’m late commenting, but I’m sending this post to my sister IMMEDIATELY! She has three little girls (4 and under), and she’s pregnant with their 4th… a little boy. She gets the “OH, you’re FINALLY getting that boy!” and other such comments ALL.THE.TIME. She tries so hard to be loving & Christ-like… but it’s so hurtful and discouraging. Thank you for sharing this… it was an encouragement to me as a Mommy of an almost 2 yr old & one on the way!!

  28. Mommy of 4 February 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    I am also a mother of four and have three boys and my youngest is also a girl. I know how you feel. They have bad days when we are out and the youngest is kind of rotten because she has three big boys that let her have her way most of the time. I have experienced my fair share of the “hot pink” ladies, and I wish I had the nerve to just say, “leave me alone if you can’t be helpful”.

  29. Michelle February 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    This was a great post and I loved reading the comments from other moms. People can’t help commenting on family size, spacing, etc. I have a 17-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter and that definitely brings us some attention. Because my son has light eyes and hair unlike the rest of us, everyone assumes he is from another marriage (he’s even had people ask him about his dad and he’s awkwardly had to point out that he has the same dad as his sister!). There are plenty of comments and questions about the big age gap between our kids. If I’m in a good mood, I do the polite smile. If I’m feeling naughty, I might tell them the truth…that I had cancer and that’s why I couldn’t have kids for several years. That shuts them up. Mean, I know, but satisfying at times. Hee, hee. Anyway, we probably all need to remember that no matter if we have one kid or 20, we’re all moms and in this together.

  30. Jennifer February 25, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    OMG, this is so my life! Having children (especially multiple children) is more work than one can ever anticipate. I have three, and I have experienced everything you wrote about (and chronicle my maternal adventures and mis-adventures on my blog, http://www.littlemeems.com. It’s how I cope!). In my experience, women like the lady in pink are mothers with regrets. The mothers who project perfection are the mothers who wish they’d done things differently. I’ll trade happy noise and a little chaos any day over “perfect” children. Even when they’re embarrassing me. My children are well-behaved (most of the time – they’re kids!) and when someone tells me how brave I am, I think to myself (and have even said, on occasion) “Well, some people can handle it, and some people can’t. It’s really not that bad.” Kids don’t need perfect parents…they need to see that imperfection is OK. It’s what makes us who we are. It makes us interesting! Embrace it – life wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without it!

  31. christine February 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    I think what you are doing is great. You are an inspiration, I too never leave comments and I usually skim thorugh sites due to time limitations but I had to stop and say you are an inspiration. I am a pharmacist and my issue these days is how medicated middle aged “women” are. I have come to the conclusion that because of lack of communication(the real friendly type.. like a good heart to heart talk not a text) and the occasional frustrations of parenting and hormonal imbalances women (mothers) are so alone. Young moms are making or in the making of future genrations yet they are the most fragile people out there

  32. Kyrie February 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Dear dear Emily! Thank you so much for this sweet, honest, beautiful post! I wish so much sometimes that I could know you personally. I would love to give you a big hug right now!
    I have a dear cousin who has seven – yes, I said seven – precious children and is expecting another. She has mentioned several ‘pink-sweater-women’ incidents that she has had, and how discouraging it can be. But she and her husband also get the ‘your children are so well behaved!’ comments, and those times are so encouraging. My mother and her father are brother and sister in a family of seven kids as well, and we believe that children are a blessing from God, as it says many times in the Bible. They are His reward!
    His strength is there, and through it, my cousin and her husband are striving to raise their “full quiver” to become mighty men and valiant ladies for God’s kingdom and glory.
    Take heart! Lean hard on the Lord when the bad days come, seek His help in raising your dear sons and daughter for His glory, and He will reward you!
    Thank you again for this wonderful post!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

    -Kyrie<

    P.S. My cousin has a blog as well and, in case you are interested in reading about some of her adventures, here is the link to it:
    http://cottagecapers.blogspot.com/

  33. CarleyB February 23, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. Motherhood is this giant balancing act and I wouldn’t trade a single open mouth kiss or tearful hug or screaming baby in the carseat or temper tantrum…these moments and so many others are what we as their mothers were designed for.

  34. Andrea February 23, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    OMG, I LOVE this post!!!! I have two little boys (26 months apart) and they are a handful. If it was up to me I would have 4 kids! In a sick way I kind of love the craziness. haha! Actually, we’re thinking about starting to try for #3 right now…not that we really have to “try” either…but we’re planning. The bad/crazy times make the good times that much more enjoyable. And I believe that this pink sweater woman is so far from the stage we are in right now that she truly forgets. Agh! Honestly, I wonder what I’m going to do with myself when the kids are grown and out of the house. Yes, I have lots of hobbies that I don’t get to as much as I’d like, and my house isn’t as perfect as I’d like it but I think I’m going to feel lost in 15-20 years.

    And you are right on…these kids have taught me SO much about myself. Thank you for the reminder….and it’s honesty like this that makes me want more kids. See…I do have a sickness! haha!

  35. Desirae Perez February 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    I saw your story on my phone during my break at work. I had to read it on 3 separate occasions to finish. I also a mom of 2 boys (3 and 8) a wife, and preschool teacher of 20 4 and 5 year olds. I was also taking 2 classes at a university but had to stop it was just all too much.

    I read your story and cried I think many moms are not appreciated and looked down on in society and I’m not sure why. Even as a preschool teacher I have had parents of my students at one time or another treat me unkindly because they demand my undivided attention at the door of the classroom while these lovely 20 children need me.

    I think every mom has felt what you feel at one time or another. I admire you as a mom, I love your blog its my only quiet time most days. I myself have tried to hold the door for a mom with a stroller or her hands full or even a compliment on nice manners or even on a little girls cute sparkly shoes. Nice words make such a difference. I feel bad that you had that kind of day. Remember one day at a time right? Tomorrow will be better and all these comments to remind you people appreciate what you do.
    thanks

    Desirae

  36. Lynn February 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    I appreciate your insights and honesty. You’re right – our children, as precious as they are, certainly have a way of making us realize that we can’t take life too seriously. There will be spilled milk, boogers on our sweater, and frazzled trips to the grocery store, diner, and everything in between. However, I think it’s important we maintain our sense of humor, too. The lady in the pink sweater honestly meant no harm, no ill-intent, she was simply making conversation. You are brave to go it alone, but that’s what makes you an awesome mom. We can’t expect people to know exactly how we feel unless we decide to share our feelings with them, in an educational, enlighting manner. (For example, I really enjoy having my little boys and my daughter is just the icing on the cake!)

    I’m not sure I agree that others should have sympathy on us, or even offer to help. It was our choice to have a large family – so with it comes the comments occassionally, that we brush off and look onward. Large families get to have the most fun at Christmas and vacations, and our houses will hopefully be blessed with lots of pitter-patters of our grandchildren. We may have it a little harder than those with just 1 or 2, but that’s a decision that every parent gets to make.

  37. bethany February 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    oh, i needed this. i just returned from a trip where i had to fly with my baby. each plane ride, i sat by the kindest MEN. Except on my last flight, i sat by two women who made whispering remarks about how “terrible” their day had become BECAUSE I WAS SITTING BESIDE THEM WITH MY BABY. i was too tired to say anything, but it was so discouraging. What made it worse is that after the 2 hour flight (in which my baby SLEPT through the entire flight), they began to tell me how wonderful he was. SERIOUSLY?!?!

  38. Tabitha February 22, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for posting this. I have two toddlers, while it’s nothing compared to your 4, it’s a lot. I work full-time, and I feel like somedays I’m barely hanging from a thread. This post is my lifeline this morning… I have a boy & a girl, and I get the ignorant comments saying “Oh! You have one of each, how perfect!” It wouldn’t make a difference if they were either or, I’m happy to have them and wouldn’t change it for the world. Trying to keep a clean & safe home environment, eating healthy, keeping presentable is so hard sometimes. But then you get tiny little moment sprinkled in that are absolute BLISS, those moments completely wash away any bad or annoying memories… Parenting is hard, and it’s nice to know that we are all imperfect & strive to do the best we can. <3

  39. Marcie millholland February 22, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    First, I think that people should applaud when they see you – mother of 4 and wife to a firefighter, and you touch the lives of so many women through your delightful blog. . Thank heaven for your family. People say the craziest things to parents about their children in public. I have one child, not 4, and if it helps I get the other side of the commments…. “You only have one?? Why?” or ” She must be lonely” or ” she won’t have anyone when she grows up” or ” I guess if you couldn’t have more children then you couldn’t really help it”… and on and on. Seriously people, worry about your own family.
    Just keep on keepin’ on as they say and ignore people who think you want their opinion – haha!!
    <3 mollie's mom

  40. Liz February 21, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    You have no idea how perfect this was for me tonight. I’m a Mom of *only* two [4 1/2 year old boy, and 3 1/2 year old girl] and tonight was a rough one. My husband works nights and although we are “used to” his schedule, we [I] miss him terribly when he’s gone! I really feel like God touched my heart through this post and reminded me that although not each minute of each day runs as perfectly as I’d like it to… ya we order in pizza once a week, my son won’t touch any fruit or veggie but bananas, and my daughter acts like a cat one day and a horse then next… I was reminded that I’m not the only young mom in the world to feel like I’m not getting it all right. And the part about them teaching US – and seeing so much of us [the good and the bad] in them… that’s so scary to me and is such a wake up call! Thanks for taking the time to share your heart and for being so “real”! From the looks of the comments, I’m not the only one you’ve touched! :) Love you blog, and I don’t comment enough… but you are so very talented, and from the looks of it, you’re doing an amazing job as a mommy as well! Don’t forget, all that matters is at the end of the night, they’re fed, clean, and feel loved! :)

  41. Shawndra February 20, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Thank you Thank you Thank you with many tears Thank you for this post. I to have four little kids 5 and under. My Husband works out of town 5 to 10 days straight. He comes home for 3 and is gone again. We just moved to this area and I have yet to make any friends so there is little/no support. yet. This article, so well written, helped me today more than can be expressed. Many Thank yous.

  42. Jiffy February 20, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    My mom (my sweet sweet mom) and I are raising my nephews……two wild, dirty, messy, busy boys. They’re full of life and love and mischief and have put more joy in my life than I thought possible and certainly more than I deserve. What a blessing!!

    The boys (monsters, as we call them :) ) are 5 and 6. 15 months apart. They have both lived with us since they were born. I get quite a few disapproving glances when we are out and they’re being rambunctious…..I often wonder if it’s the lack of wedding ring on my finger that makes people upset. It used to bother me so much; I don’t care anymore. I know our family different. That’s okay with me. We do the best we can to do the right thing for our boys.

    Of course, some people are absolutely wonderful! One of my favorite memories is a trip to Chick-fil-a (healthy, I know :) ) and the boys were small….one was still in an infant seat (WHERE did those days go???). We were leaving and I had Max on my hip and Will’s seat under my elbow and my purse, our food, my drink and my keys. Hands full. As I was trying to open the door by walking backward through it a man jumped up to help me and held the door. When I told him thank you he smiled and said, “I’ve been there. No problem.” I will never forget that and because of him will always make an attempt to help someone with full hands.

    Your kids are loved and you and your husband put them first. How lucky they are! You’re doing an amazing job and I know your little ones will always feel God’s love through you :). Well done!!!

  43. Randi February 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    I have five kids and a husband who travels and I can relate so well to your post. The children are SUCH a blessing but there are days when they may not appear that way to the general public. Nothing means more than a sweet smile from another mom rather than a judgmental glare when things aren’t going perfectly. I try to always smile at moms who are struggling in public because I’ve been there. Sometimes I just want to post a sign on my kids’ heads that warns people they’re still in training.

  44. Momma Holmes February 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    I just want to hug you and be your best friend! I get it. My mom plight is a big gap… and I am tired of people referring to him as an ooops!

  45. Louise February 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    I cannot tell you how much of this I related to. You were describing in detail what my life once was. I too had four children, close in age. Like yours, none were actually planned, and I often had to look after them singlehandedly due to my husband’s schedule. But now they are grown, I can’t tell you just how much of a joy they are! What you are doing – tough though it is – is so worth it! Please be encouraged to keep doing what you are doing, knowing that what you are going through right now is just a season – it will pass all too quickly. Before you know it, they will be all grown up, and you will look back fondly on these years. I love all four of my children so much, and get so much joy from them, that I don’t regret or resent a thing. They are my life’s great work!

  46. Danielle February 18, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Although I am replying a tad late and you may never read this I felt the need to respond. I can relate… also a Mom to 4 (three boys and a girl… although slightly different order as our G is #3) I have heard each of the comment you did at the restaurant. Oh my… I felt your feelings & had to giggle at are those kids all yours and you are brave… usually my response is yes I am a lucky lady and to the latter comment no, just lucky. My hubby also works quite a bit and I have always taken the kids in tow with me everywhere… it is just how it is and like you it can be hard but wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  47. Sarah February 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    It may sound strange, but I am slightly jealous of your story. As crazy and frustrated I’m sure I’ll feel when I have kids who are embarrassing me, I can’t wait to have kids. It’s still a ways off for me, but when the day finally comes I cannot WAIT.
    I’m glad you wanted to defend your children and weren’t wanting to apologize to that rude woman. Too many people get caught up in their lives and don’t stop to think about what others are going through. Thanks for the reminder to encourage a parent the next time I’m out, it’s not something I do enough. :)

  48. Sarah February 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    Oh Emily, I feel like you read my mind and heart in this post! I have three precious boys and a sweet little girl, same age as yours. They are a blessing to me every single day and yet it is hard – the hardest – work. You have described a scene from every week of my life! I strongly believe that God has specifically given me kids with unique gifts/challenges that test me in ways He knows need refining. My eldest has always been my most energetic. As I have worked hard to teach him self control I have realized over and over that I too need to practice self control in so many ways. My second boy is the most patient person yet is also the slowest person I’ve ever met! What a great chance to practice my own patience. God has specifically given me these children with these gifts and challenges and I am so very thankful for them – and the crazy chaos that comes along with them!

  49. amy February 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    I needed your words at this very minute. THIS VERY MINUTE. You have just described my own life/outings/struggles/parental desires with my own 4 babies (2girls, 2boys, ages 18 months to 9 years old). Except I’ve been sitting here tonight panicking over the fact that my #5 is due to come in the next 2 weeks, and I sit and wonder how on earth am I ever going to do this well? I had a man in church turn around after our services a couple weeks ago and say, “so you have 4 and are expecting another?” I was so afraid of what he was going to say, especially since my kids were not very quiet that particular day. But then he began to say how you don’t see very many big families anymore. He raised 9 children and said having a big family is one of the greatest blessings in life and to not forget it. I smiled and couldn’t figure out how to respond because I was concentrating so hard on fighting back the tears. I do wish more people would be understanding like this man was; it certainly helps make those days be a little brighter.

  50. tori February 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    this was so encouraging to me right now I needed to hear this…it made me feel human! My husband works 24s and sometimes 48s alot as a firefighter along with owning a sucessful metal fabrication business. I’m alone and on my own alot to, with two boys under 4. its hard and its stressful.” i get the whole are you going to try for a girl, im sure you would love to have one” Wether i had 15 boys or 15 girls i would still love them the same, of course we would love a girl on day, but that’s not our decision, it’s God and He gives us each child for a reason. My heart hurts for you, I hate when people are that way. But for what its worth i think your doing a great job!

  51. hyperactivelu February 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I just want to hug your neck! I can empathize with everything you wrote! I have 3 boys (7, 4 and 2) and a new little girl (7 mos)! I’ve had those looks. I’ve had the noisy women making rude or thoughtless comments. Oh man! I wish I could give you a hug! and applaud you all at the same time! Thank you for typing out what is on my heart so very often! Shared on FB!

  52. Michelle February 17, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    To start with I’d like to say I’m not the type of person who leaves comments on blogs or anything for that matter, but this posting just happened to land on my screen today after an incident just yesterday .
    I’m a mother of “just” two, both older now (19 &16,and still in need of parenting),but this didn’t speak to me at first about my own kids or myself being a mother but it spoke to me because of a comment both my 89 year old grandfather made and the same comment repeated later by my own mother referring to my cousin who has three small children and had come by for a visit ( my grandfather lives with my mother and her husband) They both said referring to my cousin “ I don’t know how she does it with three small kids” It could have been said with admiration being meant but no, they both meant it in a more judgemental way. My first response to my grandfather, whose own mother had six children all in quick succession as was the norm “back then”, was to say “well, she does it like all mother’s ,one day at a time” and left it that. But when my own mother repeated that again ( to my daughter since my mother and I are not on speaking terms) I just couldn’t help but to really start fuming. Because the truth of the matter is she does most of it alone! Her own mother isn’t healthy enough to help. Her father and step-mother from what I understand help as little as possible, though they help her step mothers daughters quite often. My own mother is the type of grandmother that my brother and call “hand off” rather than hands on. It just seems to me that our older generation today is spending more time shaking their heads than trying to get in there to make a difference.The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is sadly disappearing because that village just keeps getting smaller and smaller.
    I could go on forever but I guess I’ll just leave it at that.

  53. Laura February 17, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Keep up the good job and positive influence! I’m sure having four children can be stressful at times, but being a mom is worth it! :)

    • Amber Cook May 24, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      I love your site and decided to look closer at it. When I came to the Mom of four, I read and wepted. I am also a mom of four, first 3 boys, and a girl all under 5 1/2. As I just told my friend yesterday I’m sooooo exhausted of hearing “OH you finally got your girl…” It was so encouraging to read your story, and DIDO the whole thing. Blessings to you for your faith and perserverence in raising your little ones for the Kingdom of our Lord.

    • Catherine February 5, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      You are all doing a great job as MOMs. I am the mother of 5 grown children. including twins. I was never easy and I do remember what it was like to go places alone with all of them, since my husband worked many, many hours to support us. Thank you for reminding me to commend young moms that I see struggling to get through difficult days with young ones.

  54. Laura February 17, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    This is a really amazing post that sums up how I feel to a T most days. It’s so refreshing to hear I’m not the only one that has these feelings. And you are right, we are all guilty of judging at times and it’s a good wake up call. Thanks for sharing!

  55. Holly February 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    I am a stay-at-home mommy of three, ages, 5, 3, and 16 months (oldest and youngest are boys). My family (mom and sisters) are pretty anti-kid and think I’m at home doing nothing and that I am obviously not smart or motivated or I would have a “job” instead! So when I’m out at the store and people say “You’re brave!” or “Wow, looks like you have your hands full!”, I always think it’s a compliment! I’m always thinking, “Why thank you for noticing what hard job this is, unlike my family who thinks I’m opting out of the hard stuff!”

    I think I have said “Looks like you have your hands full!” to other people too…meaning, “Wow, what a hard worker you are! I’m so proud of you!” Hopefully I haven’t offended anyone– I had no idea other people didn’t like hearing this!

    I am so impressed whenever I see mommies of four out– I always wanted 4 but we have had such difficult pregnancies I don’t think we will be able to do it again.

    I am so proud of all you mommies for doing the hard work and raising your kids even though it’s unpopular (especially in Seattle, where we live…people look at our three kids here like they have never seen little people before and have no idea what we are doing with “so many”).

  56. Tracy February 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    This was such an uplifting post! I had a similar experience with my kiddos today and it’s just nice to know that other moms have the same struggles. Makes me want to be more intentional about encouraging other moms going through those “tough moments” with their kids. Thanks for being real and transparent with your feelings!

  57. Mandi February 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    From the number of comments, you clearly spoke the minds of many moms out there. I would like to thank you for what you wrote, as I have faced some harsh criticism from a former friend this week on my choices as a mother. I love my three boys (no girl here) more than life, and when someone suggested that I do not enjoy being a mom and make poor choices, the hurt ran very deep. Even the disapproving eye of a stranger can hurt, as you so sptly pointed out. I think we all would be so much better served to remember to build one another up as parents instead of tearing each other down.

  58. Mallory February 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Bravo. I am a mother of four (twin boys, and 2 girls) and I got the “finally got your girl” comment countless times. You have to know that you ARE Doing area job, and your thesis of helping and encouraging other mothers has made me think. I will put that into practice. Keep up the good work.

  59. Cassie February 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Thanks for your honesty. You are not alone. I have 6 and parenting is the most humble thing ever. I am on a mission when I shop alone (which is rare) to find and minister to the struggling mom of little ones. With day schools, it seems rare to even see moms shopping with more than 2. Guess that’s why I get so many stares with 6 tagging along. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “You sure have your hands full….” Doesn’t matter how angelic or demonic my kids are acting…the comment is always the same. One day I’ll have a great, witty come back. I’m tempted to tell them I just can’t keep my hands off my husband. :)

    So thank you for sharing the truth about our difficult yet so rewarding job. Too often we candy-coat it in the blog world. Enjoy these years. They’ll be gone before we know it.

  60. Jennifer February 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    I did it. I commented earlier that I might. Now my children will know…
    http://thephillipsyjournals.blogspot.com/2012/02/thoughts-on-three.html
    Best
    Jennifer

  61. missy February 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Well said. Thanks. I may print of copies of this and hand it to the pink sweater ladies that I run into from time to time.

  62. Holly February 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    I just read your post. I have 4 children – 3 boys and a girl as the youngest too. I totally understand everything you wrote so well in this post. If I had a dollar for every time I heard – you got your girl, you have your hands full, you’re brave, are all these kids yours? – I’d be rich. One time we were at church and #3 was being terrible. The other kids were squirmy too. Instead of leaving the church, we remained for the rest of the time, all the while corralling the misbehaving one. After church an old grumpy-looking man started to approach us, and I braced myself to hear what terrible parents we were. He told us that he just wanted to compliment us on dealing with our child and that we were doing the right thing. That meant so much to me. Keep up the good work with your beautiful family!

  63. Lauren February 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    I think everyone here has sympathized with you, and though I only have too, I sympathize too! I have one of each, so I often hear how we ‘must be done since we have the perfect family, don’t mess with it’… anyway, just wanted to say, i appreciate your honesty, and think you are an amazing mom ;-)

  64. Pam Todd February 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I hope I’ve never been that woman in pink, but most likely have chosen wrong words in the moment. It’s impossible, try as you might, to always empathize perfectly. And, sometimes a comment seems judgmental to the person receiving it when it wasn’t meant that way. I work with a lady who is frequently offended by remarks. I hear the same things at the same time and don’t understand why they hurt her feelings, when what I’m hearing comes across entirely differently. Sometimes someone just is having a bad day and what they say comes out harsher than they realize or they say things they think is helpful or kind that end up being perceived in exactly the opposite way. But your comments do remind me of those days with my 3 little ones (so long ago!) and I’ll do my best everyday to observe the wonderful Golden Rule.

  65. elizabeth February 16, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    my ‘babies’ are 18, 16 and almost 14 and it’s been really hard. really great but really hard, too. I recently found this blog post and I soooo wish I had something like this to read when mine were all younger and we were moving to yet another new state without any family for help and making new friends.

    hopefully you’ll find something in it, too –

    http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/

  66. shelley February 16, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Emily ~ You would blend right in here in Farmington, Utah :)
    There are a ton of kids in my area.
    My neighbor kiddie corner? …. 8 kids, The neighbor across the street -5 Next to her, 4. Behind me, 5. The kindergartener I pick up for carpool with my daughter is having baby #5.
    I have 2 children, but the Lord and I are good! haha :)

  67. Jayme February 16, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    I was reading this blog post on Desiring God and thought of you. Hope it encourages you to continue to live the gospel.
    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/motherhood-is-a-calling-and-where-your-children-rank

  68. Sarah February 16, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    Ahh, this is such a reality for me, as I sit here nearly 9 months pregnant, awaiting my 4th and final baby, my 4th boy. :) Can you imagine the looks of empathy I get when I’m out in public with my three little boys, and strangers ask what I’m having? After hearing that it’s another boy, I get that “look” & then most of the time, they say something like “oh, were you hoping for a girl?” Seriously people??? My response is that no, we were not trying for anything, but that we’re very excited to have a house full of boys! Would I have LOVED a daughter? Of course! But would I trade any of my amazing sons for one? Absolutely not! Cheers to all the big families out there, and especially to those with lots of, dare I say, crazy little boys!

  69. Andrea February 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    As a mom of 3 boys, I completely hear you on this post! I have been in your situation countless times as well. I get to constantly hear in front of my sweet boys if I’m going to “try for a girl”. How do I do that exactly, I want to ask! I always wanted 4 kids, my husband wanted 2. We were going to stop at 2 and then our 3rd surprise came last year:) Did I want a daughter, yes very much for my last 2 pregnancies. But I would never in a million years trade one of my son’s for one! They have brought so much joy into my life and I think the brother bond is very special. I grew up with 1 brother and we were never close, I do think that siblings of the same sex often are very close. That said I sure would love to have a little girl someday. . . although I don’t think that will happen but I am leaving it up to God. . .

  70. Auntie! February 15, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    I love you Emily. : )

  71. Christina February 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    We are a foster family with five children…our children have special needs…and from time to time we are babysitting or helping someone out with their kids. Our children have medical or behavioral issues…and most of the time we are out by ourself with everyone trying to run errands…you should see the looks we get from people because we have children of every color with us typically. Then because they have special needs and some of them might cough a lot or have a body smell at times…or walk funny or talk funny…we get weird looks. It’s sad that people are sooo selfish with themselves that they can’t compliment…all they do is say, boy I couldn’t do that. Or that I’m a brave person for having so many kids with me. And yes..btw…most of them think that all of them are mine. You are doing a great job..and you are doing all you can and making memories for them is the best thing, feeding them healthy is the best thing..some people don’t ever get that. I hear all the time from parents with one or two kids that “this is all I can handle” and I wonder what the heck makes the rest of us unique? How come I can handle going grocery shopping with my kids…while I have to help babysit other kids so their parents can go shopping..I used to do this on a weekly basis for some..and they only had ONE kid! I’m really not crazy..I enjoy having fun with the kids and taking them to theme parks and movies and all sorts of events where they can learn. And we have a blast!

  72. Taylor February 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Blessings on you sweet Emily! You are doing a job more eternally important than most on earth. You are making a difference; you are changing lives; you are modeling love and patience and grace and goodness; you are being the hands and feet of Jesus to your little ones! I have one kiddo and on many occasions I have had others tell me that he’d do better if he had a sibling, or ask when I’m going to have more, or how he’d be so much happier if he had a playmate. There are days when it takes all I have to not snap at them that I can’t have more thank you very much, and no, we’re not having more, and that he plays just fine by himself and doesn’t need another to entertain him. And, more than that I want to shout, he is enough! He is wanted and loved and a miracle among miracle children. Don’t judge me based on his behavior right this moment, don’t look at his disheveled head and comment that he needs a bath. Just look on us and encourage us; see what I see — the amazing, adventurous, exuberant dirt ball of joy that I am doing my best with. Head high sweet sister mama, head high.

  73. Sue February 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I feel certain that you are a wonderful mom – you have such a sweet family and all this shines through on this blog. Being a parent is hard, but truly a blessing – sometimes people just don’t think before they open their mouth to speak. I sit all teary eyed this evening because I have had to take privileges away from my sweet teenage boy – and I mean he is sweet, kind, responsible, loving – adults always complimenting on what a nice young man he is – anyhoo…. his grades aren’t so hot right now and I had to come home and tell him, no TV, Xbox, and computer (unless for schoolwork) until the grades come up. Now that seems totally reasonable you say and it is, BUT he never gives us a moments trouble over anything – always home on time, makes good choices so taking those things away was like someone took a knife to my heart (you know, it hurt me more than it hurt him)and he wasn’t happy but within 20 minutes I could tell that he was no longer mad at me and he understands that he needs to refocus…but I know that I am so blessed. Some kids at his age are giving their parents MAJOR problems and they would trade some grades slipping for the troubles they are having with their teenagers. Hang in there Emily – you will look back on these precious years when they were so little and these occasions will be such sweet memories and you will wonder where did the time slip away to…. Thanks for the great post today! I love your blog!

  74. Kristin February 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Emily,

    I think you are doing a great job. As a mother of 4- (yep first 3 are boys, and the youngest is my girl) I can totally relate to everything in your post. I have heard it all from strangers out in public, and if truth be told, also from judgmental family members who think you are out to populate the world on your own. Everyone has their own opinion and only the smart, properly raised and empathetic ones know enough to keep it to themselves. It is hurtful of others, and the truth is, the comments and judgement most likely won’t stop. But how we react to those comments says more about us as a people than any harmful thing others may say. And it speaks more to who they are as a person, than what they are trying to judge you for.
    Like you, I took my children out to restaurants- even the fancy 4 star ones. Sure, we got some disdainful looks from other customers, and many times got seated at the back by the kitchen with other parents with small kids. But I can tell you one thing- my kids know how to act appropriately in public in all settings, and in all places. Getting them there was not always easy, but they got there. (Mine are now 23, 21, 18, & 16) I view parenting not as raising little kids, I view it as raising little adults- for that is the goal, isn’t is?! When it is time for them to spread their wings and leave the nest, they know how to manage themselves appropriately in life. They have empathy for others plights. They know how to think for themselves. They know when it is best to bite their tongue and not to judge others. Sure, they don’t always make the best choices, but they do know how to take responsibility for the choices they make.
    You are doing a fine job- relish all the chaos, take advantage of those learning opportunities to help your kids grow as individuals and for yourself to grow as well. If there is anything my kids have taught me is to have more patience and in the belief that “this too shall pass”. They grow up quickly and you’ll miss all the noise and chaos!

  75. Jamie February 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Thank you for your post, I can totally relate to everything you just said. I have 3 kids, -my youngest are twin toddlers. My husband travels often, so (like a lot of moms) I don’t get a lot of time to myself. The only break I get during the day is when I’m going to the bathroom, -and even then someone may be screaming and pounding on the door.

    I’ve been *that* mom with *those* kids more than a few times, and it isn’t a good feeling – because I don’t want to be *that* mom. No one does. It isn’t a good feeling being judged, even if it is by a stranger. It’s too bad people can be so eager to judge someone by observing them for a matter of minutes. As you can see I’m a little worked up about this, after all, -I was *that* mother with *those kids* yesterday at Taco Del Mar. The woman behind me said(about the twins)”Those two are sure a handful, you are a brave woman.” When she realized there was a third child with me she then said, “You have three? Busy, busy! You must be really busy.” I just smiled, but I what I really wanted to say was, ‘Well, duh.”

    Anyway, after I left I was trying figure out why these comments bothered me so much, after all, I truly don’t think this woman was trying to be mean. I think these types of comments are hurtful because they validate what is obviously negative. Basically these comments are code for, “It sucks to be you.” What I wish she said was, “I know it’s hard isn’t is? But you’re doing a good job.”

  76. Terri M February 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    People can be so insensitive–and just plain stupid sometimes. My parents had 7 girls and then 1 boy. They had always wanted 7 kids and were done and happy then. But they got a surprise a few years later and we have loved (and spoiled) him ever since. Nearly every time I explain our family dynamic to people, I have to answer the same question: did your parents keep trying for a boy? I think it is completely absurd. Besides, I have never really asked my parents about their intimate life and I really don’t want to think about it! Someone asked my friend the other day if her two boys had the same father (they do and look quite similar)! I guess some people are WAY more nervy than I could ever be. You are a great mother and you just remember that!

  77. Vicki February 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    OOPS! HIT SUBMIT BY ACCIDENT. ha ha
    As I was saying, we would quickly say we have 3 cute girls. Often when people wanted to know about the twins we got Taylor to tell about them so she would be an active part.
    The twins are very different. One is blonde, blue-eyed dancer who loves to read, sew and do crafts. Did play rec league sports in grammar school years but always preferred dance. The other is very tall, brown curly hair, brown-eyed outdoors girl who loves all sports but mainly anything that involved a ball growing up and moved from one sport to another year around. As you can see not only did they look different but had different interest. We considered this a blessing. They compared/competed enough with school grades and such. BUT when they were small MANY people would tell them they were different as NIGHT and DAY. Sounds harmless enough huh?!? Well it caused us much upheaval many times because they wanted to know for years who was NIGHT and who was DAY, as if one was sunshine and light and the other one was dark and scary! That was a tough one!
    I say all this to say-
    Sounds like a hard time Emily. You are a wonderful Mom. Thanks for the reminder to be thoughtful in my words….. I do get the door. I do have many smiles, but gosh do I always say smart/edifying things? I just not sure. I will think on some especially encouraging words for you young MOMS. Y’all sure deserve it.

  78. Vicki February 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    What a good reminder of how important our words are!!!!!
    I might have been a pink sweatered lady before. Mind you, never with a tone (always with a big smile) but just making mindless (and now I realize, stupid) conversation in line.
    As parents of three girls we were asked often if Harrison didn’t want a son (to carry on name watch football) but fortunately he would say, from the moment I walk in the door I feel like a king in my household why would I want someone to compete with and laugh it off.
    Of those girls, we have a set of twins and there lay the most ground for hurt from other people. They would swarm the stroller and say how cute they were while my 4 y.o. just stood. there. We

  79. Deb Bartlett February 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I have 2 children…wish I had more. Then I could have more grandbabies. If I had known how much fun grandbabies are, I would have had them first!!

    You are a beautiful, loving momma…enjoy them now…they grow too fast! Bless!

  80. Kim February 15, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Thanks you so much for sharing your heart. It was like I was reading my own journal ( except we have 2 boys , 2 and 4 with baby boy # 3 on the way ).
    You are an inspiration to many and a great mom, I’m sure. Keep up the good work!

  81. Becky G. February 15, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    As I sit here with tears running down my face I literally feel as though you just read a day in the life of me and my 4 children! The one change would be 3 girls and one boy. I too often get the “wow you’re brave” and “I see you finally got your boy” comments. Hello people if I’d birthed puppies I’d love them the same no matter boy or girl! I love my family of 6 and wouldn’t change a thing! Thank you for this post. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” Phil. 4:6

  82. Caroline February 15, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Oh how I get it! I too am a mother of four – two girls and two boys. I too have my children with me most of the time. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is exhausting. Yes, it would be easier to drive through that drive-through or stock my freezer with frozen pizzas. Yes, it would be easier to leave those pants unironed or that bed unmade. But I don’t…I love being a mother to four precious little ones. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it is hard and everyone you meet seems to have a comment to share. I try to just smile. When it is just the boys and the baby and people comment on my having my hands full, the boys love to tell them that there is one more and she is at school. I love it when they do that because yes my hands are full but they are full of gifts from God. What a blessing to be a mother of four precious healthy little ones. You are amazing and I hope you know it!

  83. Anna @ Take the Side Street February 15, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    AMAZING. Love this. It looks like many, many, people have said it all so I’m just saying that. Thanks for this, I definitely needed it. XO

  84. Dana February 15, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Thank you Emily for sharing this. I don’t currently have children, but my husband and I would like a big family of 3-4 children like you. Your words have encouraged me and I appreciate you for that. I read your blog because you are human. You are extremely creative and talented, but you are a Christian, wife, mother and entrepreneur all wrapped up into one and you are human. You show us who you really are, faults and all. That motivates me. And we all need encouragement and motivation from each other to get through this thing called life. May God bless you and your family :)

  85. lynne February 15, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Emily, I am also a mother of 4 children. They are all grown and all married. Three of them have children of their own. I have been able to help all of them (even my daughter-in-law) when they had their babies. I have complete respect and reverence for young mothers. It is a lot of work, but so worth every moment. Our children are everything to us. I had so many moments like you described. Now I can laugh about it ,but at the time, “Whew” !! You are doing a great job. I can tell because you want such good things for your children. God bless you in your efforts.

  86. Carrie February 15, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    You know, I almost wrote this the other day. I have 3 boys. Rowdy, wild, restless, loving, smart, rambuctious, raw, energentic, sweet boys. I would not give them up for a thing in this world. Including a girl. I’d love to have 1 more baby (hubs is against it 100%). But you know what? If it were 4 boys, I would be ok with THAT. I love them. I cherish them. They exasperate me, tire me, frustrate me and love me. God knew what he was doing when he gave them to ME. I hate when people say “bless your heart” or “you were trying for that girl, weren’t you?” Actually no. I wasn’t trying any of the times God gave them to me. I’m just that lucky. And that’s what I tell them.

    You’re doing great. Who cares what anyone thinks?!? Enjoy them. Love them. Laugh with them and at their antics. Embrace the chaos and to heck with anyone that doesn’t get it. THEY’RE missing out.

  87. Emily February 15, 2012 at 5:44 am #

    Thank you for much for sharing your heart and this situation. It was just what I needed. I am a mommy to two with our 3rd on the way and most days I question how I am going to do this. My husband has been gone all week on business and we have had some seriously trying days. Just last night I called him in tears after our 5 year old threw a truly ugly fit at the grocery and then yelled he didn’t like me right now. I held his and my daughters hand and quickly walked to the checkout with my head hung as people just stared us down the whole way. We got in the car, I talked to him about his behavior and how I want people to see him for he sweet oy I know he is. That’s life. We will have those moments and our fair share of them. Thankfully there are other mommys that have been there and can encourage you on. Thanks again for sharing your heart!

  88. rashidah February 15, 2012 at 3:47 am #

    dear emily,

    1st of all, mind me for my english as i come from malaysia n english is not my mother-tongue. i adore u so much n thanks to u, ur story enlighten me about motherhood.. i almost give up with parenting. i had 2 boys (4 & 3 yrs old) which i had when i was 22. being young mother really challnge me as i still have the urge to have fun n do things i still havent achieve.. i put aside my interest in pursuing research studies, my hobbies n my job as well just bcos i tot i want to raise them myself. but in the end, it didnt quit turn on well,.. they really push my buttons, n sometimes i could find the answer why did god give them to me. but of cos, I LOVE THEM. just when things like this happen, i started to questions when i believe i should pray that god give me more strength.

    ur statement from the “speaker”, really hit me. yes, i certainly can be complete w/out them but when they are not around, my life will get totally mess up..

    now n then i felt the same way as u when we faced those challenging moments of lunch time at the restaurant, the weiling, the catch-me-if-u-can thing, n more. but seriously, god has directed me to read this thread n found that im not all alone and have found the answer.

    thanks n all the best!

  89. Ess February 15, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    I have loved dropping into your site and at times have wondered how you achieved so much and with such style. Whilst I don’t relish your distress I have to confess to feeling grateful that you shared your difficult day with Blogland.

    My husband is currently deployed for 6 months (we’re about halfway) and I moved house interstate so that my children could start the academic year in the ‘new’ posting before he returns. It’s all been about starting schools, making friends (all of us) and trying to improve our shabby old cottage, which had been rented out for 6 years.

    This has been challenging but rewarding…yet on some days I have felt like lying down on the floor and going to sleep until it was all over!

    Thank you for your commitment to your family, to blogging and to sharing. It meant a lot to me last night.

    Ess

  90. jackie February 15, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I love your honestly, your humility and your Godly perspective. I really needed to hear that other people struggle with this thing called motherhood at times too. I love being a mom, I think it is the best thing I have ever accomplished and I know God blessed me by giving me my sweet little girl right when He did but there are days that I am exhausted and wonder if I’m really cut out for the job. I see so many other moms who seem so amazing at what they do and it makes me question if I’m good enough. My husband is deployed right now. I never complain about this, often I never even tell people he is deployed. He is making the biggest sacrifice and I just feel blessed that he is working so hard for our family. But sometimes when I’m in a store and my girl is crying and people give me the kind of rude comments and looks that “pink sweater lady” gave you I am just stretched to my limit. I just want to tell them I don’t have an option to have my husband watch her on weekends and I’m stationed on an island far away from family who can watch her for an hour when I need a break. I’m doing the best I can at being a 24/7 mom for Pete sake! LOL Anyway, sorry to rant. Needless to say, I can relate to you and I am so thankful you shared this post. After the day I have had I really needed to read this. I know you are a wonderful talented mother and even though I have never met you personally I can confidently say that I know you are the mother and wife God recognizes in Proverbs 31. Keep up the good work girl!

  91. Rachel February 15, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    Your post brings tears to my eyes because I have three young girls and I often have very similar experiences. It is all so worth it and I love my girls dearly, but I do get so weary of all the naysayers and “well meaning” folks. If I had a dime for every time I hear “boy you sure have your hands full!” I would be a very rich lady! And the comment “three girls, wow, guess you didn’t get your boy!” I love my girls thankyouverymuch! I am thankful for my children and I would have been just as happy with boys. Ugh, and all those looks when one of the children isn’t behaving perfectly! It’s like some people expect you to stay home until your children reach the age of 12 and then they will be permitted to go out in public. I applaud all mothers out there, whether you have one child or many children. Motherhood is hard work! At the same time it is very rewarding, though. Hurray for moms, I think I’ll go call my mom and thank her! :)

  92. Naomi Lewis February 14, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    I so appreciate your post and I’m sorry to hear of sweater lady’s poor manners. I am up feeding our fourth sweet little one, Gentry–just 11days old!–and we have two other dear daughters, ages 4 and 3, and a happy little guy, age 18 months. You and many other mothers can imagine the comments we have received–from the usual to one man who approached me while filling up our SUV and exclaimed (sincerely, unfortunately!) that the cost of gas ought to teach us not to have so many children…! (As if the cost of gas is the great expense!) The bottom line is that we (as with so many families) love our children. We think they are worthwhile, and have chosen to spend ourselves in raising them because they are valuable. I am afraid that our culture is increasingly devaluing these little ones, but to us their care and instruction is one of the greatest–and hardest–things we are called to do. I have also experienced sincere kindness and thoughtfulness from strangers–everything from a thoughtful word to returning my shopping cart for me, to holding the door for our double stroller. I hope and intend to extend the same graciousness to others as often as I may. Blessings to you and your sweet family, and keep up the good work.

  93. Ali T February 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    THANK YOU. I needed this today!

  94. Susana of Montessoricandy.blogspot.com February 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    God Bless you! We had 4 boys in a row, and then two girls in a row. We’ve got 6 kids total ages 9 ,8, 7, 5, 3, and 1. Some people can be so nice, others just stare or say stupid things. I am so done with it though, and I can’t stand for my kids to hear some of the dumb comments. The other day a guy told me, “WE can ONLY handle 2, we don’t want anymore!” (As if I had asked him!), to which I said, “Wow! I’m so sorry your kids are THAT bad that you don’t want anymore!” ;) and I walked away and left him with his mouth wide open. I usually just smile or say, “They are such a blessing”, but sometimes the naughty side comes out and I get a good giggle out of saying something back! ;) Just know, you’re not alone, and none of us are perfect! I am trying my best, Lord knows, and also asking God to help me some days doesn’t hurt either! :) Take Care!

  95. Sue February 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I am sorry that you had to go through this and also thank you for sharing. It made me check myself and a good reminder to be a better friend to all the mothers out there.

    People also seem to have no respect/regards to parents of 1 child. I get so tired of being asked when I’ll have another child, my daughter needs a sibling, she’s getting too big, so we need to hurry up and have another child. And the suggestions go on, and on and on……….. We all need to be considerate and put ourselves in the other person’s shoe.

  96. Ali February 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    I have 3 kids and my hubby works long hours so the 4 of us are often on our own running errands, grocery shopping, soccer shoe shopping, going to the Dr.’s to get shots and just doing life. I can’t tell you how many people ask me if all those kids are mine! Yes, all 3 are mine! But, I share them with my hubby! :) Makes me laugh! I’ve had my share of discouraging, superior, judgemental moments and that I wish I could just disappear. The last time all three were totally acting crazy was at the post office and it was mind blowing how they were acting! My daughter and my son were literally wrestling on the ground and I could not break them up! My youngest was trying to remove every single greeting card from the display! I was five shades of red! There was a 50ish old gentleman staring my 3 ring circus down while in line behind us…I could feel his annoyance at my kids behavior and my lack of control. I finally blurted out I’m doing my best…I’m so sorry today is a very off day for all 4 of us! :) He just started laughing! :) I felt the tension release from my shoulders! At least he had humor! :)

    Here is a public thank you for the grace I experienced

    I’d like to thank the Walgreen employee that told my 2 year old in the middle of a mega fit while dropping his fleece and refusing to pick it up off the store floor that he knew a little puppy that would love my son’s fleece. My defiant and grumpy 2 year old was caught off guard and quickly picked up his fleece and stopped his mega fit. The Walgreens guy was my hero that day he offered a distraction and called my 2 year olds bluff! ! I winked and whispered thank you! :)

    This parenting thing is amazingly precious and terribly hard! :)

    ~ Ali

  97. Colette February 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Thank you for this very real post. I only have two boys and read blogs like yours and often wonder “What is wrong with me? These women blog every day, do amazing crafts, have 4 kids, and look beautiful! I can’t even get out of yoga pants and get my kids in the car”.

    Thanks for letting us know that everyone has struggles and feels challenged. It allows me to be kinder to myself.

  98. Gina February 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    I may not have walked a mile in your shoes, but I can relate a bit. I have two boys, 2 and 6. They are very active to say the least. I am constantly getting comments from strangers on how I need to keep trying for a girl. I find it so insulting. What ever happened to counting your blessings for healthy children? I think that because I am a woman it is a normal, natural feeling to want to have a girl, however I love my boys and wouldn’t change a thing about my life. I just find it incredibly insulting that people feel the need to comment in front of my kids too. My reaction is pretty much the same as yours. I smile and give some “Oh I have all I can handle right now”, but it is hurtful. Thank you for being honest and posting this. And if it is worth anything, I think you are an amazing mom…that’s one of the many reasons I read your blog!

  99. Meg February 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post – I am, too, a mother of four. My favorite? When we were pregnant with our fourth, and everyone made us feel like we were trying to populate the world by ourselves! I secretly snickered when someone who described us as having “a slough of kids” had a family member decide to have a fourth child as well – hmm, funny how quickly those words were never mentioned again.
    Thanks again for giving me a smile, reminding me that I’m not alone (I have a husband who works very long hours as well), and overall, making my day.

  100. Laura February 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Emily, I loved the reality and vulnerability of your post today. As a mom of three boys, we’re asked all the time if we’re going to try for a girl, so I completely appreciate your frustration with the pink sweater lady’s question! Thanks for being honest in the midst of the frustrations of life; its refreshing. God definitely uses our kids to grow us into the adults he wants us to be!

  101. Lari February 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Oh Emily! You are a great mom…the hard truth is that a lot of people just don’t like kids….even though they may have their own. I’m mom to 4 boys and it always saddens me when people are so tacky w/ their comments about boys. Yes they are loud and rowdy sometimes, but they are boys and they are kids…not miniature adults. They’re also sweet and snuggly. We in the process of adoption and the first thing most people say after “You’re crazy!” (nice, huh?) is “are you going to get a girl?” We’re not specifying gender. Our feeling is God knows who belongs in our family…just as he did w/ our biological kids. Hang in there…it does get easier, maybe not less crazy ;) but they gradually become more self sufficient and independent which help lighten the load. We are blessed!

  102. Pamela February 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Keep up the great parenting!

  103. Rosie February 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    You ARE doing a great job!!! I know exactly how you feel…miraculously I took my boys (3 boys and am currently pregnant w/ a little GIRL lol and due in April so about 7 mths) to Chicago by myself to visit some friends and family while my hubby went snowmobiling (about a 3 hour drive). I took all three boys to Portillos and McDonalds by myself and they were tired (physically) and were SO GOOD, LOL! I got STARES, I tell you, STARES of unbelief from people of all ages that couldn’t BELIEVE I was there w/ three boys (and obviously pregnant) and that I “had them under control” or they were being good, or however you want to see it. I was so pleased w/ them b/c a. it wasn’t normal LOL, and b. I am so glad those people got to see what a blessing a large family can be (even though those times were pure miracles in a way and the good Lord just knew my pregnant self *needed* them to behave at those times LOL). I walked out of those places thankful…not because my kids are usually “bad” but b/c they are KIDS and have a lot of energy and don’t always sit still and speak quietly in restaurants w/out correctly and guidance. That is normal! Now, back to reality and one of my FAVE overwhelmed mama moments ever. I took all three boys (my 3rd was just a little baby) to Walmart. I had one riding under the cart, one asking if he could have one of everything in the yogurt section, and I was pushing the cart w/ my newborn in my front sling. I had one hand on the cart and one on the sling just resting on the sling but then switched to just resting both hands on the sling while talking to my older boys. This older woman says, “MY, You have your hands full!” (something I hear regularly)…now I’ve heard responses like, “you should see my heart!” etc…but this time, THIS time…as I was standing there talking to my older boys (both hands on my sling now) I turned to her, took both hands off the sling and showed them to her while saying, “No I don’t!” with a huge smile on my face LOL – You should have seen her jaw drop, it was SO FUNNY! Best moment ever – she was totally befuddled and had not idea what to say :)))

  104. gale February 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Oh, Emily – I can so understand how you feel – even though my four are 18, 21, 23, and 27!!! There were many days I felt overwhelmed and under-equipped to be their mother but they’ve turned out to be great adults and I’m proud of them for succeeding despite my efforts.. LOL!! :) Hang in there – I genuinely believe people mean well but don’t even think about what they’re saying or how it could be taken. I had my girl first and THEN three boys (piece of cake compared to a girl, in my humble opinion, even though I love them all!!)

    Just hang in there, do what you’re doing and thanks for the reminder to all of us on what helps!! :) Enjoy your day!!

  105. Rosie February 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Emily,
    I’m not blessed with children (yet?) but I want to tell you that for every ‘pink sweater lady’ there is someone like me who loves to see children with spirit out with their family and living life fully. God gave your little ones their bounce and whilst you rightly want to teach them to be polite and well behaved, they are children and it brightens my day to see little ones with a bit of a spark and energy – I wasn’t a perfectly behaved ‘mini adult’ as a child why should they be ;o)

  106. Sarah February 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    What a wonderful and honest post! I love reading posts like this, that aren’t all sugar coated and life.is.wonderful.all.of.the.time. Those blogs just make me feel bad about myself.

    I have two boys and am asked all of the time if we are going to try for a girl. NO, we will however try for a healthy baby. That question just makes me feel like in other’s eyes my boys aren’t good enough. Sad.

    Thanks for speaking truth and honesty. We moms need that.

  107. Katherine @ Grass Stains February 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Emily, I am a mom of four — three boys ages 9, 7 and 3, and one girl, 4 months old. I get the same kind of comments all the time! Like you, we weren’t trying for a girl … I would have been more than happy with another boy. NOW of course I’m thrilled we have a girl, but she was just icing on the cake. I love my boys so much and never want them to feel devalued by strangers who seem to think they can say anything they’d like, anytime they like. Thank you for such a beautiful post … I wouldn’t trade my life with these four kids for anything, either. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  108. Kelly in Georgia February 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    amen amen amen!! As a mom of 2 boys followed by a daughter, I do find the comment on “finally getting your girl” offensive. glory…i would have been happy with a house full of boys…althought i do love my daughter. I am afraid I would not have been able to keep my mouth shut on that one…you are better than me on that. Or maybe I would have just say…”No, that wasn’t it. We just like sex.” That might have stopped her right there into not saying anything else!
    Let me just say that it WILL get easier (at least I think it does).
    You are doing a great job I know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  109. Kelley Wolther February 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    A while back I was having a struggling mom day. A friend of mine whose daughter is now grown and moved out, told me that: If your not regularly worn out, worrying that your doing it wrong, feeling like maybe you’re not doing a good job, or having to be “the bad guy”, you probably are doing it wrong.

    I thought about this, and realized the only moms I’ve ever know that I thought were actually “bad” parents, would actually say things like “I’m an awesome mom, my son/daughter is my best friend” – as they were providing their kid with a place to party and the alcohol for them & their teenage friends.

    I say, you’re an awesome mom! “Pink sweater lady”, and those like her, drive me crazy! If you’re having a struggling mom day, you know it, and really dont need the extra commentary.

  110. Jennifer February 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Hang in there, Mama! Thanks for taking the time to encourage the rest of us moms, and for all you do to make our lives more beautiful every week. You are appreciated!

  111. Heather February 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Thank you for your wonderful post. I have 4 boys and 1 girl (ages 2 yrs to 10 yrs) with my 5th child due in July (we’ll find out next week what we are having). Motherhood is overwhelming and sometimes strangers can make or break your day but I guess all we can do is what is best, no apologies. Good luck!

  112. Lucy February 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Thank you for this post! I am the oldest of 4 – my parents had their “miracle baby” when I was 18 years old. They thought it was too late to have 4 kids and were delighted when they found out they were expecting. The sibs were all excited as well! Being a senior in high school with a newborn sister, I often found comments being made where people were asking if she was a mistake or if she was a wanted child. I never knew what to say. I wanted to yell at them and tell them that no child should be thought of or told that they were a mistake.

    Flash forward 9 years and I’m still getting the same reaction when people ask for the ages of my siblings. Now, I just smile sweetly and tell her that our family was incomplete before she came along and we didn’t realize what was missing. They usually don’t have anything to say after that. And I remind myself that every one of my siblings is such a blessing and a joy in my life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

  113. Anjanette Mensa February 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Bravo! Well said. That reduced me to tears.

  114. Julia February 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    AMEN!!!

    Julia
    (Mother of four and if I weren’t so old I would love to have more!)

  115. callie February 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    I love this post. You wrote perfectly well about how it feels to be a mother of four. I’ve had 4 babies in 3 years and I took my 3 youngest to the dr. today. the looks I got and the comments people said to me were beyond discouraging. I really do feel blessed, but YES, it is a busy life – and YES I have my hands full. but I love it. And I can tell you do too. Sounds like you are doing an awesome job! From one mom of four to another….keep it up!!!

  116. Jessie February 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Amen! Thanks for the sincere post. Your honesty is refreshing!

  117. Melanie February 14, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    wow I am sure my comment is going to get lost in the sea of comments but I just can’t help but agree with you! I have one daughter but I am a young mom. I had her when I was 18 but her father and I worked our hardest to ensure that we were the best parents that we could be to her…we both went to college, we got married and recently purchased a home. We have always put her needs ahead of ours, which can be difficult when you are 19 and all your friends are carefree. But I wouldn’t trade her for the world! So many people judge us, assume that we do not work and live off of government money or that we are terrible parents and sometimes I break down because I want everyone to see me just like every other mom. Not ignore me or whisper about me. I have heard my fair share of rude comments but I will always remember the ones that were encouraging, even though it is easier to let those mean comments bring you down! I always try to remind myself that I know I am a good mom and that I always try my very best I might not be perfect but neither is that mom who waited until she was 35 to have her daughter.

  118. Kathysue February 14, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Emily I am so sorry you met up with that Pink sweatered lady. I am quite a bit older all my boys, yes, all three of them are now grown men. I still get the comments about you finally got your girl, since I now have one granddaughter. I politely say No actually she belongs to her Mommy and Daddy. In the 1950s you had the perfect family if you had a boy first, of course, a girl,a dog and a car!! As long as everything looked perfect to onlookers that is all that mattered. Unfortunately it created a whole generation of onlookers that are judgemental in the sense of how things appear.
    Now, with that being said, you know you are a good Mommy and you have young children that are learning how to behave and you are teaching them that. Just love them through it, try to spend 10 min. a day giving them undivided attention, they only need a little and you will be amazed at how much better the day will go. Of course I am saying this in hindsight, I am not saying I did this. It is just a lesson my grandchildren have taught me. As you said so beautifully, our children teach us how to become better people.
    Lastly, it will get easier i some ways and harder in others, but you and they will survive, I promise and you will look back at these days and grin sweetly to yourself!! Sweet sweet memories,
    Kathysue mother of three sons and now grandmother of two Grandsons and one Granddaughter. Life is pretty sweet!! I must say! ♥

  119. rachel in Cali. February 14, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Oh yes!!! We have all been there girl!!! Keep your head up high and know in your heart that you are raising your kids with love and in the best way you know how. You are teaching them right from wrong, how to have love + compassion for each other, healthy eating habits, etc., etc…

    I think that you are right in that the pink sweatered woman probably didn’t even know she was being mean or hurting your feelings. I try and think about raising kids kind of like pregnancy. Everyone, (including family) has their advice, input, etc. I think it’s best to take it all in, and then do what your heart tells you to do with your own situation. Even if Mom, or said “pink sweatered lady” seems unapproving and/or believes otherwise! Your heart knows best!

    Keep your head up and thanks for keepin’ it real! :)

  120. Andrea February 14, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    What a WONDERFUL post.
    I cried…because as a mother, I get it.
    I get every single word and have felt every single emotion you so beautifully described.

    Your kids are fortunate to have such a wonderful mother and there should be no judgement passed on…but unfortunatly there always is someone.

    Remember the great things you do, even the simplest of things. On the worst of my mommy-days I think to myself “at least they started their day with clean undies and clothes on” and then I feel not as bad :o)

  121. shelley johannes February 14, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    This could be the best thing you’ve ever written. Made me cry to read it. I’ve lived that moment to a T. And why do the pink sweater ladies get into our head and make us cry? Motherhood is so exposing. Especially when you are putting your all into it and are so aware of our own imperfections. It’s a job no one can do perfectly. I love being a mom and love my boys to death…but some days are hard. I hate that some stranger can make me embarrassed or beat myself up. Being a mom has definitely made me less judgmental of other moms – if I see one in the midst of chaos, instead of assuming this moment is indicative of her whole life and her kids usual behavior, I now assume that they are having a tricky moment, like we all do.

  122. Elissa O February 14, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    All I can say to this is AMEN! I only have two kids so I can only imagine but when I go somewhere with them it means a lot when people smile at us even when they are acting crazy (which is most of the time). Sometimes I feel as moms we have the weight of the world on our shoulders (especially when we are with the kids 24/7). I have a hard enough time making everyday decisions without someone else’s criticism. At the end of the day all I have to ask myself is are they happy, to me as long as they are and they know that I love them then I must be doing something right. There are more moms out there that can sympathize with you than there are hot-pink sweaters ;)

  123. Candace T February 14, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    I completely understand! I have four kids ages, *gulp* 19, 16, 14, 11 and it goes by SO fast! You are doing the right thing. I wish that I had spent more time enjoying my babies and not worrying about what Mrs. Pink Sweater thought. You keep your chin up and do you! Mommies are the best!

  124. Gretchen Schaumann February 14, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    What a wonderfully well written heart felt post you’ve shared. Obviously from the amount of comments garnered it resonated deeply in your readership and was needed to be shared. What a gift you’ve shared here and you thought you were just venting…. You also were teaching…. And fortunately and unfortunately I have to admit and ask sad to confess, that there have been times in my l life that I unknowingly have worn ‘that pink sweater’ and was that lady with comments about the ‘finally got your girl’, and unknowingly and now I have been made aware through your post insensitively said things I should off left unsaid. As hard add this is to admit… Thank you for being an instrument of God to open my eyes, to point us this to me, and for making me aware of how hurtful this may be to Moms and/or kids. How silly it now seems that I wouldn’t of figured this out on my own. I guess this is just one more example of Gods grace and how He’s working in each of out lives to make us more what he would want us to be. I am usually the helpful person, but realize now that what I considered friendly talk and/or comments can indeed be hurtful not only to the struggling Mom, but also to her precious childerns spirits. Thanks for sharing…

  125. Janell Beals February 14, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    I wish women would stop and think of how they judge other women with children before proceeding…I used to experience this all the time when my kids were younger and it was amazing how cruel people could be, with words and looks. If I could make a request of everyone it would be to choose compassion and a spirit of helping others before rushing to judgement and criticism.

    A wonderful and heartfelt post, Janell

  126. Sue S February 14, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    I have been loving that song by Andy Grammer lately, “Keep Your Head Up”. I don’t listen to music ever and somehow that song caught my ear and heart. I send it to you today along with a prayer for you and thanks to God for giving moms who love, like you, strength, courage, and the grace to go on. We’re all here for you, Emily.

  127. Jennifer February 14, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    I’m sure when you set out to write this post you didn’t set out for it to be inspirational but it was for me. Being a Mom is a tough job and as I just had my second boy only 4 weeks ago I can only begin to imagine the difficulties that come at time with being a Mom of four! I love that you make the choice to do things that will enrich your children’s lives no matter that they might cause more of struggle then you can sometimes bear. And just know that for every ignorant mouthy lady in a hot pink sweater that you have the unfortunate luck to run across you have dozens of Moms who will stand in your corner and cheer you on!

  128. Kari February 14, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    This is a wonderful post and one that I can definitely relate to. We have four kids (three boys and one girl) and my husband is a firefighter (works 24 hour shifts). Our kids are 11, 13, 15, and 18. I cannot tell you how many comments I have heard over the years – everything from “I bet your girl is spoiled rotten” to “don’t you know what causes THAT?” to “you sure have your hands full”, etc. It’s amazing how some people just spout off comments that are so rude and insensitive. Having four kids can be crazy, chaotic, noisy (so noisy!) and hectic…but you are right, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  129. Giovanna February 14, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    chin up! I do not have the time to read through all the other comments,but I am sure others have already encouraged you: this is the hardest, but also most important thing you are doing…results will not be visible for years and years to come, and this is hard work. I have been in your shoes (three, not for! kids within four years and it was hard work but we are a very unite family. Even now that they all are teenagers (at the same time, gulp) some moments are tough, but I get glimpses that I did a few things right, and you will too. Rest, recharge your batteries (a dvd in front of the fireplace with the 3 of them was my recipe when I was exhausted). And it is so true that parenting is “refining the parent”…

  130. Chelsey February 14, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Well nearing 300 comments, maybe you don’t need mine ;) ha but I just wanted to echo what you said about helping & encouraging. I still remember those who go out of their way to be helpful or say something encouraging. I still remember 2 years ago getting off a plane (with then, only two children – I also have four now :) ) with our oldest two and feeling a bit frazzled, exhausted, overwhelmed – you name it. The nicest older gentleman came out of nowhere (it felt like to me) and said, “you know, you’re doing a great job” I could have cried. Right then & there. And I think he knew it. He just smiled & walked on to his destination. But it helped me realize that we were okay. And I was doing a great job. As difficult as it was.

    BTW, I now have four. The oldest just turned six (as in last week) and our youngests are 8 mo old twins. :) So believe me, if anyone understands this post, it’s me! haha ;)

    You’re doing a great job. Keep it up.

  131. Bonnie k February 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Wow!!! You rock and the pink sweater lady needs to have a redo. This was one of my favorite posts to date… I don’t even know you but I know that you are a good mom. Your blog totally displays your heart for your children and it’s just awesome!!! So good job for loving your kids so so much and doing the best you can. That’s all the job really requires. :-)

  132. Natalie February 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    Oh Emily how I could hug you! As a mom of five and constantly feeling overwhelmed I echo your words! Yesterday I sat with my children at church in front of an older couple I was so nervous that my children would be a distraction to them..I was pleasantly surprised when at the end of the meeting they got up and complimented me on how well behaved they were..angels were singing!! It made going to church all the better!

  133. kate February 13, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Emily,
    I already adore you and your impeccable taste, but this just made me love you so much more. You have such a good heart.

    You are so much stronger than me. I am trying so hard to learn to bite my tongue, especially in front of my daughter (and future kids). I have always been one to try and calmly let the person know they were overstepping boundaries, but that isn’t always the best answer. You absolutely made the best choice, showing your children to turn the other cheek is one of the best ways to teach them.

    We can’t control other people’s hurtful words, but we can control our actions.
    Thank you so much for having the courage to post this.

  134. charis February 13, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    i just wrote on the job of being a mom yesterday… i think it is in the air. :)

    my favorite part: “You don’t need them to be complete. But once you have them, you can’t imagine being complete without them.”

    i really do feel that way. God has used my kids so much to shape and refine me and i appreciate the people who encourage me, even in sappy sentimental ways, about motherhood because there are far too many who feel free to make demeaning comments about kids, moms, and large families.

    i get asked often about this 5th pregnancy and what i am having… when i say boy (our 5th now!) so many people say, “that is why i stopped at 2!” i try to be understanding and smile, but it does make me sad that kids aren’t valued and having many, even of the same gender, is seen as a negative thing.

    good job emily with being a mom – it is very hard. bill’s schedule is a crazy one, but he does end up home a lot of beneficial hours to help with our boys and i really think 24 hours at a time alone is so hard and wouldn’t want to trade our busy life for that… you do a great job and it is tough a lot of times, but so worth it.

    my recent post: the highest calling

  135. alana mey February 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    thanks for posting this. i have an 18 month old who is just entering the tantrum stage and I will take this post of yours around in my head when I am caught in situations just like yours, or when I see another mom struggling. my little guy is already a handful when I try and go anywhere with him. i wonder what it would be like to have a little angel baby that behaves so perfectly, although I know that really doesn’t exist. i have many moments like yours, but admire you for handling it so well given the situation of having 3 additional children with you!

  136. Erin February 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Thank you for saying out loud what all of feel and experience whether it be two or twelve kids. Those who comment like the pink shirt lady have forgotten what it’s like.

    A few months ago I was in church with my two girls by myself and my youngest was acting up so I held her. And the in the middle of the liturgy I just thought, this beautiful, trying, frustrating, smart little girl embodies everything wonderful about life and God. In that moment I was holding Him and her and so filled with love and adoration.

    My littlest tries me more than my older daughter, but I find when I’m at my worst I go back to that peaceful moment with her in my arms.

    Take a deep breath, get it out, and think about how wonderfully lucky you are. They’re all yours and they get to share in this life with you.

  137. Jen February 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Thank you, thank you for posting this! I have three boys and people are always asking me when we are going to “try” for a girl. It is so hurtful! Do they not see the three godly boys who probably even held the door open for them..even though they, most likely, did wrestle to see who could get through it first after that. My mom is the worst and I feel she doesn’t love them like their girl cousins. I loved hearing your (honest) thoughts on this! I am a pastor’s wife and so often I feel the need to settle my children down so they don’t embarrass me. I recently read a book called ‘Wild Things, the art of nurturing boys’. It was very helpful to read a Christian point of view for raising boysto become godly, REAL men, not trying to cut back their God given “maleness”. Thank you for this encouragment today!

  138. Stefanie February 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    Wht a blessing your comment was! I have four too,! Wouldn’t want to trade it for anything,but the freedom it brought to see others have a tough time too! Blessings to you.

  139. Bethany February 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    This is why I love your blog… you are honest and real. Thank you for this post Emily!

  140. Cheryl February 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    For some reason your post made me cry. I have four boys and feel that way often when I take them to a store. They are 7, 4, and two year old twins. I love my little guys and don’t really like to hear people ask if we are going to “try” for a girl. Yeah they make me crazy and yes they act up sometimes, usually in front of my mother in law. How do they have radar for that? They are such blessings and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, or a quiet morning sipping coffee and watching chick-flicks.

  141. sara February 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    one of my favourite comments is from a girlfriend, we were both at one of those crazy indoor play places and I pointed out a woman who had been very rude to me at a public library in a nearby town. I was desperately trying to be friendly and she looked me up and down and pretended not to know me. Then when I was trying to corral one of my boys, she simply stepped away instead of doing what I–or many other women would have done–have done on occasion, “sweetie, your mom is calling you.” No, this woman saw it and deliberately stepped away while watching me. She was horrible. So I told my girlfriend all this, and she looked at me with a chuckle and said, “Now why would she do that Sara? I mean we are all the mothership–just drowning together!” It still makes me smile.

    How are you supposed to teach your children behaviour if you do not expose them to it? Our kids are awful at times in the crying room at church. But if we don’t take them, what is that saying about the importance of our faith? We cannot afford a sitter, so what else can I do but take them with me? We cannot afford to eat out, so how to manage? We are all in this mothership, drowning together and you are right, we all need a life preserver from each other.

  142. Tiffany Warbington February 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    i cried when I read this post…this is my life, too! I have 2 boys– my youngest (Ryan) has ADHD, so it sometimes feels like I have 4!!. He is the sweetest child, but also the wildest! He embarrasses me every single place we go, and unfortunately I often snap at him when my appearance is threatened ( I am such a worrier about what others think of me). We always get “those” looks…you know- the “she cannot control her child” looks. I’m trying really hard to be patient with him and not worry so much about those judgemental folks I encounter. Having Ryan has taught me so much…it really humbles you to have a child that is somewhat different in any way. I am also an elementary teacher and having Ryan has impacted the way I treat my students. Thanks for challenging others to provide positive encouragement to those in the trenches…it truly does mean so much!!

  143. Rhea February 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Good thing that she didn’t see me with six kids. I am proud of them, even though they sure test me. The thing that I am so proud of, is that they absolutely love their youngest sister who has rett syndrome. If anyone would say anything bad about Anna, watch out.

    That lady needs to not use her mouth so much. You never know what journey others go through.

    You are doing great and boys are wonderful – so are girls too.

    Ps. My mom had someone say to her that they were planning on adopting. She then proceeded to say that they didn’t want a redhead, while my brother, with red hair was quietly sitting there. So hurtful!!!!!!

  144. carin February 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    You’re doing great! As a mother of grown, left-the-nest, adult children, I envy this time for you. You will remember these times with great fondness and when you really “like” your kids as adults, see that they’ve grown to be productive members of society and they actually “like” hanging out with you, you’ll look back remember all of these difficult days (and there will be many) and you’ll smile. I love when my kids now tell me that they had a great childhood. That we weren’t too strict. They really do grow up too fast. Enjoy them. Learn from them. Love them. Regardless of those that might have something else to say.
    Cheers to you!

  145. jami February 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Thanks so much for your encouraging post! I think you wrote what most of us with large families have been thinking. I often get the negative reactions to my four children, three girls and one boy (age 1, 2.5, 5 and 7). (“you’ve got your hands full” and “oh at least you got your boy”). You are right that we all should encourage others more often. It counts for so much!
    I wouldn’t trade my blessings for any bit of peace and quiet in the world. It is the most challenging yet rewarding time of my life! I try to live for the “now” moments and appreciate all of them. A friend with a large family suggested a good comeback… “yes, you are right, but my heart is full”.

  146. Darcie February 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Oh, Emily…how your story resonates deeply in my heart. I, too, am the mom of three boys and the “oh, you finally got your girl” as #4. They are 8, 6, 4, and almost 2 respectively. I’ve recently finished a fabulous, SHORT book called Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches. It is a fast read & filled with Godly & wise tidbits for mothers of young ones. Hope you have time to read it – I think it would really bless you.

  147. Rach February 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Love the part about helping another mom.

    It feels so good when someone can step in, and say just the right thing to your child to make them smile as opposed to throwing the big embarrassing fit they planned on.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  148. Michelle Webster February 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I also have four kids and feel the same way you do when people feel the need to put in their “two cents”. It is so disheartening and makes you feel like a failure as a parent in those moments (I think I may have run into the same pink-sweater lady before). My kids are not perfect but they are mine. I am doing the best I can and by God’s grace, we make it through each day. It may be with runny noses, mismatched clothing, an absence of manners, temper tantrum-filled and exhausting, but like you, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so blessed by the fact that God allowed me the privilege to know my children and watch each moment as they become the wonderful people God has created them to be. I hope that you will find encouragement as a Mom and remind yourself everyday that to be called “Mom” is the greatest blessing there is!!

  149. Chelsea February 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    I can totally understand you feeling picked on about your parenting by pink sweater but I think her attitude toward little boys is more offensive than anything else! I have 2 boys and my baby girl is due any day. I am definitely excited for her but I LOVE my boys and would have been fine with FOUR boys {which is how many kids I want!}. I come from a family of 6 kids and 4 were boys. Yes they were always rough housing and being rowdy, as are my own boys but I wouldn’t change them for the world. That’s how God MADE little boys! As embarrassing or frustrating as it may be in public sometimes. And how terrible for your sons if they would have overheard and understood what pink sweater said. :( Raising little boys up to be GOOD MEN is a huge {and extremely important} job and mothers definitely need all the encouragement they can get. Not snide comments in a restaurant line when you and your kids may not be at your best.

    “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalms 127:3-5 (NIV 1984)

    Keep up the good work, Mama.

  150. Chelsea February 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I can totally understand you feeling picked on about your parenting by pink sweater but i think her attitude toward little boys was more offensive than anything else. I have 2 boys and my baby girl is due any day. I am excited for her but I LOVE my boys and would have been fine with FOUR boys {which is how many kids I want!}. I come from a family of 6 kids and 4 were boys. Yes they were always rough housing and being rowdy, and so are my own boys, but I wouldn’t change them for the world. That’s how God MADE little boys! As embarrassing as it may be in public sometimes. And how terrible for your sons if they would have overheard and understood what pink sweater said. :( Raising little boys up to be GOOD MEN is a huge {and extremely important} job and mothers definitely need all the encouragement they can get. Not snide comments in a restaurant line when you and your kids may not be at your best at the moment.

    “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalms 127:3-5 (NIV 1984)

    Good job, Mama.

  151. Kristin February 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    There was a note in our church bulletin every Sunday after the welcome for visitors. It said “See a family with children in Church – give them a smile. A smile goes a long way.” I think this is so true anytime we see parents with kids out in public. I know I appreciate every smile I get when my toddler is acting out!

  152. Christa February 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    It bothers me so much when people say they kept trying until they got a girl (or boy if the case may be) so glad there’s someone out there who agrees with me that whatever God decided to bless us with is “enough” and perfect regardless if all my kids were the same sex. Well said!!

  153. Amanda M. February 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    So. I sort of wish I was there so I could have interjected on your behalf. Or at least complimented you on what cute kiddos you have and to tell you I know how it feels but that they are SO worth it. Her behavior alternately infuriates and saddens me on so many levels. You have four amazing children. Girls or boys, children are amazing and it makes me sick to think she didn’t have any more she she “wouldn’t get a boy.” My God, would she say that to a woman struggling just to conceive? Or someone, like me, who has buried a perfectly still baby born at 28 weeks that I’d have given my own life for, not worrying whether that child was a boy or girl? Children ARE hard. They are trying, but you’re right, they refine us. They teach us probably far more than we teach them. Sadly, I think she was so wrapped up in some sort of bitterness that she missed that part. :(

  154. Brandy February 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Well said. I TOTALLY “got” your perspective. Having 4 is wonderful, but everything is magnified…the clothes, the yucky behaviors, the decisions, and the attitudes. I really have to change my perspective everyday. I have a consciously think about the wonderful plan God has for me. And that is so hard in the midst of the noise! I love that you said we are refined by being a mother. So true! Refined by fire!

  155. Bre @roomsFORrent February 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Can I just tell you I totally relate. I don’t have four kids, but its a dream to have four someday. Whatever that looks like. Right now we have 2 (Carter – 2.5 + Dannika -1)! AND I feel that way, and wonder if I can feel exhausted and frustrated like this with 2, what is 4 going to be like? But I appreciate God’s grace, and his unfailing love, in reminding me that I don’t have to be a perfect mom, that when I’m weak He is strong, and all He wants is for me to rely on him. You inspire me. I just recently started following you, and appreciate all your posts. I could totally relate to this one, and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out there who feels like that :) Thanks for sharing!!

  156. Heather February 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    The Lord must have known I needed that too :) It’s great to know we’re all in this together. I have three born in less than five years and I, too, was once asked if they were all “mine.” I think my [old] lady was a cousin to your pink sweater lady! Thanks for the perspective on mothering…Just what a mommy needed today :)

  157. Heidi Biggs February 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    First, I received an art print in the mail from you today and it’s GORGEOUS!

    Second, I LOVED the arching-back-so-buckling-is-impossible line. I live it everyday and I’m positive I don’t handle it nearly as well as you.

    Third, read this blog entry, it may speak to you http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/
    The teaser is this: a tired mom dreams that some day she’ll see a tired mom in a store and say to her, “You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.”

  158. Sara February 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    I really needed this post today! I am constantly reading my friends blogs about how cute and perfect their kids are and how perfect they are as moms and I feel so deflated…it helps to know that I am not alone in not always feeling like the perfect mom to perfect children. Being a mom of two boys, who more often than not do not act perfect, who I feel embarrased by daily, but who I also need to take a lesson from! I have had some wonderful people help me out in public when I am struggling and it really makes all the difference! Thank you for your post, helping us regular moms who are just trying our best to not feel alone in a world with people who do not always “get it.”

  159. Coley Arnold February 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    I am so glad you didn’t just journal this. It was very encouraging to me today and I am 5 months pregnant with my third. We want four and people always make the rudest comments when we tell them that. It is sad. My dad comes from 12 kids and my mom 6. That was the normal, and now 1.5 is the normal and they are raised by nannies because they are a bother to the parents. It is refreshing to hear your heart and you are doing a great job raising those precious babies!
    Keep sharing! :)

  160. Laura February 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Your day yesterday was my day today. Motherhood is so hard without the negative attitudes from complete strangers, many of them women who should know better and show some compassion and empathy. Thank you for your post. Since reading it I have handed my three children to my husband, locked myself down in the basement with the computer and an adult beverage for my dinner.

    Cheers, Laura

  161. bevy February 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    We’re all doing the best we can. Honestly, I feel like I suck at being a mother and that’s part of the reason why I haven’t had another. I just don’t feel adequate, but I’m making the most of what God has given me. If He didn’t think I was good enough, then I guess I wouldn’t have my little one.

  162. Stephanie Halliday February 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Thank you Emily! I’m glad I’m not alone out there. Keep up your great work!! ” )

  163. Beth February 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    First we’re you at panera! Just joking I have three and my husband runs a company and works what seems like all the time. He is a wonderful husband nd father,but I to do everything with my children. My 3 are with in 3 years of each other so I get the looks and the comments, my youngest is the only girl and I have heard that you finally got your girl comment too. I have the those where you feel so proud as if you got is parenting thing undecontrol but then there are those days . The voice comes out . I take the kids to hockey and skiing and I get the looks and I have gotten the you’re brave too. What makes me feel good about myself and my kids is when I am talking to a mom that has one maybe two and tells me she can’t go to the store with the kids it’s to hard or she wouldn’t be taking then to hockey and skiing too much work, or that her husband had to work till 7 or 8 and she told him she can’t have that anymore. I look at her and sympathize with her,but Iook at her and think if I didn’t do these things by myself we would be shut ins or if I eve said to my husband you have tone home by 5 or 6 he would say would you like me to pay the morgage and all of the other bills this month.
    I think you are showing your children what a strong women,mom is like. Good job.

  164. Adriana February 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    AMEM, sister. you made me cry….
    All your words were so true and beautiful.
    Keep up the awesome job you do every day with your kids.

  165. Ruth Drew February 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Fanstastic read! Thank you. I think you’re doing a fantastic job and as hard as it is at times, it is worth it! When I get comments like those of the lady in the pink sweater I cry also, but later I find their comments have been helpful. They help me to assess myself and reassure myself that despite their uneducated remarks, I am doing a good job. They make me more concious of the way I look at other mums and they way my comments could be interpreted.
    Thanks again and keep up the fantastic work!

  166. Nicole February 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

  167. janie Williams February 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    i just wanted to say thank you for posting this. i have three boys, 4, 3, and 1, and the question i ALWAYS receive is “so, are you gonna try for a girl?” i also hate that question. i love my life with my boys, and i love being the queen bee in our home. my boys are rambunctious and loud, but i’m so proud of them and i want them to know how to act in public, as well. i think they do a pretty great job of it right now…i mean they are 4, 3, and 1. anyway, i appreciate your honesty and i do hope God put more people like the costco worker in your path to encourage you. peace of Christ.

  168. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality February 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Hi, Emily, i haven’t gotten to know you that well in blogland, but love your work and seeing all the beautiful things you do. This is such a well written, from the heart post and I so admire your courage to share it. I am not a mom, but I can imagine it’s the hardest job in the world. It sounds to me like you are doing a lovely job with your kids and are a wonderful mom. Kudos for sharing this post and all that it means to all the other moms out there. I’m going to be more aware of being supportive of moms I see out there having a hard time of it. I know you are all doing the very best that you can.

  169. Kasey February 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    I’m a mom of 2 little ones and I can SO relate to everything you wrote! I think moms like the lady in the pink sweater have forgotten about all of the difficult days of raising children. Thanks for voicing this for all of us raising little ones.

  170. Angie February 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Thank you Emily! As a mother of three who feels like I am failing sometimes…your story brought tears to my eyes because I feel the same way. We just have to try to do the best we can and keep getting better. Thank you!

  171. Jennifer G. February 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    I have a 4-year-old son and 9-month-old twin girls. Whenever someone says “you’ve got your hands full” I simply reply “yes, full of blessings” and smile. It often opens a door to share what God has done in my life after two miscarriages and other trials. Although children are His gifts to us, it is not easy. Remember that the comments are not personal and they are not an attack on your or your parenting. In defense of all the pink-sweater ladies out there, I used to be like that. I only wanted one child and work full-time. God has changed my heart and I want to apologize for any comments I’ve made to those blessed with young children who are close in age. He chose us to have the children we have and He gives us the strength to be their mothers. We CAN’T do it alone; we have to rely on the ONE who gives us all we need!

  172. PAppel February 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    I am a mom of 4 kids (3 daughters, 1 son); 2 biological, 2 adopted. I know about the rude, unhelpful comments and your post struck a cord. People always commented that I must have gotten pregnant after adopting (WRONG) and asked rude, intrusive questions (do you love them the same? Well, duh!) .
    I am not talking always about strangers, but about close family friends. One could not understand why I would also send my adopted kids to private school.
    It was unreal. Needless to say, that friendship cooled.
    I try hard to always complement a mom on her kids; even when they are acting rambunctious. It is usually a child being exactly that . . . a child. Be grateful your child can be rambunctious, can move his jab his elbow into his sibs, can eat all the chips. Think of all the kids who can’t. (I am a peds nurse).

  173. Tarrin February 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Emily! This touched my heart! I am a mother of two- soon to be four- as we are expecting twins! We struggled having kids for years and were blessed to adopt our oldest two, a 4 year old girl and 2 year old boy. Now, miraculously, we are pregnant with twins. Both my husband and I grew up in large families and we always hoped for that for our own family, but let me tell you, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being freaked out occassionally that we’ll have 4 kids 4 and under. We are so grateful for our blessings, and so loved that our prayers have been answered through these 4 miracle children in our family…but it’s nice to know other moms have moments too. It just reminds me that I really will be able to do it!

  174. rhonda February 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    thank you for being so honest! I have 2 boys, 14 and 6. when in public, we have been asked, in front of them!, if our older son is mine or my husbands, if we adopted our younger son & if he has something wrong with him (he is small for his age and has some health issues but you can’t see them), if we had fertility issues since they are so spread out, if i wanted a girl since i have 2 boys, etc, etc, etc.
    It angers me how rude and nosey people can be sometimes! But you handled her well! maybe next time she will help instead of give people her 2 cents!

  175. karen@strictlysimplestyle February 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    As the parent of a child with ADHD and high functioning autism I experienced many unsolicited comments from “ladies in hot pink sweaters.” One morning at church my son was acting up and an older gentleman stepped up to me, put his hand on my arm and said, “I promise you, it will get better. Just try to love him even harder when the going gets rough.” That’s exactly what I needed at that time. It was one of the kindest things a stranger has ever done for me. I’ve tried to remember that when I see a child acting up.

  176. Traci February 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    HERE, HERE!!!!!!! Wonderful. Perfect. Exactly what my life looks like!!!!! Being a Mommy of three little boys is HANDS DOWN the HARDEST THING I’ve ever done!!!! I purposefully don’t take my kids out in public by myself, because of people like the woman in the pink sweater! I feel so on edge most days, I’m pretty sure I would either cry if someone said something to me…or else go totally ballistic and rip into them! You ARE brave for taking them out in public like you do!!!! And you’ve inspired me to SUCK IT UP and take them places by myself! Who cares what everyone else is thinking?! I can DO THIS! Excuse me now, while I go put my BIG GIRL panties on! =) Thank you so much for your honesty!!!!

  177. Cheryl February 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I have four kids too. I can so relate to what you say.
    My kids are growing up and with it comes new challenges and many memories of days like that.
    My youngest is 18, still in high school and is high functioning autistic. He got suspended today. I try not to take it personally. He has so many struggles, has severe anxiety, hears voices and really is a sweet boy. I don’t usually get any comments. Just looks. He may have to live with us his whole life. I can still relate to wanting and needing kindness from strangers.
    So, carry on, sweet warrior mother!

  178. Tricia February 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    I don’t know why but I started crying while reading this post! I guess it’s because it’s so nice to read about someone else experiencing the same things! I only have 2 boys but we’d like 4 kids (boys or girls…like you we just want 4 and whatever God gives us we will be thankful for!). I hear all the time….”are you going to try for a girl?” I LOVE my boys! A girl may be nice one day but I just want 4 kids:) We really struggled to have babies (lost 3 along the way) and I want to tell people that I just thankful I even have kids at all. Who cares what they are! haha
    My husband coaches basketball so for 3 months I’m basically a single mom. He’s away at games or staying late after work for practice. I’ve definitely had those days lately when my boys (1 and 3) aren’t getting along or acting like the perfect little angels I would hope for in public. The stress and frustration can really get to me at times and make me feel like a bad mom. Your post was just the boost of mommy power I needed to help get me through these last few weeks of basketball season! I love that you’re so real and honest about your life:)

  179. tara February 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    i have a three year old little girl and two year old little boy. they are twelve months and three days apart. my husband is also a fireman (24 on 48 off) and then works as a flight paramedic during some of those 48 off. my life is crazy. it is filled with fits. lots of fits. and i have to constantly remind myself they are both just babies. but we go and we do. just as if dustin was there to go with us. i don’t wanna not go to target because i’m scared to do anything alone. i want to be brave and face this world [and the rude people in it] head on. i want to teach my kids that we can’t just sit at home or go through the drive-through because it’s the easiest thing to do. yes, it’s hard. and sometimes i question why i continue to try to take them in public . and yep, sometimes i’m embarrassed, too. but, like you said, they are a reflection of us. it is a humbling, humbling thing.

    i loved this post so much!!! thank you for sharing!

  180. Rylee February 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Thank you for writing this, it was wonderful and refreshing to read. As the oldest of four in my family I can relate to rude comments about the size of my family and my mom being “brave”. It started out just being frustrating for my mom, but then as all of us siblings grew up we would hear and understand the comments, but I think it made us stronger and a tighter knit family :)

  181. melissa February 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    This is so good! Definitely been feeling this lately!

  182. Jessica February 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Awesome sharing your feelings and thoughts with “on being a mother of four.”

    It hurts when people judge/assume without knowing the whole picture. You can have one child and parenting is not perfect. Having multiple children is more demanding. Different developmental ages and stages along with different and unique personalities. Every family is different. You have good days where almost everything is going with the flow. Then there are days were everyone is going in a different direction. My eyes fillied with tears as I read your blog. I am a mother of multiple children and I do 99% of the work with the children, activities, errands, duties outside and inside the home. Children are a blessing and I learn so much from them. A loving and caring family (no matter how crazy or off track it may get) knowing that I am fulfilling my children’s needs is all that matters in the end.

    Sounds like you have a “community” here (it may not be in your town or city) but it looks like you have alot of inspirational, I feel the same way posts. Give yourself a pat on the back and go give your children and husband a hug. Thank you for sharing.

    Jessica

  183. Amy King February 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Amen! You said exactly what I think about my life. I have four kids 5 and under and I experience the EXACT same situations with my children. Fortunately we have a gracious Savior who has entrusted us with our little babies and has given us the right tools to raise them. We must remember that these are sweet times and I hope to create great memories with them. :)

  184. Kelly February 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Thanks for the encouraging post :) Kids are a beautiful blessing and I sure don’t know what on earth I’d do without my two kiddos.. but they can be quite a challenge too!! Your post was right on track, And i really appreciated it!! My mom had 6 kids and talking to a friend whos mom had the same we mentioned how maybe some people are just better at it.. or meant to have more. but I know that my mom DID struggle too… I think we are just more open about the challenges of motherhood these days… which is a good thing!! We can all help each other out!

  185. Ronda Batchelor February 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Keep up the good work. I’m a mother of six, number four and five were twins. I vowed to never let a struggling mother go un-helped after so many times of juggling bottles, kids,toys, diapers and such with tons of by standers just watching. I use to think, “I’m glad we are such a good show, maybe I should charge?” Just keep on and know you are doing great!!!

  186. Angela G February 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Your post was so timely and real! I have two kids with a third on the way and this weekend we took them skiing. The trip had me asking myself how I was going to manage a 3rd. My 18 month old was too young to ski and being pregnant I couldn’t either so we hung out in the lodge. I still wanted her to experience the snow and watch her big brother and dad ski. I had the same challenges of her climbing all over the place and spilling food on the floor and tantrums when I wouldn’t let her eat the food that fell on the floor. And as expected she was challenging around nap time and we didn’t have many options for her. I tried to rock her/stroll her to sleep and I made a palette in the corner and eventually she fell asleep but not without throwing a few fits and crying out of exhaustion. I had several others annoyed with me which didn’t help because it was already pretty trying. What saved me from falling apart and having the information desk call my husband to help is some guy walking by saying how he remembered her age and he only wish he could go back to that. It made me snuggle her closely and smile.

    I truly admire how together you come across. I admire your parenting, the way you talk about your family and your sense of style. You seem to balance family, work and your personal time in ways I only wish. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  187. Jenna February 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Oh, Emily, I HEAR you! In fact, I just wrote a post about children being a nuisance or a blessing. I get SO FED UP with people who treat children as a nuisance – and that’s just what hot-pink-woman’s actions and words were saying. Ugh! And that “finally got a girl” thing? Don’t get me started. Lol! Why is one better than another? I love my boys just as much as I love my girl! Anyway – just wanted to say that I can relate. Thanks so much for sharing your heart.

  188. Cyndi February 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    I am a stay-at-home mother of 2 little ones but let me tell you they have enough spunk, energy & attitude for 4. I get the nasty remarks from time to time.. I just ignore, look away or smile. I remember when my daughter was 11months & VERY active. She decided to take a flying leap off of our couch & smacked her face on the coffee table. I was terrified she broke her nose! We went to the doctor, it wasn’t broken but it sure looked BAD. Her face was black & blue for the next week & don’t you know how many people stared and told me that it is my job as a mom to protect my child & then they followed with “shame on you”. You don’t know what happened, you didn’t even bother to ask before you made such a judgmental statement… shame on you. There are all kinds out there.. I just keep my head up & try to do my best, hopefully it will all work out in the end. Keep your head up too, you are doing a fantastic job! ;o)

  189. Jennifer February 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I hear ya! I’m with ya! What we need to do is stick together….us mom’s, all of us. Mom’s of 1, 2, 3, or 4+ kiddos. Its hard and we certainly don’t need anyone without kids climbing all over them to judge us. You handled it well and who knows maybe she realized later that she stepped over the line with her comments. Maybe she will think again before she speaks to a mom trying to feed her kids and do the best she can. Here’s a big hug ((((HUG)))) for being the best mom for your kids.

  190. Cyndia February 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Oh, did that take me back! I am crying in sympathy because, even though my kids are grown, taking them out was sometimes insane.
    And I admit I am guilty too, of looking irritatedly at a family whose kids are bouncing off the wall. Thanks for the reminder that I need to watch my judgmental side.
    Honey, at least you are trying to show them the way. It seems so many parents don’t do that. Kids weren’t born knowing how to behave and there’s just so much cool stuff to investigate! I mean, really. Wouldn’t you, if you didn’t “know better” want to run down the aisles of the fabric store pulling fabric behind you? I think taking the kids out regularly helps to teach them to behave. I have one friend who never took her child out to a restaurant because she was afraid he would misbehave. How on earth is he supposed to learn otherwise?
    You ARE doing a good job, And I promise, if I see you or another young mother out there struggling, I will be gentle with her.

  191. Jean February 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    My husband is a fireman too. We have an 11 month old son. I don’t have four kids but I can appreciate your post tremendously. Sometimes it is difficult. My son and I were 10 minutes late for church because he would literally not let go of my leg so I could get ready!

  192. Brittany Mirabal February 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Oh gosh. I know how you feel! I have 3. A 4 year old girl, 3 year old boy and a 6 month old girl. I try to make things fun for them and 90% of our trips to Target are a disaster. Target ladies look at me like I’m crazy as well as other moms, and it’s so incredibly discouraging to hear those rude comments, especially from strangers! When I hear a “you’re so brave” or “So, you’re done, right?” I just want to pop them and say, “I bet you get to clock out and take vacations from YOUR job, right? What if you didn’t? How would you feel?” Of course I don’t. I just ignore them. Anyway, I loved this post. It’s awesome to be reminded every once in a while that all of us mommas are in the same boat. And you’re right. I wouldn’t change it for anything. Here is a quote I have stumbled upon that I find incredibly encouraging as a stay at home mom:

    “To be Queen Elizabeth in a definite area; deciding sales, banquets, labors an holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes, and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it can narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other peoples’ children about the rules of three, and a small career to tell ones own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.” -G.K.Chesterston

  193. Elizabeth February 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    Thank you for this post! I love what you said about learning from our kids. I have 2, a boy and a girl, and had always hoped for more but that was not meant to be. I can relate to this post so much and you expressed everything so beautifully. Thank you, thank you!

  194. Anna February 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Oh girl as I read this I am crying because I am in such a rough patch as a passionate mommy of two expecting number 3. I’m finally learning to ask for help and not (try not) to care as much about everything. I am relieved to hear that you are normal! Lol you are even more inspiring to me now after reading this. I get comments all the time now that I’m pregnant with my 3rd. “you guys never stop do you” “you guys need some space from each other jeez!” oh my goodness 3 is so hard aren’t you scared?” “you’re brave” “you have a boy and a girl, why in the world would you have more!”
    I’m so sick of the comments. What happened to “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.”? Thank you for this well articulated entry. It captures a bit of my broken and tired mommy soul right now. Children are a blessing. A huge one. I adore mine. All three and yes we want a number 4 someday also! Thanks again!

  195. Carolyn M February 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    You said today, what I think on a daily basis. The pink sweater lady is alive and well in the state of Pennsylvania too! I have three children and a husband that travels each week. I am not brave, I am not crazy, I am simply a mom trying to get through the day the best I can. The best I know how. There are days when we all have our meltdowns and our moments, including myself and I am just trying to keep it together. There are days when everything is a blur…did I take the wash down, did I remember to pack a snack for my daughter?
    I hate the comment…it’ll get better, it’ll get easier…will it? I don’t really want it to be…I want to live in this chaos…otherwise, I wouldn’t really be living. Neither would many of us…

  196. Betty February 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Since my girls are grown, thanks for the reminder to be on the look out for young Moms that I might be able to help in some small way….and I’ll never wear a hot pink sweater!

  197. Emily February 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I am mom to three young boys and I cannot even tell you the number of times people ask me if I am going to try for a girl. Or that I look like have my hands full in a house full of boys. My response, I always wanted three children no matter what they were, boy or girl. I coudn’t imagine not having these three sweet and also wild boys that mess up my nice pretty things with their wrestling and sticky fingers.They embarrass me too, with broken plates at the mexican restaurant and food all over every inch of the floor and table, but they also make me laugh with the things they say, and I smile when they hug each other. We are all in this crazy ride together and even though strangers can judge us and make insenstive comments like pink sweater lady, just know there’s another mom (or dad) out there that sees you with your children and knows that you are all in this together. I always say it’s a good day at our house if everyone is accounted for and we didn’t have a trip to the ER. Keep up the good work, and enjoy those few moments each day when they hug your neck and tell you that they love you. I know those are the ones that make the madness worthwhile!

  198. Anne February 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    I have 2 girls and my 3rd is a boy. The number of times I (and definitely my husband) have heard “You got your boy, you (your husband!) must be thrilled!!” Yes, we are thrilled with our baby boy. He completes us. We can’t imagine life without him. Of course this is no longer applicable because we already have him, but…we would have been EQUALLY as thrilled with a 3rd girl. And it’s hard. I’m sweaty a lot of the time in public. But the alternative is sitting home all the time, and that’s not much fun.

    I just found your blog, you have a gift! Keep up the great mothering and writing!

  199. Angie February 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Emily, you are doing your best and that is good enough!!

  200. Jenny February 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Good for you! I think it’s wonderful to take kids out to eat and out to eat in a variety of places – some should have real napkins instead of playgrounds.

    I recently got some very obvious stares while out to dinner (Cracker Barrel) with my two kids. The guy was right behind me and kept completely turning around in his chair to stare at my son, who was hungry, and didn’t want to sit in a high chair. I wasn’t as good as you – I finally turned around in my chair and stared back at him until he turned back around. I was a little embarrassed but I wasn’t going to admit it. I’ll stick with my thoughts that if kids were supposed to quiet, God wouldn’t have made them so noisy…. and they’ll eventually learn to be quiet when they should and they’ll turn into teenagers that won’t talk around me at all way too soon.

    I’ve come to a realization that it seems that people (or in my case, a certain relative) who are the most vocal about how other people’s children (yes, mine) behave are really very insecure about their own parenting and make themselves feel better by looking for the flaws in the people around them. So if that person complains that my kids are noisy and running around it really means that she wishes her kids weren’t so shy and timid. And I accept that my kids are wild and just sometimes secretly (inside my head) wish that they were a little more timid at times, not because someone else’s kids are better but because I just want mine to appreciate quiet time. But more than anything I just remember that all kids are different and I wouldn’t trade mine for anyone else!

  201. Katie February 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    I am a firefighters wife too and I completely understand your situation. I work full time outside of the home and every 3rd day I am left to be a “single” parent of two. It’s hard when you have to do it on your own with two- let alone four. You are doing great and your family is just perfect.

  202. Danielle February 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    My goodness! Emily, I might know you personally, but following your blog is a motivation for me. To be a better person, creative etc. Your post here brought tears to my eyes. I try to and STRIVE to be what I think is perfect. I only have two kids. The fact that you have four is a BLESSING! Our kids make us. They define us. They bring out the true being in us. I couldnt say it better myself in your description of people and their comments being condescending. Who knows what one is going through. You never know, but one should never judge. My husband and I were active duty and 9 pm shopping nights happened for groceries. Esp when Daddy is on a 6 month deployment and I work full time in the military as well. My son was literally tired and cried. We needed food and so I hung in there and held him as he cried. I knew he was tired. But a woman came over (from 3 aisles over) and said I need to control him. WHAT!!!! Excuse ME? I politely said he acts better than some adults I know.

    May your post here bring light to the fact that we are all getting by the best we can. Only together can we become better. Become a community, a country and a world of informed, caring people that truly help each other and not talk before we think. And with that said, may we as mothers accept that perfection is NOT having everything together. Not being the most beautiful. It is in having a happy family and loving life that we find happiness.

  203. Adrianne Storr February 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    By the way, I always get the “you have your hands full!” comment and I always respond with “my heart is full too!” My friend Christy, with her 7 children says, “better full than empty.”

  204. Michelle, mom to 5 boys ;) February 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Hi Emily, I just want to tell you I hear you sister! One thing is that you get to read all of these nice sweet comments to lift your spirits, that’s help straight from above ;) {encouragement is always welcome right?} I will say these situations are tough. I have 5 boys, including a set of quads, and it was tough getting every one of my kids here, and the oldest is a cancer survivor. No matter what I love my life even on the tough days as I know you do. It is very hard when you have one of these days, people are always saying all kinds of things to me that are incredibly rude, even multiple times while I am out, 3 or 4 pink sweater lady episodes in one store ;). My kids are adorable, usually well-behaved but they are kids, they are boys, and what you described is a lot like things here. So I just wanted to say I hear you and send you a kind hello, you are doing wonderful job (I know you don’t doubt that) but sometimes it is tough to deal with things that you don’t even solicit. I feel badly b/c some people just want to be so nice to tell me I am blessed, which I appreciate so very much, but I avoid making eye contact b/c it’s a 50/50 chance on whether it is going to be rude (in front of my 6 year old who understands a lot) or not. Thank you for posting this and making me feel normal ;) We all have our days and all I can say is I wish people would just simply open their mouths to moms to encourage. That’s all, it would make a world of difference ;) Hugs to you, Michelle

  205. Adrianne Storr February 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Thank you for that post! I am a mother of four too. Four BOYS! No, we didn’t try for a girl either. I would have loved a girl, but I wouldn’t trade any of my boys. I am so thankful! I often get, “so are you going to try for a girl?” or the worst one – “Four Boys! You poor mom!” Poor mom?! No, I am very blessed. Overwhelmed most of the time. Always wondering if I am doing it right, worried that I am not, but I LOVE them to pieces and am so thankful for each one of them. They are a blessing from the Lord and a great resposibility. Very good post. I am proud of you for keeping your mouth shut! God has entrusted you with four beautiful kids and that lady in the hot pink sweater has no idea the blessing she is missing! Hugs!

  206. Victoria February 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    oh, my darling. the mama bear instinct in me is kicking in big-time and i want to go give the pink sweater lady a piece of my mind. and a piece of my fist. those are my precious grandchildren she was talking to! but alas, i will not. your style and your grace in the midst of the restaurant encounter was so you….you are a kind and gentle person and i am extraordinarily proud of you and all of who you are, as a mother and a young woman – just as i am of both of your sisters. in my profession, i regularly have encounters with children, which i love as you know. i get to regularly practice the art of being kind and encouraging to young mothers (and sometimes dads, too) traveling alone on the airplane with their little ones in tow. the glares and looks they receive from other passengers just noticing that they have more than one, or two – or more children is astounding! last week i greeted a man boarding the plane and asked him how he was doing. he barely returned my smile and said, “well, i WAS fine until now” – and jestured over towards one side of the plane where a woman was settling her two little ones into their seats – and he wasn’t even sitting anywhere near them! i just stared at him; i was dumfounded, yet shouldn’t have been because it happens all the time. unfortunately, most people don’t like children on airplanes…or in restaurants. yet these little people are our future! outside of work, i used to say what i think to those folks who are so judgemental, and even worse, would have a comment to ‘share’ with another young mother who seemed to be losing her grip when trying to deal with a wayard toddler. those weren’t my finest moments. but have learned (for the most part) to keep my tongue. instead, i get to try out my skills at being helpful (which is my job) but even more so, a calling in life. i try to practice the art of thinking twice and speaking once. the pink sweater lady is a good example of that. let’s go out on a limb and say that she didn’t mean to be judgemental – even cruel. but it’s a good lesson for all of us, especially when reading some of your followers comments today, that the things we say, even unwittingly, can be very hurtful. now that i’m a “woman of a certain age”, i can try to remember how difficult it was to raise three children, or imagine what it would be like to have more, and get myself and my inconveniences or opinions out of the way and simply have a smile and a kind word to give to a mother with her hands full. thanks to you and your readers’ comments, i can do better. you, my dear, are an outstanding mother. i love you.

  207. Ashley February 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Emily,

    Thank you. Just thank you. I have a 2.5 year old, 15 month old, and am newly pregnant. As I’m in the throes of my first trimester, I’m so often overwhelmed and can’t see how I’m going to DO this… even though it is my dream and all I want to be/do in life. I see you as an inspiration that it CAN be done, but it is also okay to be overwhelmed and that the kids won’t/can’t always be perfect. My eyes are so opened to other moms and I try to be so sensitive. Know that, despite your “imperfections”, so many look up to you and you are being SO used by God!

  208. Jennifer February 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Some people don’t have enough to do, so they fill their days with criticizing others. Keep your chin up–you’re doing a great job. As they grow older, you’ll face new challenges, but eating in a restaurant becomes much easier. My boys are 13 and 10 now, but I remember those days well–my husband worked shift work, so I always had my babies, usually by myself.

    It really bugs me me when people talk about “trying for a girl”. I get that sometimes, but it cuts to the heart because I can’t have any more children, girl or boy. I had an emergency hysterectomy when my youngest was born. I’m okay with that–I’m just glad I survived–but I hate the hurt that “harmless small talk” can bring. I am blessed to have two children, but I know similar comments (You need to get busy!) can be very painful to childless couples dealing with infertility.

    Over my mantle is a plaque that says, “Let your words be few and seasoned with grace.” Amen.

  209. Jennifer February 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Amen and THANK YOU!!!!!

    As a mom of 5 I can totally relate and totally agree.

  210. Caroline February 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    This post really spoke to me as a new mom and made me feel so much better. Coming from someone like you, whom I think is someone so well put together, has weight. I don’t feel all alone in this new journey of motherhood. So many of us walk around hiding our vulnerabilities and to put it out there takes courage. By putting out vulnerabilities publicly, as you did, you have an opportunity to reach people who may need some validation in knowing they are not alone in their feelings. I really appreciate your candid honesty on this topic because I feel this will help many moms out there. Today your blog transcended into more than a design forum for creative ideas and thoughts. You’re helping people; you helped me.

  211. Tasha Hale February 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    You’re doing a great job, and it will get better.

  212. Maranda February 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Thank you so much for your honesty, and sharing your feelings with the “world”.
    I look at your website and your beautifully put together home and photos of the amazing projects you design and you are sort of on a pedestal for me, “a perfectly put together artist”.
    I sincerely appreciate you exposing your humanity and fragility. I too am a mother of young children and I know exactly how you feel. I love my children and would not trade my life for anything. Sometimes I am embarrassed and people are sort of rude. Sometimes I break down and feel like I am not being the best mother I could be. I get through it though by asking for help from my higher power and being gentle with myself. We are not perfect but we can always start over. Thank you so for sharing this wonderful post I truly appreciate you and your work.

  213. Tricia February 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks for being so honest! Since having kids I do completely understand time in the grocery store, restaurants, dr offices, etc. I have learned to actually look for those who are in need of help for a few minutes or just an understanding look or word as their kids scream. I’ve come to learn that it’s not always the parenting…kids are kids and they act the way they act wherever they are. They aren’t worried about what they look like to who. It reminds me that the only Person I am accountable to or who’s opinion should matter is God’s. All too often I find myself embarrassed as well so thanks for the reminder to keep my focus heavenward knowing that God is giving me what I need for every moment of everyday! Jesus bless you as you raise the four He has blessed you with! Thanks again for sharing your experience!

  214. Pat Longfield February 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Blessings to you and your wonderful family. We wanted at least (3) children. God had other plans. He gave us a girl and then a boy. So ok, we had one of each and we felt blessed. That was many years ago. Then God had other plans, when our daughter was 56, He took her home to heaven. Now we have just our son and his family.

    Do not ever apologize to anyone on having (4) children. I am from a family of (9) and would not trade my childhood for anything in the world. We grew up learning respect, common sense, love one another and so much more.

    I just love reading your blogs.

    Pat

  215. Brittany February 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    I cannot to tell you how much I needed to hear those words today…I am a Mom of a 4 yr old son, a 2yr old daughter, a 13 month old son, and recently found out we are expecting our 4th later this summer. I love my children and would not trade being a Mom for anything, but it is hard, whether you have 1 or 7. I have been struggling with even wanting to tell others about the pregnancy because of the comments and looks that are to come our way about having 4 kids under the age of 5. We have not planned this for ourselves, with these last 3 pregnancies being surprises, but I know that God has given me a special gift by choosing to entrust us with 4 of HIS precious blessings. I have to remind myself often that He is who I am raising my kids for…not my parents, friends, or teachers, though they are often loving and well-meaning, and not for the strangers that look on us with what sometimes feels like pity or contempt. The pressure of being the “Perfect Mom” is overwhelming and almost always leaves me with a deep feeling of inadequacy. So I cling tight to the words of encouragement and expressions of joy that others give when talking to me or about my children. They are often times too few and far between. So THANK YOU! Thank you to all the Moms out there…These years with our children are brief, but often the days are long. We could all use a little more encouragement, so thank you for encouraging and be encouraged in return!!

  216. Liz F. February 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    Thank you for your beautiful and honest post! My husband and I also hope to have 4 kids (if it all works out), having grown up with one sibling each and very small, scattered extended families. I am pregnant with #2. Our first is a girl and we just found out we are having a little boy. I can’t even count the number of people— both strangers, casual aquaintances, and close friends, who have exclaimed “Great, one of each, you’re done!” I usually just smile and say nothing, but inside I always ask, “What gives you the right to decide or comment upon our family choices?”
    Too many people simply do not think about their comments or do not know how to be kind and helpful to young families.
    Keep up the beautiful and lovely work– both with your company and with your family.

  217. lettie February 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I just wanted to say that I understand and relate. I also have four children, my oldest just turned 6. I am out a lot with all of them and the stares and comments can sometimes prove to be too much.
    It’s hard to always feel like a spectacle when you just want to go to the darn grocery store :)
    You should be commended for being a lovely, caring mother who is raising 4 wonderful children with good morals. You are doing a great job! Thank you for being an inspiration!

  218. Jenni Phenicie February 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Hi! I just want you to know that I LOVE this blog post. It really hit home for me. I just returned from a trip to Costco, Target, a pizza place and a neighborhood toy store with my three little boys (5,4 and 2). It was exhausting to say the least but I am like you my husband is gone a lot and travels quite often. I am not going to sit at home and not take my kids out to eat, run errands and all of that stuff that needs to be done. My kids act crazy, misbehave, but they also can be really good! It is always frustrates me when someone says “you are so brave” while referring to me having all my kids with me! What else do they expect?

    I think you seem like an amazing mom! I absolutely love your beautiful blog. Keep up the great work!! We moms need to stick together! Boo to the lady in the hot pink sweater!

  219. Outfit31 February 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Let’s hear it for momma’s of fours!! I have four too! We are blessed indeed! Stand on “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all!” 2Corinthians 4:17

  220. Alison Woods February 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Amen sister!!! I only have one child (so far) and I feel you… life IS harder with children but also so full! You’re doing a wonderful job… we have to learn to ignore the pink sweater ladies out there and listen to those who support and build us up. Thanks for the wonderful post, it’s encouraging just know that there are other mothers out there who have a hard day once in a while too. BTW, I also have a Brady. :)

  221. Kristy February 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Thank you for putting into words how so many mothers of small children feel. I have three children and whether we are at the doctor’s office where they think it’s fine to crawl on all fours and collect diseases, at Target where they regularly (in spite of many reminders), as we leave the store, take turns climbing on the security things that buzz when someone is stealing something, or go deaf when I am in a bathroom stall saying, “Don’t touch that ( the tampon trash receptacle), don’t touch that, UGH, DON’T TOUCH THAT!” I find myself often stared at, glared at, and embarrassed! The highlight was when I was trying on swimsuits and one of them pronounced (loudly): “I can’t believe I used to suck those!”
    You are so right about them refining us. I have been convicted of why I care more about what a stranger thinks of me than I do about protecting their hearts from harsh correction, or undeserved shame, and also of expecting them to display what they have yet to learn, ie, to act like adults.
    Thank you again. You are not alone!

  222. Emily Thomas February 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    I get this 99%. I have 4 sons!

  223. Chris February 13, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    What wonderful advice, Emily! I particularly like your point about teaching ones children to behave in public. How on earth will they learn without a few adventures? I say all the time that we moms need to stick together. Offer to bring the grocery cart to the cart corral that you’re walking right by. Hold the door for her stroller. And when you see a mom with a child having a fit because they can’t have the barbie that mom is buying for a friend’s birthday, be glad that that mom is sticking to her guns and raising that child to understand that sometimes we must give even if we don’t receive.

  224. Leslie February 13, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    I’m sorry you were having a ‘down’ moment. Your article couldn’t have come at a better time as I’ve been having a pity party for myself this morning, which started last night.
    I think just as a person in general, we have times when we feel unappreciated. I don’t expect anyone to go around “slapping me on the back” and saying “good job today Leslie”, but a gesture from someone who goes out of their way to give it, means A LOT.
    You are definitely appreciated. When I’m feeling sorry for myself or think I’m not doing a good enough job as a wife and mother, I read your blog. I only have one child, but there are days when that one child seems like five.
    Because of religious reasons, my dh has gotten away from celebrating pagan holidays…..which includes Valentines day. Okay, no biggie. This is not something I ever get, so I requested last night that I wanted a box of chocolates in a heart shaped box……..to which he immediately responds with how society isn’t going to coerce him into celebrating a pagan holiday if he chooses not to. NOT the response that was needed at that moment. As I explained to him, due to our circumstances, our marriage seems to contain “moments” of goodness and happiness versus the happiness I use to feel all the time. It only takes a split second to ruin that moment. I explained that I wasn’t asking him to get me a gift on Valentines Day, I was just suggesting something I would like to have and he could get it for me at a time that was reasonable for him.
    So I completely understand your moments and how you would have felt during the pink-sweater-lady episode.
    My life completely changed when I had my daughter. I no longer work outside the home…(I miss my outside job)….I don’t have the friends I use to have…(I miss having people to hang out with)…..I’m on my own more than I use to be….(my dh works a lot and when he’s not working his job, he’s working on home projects or spending time at the hunting camp)…..and sometimes my 5 yr old can make my days seem really hard. But she is my daughter and I love her to pieces.
    Thank you for being an inspiration to the rest of us and hopefully our support and comments here can be an inspiration to you as well.

  225. Heather February 13, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Amen, sister! I have four little people as well and was just having this conversation with my mom and sister-in-law this weekend. Thanks for typing it all out here!

  226. Julianne February 13, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Love, love, love this. Thank you for sharing your heart, and in your frusteration, helping so many of the rest of us!! What a blessing you are to those four lucky little people…

  227. Leilani February 13, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I cannot relate at all. I grew up in a large family and always felt smothered and corralled and as early as 8 years old I looked forward to the day when it would be just a husband and I and no little kids.
    We have that and I love every minute of it. However, I am out of touch with all that a busy mom has to do. Thank you for your words–they encourage me to watch mine more carefully.:)

  228. {darlene} February 13, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    I don’t think there is a mom out there who would not thank you for journaling this post. I certainly thank you.

    Judgement is up. Help is down. These are hard days to be a momma. Fortunately, we have been blessed with an online community of encouragers.

    I am thankful for you today. For you, sweet friend, today:

    “So, Encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing” – 1 Thess. 5:11

  229. Stefanie February 13, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    OH Emily……
    I honestly had tears in my eyes reading this. I just want you to know that you’re an amazing momma. Your children thrive because of what you and Ryan do for them. They are lucky to have you.
    As a mother of one, with secondary infertility, I have a heart that yearns for more children. When we got married, my husband wanted two kids, and I wanted four. I wanted that full house where everyone had someone to play with, there was always something going on, and there was a loud, loving chaos to our days. I still pray that that will be a reality one of these days.
    I can’t stand it when people judge, or ask questions…especially when they have NO idea as to what is going on in your life. I’m sure it doesn’t mean much coming from me, some random woman on the internet, but know that I am thinking of you, and praying that there are no more pink-sweater-ladies in your future. :)

  230. Sarah@SarahElizabeth February 13, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    I am not a mother and while I have chosen not to become one, I have a deep respect for those who choose to do the extremely hard work of motherhood. It’s so easy to judge someone else and assume you know their situation based on a single moment in a crowded restaurant or post office line. Your letter has reminded me to have more compassion and to try to be one of those helpful souls instead of a judgmental one.

    It’s breathtaking the things that complete strangers feel they have the right to say. I am the oldest of 8 siblings and we often got the “Are all THESE YOURS??”. How my mom kept from biting people’s heads off, I’ll never know.

  231. Marissa February 13, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I totally understand. I am expecting my fourth (after two boys and a girl) and always get snarky comments. There was a particular employee at our local craft store that always seemed to have some nasty remark ready for me. When I was expecting my daughter, she would look at my two boys and say “Really? You want another one?” or “Oh, I hope for your sake this one is a girl.” I seriously could’ve decked her, instead I worked my schedule around when she was normally on duty. Now she doesn’t work there anymore and I overheard another employee say she was “let go” because of her “customer service.” The funniest thing is that my daughter is more rowdy and likely to melt-down than my two boys!

  232. Stephanie February 13, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    AMEN SISTER!!! I could write a book about ugly things people have said to me. Praise the Lord we have 4 children too. I’m ashamed to say, only because it was God’s plan. Number 3 and 4 were supposed to just be 3. Yeah, we got twins and oh did this hyper structured momma get a wide awakening!!! God so has a sense of humor!!! At least in my case, I didn’t truly realize that children really are a blessing from the Lord until He put me in a position where there was no more time for me and my selfish ambitions. Now I truly wish I had had 8 to 10! Oh, and guess what, God also called us to homeschool!!! Yeah, He’s funny and yes, there are days, many days, when I want to run away and hide but I can’t imagine one moment of a single day not living this life. In all it’s craziness, stress, and messiness these kids are the love of my life. So, to all those pink sweater wearing kid nazi’s out there
    *Yes, they are all mine…it’s ONLY 4

    *No, I don’t collect children ( yeah can you believe someone said that?) There are only 4

    *No, I’m not having a family reunion at the deli counter … There are only 4

    * No, I didn’t finally get my boy! God blessed me with 4 precious treasures 3 girls and 1 boy!!!

    *No, My kids aren’t well behaved just because I have 3 girls and only one boy. The same rules of behavior apply to boys and girls and my husband and I have worked our rears off teaching them how to be well behaved, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!

    Thanks for sharing your heart. It is a real encouragement to know it’s not just me that runs into “pink sweater kid nazi’s”!!! Hang in there and go curl up with those sweet babies and treasure each and every moment of it!!! Because CHILDREN ARE A BLESSING FROM THE LORD!!!

  233. Melissa February 13, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Good for you….not a great situation/interaction to be in.

    I’ve thought in my head many times..whether it was a neigbour, family friend, stranger and I see a couple of boys and 1 sister or vice versa that man…lucky they have each other….bog brother to protect the little sister or vice versa…..but never like how you described it above- you kept trying until you had a girl…..sigh….

    Your advice is great…help a mother if she looks like she needs help or encourage.

    Great advice.

  234. Rachel Warren February 13, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Thank you Emily for being real! I have half as many children as you do and today especially I needed that “realness”. God bless you and your 4 wonderful children, I will be praying for you.

  235. Amber daSilva February 13, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Oh my gosh, I can totally relate to what you are going through right now. I have 2 young children (only 2, although it often feels like 4), a four year old (who also loves to talk about poo poo :) and a 19 month old. I AM EXHAUSTED! Truly. In fact my daughter is at school right now and my son is sleeping and I am terrified that he will wake up at any moment and I won’t get to finish responding to this post….or eat my lunch…or shower…return calls….pay bills…the list goes on.
    I love my children so much and am grateful for their healthy bodies, sweet little faces, and beautiful laughter every day. BUT, I also struggle (EVERY DAY) to be kind an patient when my baby throws food at me, pulls his sister’s hair, pulls out EVERY single toy in the house, and throws himself on the floor in a screaming fit when he doesn’t get yogurt for every meal….or when my daughter WILL NOT put on her coat and boots, eat her breakfast or brush her teeth every morning so we can get to school on time! It is hard. It is exhausting. It sometimes does not reward. And the last thing i need when i am rushing to get my daughter to school on time is for some stranger to shake her head and say, “are you sure that baby is warm enough? You should put mittens on him.” HE WON’T KEEP THEM ON LADY!!!! AND IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, I AM TRYING MY BEST HERE, I REALLY AM! Ok, i don’t say that, i just nod and say, “yes it is cold out, thank you”, or something like that. But inside i am fuming. Because, really i do love my children, and i do try my best. I think most of us do. And most of the time i can take a deep breath and keep going, but sometimes i just want to scream.
    So, hang in there Emily. I am sure you are a wonderful mother, and i know you write a wonderful blog (my favorite). As the saying goes, keep calm and carry on (or scream into a pillow, that sometimes works for me).
    Best,
    Amber

  236. kayce hughes February 13, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    So well said. My baby is 6 and I have almost forgotten how exausting a trip to the grocery store could be.

  237. Alima February 13, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    I get your posts in my email so I don’t comment that often, but I had to drop by and comment on this one. Maybe one of my favorite posts you have ever done. I’m sure it hits home with every mom. I know it definitely did for me and it brought tears to my eyes as I read it. No one likes feeling judged by others, but unfortunately those pink sweater ladies are out there (I’ve had a few encounters too). Props to you for handling that situation so gracefully. Even it you didn’t realize it at the time, that is such a good example to your children of how to do the right thing even when people aren’t very friendly.
    It is also a little refereshing to hear that other children embarrass their parents in stores too. It never fails that everytime my toddler is throwing a fit in target or the fabric store there is a child on the next aisle behaving perfectly and I always think I must look like the worst parent ever.
    And most of all, you are so right about our children’s behavior being a relection of our own. Next time I am frustrated with my child for his lack of patience I want to be reminded that I struggle with patience too and I that I can teach him by demonstrating better patience myself.
    Thanks for the beautiful blog post! xo

  238. Danielle February 13, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Dear Emily,
    Thank you for sharing this with all of us tired moms. I just had our fourth and our oldest is a 4 year old boy. My ‘pink-sweater lady’ is my Mother-in-law. Just recently, while they were here to help she encouraged me to be more productive so I wouldn’t be so stressed. Somehow I thought that just getting all the kids dressed, fed, and through the day was productive at this stage.
    Anyway, thank you for the encouragement. It is good to know that there are others out there that are striving to be the best mom that they can possibly be.

  239. Wendy @ The Shabby Nest February 13, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    I too have four children. So I know exactly where you’re coming from. I’ve been there. We too have three boys and a girl, although our girl is #2, so I don’t get the “finally got your girl” thing, but I can imagine your frustration at having people say that. I know someone who has multiple boys and commented constantly on how hard it was to raise all boys and how she wanted a girl so badly (which she finally did get). It always frustrated me to hear her say that about her boys though…because I felt like you do, that one of these days her boys would notice what she was saying and feel badly about it. Sure boys can be “energetic” and mine can definitely give me a run for my money. But how grateful I am for them!!

    Hang in there, mom of 4, You’re doing great!! There aren’t a lot of us with large families in this world of ours. But I think having 4 kids is such a blessing..and I hope it is refining me into the type of person I need to be. Thanks for this post!

  240. Tonya February 13, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Emily,
    Thank you for this post! As a mom of 3 girls, I often feel the same. So many times I hear, ” Wow, you sure have your hands full.”. I often respond with, ” …and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” I wish more people realized that their comments have an impact.

  241. michele February 13, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    i’m so sorry you were on the receiving end of such cluelessness. and seriously … it’s only four kids. four kids is not uncommon. it isn’t the duggars. good grief.

    my husband grew up in a missionary family and was the eldest of four. every fourth year, the family would pack up and fly to the states from south america … and this was in the years before strollers and child leashes. (i kid about the leashes, but sorta don’t. because you know they happen.) they would all hold each others hands and drag backpacks and duffel bags and luggage. and then there was the time when my FIL became ill on a trip to the US and my MIL had to return with all the kids … alone. she had a newborn, a two-year-old, a four-year-old, and a six-year-old. and backpacks and duffel bags and luggage. how she did it without going insane, i will never know.

    i have only two kids … that’s all god blessed me with … but i was also blessed with a husband who travels all week nearly every week for work, and families that all live 12 hours away from us. so i’m on my own for everything. all the time. i get what you’re saying. there are days when you are so exhausted that you snap at the kids. there are days when they are so tired of each other and you that all you really want to do is cry and lock yourself in your room. you have to feed them healthy meals and help with homework and schlep to sports and clubs and friends’ home because that’s what you do. and when you’ve reached the breaking point, and someone makes a stupid, insensitive comment, and you feel like the biggest failure in the world … it hurts. they don’t know what’s going on in your life, and yet they judge. or criticize. and there is nothing worse. and you feel even more terrible because it’s things you’ve said to yourself, or shortcomings you notice and try not to because you feel like a failure as it is.

    no one ever said motherhood is easy. and that whole “takes a village” thing is salt in the wound when you have no village, only village idiots who are telling you all of your flaws. the only thing you CAN do is hold your head up, bite your tongue, and know that you are doing the best you can with what you’ve been given. and remember that god only gives us what we can handle; no more. even when that feels like a big, fat lie.

  242. Jessica February 13, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Thank you, thank you thank you!

  243. Maren February 13, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    I know that at times like this you feel alone in your situation, but it’s nice to be reminded that there are other mothers out there struggling to raise their children right too. As a mother of four with another on the way (the oldest is only 6) I get more than my fair share of looks and comments. I hate it because then I sometimes start seeing my kids the way that other people see them/comment on them. There are many days when I have to remind myself that my children are still growing and developing their personalities. While my six year-old is super helpful, she is still a child herself and my expectations of her (and the others) should reflect that. Thank you for sharing your experience. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone through the same thing. It is nice to know that I am not alone :)

  244. Donna February 13, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Emily,
    I’m not sure if you have the chance to read all of the comments that get generated from your posts, because you do touch so many people with your honesty, and sweet nature, but I sure hope you do because so many people sending you postive thoughts wishes and prayers should lift your spirits up.
    PLEASE do not get discouraged by simple minded people who have not been blessed with the awesome responsibility of raising our future generations. It’s a big deal, and you are doing a wonderful job. As a mother, we always doubt ourselves, and so we should. It keeps us in check. But by no means should you let other people make you doubt yourself. They have no idea what it takes to walk in your shoes.
    I know that when your kids are a little bit older you will see that things just flow naturally. Everything works out. And before you know it your little ones will be more self sufficient, but have no fear…they will always need you.
    I know it’s a tough job, and one that is not appreciated nearly enough in our society. But I feel it is one of the most important roles a woman can have. Feel good about yourself and know that your little peeps are so lucky to have you as a mother.
    A good cry doesnt hurt anything and I hope you feel better today. Pink Sweater sounds like a self involved nobody that could not understand how wonderful it is to have a beautiful family and go outside the box of a 2.3 kids and a dog life.
    :-) God Bless!

  245. Kristi February 13, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I have read several blog entries lately commenting on the putting down of mothers by other mothers in society. I couldn’t agree with you more that we need to help other mothers and be a support system for them. Especially if you have been there before.

  246. Jennifer February 13, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    I am just finding your blog for the first time today and what a post for me to find !
    Poignant, honest, and downright inspiring for any mom. Thank you for saying what so many of of just can’t sometimes.

  247. LeAnn February 13, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Thanks for sharing! It was so encouraging to me!
    LeAnn

  248. CFB February 13, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Thank you for this post. I’m a mother of two (so far) boys and already hear comments like “you sure do have your hands full” and “maybe the next one will be a girl” (as if I’m not perfectly satisfied that God has given us two boys instead of some other combination).

    BUT, I totally empathize with the embarrassment thing. I don’t want to be embarrassed by my kids in public either. My husband and I believe our goal in parenting is directing our boys’ hearts (towards Jesus), not only their behavior, but it’s still really nice to have well-behaved kids. So, when my kids are acting up and I start to hear that little voice in my head say “what is wrong with you, child?!,” I have to remind myself that they’re little sinners in need of God’s grace just.like.me.

  249. megan February 13, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I have 3 sons and my youngest is a girl. when people say, “you finally got your girl,” I always thought they were rejoicing with me that I had the privilege of having both genders, not that they were saying girls are superior to boys. And granted, they are making the assumption that I wanted both genders…which I didn’t think I cared, honestly, though now I’m very grateful to have both boys and a girl…they weren’t being mean or malicious. My boys are fine with that comment. They are completely secure in my love for them, and my personal sense of privilege in having them. That’s what matters, not some random comment from a probably well-meaning stranger.

  250. Nicole Ladegaard February 13, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Emily,

    What a great post and THANK YOU for writing it. Today I really needed to read that and through my tears as I read it, it made me feel better and know that I am not alone in this wonderful but challenging journey of motherhood. I too, have encountered many “pink sweater ladies” who seem to speak before they think. I have heard “Don’t you own shoes for your child?”, “Don’t you think you have enough children? The world is already overcrowded”, “Why do you bring your kids to restaurants if they are going to behave like that?”…I could go on and on.

    Nevertheless, there are hard days, like this morning when my 21 month old son decided to throw a smoothie at me as we were getting ready to walk out the door to take my 3 year old daughter to preschool. He screamed and cried the whole way there and the whole way home. Days like these are where I look at the clock and think “It’s only 9:00, how will I make it through the day?” But reading your blog made me feel better like I CAN do it. Of course I can, I always do. And like you, I wouldn’t trade my kids or my life as their mother for anything!

    God bless…XOXO

  251. Bekka February 13, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    While I am not a mother, this post touched me as a woman. I am a newlywed who has moved to a country where, to most eyes, we’re living the high life. And while we are, there is so often the pain of loneliness of a new location, bombardment by church responsibilities, and general shock of so many life changes that makes life to me, less than glamorous.

    Your post reminded me though that life is not always supposed to be glamorous. In recent weeks and months I have grown closer to my Father in Heaven as I try to figure out what His plan is for me.

    I really loved your mention about how we can all support mothers. I have been blessed to be put in charge of the Sunday School class for our young women, or rather, young woman. Her mother, prior to this, was her teacher in church and at home. While this mother is an extraordinary woman, I am so grateful I get to support her now and help with her remarkable daughter.

    A friend shared a quote the other day that has been resonating with me, “Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.” Chieko N. Okazaki

    Keep up the good work, Emily. You’re a wonderful mother.

  252. Jen V. February 13, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Emily, I love this post. I love that you remind people to lift up others. I think we forget that people need that, even from strangers.

    On another note, I love this post because it makes me want to have children. I think there’s something a little wrong with me, but when I hear stories about kids climbing on things or dropping things on the floor, I always get that little ache in my heart that says, “I just can’t wait til that’s my kids.” I hope that’s a good sign, and not the initial stages of some sort of personality disorder. I, too, have always dreamed of having 4 kids. I want a large family with lots of noise and energy and fun and even the hard times…because what a blessing it will be!

    God bless you for being the mom you are and for sharing your story. Your kids are lucky to have you!

  253. Shyla February 13, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done! There are so many times I have thrown my hands in the air, cried and wondered how I am going to make it another day. I am the mother of 5 children. Right now my life feels so CRAZY! My youngest two are only 16 months apart…it wasn’t planned that way, but God has a way of sending you blessings you don’t expect, when you don’t expect them. That sweet surprise baby boy has truly blessed my life. Although I often feel like the ringmaster of a three ring circus, I feel honored to be the mother of five beautiful children. They teach me more than I’m sure I will ever teach them. Thank you for sharing an honest day in the life of a mother. May God bless you on your journey!

  254. Heather February 13, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks for sharing! This is so encouraging to me. I have two little boys and people are always telling me I have my hands full. I love what Michelle Duggar (the mom of 19 kids and counting) says, when someone tells her a mean comment she responds with something like “My hands are full, of blessings”.

  255. elizabeth February 13, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.
    such a lovely.honest.truth filled post.
    i myself am a mom to six, 11 yrs & younger. our first five are boys & our sweet pea will turn one on Thursday. i get that “You finally got your girl” or “Did you keep ‘trying’ for your girl” comment all the time. i hate it. like you, we didn’t “try” for any of them. and like you, i shutter to think of the day one of my guys realize the insult this comment really is.
    getting out with all of them IS.NOT.EASY.
    and i *SO* appreciate those people who are a breath of fresh air {those who encourage. open doors. smile. kindly understand, etc}
    training our children is SO important. and real life experience is the best teacher. not only does it teach them how to behave, but it refines us & allows the Father to teach us as well.
    i want to copy + paste your post on my own blog, for you wrote *exactly* my heart. blessings to you as you walk in the HIGH calling of motherhood. you *WILL* see the fruit of your labor!! be encouraged. YOU.ARE.DOING.A.GREAT.JOB!!

  256. jolene February 13, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Emily ~ keep up the good work!!

  257. Anne February 13, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Emily…wow. I can’t express to you God’s hand in the timing of this post. Today is my first day at home by myself with both of my kids (I had a little girl last Monday). I have been so anxious about my ability to mother two children well. I am all too aware of my depravity and my constant failings. I know, though, that the Lord will supply all my needs according to His riches in Christ, and it was so good to have that affirmed by your words today. I pray that God continues to work in your life and that you continue to share with us. Please know that your words are not wasted.

  258. Leslie Irons February 13, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    I love your authenticity! Motherhood (especially as a SAHM) is the hardest job but I wouldn’t trade my days with my two boys for anything. Our pastor is preaching through Titus 2 and this post and your desire for encouragement is exactly what Paul told Titus to write about. The older generation coming alongside the younger generation and ecouraging them that the road is long and hard but don’t miss the opportunity to pour Jesus into their everyday lives.

    Thanks again as you encouraged me!

  259. Candice February 13, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    I’m sorry that your feelings were hurt! I have 3 kids and a husband that travels Mon-Fri (and sometimes weekends) for business. Like you, I want to take my kids fun places and feel it’s important to teach them how to behave in public. I can’t tell you how many times I have received the “Are they all yours?” or “You have your hands full” comments. Seriously, for 3 kids!! I really dislike the dirty looks and poor service I receive at restaurants for taking my kids out by myself. They aren’t poorly behaved, but they are children that act like children. I love your advice and hope when I see other mothers struggling I can offer help and/or encouragement. I will never forget the time I had my kids (who weren’t acting great) at the grocery store getting milk. We drink a ton so I put gallon after gallon in the cart. A nice lady waiting to have a turn to get milk commented that I was getting a lot of it. When I said yes, we drink a lot, she said, “Good job mom.” That small comment made my day and puts a smile on my face often. I want to be a person who walks around tells others, “Good job mom!”

  260. Meg February 13, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    It is so refreshing and helpful when moms get real about the chaotic side of raising kids. I have two girls and some days I too have cried wondering if I am good enough to be their mom. I just have to trust that God picked me to be their mom for a reason. I think you handled that situation with Grace and humility, two things that Hot-Pink Sweater Lady lacked. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for such a wonderful blog!

  261. Amy February 13, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Thank you for your candor! It continues to amaze me the things that people feel the freedom to say. I have one daughter, who is 4.5 years old, and people are constantly telling me I “need to give her a sibling” and “not make her be an only child” or “spoil her”. I even had a co-worker suggest my husband “didn’t know what we are doing in the baby making dept.”! The truth is we ARE trying and have been trying to get pregnant and nosey, hurtful comments don’t help. It only reminds me, as if I didn’t already know, that it’s another month of negative pregnancy tests.

    I would love another child. I pray God would allow us to have another. But if He doesn’t, He’s already given me far more than I deserve.

  262. Kim February 13, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    I have one 4 year old girl and she is all I can handle. So, kudos to you. Knowing how difficult it is with one, I sometimes see other mothers with two or more children out and about and I often say to myself, “I don’t know how they do it.” But the point is, you are doing it. You should take the “you sure are brave” comment with a positive spin because, let’s face it, it does take a lot a bravery to tote four kids around town. You should own it and say, “Yes! I am brave!”

    Everyone has their own reasons for choosing their family size and we all have issues on both sides. I honestly can’t imagine having any more than one, for personal and financial reasons. I had her at 32, so I was used to my independence. We’ll be able to fully pay for her college education and her 529 is well on its way, but I cannot do it for two and I don’t want to compromise her future just for the sake of having another. We travel with her, even abroad, and it’s all very doable with one.

    But on the flip side, she’ll never know what it’s like to have a sibling relationship, for better or worse. Believe me, I get annoying comments too, like, “So, when are you having another?” I’m not. “So, all you need now is a boy!” No, I’m perfectly happy with the girl I wanted. “She’ll be so lonely without a sibling!” She has plenty of friends at school and cousins. “What will happen to her when you and your husband die?” Seriously? She’ll grieve, just like any other person who has lost a parent.

    So, as you can see, whether we have one or four, we all have to deal with our own lady in the pink sweater.

  263. Angie February 13, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    I am sorry you had to go through this and it won’t be the last time either……I have adopted 4 girls, have a bio daughter and fostering another girl…I have 1/2 black and white, (2) 1/2 mexican and 1/4 white and 1/4 black, and 1/2 mexican and 1/2 white, and 2 all white…..I get the craziest of looks all the time……the fact that it’s all girls and we are a great combo…..we get the his hers theirs comments….I just smile and say they are ALL ours. =) Love the looks after that!!
    People will always look at you and judge……remember ONLY you know what all you do and it sounds as if YOU DO A LOT of AMAZING things!! As they get older it will get better and this will only be a blink……Good Luck and Thank you for your post today!

  264. Catherine at Design Editor February 13, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    What a great post, Emily. You have summed up life with young kids so well. It’s wonderful, but it’s HARD.

    Just know that for every insensitive person, there is an army of moms on your side.

    I’ve had people ask me if my twins are natural. Are they natural?! That’s like asking a stranger, “Are you boobs real?” I’ve just said yes and moved on, but one day I might breakdown. “Why yes, I did endure several years of fertility surgeries, drugs and treatments if that’s what you’re asking. Insurance didn’t cover any of it if you’d like to make a donation.” =)

  265. Chrissy February 13, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    I only have two and have received similar statements – “You have one of each. Perfect. No need to have more!” Of course, I want to scream “BUT I DO WANT MORE!!” I’ve brushed it aside as just someone trying to interact and not really knowing what to say rather than take it as a negative.

    And I say this as someone who HAS made a similar comment to what the pink sweater lady said to you. I was the fourth child of five … the only girl … and my parents were trying to have a girl. They were sooo happy to have a girl and that isn’t taking anything away from their love and devotion to my four brothers. It’s a shame the lady was nasty to you. I know when I see a mom with lots of kids I feel pangs of jealousy b/c I want a big family too (hubby is done though so no luck there!). I hope I know the right thing to say … the “I don’t know how you do it comment” seems to be taken as an offensive thing to say, even though I would only ever say it in admiration.

    Anyway, beautiful post. It’s given me things to think about!! We could all learn to be more caring/sensitive to everyone, including strangers!

  266. Cella February 13, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    This is spot-on! I have four too – three girls and a boy. The boy was #3. If I tell people I have three girls and a boy, they often respond with “oh, the boy is the youngest?” As if I kept going until I got the boy.
    We did not try for ours either, but just happened. We talked before marriage of three kids – we call our 4th our “bonus child”. All are such blessings.
    Thank you for posting this and reminding people of the realities of getting to run around with four different little personalities.
    You are a wonderful, thoughtful woman!

  267. Stacey C. February 13, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Thank you for your honesty. I just recently discovered your blog, and remember looking at the photos of your darling family, and thinking. Wow – what a perfect picture, she looks like she has it all, everything looks so easy and effortless! It is refreshing and enlightening knowing that it’s just as hard for you to wrangle a toddler or put a kid in a car seat as it is for me. The “pink sweater lady” also hit a nerve, because I know for sure I have said “How brave” to a mom in public, not with malice, but with awe. I realize now how this sounds, and I appreciate your call to action – to help out, even when the mom says “no thanks.” This is so true! I always say, “oh, I’m fine” when really, I would love an extra hand. Thank you for being an inspiration, both as a mama and a fellow creative spirit!

  268. SaraCorinne February 13, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I don’t have kids. I’m at the age where most of my friends are having their first, so I don’t know much about theirs, either. I read a lot and used to babysit a lot, but I realize that will add up to nothing when I finally have kids :) But I still LOVE reading stuff like this. Not only does it make you seem more human (thank you) but it helps me to realize that when I do have those days when I feel like a failure (because I already know I will have lots!) that it’s normal! And I think it mostly means that you LOVE and CARE FOR your kids enough to want them to turn out well. If you didn’t care about them, you probably wouldn’t care what anyone thinks, either. Thank you!!!

  269. Colleen February 13, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    I have 3 beautiful girls and one very energetic boy, ranging in age now from 17-23. I was also the mom who took my 4 kids grocery shopping, out to lunch, etc. Let me encourage you with this: my kids LOVE each other, are very close and I continually get asked now how I grew such a close family. Along with with teaching forgiveness , all the errands and time together was the key. The shared memories, the working things out, the silly little games that were born out of boredom were all the pieces that bonded my children together as a unit to confidently face the world. They always knew, and know now, that no matter what happens, they have each other for honest life advice, a listening ear, and the goodness of unconditional love. Yes, it is exhausting and literally takes ALL you have to raise those 4 people, but when they are older and you see not only your shortcomings, but your strengths in them as well, your heart will soar and without a doubt, you will know your life was well spent.

    Oh, and my “favorite” rude comment spoken to me when I was pregnant with my son ( #4) by an older man, ” Are these ALL yours? Haven’t you figured out what causes this yet? “

  270. kristin M February 13, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    I applaud your honesty and can see you have a lot of support from other moms in the same boat in all of the comments above. I hope I am never a pink sweater lady to a mom who is out trying her best. I try to open doors for moms with strollers and give them a safe forgiving look rather than a judge-y one when their kids cry on planes or in grocery lines. I’ve raised my kids who now have kids of their own. I don’t forget what it was like. Hug yourself today. Your honesty has helped a lot of people.

  271. Julie February 13, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    What a great post, and just what I needed on this Monday morning. I “got my girl” after four boys, and like another post I read recently, felt like it was the icing on an otherwise sweet cake (we didn’t know the gender before birth and it made me furious when people asked me if I wanted a girl – as if I could control it!). I am so thankful for the strangers who willingly open doors for us, the shoppers who let us go ahead since the kids are breaking down, the patient cashiers who wait for small people to count change, and seasoned moms who offer words of encouragement. I may just have to give out Thumper’s mother’s advice in the future: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

  272. Bethany February 13, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Wow…now that I am done sobbing from reading your post i can comment. I can also say the we have 4 kids and that I can so fully understand your thoughts perfectly! We have 3 little boys all under the age of 8 and 1 teenge girl. For some reason though our boys are so much easier than the girl. She has been very challenging. So even though someone else thinks girls are easier and thinks it undesirable to have boys, it is only their opinion. God gives us what we can handle and what we are supposed to have. You are an awesome mother and it is so hard being a mom with lots of small children…even one can be hard. We have encountered the occasional man or woman who seems considerably annoyed by us when we are out and about but mostly we get smiles and encouragement. And like you said, it is so uplifting to hear good things! We also homeschool so more time is spent with our kids than most. Thank you for being so tranparent and know that many of us out there reading your posts feel exactly the same way and applaud your loving efforts. We all need to hear that!

  273. Angie February 13, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    You have put MY feelings into words! THANK YOU! I have been in this same situation with my 3 kids. We have 2 boys and a baby girl. I have had the SAME comment made to me about “FINALLY” getting our girl… And you are so right with everything you said. Be encouraged when you have your bad days that there are millions of moms just like US that feel the same frustrations, and that no matter how desperate we feel at the time, GOD put us in that moment-and that moment is not for nothing. HIS purpose is being met, even when we want to just cry right along with our kids.
    Thank you again for this post and these words. You have encouraged me to be a more thankful Mom, a more loving Mom, and a more patient Mom. Truthfully, I’ve been struggling lately with being happy about my Mom Duties. Yesterday my 8 yr old asked me “Mom, if you could choose all over again, would you have all 3 kids or would you just have 1?” I immediately felt a stab in my heart. Had I done something to show him that I wasn’t happy with my kids? That I would be happier with less kids? I told him the truth though: I told him that after I had his older brother, I desperately wanted another child. Then we had him, and I STILL wanted another child. Then we had our daughter, and I knew I was done having kids. I felt COMPLETE-and I still do. Even on the bad days. Once again, thanks for your post, I really needed it.

  274. Cynthia February 13, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Thank you so much for your thoughts. I also have four children, and it IS trying sometimes (even though two of mine are older), but we do it, and our children love us for not keeping them locked up in the house 24/7, and when they are grown, they will appreciate that we showed them the world, messy lunches and meltdowns included. good job, Mom :)

  275. Trice February 13, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    That was very beautifully stated. I only have 2 and feel completely overwhelmed and often insufficient at being a mom. I work full time and have all kinds of guilt when I am not with them. When I am with them and they are being especially “spirited” I feel guilty that I am annoyed by them.

    It is hard.

    I also LOVE every stinkin’ minute of it.

    Thank you for writing this…

  276. Shannon February 13, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    I’m not a mom, but I hope to be one day. My husband and I want a big family, and are still currently enjoying the newlywed phase of life. I am one of four, the oldest and the only girl. Although I’m not a mom, I can remember the times when my mom would take us places and people would stare or make comments. I can remember when people would look at my parents like they were crazy for having 4 children, but my parents always told us that we were loved and they wouldn’t trade us for anything. There will always be people who don’t understand, who are well-meaning but clueless and there will always be days when it’s harder to deal with. But you are doing a great job. And sometimes it is ok to remind people that you love all your children, not just one in particular. :) Keep it up!!!!

  277. Amanda February 13, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    i.totally.get.it. totally.

  278. mollie February 13, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    What a beautiful post, Emily… thank you! I know this touched so many of your readers. I so remember those days when I had little ones (3 under 4), and what a huge encouragement it was when someone offered a smile, a hand, or a word of kindness in the midst of chaos! Now, at 53, with all my kids young adults and out of the house… I’m in the place where I can be that person who reaches out to young moms. I try to make a point of doing this regularly, but your post was a wonderful reminder to actually seek out these opportunities, pray for them, and lovingly reach out in whatever way I can during these trying moments that come so often with young moms with “lively” children by their side:) Thank you Emily, and blessings to each and every one of you young moms… be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of Lord (aka: raising and nurturing young children!), knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord!

  279. Debbie C February 13, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Thanks so much for this post. I have 3 boys: 3 yrs, 21 months and 3 weeks. We’re planning on going out today, and I know it’s going to be crazy. I needed to hear that I’m not the only one who has these moments. thanks.

    When I was expecting Nathaniel, our 3rd, I found a lot of negative comments from people w/in our church – people I expected to hear encouraging comments from – one person I ran into who was not a believer asked me if we were through after this one. I expected her to go on and say something negative about so many children in such a short time etc. She said the most encouraging thing I’ve heard, she said, “Well you might as well just keeping going for it and enjoy them.” It doesn’t look as nice in print as how she said it, but it was such a relief and encouragment, I immediately loved this woman. :-)

    We don’t know how many children God will BLESS us with, and I have no idea if I will survive the three I have :-) So thanks for your encouraging words today and your suggestion to lift up those moms we all see everyday in our travels.

  280. Melanie February 13, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Well said! It’s the hardest job on the planet!!
    I love your honesty and can relate 100%.

    You’re a good mama with a beautiful family.

  281. heather cloudt February 13, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    You are not alone! Never alone! God knew that you would be the perfect mom of four and while the world may think that there is room for improvement, do not feed into those lies. God enables you to be the best mom you can be just at the right times. It is a lot of work raising four kids. And at times the days seem to hard to bare. But there is a reward at the end that is better than rubies. I know, because I am in the same boat as you!

  282. Michelle February 13, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    People don’t realize that their off-hand comments can really hurt (and anger) someone. I have 3 year old twin boys and I constantly hear people say “double trouble”. I usually just smile or completely ignore it, but it does bother me.

  283. Angie Lee February 13, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    I just found your website through Meg Duerksen’s Whatever blog about craft weekend swag and I’m so glad I hit the link. Your words spoke to me this morning, especially about the “dreadful arched-back-so-buckling-is-impossible thing when getting in the car. Mortifying to think other people hear my sweet angel-baby sound like I’m torturing her when all I’m doing is trying to protect her by buckling her car seat” part. I appreciate your honesty and putting it all out there. Makes me feel more real and know that I’m not alone in this. Congrats on doing the best job you can and having the patience to raise your kids the right way and not just doing whatever is easiest.

  284. susan February 13, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    i can tell you i’ve been there. and the lady in the pink sweater is no help. i only have three children but i did have three young children and it was challenging. i was not perfect nor am i now that they are a wee bit older (my baby is 6). but i wouldn’t change anything about our life, they are gifts and as they get older it does get easier from the standpoint of taking them places but it’s still hard it’s just different. my daughter is 12 and is a loving, smart girl and i pray she continues down this road as her teen years approach. i learn so much from them and humility is one. i still get tired and impatient and just pray that God will give me the strength to do better tomorrow. thank you, i could relate to every single word you wrote. keep up the good work, susan

  285. kj February 13, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I could have written your post. I have two girls and a boy, and I frequently get the insensitive and insane “you finally got your boy” comment. I also feel like we are traveling chaos. Wherever we go, stuff gets broken. Or spilled. Or dropped. Or just generally wrecked. Perfect strangers have scolded and embarrassed my kids for doing things like twisting in their twisty seats at an ice cream parlor. I have to resist the temptation to be incredibly mean to my kids in public, because there’s a part of me that wants to redeem myself in front of those judgmental people who are constantly frowning at me. Like I need to prove that I really am a good mother who would never tolerate such outlandish childishness from my children. But I don’t. Because they are CHILDREN. And they are good children, at that. You are obviously a good mom — you get it. Understanding the challenges doesn’t make it easy, but it makes it easier. I think. :)

  286. lisa February 13, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Beautiful sentiments. As a mom of four Boys, I hear you loudly! I have always been asked if we kept trying for a girl – answer, no. Then , are they all your, or by the same father? That one really gets my goat. Yes, they are. We’ve been married THIRTY years! Then, they’ll say God bless you, which then my answer is , YES HE DID! God blessed me with my four sons as He continues to do everyday. No, it hasn’t been easy for this oldest girl of seven girls. I';ve had to learn sports and to enjoy them, dirty stinky socks, and learn to appreciate all kinds of critters. But, when I’m handed a beautiful flower with those dirty little hands, I say, Yes, God blessed me! I am tearing up writing this as I am about to pack my second son off to work sixteen hours away from home. We feel fortunate he has been blessed with a job right after college, but it will be difficult to not been close to him physically.
    All my best Emily. I’ve walked in your shoes and they are difficult, but such blessing as well.

  287. Jamie February 13, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    thank you so much for this entry. You have no idea how much i needed it.

  288. L.Duncan February 13, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Emily,

    THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS! You encouraged me to write my own post just now
    http://home23duncanboys.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-have-to-get-this-out.html

    I have three boys and just this past weekend I experienced how rough they could be. I oldest son got stitiches because his younger brother head butted him in the mouth. I felt like the worse mother ever… I was already dealing with a lot. I’ve been feeling a little discouraged in the mother department lately.

    I’m proud of you for being able to get this off your chest. I hope you know that you are a great mom. Like Oprah said, being a mother is the hardest job in the world and that’s coming from a woman that has never raised a child. I guess this is what makes us GRAND parents later in life. we made it through our first round of children and can now appreciate the second round of parenting even more.

    Take care my dear and don’t let any of the “women in the pink” get you get down again. People can be mean sometimes.

  289. Lisa February 13, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Oh dear girl! What a beautifully written post. It reflects my thoughts pretty well. I only have two boys before a girl, and I still get the, “You got your girl” comment. But then people have the audacity to assume that just because I finally got a girl I’m done. Nope. I want one more to round it out, too!

    I’ve also often wondered if older people, empty nesters, have forgotten what it’s like to have little kids. I vow to myself that I will never be one of THOSE old people.

    The fact that you admit motherhood is hard and that you are trying is proof enough that you are a good mom. Hang in there and know that there are lots of us out there that feel the same way as you. And we also want to smack the sweater lady with you!

  290. Amanda @NotJustCute February 13, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    I so related to this post! Pregnant with my fourth boy I’ve had plenty of “trying for a girl” comments tossed my way. Yesterday I got my first “I bet you’re tired of having boys” comment. I defended the best I could while still being polite. We quite like our boys.

    And with all these little boys we have plenty of rowdy moments. I’ve been so grateful for those “mature” couples who turn around in the pew after church, and even though I’m apologizing for my noisy crew, they smile and talk about how they remember being right there, and remind us that they’re little and to enjoy them, and assure us that we’re doing just fine.

    We all need to encourage and be encouraged.

  291. Sandra Henderson February 13, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Sweet Emily…
    Thank you for such an honest, transparent post.
    Having never met in person, I may be taking a large personal jump here, however, I want to say this:
    Bless your heart. You are a beautiful, talented, deeply thoughtful woman aspiring to be the absolute best wife, mother, blogger, designer, etc etc you can be. I just want to encourage you to hold your head up, put your shoulders back, hug those babies, and keep walking this road with confidence. You, my friend, are awesome…
    The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you. And give you peace.
    You are loved.

  292. Amy February 13, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    I try not to feel hurt by those same kind of encounters with people. I have 3 boys too and the comment that hurts the most (that I have gotten on many occasions) is, “I don’t think I could handle that.” It is always said when my boys have had an especially hard day and they are having a hard time making good choices. I don’t understand that comment. I am trying and so are my kids. This will pass and they are not like that all the time. We are both learning. The bad voice in my head wants to point out that their kids have moments too. I think you handled it beautifully and do a great job teaching your kids.

  293. Claudia February 13, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Dear Emily,

    Thank you for sharing your heart this morning. I know all too well those tough days. I am a mom to a 10, 8, and 4 year old twins. Hugs from your friend in Indiana.

  294. Tina February 13, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Thank you for your honesty today. I needed to read this. I am a mother of 5, and also occasionally have those moments where I feel completely incompetent for this most important job as a mother. It’s nice to be reminded that I am not alone, and we all have tough times that are mixed in with the joy of raising and caring for our amazing children. Also, I am going to try my best to keep my eyes and ears open, so that I might be some help and support to another mother who needs me.

    Thank you for being real:)

  295. Ashley February 13, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Great post! Sometimes I feel like such a failure with my two little ones (2.5 and 6months). I’m a pretty young mom. I had my first at 23 and second at 25. Ah, some days are just rough. Most of my friends don’t understand: they don’t have kids and aren’t married. My husband is in the military so he is always on the go and if I make a trip anywhere it is with the both of them. My little girl (2.5) has quite the personality. She basically started ignoring me when we are out and about!! She has melt downs and I see other people just looking at me as if I’m an unfit parent. I’m doing the best I can. I only have 2 so I cant imagine the challenge with 4! On your note about having 3 boys then your girl….I have 3 older brothers and I wouldnt change it in a heartbeat. Although, gasp, I think my mom deep down really wanted her 4th to be a girl. The whole entire pregnancy they thought I was a boy…She had just accepted that she was having another boy…She told me she had a couple melt-downs…It wasn’t that she wouldn’t love another boy she just really wanted to have a little girl. Thanks for making me not feel like a failure! I’m glad to know that moms face these issues.

    Oh, and another note of something that just irks me…(this is so bad but I need to vent.) I met a mother who has 2 kids around my kids age. Her daughter just acts perfect (or atleast from what I see) and she made me feel guilty for how my 2 year old acts. I felt extremely judged by her when she says her daughter listens to her and that I should read this book and that book to make her mind. Really? Ok, yeah you have about 15 years on me…maybe you are more patient. But please, I’m doing the best I can! Ok, sorry, I had to let that vent out. That feels good!

  296. Emily D. February 13, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    I also have four, and I so needed to read this today! I have felt so overwhelmed lately, too! I also recently left a lunch after church in tears after taking just the younger two out by myself. My husband was traveling with the older two and it just all went badly. No one commented to me, and the people I was with were even encouraging and sweet, but it was just hard! I cried the whole way home . . . the ugly cry! But more than just the hard moments out, it is just plain hard. And some days I feel so poorly equipped for this. But I keep a copy of this hymn in my kitchen and the first verse is such an encouragement — I am giving back my life to the One who has given me new life in Himself. And by doing so, I know it is all the richer!

    O Love that wilt not let me go,
    I rest my weary soul in Thee;
    I give the back the life I owe,
    That in Thine ocean depths its flow
    May richer, fuller be.

  297. Christina February 13, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Kudos to you Emily!! You are doing a wonderful job as a mother and are an inspiration to many women. Thank you for this post.

  298. Julie February 13, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    What a wonderful post! Thank you for saying it out loud!

  299. Michelle February 13, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Emily, you are such a beautiful person. I KNOW you are doing a fabulous job with your sweet little ones. I am also a mother of four with a husband who is gone a LOT, and it is sooo hard. There’s always somebody hanging around with their opinions, huh? I am so grateful for your post today, I really needed to feel like someone else understands my circumstances. I had a really tough night. We just keep loving our babies. We love them no matter what. I wouldn’t trade it either. God bless you.
    -Michelle

  300. The Virginia House February 13, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Thank you Emily for this post! I loved so many different parts. I know every young mother out there knows just how you felt and where you are coming from, and I wish every person who has left the young mother stage could go back for just one moment and remember what it’s like. I have 3 boys and I love them more than anything in the world, but it is a challenge! The comment about you finally getting your girl jumped out at me too. Although I would love to have a girl, I can’t even imagine life without my boys and would be beyond happy yo have another one. I’m not sure why the whole world thinks your family is not complete until you have one.
    Keep up the good work and thanks for the encouragement to us all!

  301. Linda February 13, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    As a fellow mother of 3 boys and 1 girl…can competely relate to your story. Be encouraged though, these tough days build you stronger as a mother. I homeschool my boys (ages 8, 6,and 4) as well as attend to our baby girl 9 months and I deliberately take them EVERYWHERE with me. The more I expose them to the world and what is expected of them, the better they get through time, it’s these overwhelming experiences (with rude comments or not) that I realize just how critical of a role I play in my children’s lives. I am their mother, I am their teacher, their nurse, their cook, their encourager and disciplinarian. It is my job to show them that life has guidelines but that along this journey..they are not alone, just as we are not alone. I surrender my children everyday to the Lord and pray I am faithful to being obedient to His word as a Proverbs 31 woman. I will be praying for you..this journey of motherhood is a tough one..but the reward is sooo wonderful!!

  302. Tiffany February 13, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.”

    Your post makes me smile. I have had the same “I’m-a-bad-mom-what-am-I-doing wrong” thoughts many, many times. I can relate VERY well, you see, because we have 3 BOYS, one in Second grade, one in kindergarten, & one who is 4 1/2 (all three who are very spirited)…..then we have a GIRL, who is 2. But that is not all! God blessed us with another little BOY 6 months ago. We love them very, very much but …oh-my-goodness…sometimes life gets wild!!! :-) And it is then we wonder “what are we doing wrong!?!” But, you are right….we would NOT trade them for the world. When our children get almost unbearable, I try to remind myself that someday I will wish they were little again! I think you are doing a great job as a mother. It takes a lot of effort to do crafts and projects with kids, but you do so good!

    I wish you a blessed and calm day! :-) Now I must be off to…..fold laundry-wash dishes-make beds-pick up clothes-breakup fights-cuddle a sad little girl-read bible stories-clean the house-change a diaper-make lunch-etc. LOL!! What a GREAT life!!! (Seriously)

  303. Ktez February 13, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I am the other way around – 3 girls and then a boy. I’ve also had hurtful comments. When the 3rd girl was born some people looked at her and then at me in a sorrowful way and a few tutted and said something along the lines of ‘oh well dear, the next time maybe’. I was mortally offended! I wasn’t trying for the boy, we had also decided we wanted a big family. The fact that the last one was a boy was great because it meant I could experience boy things, cloths etc and having a mummy’s boy as the others are daddy’s girls!! However each of my kids are just wonderful in their own ways regardless of their sex. The 3rd little girl turned out to be a real character and she entertains all the family no end and to think some people pityed me when she was born!!
    I am also not ashamed to admit that I struggle on a daily basis with them and I rarely venture out with them on my own as I always end up stressed out. It’s only natural. I shout, I get exasberated, I cry with sheer frustration (mostly in private) but those kids know I love them at the end of the day and they are always getting hugs, apologies or kisses even though they test me to the limit, like no other person in the world could!!
    Keep doing what you are doing and don’t listen to shallow comments like pink jumper lady. Your kids are proof that you are doing the best job you can do and that’s all you can ask of yourself x

  304. ABF February 13, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    thank you. i needed to read this today. i am a new mother of 8 month old triplets and it is hard. wonderful, but hard. sometimes when we are out in public (which is only to the peditrician or on a walk) people say strange things. I don’t think they mean them to be hurtful, but sometimes they are. I try not to meltdown- but sometimes i do.

    you are right, all I can do is try my best and learn from my mistakes. children are such a blessing. i am flawed, but i will continue to try to be better, even when it is hard. be proud of yourself for taking them out to a healthy lunch and letting them have a lesson on eating in public, even though it wasn’t the easiest choice for you.

  305. Christy February 13, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Thank you for posting this today. I too am a mother of four and totally feel your frustration. Sometimes it’s nice to know that I’m that experiences those days where you just want to curl up and cry. Hope today is a better day than yesterday!

  306. Laura February 13, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Oh Emily.

    It sounds like you have a very challenging, but rewarding life. And you are still able to handle this blog and do your artwork. You are a fortunate woman. I know people say silly things sometimes, and sometimes try to remember that they may just think they’re being friendly and they don’t realize their silly comments have a real effect.

    But when people say they didn’t TRY for any of their kids actually is a comment that makes me really crazy and sad. A lot of people say that, too. Please remember how lucky you are because there are many women out there who would desperately love to have a family, who TRY and TRY and TRY, with a loving spouse and with fertility specialists who are still unable to even have one baby.

    I couldn’t even sit through a full service on Sundays when they’d have christenings, it made me so sad that I almost doubled over in anquish. All my husband wants is a big family and it took six years and multiple rounds of IVF to FINALLY be blessed with one, perfect baby.

    And while I know I can’t really understand how difficult it must be to be on duty 24/7 for four children, I know that with my one, blessed child that I have also cried and know that there is stress and that my life has changed. I am also an artist and designer, and it’s very challenging to find time for it now. But it’s so worth it. And when stress gets me down sometimes, I think about the joy we were FINALLY given, I am so thankful.

    We have been told that it’s very unlikely that we can ever have another, and we just had another failed IVF attempt. Adoption isn’t likely due to a few factors.

    You ladies out there don’t know how lucky you are that you don’t have to TRY. So if some silly old lady or grumpy person says something about trying for a girl, or they didn’t want a boy, just chalk it up to being ignorant and practice your yoga breathing! Because an even more difficult question is when people casually say, “So, when are you guys going to have a baby?” – to a couple who have cried and continuously pray, plead, and have tried almost everything possible to do this.

    People say dumb things. Four kids, of any gender, sounds like a lot of work, yes – but also bliss and a huge dollop of blessing.

  307. Susan February 13, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Wow! I knew t he minute I read “hot pink sweater” this wasn’t going to be good;) Seriously, my best friend as 3 boys and it amazes me how many ladies have stopped her and said “don’t you wish you had a girl”? She usually says hmmm, let’s see…NO! You see all of her friends have girls…so she has her girls! And we get her boys! Sometimes when our kids are together it’s hard to tell that they aren’t siblings!

  308. PamK February 13, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Emily, our two boys are 20 months apart and when they were smaller my husband worked A Lot! So I know how you feel even though you have two more than me. Be encouraged and know that your post was needed to give a voice to all the moms who are in the throws of motherhood. I remember browsing Target with my boys and hearing myself breathe very loudly because all I wanted to do was get out of the house and they were just being kids. You are a great mom and keep taking your kids out and let the negative onlookers stay in their grumpy state of mind, life is too short.

  309. Suzanne @ Welcome to Willow House February 13, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Thanks for sharing with us, Emily. I’ve been a parent for 25 years now, and I don’t think I’ll ever figure this thing out! I’m so thankful for God’s grace in my life and the lives of my children — otherwise, we’d all be hopelessly messed up by my mistakes.

  310. Rachel P February 13, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    I too have to face the looks, comments and just plain rudeness that accompanies taking 4 kids out and about with you. My kids are not unruly, they in fact are quite shy so it’s not because they are causing a scene most of the time. People these days just cannot believe that they are in fact, all mine. I mean seriously, if I could get away with not taking them all with me I would, and I would definitely not be bringing other people’s kids along lol.

    I always get the comment that I must have my hands full and I always reply that yes, I do, but I would rather they be full than empty. That usually does the trick.

    I agree that having 4 kids is a wonderful blessing, yet hair pulling out experience. I question how I got this many kids all the time:) But I love that quote that your pastor said about once you have kids you cannot imagine being complete without them and that couldn’t be more true.

    You are not alone in this struggle!

  311. Amy February 13, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    You had me tearing up! We have three and are constantly discussing the what-if’s of 4. You gave me a good healthy glimpse into it being, frankly, only slightly more crazy than three! We have all had our own Hot Pink Sweater Lady, who, ignorant and “over it” make comments that kill our spirit and leave us feeling like WE’VE done something wrong.

    What they fail to realize is, we have done the most Right Thing in the universe — we love and care for our children. We have chosen to devote our selves, time, energy and being into “our” people, rather than ourselves. Our job is to create healthy and responsible adults — people who will carry on all the good in our world. If that means that on the way we all get a little crazy, so be it. :) <3

  312. Debbie S February 13, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    I too have four children, the youngest being our only girl. You are so right, having four kids is HARD! The comments people make are ridiculous…I even named my blog “you’ve got your hands full” because I hear it at least once a day from strangers. “You finally got your girl” is definitely one of my least favorite comments, but the one that makes my skin crawl is when people say to my husband “you can’t deny those kids!!” (yes my kids are his clones, but come on, who says that?!)

  313. Sara February 13, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    I’m a mom of four, like you three boys and one girl. We adopted our daughter and she is our youngest. We get the “you got your girl” comment all the time. I love being a mom, but when we’re out in public as a family we get a lot of unwanted attention. Even when people are being friendly, the little bit of extra attention seems to make my boys, especially my 3 and 5 year old, go a little crazy. So with you. Thanks for sharing. Maybe a few pink sweater ladies will learn to be quiet. Or just stick a starbucks card in the hands of mohters with many little children…:-)

  314. Ashley February 13, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Girl, its just not acceptable for people to treat you like that. You need to practice quick witted responses to those smart statements like you finally got your girl. People are too insensitive and careless statements and condescending looks can destroy people. B*tchy pink sweater lady’s kids probably resent her – she probably never let them LIVE! You didnt take your kids to a fine restaurant to ruin others special occasions, you took them to a sandwich shop, which you have every right to. Im glad your kids arent robots!

    Great post.

  315. Jenny February 13, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    YESYESYES! We had a long day of air travel yesterday with two boys under 2 years. You should have seen the looks we got! But oh those bits of encouragement, help, courtesy (the pilot who gave up his seat so we could all sit together, and the older mom who did on our second flight) – those got me thru the day. I couldn’t believe how well the boys did, I was so proud of them!! Sure we got a few “looks” from people who caught only their very brief moments of baby-ish-ness, but I HAD to focus on how well they were doing overall, and have gotten teary a couple times over the last 24 hours, not from frustration, but thinking about how blessed I am. These are good things to keep in mind as we’re gone for 9 days with my husband who’s on business travel. Won’t be easy, but it’s not easy at home, either!

    Thanks for the reminder to encourage other moms, too! So important!

  316. Amy February 13, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Thank you Emily for writing this! I am not so brave on my blog! I too have three boys and girl and get soooooo tired of hearing “you finally got your girl”. We did not “try” for a girl. We wanted four children, God decided when and what we would get. We would have been happy with however he arranged it. Although I love how the boys take care of their sister! Not sure I love what a tomboy she is turning into at four, but that is who she is:). I have friends and relatives and random people that have commented they can’t imagine three boys. I can’t imagine not having three boys! Honestly my boys are so much easier than my one girl! Ha! Hang in there. My boys are older, almost 15, 11, and 7. They don’t climb on signs anymore. They hold the door open for me and others. They know that if things are crazy at a restaurant I may order for everyone and they just have to deal! Yes, I’m mean like that! Your boys will too. You are good parents, it just takes time. Kudos to you for still taking them out alone. My husband works too many hours so we spend a lot time without him. We have even flown to grandmas several times, just me and them. I am just stubborn enough and can’t stay home all the time that we make it work. And yes, someone is always unhappy. That’s life. I tell them that today may not be the thing you want do, or the place you want to eat, but next time it might be and you wouldn’t someone ruining your good day by being ugly. And yes, we get so many looks and comments anywhere we go. I want to say “we have friends with more than this!” Anyway, I could go on and on with stories you would get. Just keep ignoring the comments. It’s not anyone’s business how a family came to be. People may choose to have one child, people may only be able to have one and be heartbroken any time someone asks when they will have more. I have a friend with twelve. Either way, it’s their business. People shouldn’t comment unless they truly know the situation.
    One more thing, you may have read this post. I read this a couple of weeks ago http://lysaterkeurst.com/2012/01/i-dont-want-to-raise-a-good-child/
    and it really gave me some perspective. You might enjoy it too! :)

  317. Susan February 13, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    Emily,

    Feel this hug, and keep doing exactly what you are doing to lovingly raise your children. It is strange for me to write this, because I keep ‘erasing’ what I need to say for the context of my comment… I am 58 years old… there, I said it. But I can still be right there with you at the restaurant. I remember, oh yes.

    Our three children are grown now. I would sincerely love to have been in that restaurant to look you in the eye and tell you that… “It is so worth it!!” All of it. (Even the annoying people part. They are everywhere :) )

    And about my age remark, I really feel blessed with each year I add to my life. It’s just that I really miss that part that you wrote about here today, being that young mom with my children, finding our way through life. The things that are now frustrating to you will become sweet memories that you want to keep. And cherish… because you will see how it all worked together for good, just like a promise. His promise.

    Hang in there, there are fresh mercies everywhere. Have the sweetest of Valentine’s days tomorrow :)

  318. Heather February 13, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    Sweet Emily, you are such a good mom!! I have one little boy who is Audrey’s age, and when my husband is away for work which is often (he’s navy) it is HARD sometimes to do it all- and I just have one! :). Our preacher started out his sermon yesterday by basically echoing your letter. One of the special needs children in our church was acting up, and the parents were embarrassed. So he took the time to make an aside and encourage them. He said exactly what you said- that kids, special needs or not, can be challenging, and every parent out there is constantly trying their hardest to do their best for their kids, and just hoping that they don’t mess up too bad. And that what parents need is not correction, not judgement, not snide glares, but encouragement. Amen to that! And I totally think that God tells us children are a blessing not just because He loves them so, but because He knows that they are the perfect tiny mirrors to help us truly see ourselves, and they are the perfect instrument to help us understand His love better. So rock on sweet Emily, you ARE doing a great job, and I know those kids must absolutely adore you!

  319. Cathy February 13, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Hang in there sister! I, too, am a mom of four – once a mom of four all under age 6! It does get easier. Well maybe not easier but there is a more independent life for you on the horizon. It is still crazy but I, like you, wouldn’t change a thing! :)

  320. NICOLE P February 13, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Emily, you seem like such a great mom. Thanks for being so real.

  321. Michelle February 13, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    I was in the same situation the other night, trying to pick up a quick dinner for the kids after a long day of errands and being out. They were tired and quite honestly ready to be home and relax.. but we needed dinner. A man who was also waiting made a comment about my 2 {almost 3 year old} girl being busy {as she’s rolling on the floor} I pulled her up to me so she would stop, then my 7 year old boy came and the man made another comment “oh, you must be really busy” then the kicker.. my 9 year old boy came up and he made the comment “WOW, I didn’t realize there were more, you must be tired at the end of the day!”. I was so mad!!! Is he kidding me?! I don’t have 10 kids or even 5 or even the worst behaved kids, they were tired after a long day and wanted to go home. Even if I did have more than my 3, I take care of my kids, I pay for every single need/want they have, my husband and I work our buns off so that they can have a good life, they are loved beyond love. They are provided for in more ways than one, we too do the best we can and quite honestly I think {and I have heard from the boys teachers} they are pretty amazing young men. They were not in any way making a scene or being so awful that I wanted to cry.. they were being kids. I have been in those situations where I have wanted to cry, this was not one of them. So Emily, thank you for having your 4 wonderful children and enjoying the everyday stuff with them. And thank you for being honest about the rudeness of people, it doesn’t matter how many kids you have as long as they are loved and taken care of by you. I often think people either forget what it was like to be a young mom with little kids or they were not fortunate enough to have the joys of being a young mom and that’s too bad, they missed out. I also get the girl comment.. I could have cared less if I had a boy or a girl, I just knew I wanted one more baby to love, had she been a boy I would have loved her just the same. She was a wonderful surprise and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world!

  322. Lisa Gundersen February 13, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Some people spread sunshine, others have a dark cloud over their head..
    So sorry to read that this lady in the pink sweater rained on your parade…:)

    Just yesterday at work a familiar customer came to the market and my first thought was grrr…Wonderful, here comes Debbie Downer…She NEVER has anythng kind to say, finds fault in everything!!!( not my cakes thankfully)
    Anywho, knowing this, I usually kill her with kindness…I know, a little twisted on my part, but what the heck, it s fun to do.
    As she passed my booth, I smiled and said ” Good morning _ You can find a delicous dinner here today at the market, fresh pasta, breads,produce…etc” To which she replied with a smirk…” Oh I wouldn’t go that far.” Sheesh! I felt like then saying..” Then WHY are you here???” …you make us all miserable! :)
    I am grateful I do not live inside HER head.

    The lady in the pink sweater cannot imagine doing what you do….because she could not handle it with love and grace…selfish people say selfish things.

  323. Angela February 13, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Thank you so much! I needed to read that. I feel this way almost every time I walk into a public place with my four children (even if my husband is in tow as well).

  324. Paige February 13, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    I have three kids but I remember the insane days with little ones very well. My heart always goes out to the mom in the store whose little one is having a melt down. I’ve been there – I’ve dealt with that. Sometimes it just happens but the true test of being a good mom is how you handle it. If you aren’t the kind that yells at your kid for being frustrated or pulls their hair for being bad (just recently saw that one) but pulls out of the way a bit and tries to console and re-group the family then that is about the very best you can do when your troops are small. The least the rest of us can do is give them an encouraging smile and let them know you can relate.

    As for rude people (especially those lovely older women who think they have the right to comment on our parenting in that catty, sniping, vicious way only women can pull off) just remember their words are reflecting on THEIR character – not yours.

    Paige

  325. Michelle February 13, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Thank you, Emily, for posting this when it probably felt like a vulnerable thing to do. Thank you for putting into words the frustration we have all felt at one time or another. Thank you for being a deliberate, thoughtful mom, and sharing this part of yourself with us.

  326. Elizabeth February 13, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Emily, I have to admit, I’ve been judging others from afar. I haven’t had kids (only been married 8 months) and I’m just now feeling my biological clock start ticking. I would judge parents on how their kids acted and I didn’t like kids for the longest time. Thank you for sharing. Hearing it from your point of view has opened my eyes and humbled me greatly.

    I know there are more parents out there like you, I just see so many parents ignore their kids when they are crawling under the table and running out in front of waiters at restaurants. That’s what bothers me the most. But, now if I see someone who is really trying, I’ll tell them they’re doing a great job!

    Thank you!

  327. Fran February 13, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    As a mom of two young ones, I completely related to everything you said and I couldn’t have said it better. Well said and thank you for being so honest!

  328. Katie February 13, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    What an awesome post this morning! I cried the entire way through – because I feel the same way! You’re a good mama – don’t forget that! Just continue to ignore the pink sweater ladies of the world and focus on those sweet babies!! Thank you SO much for sharing!!!!

  329. Nikki February 13, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    I too am a mother of 4 – all boys! As I read this I feel as if I’m reading my life! It’s at times like those you described above that I try to remember there has only ever been one perfect Parent and one perfect Son – and thank goodness they were! And, even if my children are the polite, behaved, and obedient little boys I and society expect, it doesn’t say anything about their hearts, their salvation – now that is important business.

  330. heather February 13, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Wonderfully written! I needed to hear this. Just the other day I was at the library with my four boys (ages 9, 6, 4, and just turned one). They were on their best (unusual) behavior standing beside me looking at movies. I was chatting with a friend of a friend that I haven’t seen in a few years. She looked at the baby and gasped “you have FOUR boys now!”. Then she had the nerve to say “Four boys… I’m soooo sorry”. I could have decked her. My kids were standing right there within ear shot. Here’s the kicker.. she has two girls and a baby boy with down syndrome and a big handful of medical issues. I really wanted to go on and on about my healthy happy normal children but I just smiled and kissed my baby boy who I wouldn’t trade for any girl. People say the dumbest things!

  331. karen sunday February 13, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Hi, I had to think about the rude things that people said to me when I was pregnant with our third after 2 boys and they were 10 and 14 when she was born (was it planned?) it’s so rude it’s funny. My best friend had five kids and they were really struggling financially when she was pregnant with no.5 a lady at her husbands factory came up to her and said ( doesn’t that just make you sick) it’s so strange that people feel free to say anything. I think you are a good mom!!!!!!!!!! and I love this blog so much it’s sick!!!!!!!!!! keep keepin on,Karen

  332. Sandra February 13, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    I can totally relate. I too have 3 boys and 2 little girls. I have heard all those comments as well. We purposely did not find out the gender of the last 2 girls because I did not want to hear the comments of being sorry I was having annnoooother boy. We try to go out to a nice dinner once a week and sometimes I find myself thinking what was I thinking trying to bring them in here. Was it really worth the hassle? Last night was one of those nights when we decided to go to a Mexican restaurant. A red soda was spilled on the floor, no one would stay in their seats, more than one refused to eat what we just bought, someone was crying, baby kept trying to jump out of the high chair. We got all the glares but I too want to teach them how to behave in public and I don’t want my life to stop just because I am worried about what other people think. It’s all good and I want to just be grateful for what I have been blessed with.
    I too am so grateful for the people who help outand smile insteadof glare. It amazes me when a man sees me coming and refuses to open the door or when I have been pregnant and they don’t give up their seat.
    Thanks for posting this. Nice to know we are not alone in our endeavors.

  333. Clarissa February 13, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    There are a lot of things I love about this post. I love (and don’t take this the wrong way ;) hearing other moms who struggle with their kids because it makes me feel more human. I guess that kind of goes with what you said about community. I won’t lie, I’m kind of a chicken because I avoid taking my two boys, 3 & 2, shopping with me because of how hard it is. It doesn’t help right now that I’m 29 weeks pregnant either… I am however excited to be having a girl and wasn’t necessarily hoping for a boy because how tough my first two are. I wanted to get to the point where we’re “outnumbered 3 to 2″ with a girl in the mix and I’m not ashamed of that because we know we want more kids. My husband is the 3rd of 12 and he loves it. I don’t think I can go that far but I believe that if my Heavenly Father feels that we can handle that many and will trust my husband and I with them then thats what I’ll do. I do disagree with the speaker at your church when he says that we can be complete without kids, and this is my belief, I’m not saying everyone has to feel this way because its their choice. But I wholeheartedly believe that we are here on Earth to have families, to bring new souls here to have the experience that we get to enjoy. I love being a mom but don’t think I’m great at it yet and I’m working on that. But reading stories like yours and some of the comments other mothers left help me find hope and courage to continue on. Families are the greatest things here on Earth and from where I stand you are doing a wonderful job with yours. :)

  334. MommaT February 13, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I feel your pain, your joy, and your frustration. I, too, have three boys and one girl. My girl is #2. My kids are spread out, now 5-14 in age, and I still have this issue. My oldest has a (medicated, but not eliminated) mood disorder, a very mild social disorder, which adds to the comments and stares. If one more person says, “You have your hands full,” I’m going to go postal!
    But, my sweet mother taught me an important lesson that I will share with you. She was given away–raised by her aunt down the street from her parents. Every day she played with her sibs and was sent home every evening. After that, she strived to make everyone in her life feel loved and wanted. I was a surprise (#5), coming just before my mom’s 41st birthday. So, most of my same-aged friends called my mom “Grandma.” The last words my mom said to me at the hospital were “You need to go be with your babies.” I had only two then. Two days later, she crashed and was left unresponsive. Five days after that, she left this world. 10 months later, my #3 arrived looking just like my mom. Every time I look in his eyes, I remember my mom’s lesson. It doesn’t matter what others say. What matters is that your kids know how you feel about them, and that they know they’re loved.

  335. Maria February 13, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    SO well put! You are absolutely doing the right thing. I hope also that you find more helpful people in the places you go. It is so wrong to pass a judgement out loud and in front of your kids about their “situation”. I am 1 of four children myself at a time in the late 60’s and early 70’s when my parents had just 1 car. We were not as lucky as yours are to have all the experiences yours are having. Keep your head up!

  336. Jamie February 13, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Thank you for your honesty! We ALL need a little help sometimes!
    I have two girls and often feel flustered or get the “are you going to try for a boy” remark. I hate that, too. And even if you only have one child that can be A LOT sometimes. It’s all relative to what you are used to. I think women should be more sensitive to one another. More than once my husband or myself have asked a mom with one or more kids who looked a little flustered if she needed help. We have to pay it forward!

  337. kasey February 13, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    I have three boys and I always get comments from people, so nice, some not so nice. I have, at times, stood my ground when nasty comments were thrown my way about how my kids were behaving, letting that person know (why are they always old people?) that my kids were good kids and they had no business judging me. Raising kids is hard, raising three little boys is hard. I get discouraged and frustrated, I HATE when people ask my if I’m going to try for a girl or when they tell me how sorry they feel for me to have all boys. So I loved your post. I loved that I can see that other moms are doing what I’m doing, going through the same things I go through. It makes me feel like I can do.

  338. Elisabeth Davidson February 13, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    I just wanted to thank you for your post. I’m a fairly new reader to your blog, but I wanted to tell you that your words touched me this morning. I really needed to hear this and it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  339. Tara February 13, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Oh Emily, you have me crying, i only have two and I have moments like this,. Yesterday I had the boys with me at Home Depot and the older one wouldn’t leave the little one alone, and i had to keep telling him to stop doing this or that, and then he screamed pretty loud and I could see the look on the ladies face who was checking us out…and then she sighed at the top of her lungs. I mean she could tell I was frustrated and she had to do that? I don’t understand her actions at all…you have encourgaed me with your post and your advice to help other mothers has inspired me as well, I can always do more for others in small ways, and this is so easy to do! thank you for expressing your feelings, and never doubt the mom that you are…it aint easy, but so worth it! xo

  340. regina February 13, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    I love this post! Thank you! I am a young mom myself, but I am going to try to be better at making nice comments to people about their kids and parenting. Like you, it means so much when people say those things to me.

    Also, I had a boy first and then a girl…so everybody always said, “Oh wow, so you’re done!” Ummm no, I am not. I now have 2 boys and a girl and we will be having one more down the line. I feel like people look at me crazy when I am out with all of them. They are 3, 19 months and 2 months. I realize it’s close and I am young, but that’s what I want. Funny how people always assume people just want a boy and a girl.

  341. Chris McGetrick February 13, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    I totally understand your plight – it’s been a while but I had three children – two daughters were younger than my son and I had two nieces who lived next door – so they were with me a lot. Believe me taking care of those for crazy wonderful girls was not easy.

    Anyway – hang in there.

  342. tris February 13, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Open and honest and lovely. I have four kiddos too and sometimes all we need is someone else in the same kind of shoes we’re attempting to clunk around in to say their feet hurt too sometimes:) Mine do, but the shoes are so darn cute – they are worth it.

    “Someone once said that parenting is not so much about teaching a child as it is about refining a parent.”

    I loved this. And although my little shoe analogy may be slightly dorky – sometimes the shoe just makes the outfit. That’s what my kids do for me. That’s what yours seem to do for you. So, this is me saying – I love your shoes:) and you really do wear them so well.

  343. holly February 13, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    just had to come out of lurkdom and tell you something that i have learned the hard way. never judge a mother. i know that every time i do something wrong- in private or public, i am doing the best i possibly can at that time in that place. so is every mom. are there things you could have done differently? yep. were you doing your very best at that time and in that place? yep.
    i so wish that everyone would open their eyes and see this. why judge?
    after being a teacher for 12 years, i thought that having “good” kids was as simple as being firm and consistent. guess what? it’s not that easy. i’m firm and consistent and my youngest is still a challenge . every day.
    thanks for opening up. more people need to realize that those comments hurt, even if they don’t mean it that way.

  344. Heidi February 13, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    thanks for that!! I am a new mom of 3, and I cannot stand to stay in the house, and I too like to get out and let them experience life outside of our home.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  345. Jaclyn February 13, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Emily, thanks for your honesty. I needed it this morning…as a fellow mom of four (three girls and then a little guy, so I get the same comments you get about finally getting the other gender), I can totally relate. We tend to bring a circus whenever we go somewhere, but then, on occasion, we have our “everyone-is-well-behaved” moments. And someone will notice, and it’s so sweet. I keep telling myself that these days are going to be over soon and that I need to enjoy them – hard to do when the little one is screaming (and boy, is he loud!!) in the back corner of Target (the furthest I can seem to get away from the civilized part of the store) and I can’t seem to pacify him (despite nasty looks from the employees)….and I can’t even seem to put my eyes on the other three! Ahhh…this process…I know it teaches me more about myself every day. And I know it teaches me about my Heavenly Father every day. Don’t so much love what it teaches me about me….but about Him, what a Father…what a Saviour! Hang in there! You’re not alone, and I appreciate you reminding me this winter morning that I’m not either! :)

  346. Taylor February 13, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    and you are blessed to have them as your children:)

  347. Melaine Thompson February 13, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I HATE that comment on how you finally got your girl! Ugh! What is wrong with people? Your kids are adorable, and just being kids. That’s what they do, and thank goodness for it because they grow up too fast. I would cherish the moments they climb all over things and spill things because that’s part of being a kid. They spill, they cry, they embarrass us, they throw tantrums, they wouldn’t be normal if they didn’t do all that, and good for you for taking them in and spending time with them at lunch and feeding them something healthy!

    I was at the grocery store the other day and a woman got into a confrontation with another and was yelling the f word at the top of her lungs, not letting up. I looked over {as everyone did} and she had a 3 or 4 year old little boy with her, looking up at her…….. how sad. Can you imagine how this little boy will turn out?
    So see, it could be worse! :) Love ya Emily! You are a great mom! Melaine

  348. Taylor February 13, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Once again, I can completely relate to your post! I too am a mother of 4…boy (9), boy (7), girl (4), boy (almost 2). My husband and I always wanted to have a big family but didn’t really ‘try’ to have each child…God just kept blessing us with a precious baby every 2.5 years:) 4 years ago we moved to a new state and live about 4 hours away from family. Unfortunately any friends we have made have also moved! So needless to say, some days are really challenging. Life has to go on even if my husband has to work long hours and I don’t have a support system around. Oh yeah, and I homeschool too, so I always have my kids with me:) Running errands is usually always eventful and exhausting. I’m not complaining, I know many have it harder. But I also have been the recipient of stares and insensitive comments (rambunctious kids, 3 boys 1 girl, etc.) Sorry for the rambling, I’m just really glad to have found your blog – I really relate:) It is quite evident that your children are very blessed to have you and your husband as parents

  349. Erin February 13, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Beautiful Emily!

    This mom of 4 (almost 5!) couldn’t agree with you more!

  350. Nicole M. February 13, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    People have no idea what they are saying. I swear women forget what motherhood is after their kids leave their home. I am so sorry for the comments. I only have two kids. A boy and a girl. So often people will say something along the lines that we don’t need to have any other kids because after all we have one of each. It’s perfect. So why have any more and ‘risk it.’ Risk what? That we give birth to a puppy? Not a child? I think being a mom is hard. It’s a test of strength daily. My husband and friends summed it up the other night when they said that the entire day can be terrible. 99% of it you feel like you as a parent were a total failure. Then your child will say “I love you” and that 1% just wiped out the other 99.99999% of heinous parenting feelings for the day. thank you for your post! It was a great one today!! (as always of course.)

  351. Heather diane February 13, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    I have 5 under 9 and it is busy. Going out with all 5, especially with my 2-year-old is scary sometimes! aaaak. When people say, “Boy, you’ve got your hands full.”… I want to reply, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.” But I worry that I’ll get all teary-eyed because when I think of how blessed I am to have so many children to snuggle and love and watch over, my heart and attitude changes from stress to tenderness. It is so interesting how others perceive our life. Thanks for your thoughts. :)

  352. Mary Shockley February 13, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    I totally feel you on this. I am completely exhausted when I arrive home after a small trip out of the house. My son is 2 1/2 and daughter 5 months. While it is so much work, I want them to know the world outside of our home. I have been stopped twice so far, by complete strangers who have told me that I am a good mom. Both were totally random, and took place during a time when I was frustrated and overwhelmed. It made me stop and pause for a moment. Little things we do with our kids matter. I am always so thankful for the random moments and I hope when I see a situation like that, I can extend a compliment to that mom who is trying her best.

  353. Aja February 13, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    This post is amazing. First of all, thank you for your honesty and for sharing your feelings. I definitely think too many moms (especially in the blog world) hide these very real moments that can happen by the week, if not the day! Motherhood IS hard! I really long to have 4 children as well, so thank you for sharing a bit of the “hard” parts in this post, along with so much of the amazing goodness. Children are such a blessing. And I really admire you for not responding to that lady- I’m not sure I could have held it in! You are a woman of grace. Well done.

  354. Linda February 13, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    I’m proud of you! Keep up your good work!!!! And you are right: 4 kids is hard but it’s worth it.

    A young friend of mine just had a similar experience to yours. She had to take her 5 young children with her (of course) when her 4th child needed xrays and an mri. People at the hospital were giving her such a hard time. “Are all of these yours?!” Lauren said, “I wanted to say,, ‘No, I just gathered up the neighbor kids to bring along while my daughter gets tests.'” She is a great mother and so are you!!!

    Now as an empty-nester at 52, I miss my 3 kids SO MUCH even though I see 2 of them at least once a week) and wish I’d spent more time with them and ignored more of what they did that was embarrassing. Energetic kids with loving moms grow up to be great people! Here’s to you and the others like you!!!

  355. Christine February 13, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I hear ya sista’. I only have three boys and if I had a fourth, I would pray like heck that it was another boy. I’m afraid to have another one because I’m sure I’d hear those comments “Maybe THIS one will be a girl” or “trying for a girl”.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your post. By the way, I went on a Target shopping spree after being inspired by your What I Wore Wednesday posts. LOVE the yellow striped boyfriend sweater. Hopefully I can look at cute as you always do! :)

  356. Jessica February 13, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    Thank you. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Just this morning I was in bed praying for God to help me through the day. Motherhood is hard, there’s no way around it. I’m thankful for Godly women like you who are willing to be honest about the struggle b/c it’s a way to encourage the rest of us that we’re not alone. Thank you Emily!

  357. Lynne February 13, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    I don’t know why people from an “older” generation find it necessary to be critical to those that are younger. I hear it every day work. “The younger generation “just doesn’t have the same work ethic”…”oh so in so’s baby is sick again…she has to leave work!” bla bla bla bla bla!

    This behavior is not new. It’s one of the things you file away in your mind and say…I will make it a point to NEVER act like this!

    Don’t let the pink sweater ladies get you down. For every pink sweater out there, there are ten grandma girlfriends like me out here admiring you and cheering for you. You and Ryan are great parents! I visit because you remind me of what’s right in our world!

    ~Lynne
    [w/L]

  358. Michelle February 13, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    well, anyone who wouldn’t want a little boy shouldn’t have an opinion! heehee! I read your blog and admire how you get it all done with 4… I only have one little handful. Keep it up… you are wonderful :)

  359. Meg February 13, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    i have a friend who has four boys, then a girl and she gets that pink-lady-commentator all the time and it’s not good. Don’t people realize that we’re all in this together?

    ps…I gasped that she said she stopped because she didn’t want a boy. all children are a gift from the Lord.

  360. Diana February 13, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Emily- You are a great mom! Tears came to my eyes when I read this. I am at the other side, my kids are young adults. I know the exhaustion and frustration but believe me one day you will look back and wish for one of those days! Keep up the great work!

  361. Whitney February 13, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing, Emily. We are expecting our first child in just a few short months, and someday, we are hoping for a family of six as well. I love reading your blog anyway, but this one especially keeps reality in check that, yes large families are wonderful, but the journey may not always be rainbows and butterflies. Just know that you are doing a great job as a mother! You want nothing but the best for your family.
    I started following your blog probably six-ish months ago, and I couldn’t believe how many wonderful things you were able to do for your four children – homemade paper birthday hats, adorable embellished t-shirts, and all the extra touches in your home to make it kid-comfortable yet adult-beautiful. I’ve heard comments to mothers with large families that those type of things have to end once #3 and #4 or more arrive. Well, I’d say you’ve already proved that myth wrong. And, though it wasn’t easy to bite your tongue to the pink-sweatered lady, that was a teaching moment for your little ones whether they even realized it or not. An exploding Mama would have left a different impression on their vulnerable little minds. You handled the situation beautifully. Rest easy. :)

  362. Rachel February 13, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    I SO appreciate you sharing this! I felt like I was reading a page out of my own life. My husband is a truck driver that is only home on the weekends. The long weeks without him to help with the kids can be so tough. It is encouraging to know that I’m not the only mom that struggles. Thank you for sharing!

  363. Jennifer February 13, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Thanks for this today! After readying Huffington Post last week or so about Carpe Diem (motherhood) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glennon-melton/dont-carpe-diem_b_1206346.html I’ve been thinking I needed to write my own. I totally agree with her and since my blog is a journal for my children, I thought it would be good to tell them so when I have grandchildren I will remember.

    I have 2 boys and a girl (born 12/28/11!!!) The entire time I was pregnant people asked if I was trying for a girl, hoping for a girl, finally got my girl. Um, RUDE!! That’s worse than reaching out and touching my belly without asking. After reading your post today, it seems, I really do need to blog about it. I’ll do it. THanks for giving me the topic…for tomorrow!

    Keep loving on those babies!!

  364. Amy February 13, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    This is a wonderful post, mainly because of how transparent you are. I always try to encourage moms in public, now that mine are 12, 10, and 8. My first two were 15 months apart, I had severe Postpartum Depression, and I just remember the chaos….especially when we added the third. I have complimented moms before on how nicely they talk to their children, and seen them so surprised….I guess positive feedback can be slow in coming.

    It is unfortunate the unkind things that are said. I SO felt for you with the “pink sweater lady”. I have had a lot of those, including the woman who told me when I was hugely pregnant with my second and my first was only 13 months old — “Well, you’ll never have a minute to yourself”. Really?! How is that helpful in any way?

    Having one girl and two boys, I have lost track of the number of times I have been told some variation of, “At least you got your girl”. Once I was told, “Boys will be boys” when one of my sons was not behaving. In a moment of boldness, I told the commenter that we don’t “do” that around our house….boys are expected to behave as much as girls. That shut him up. :)

    And I know what you are saying about the bias against boys, too. I am the first to admit that, coming from a family of 4 girls (no boys), having two boys was a bit of a stretch for me. I adore them and can’t imagine my life without them now. But — WOW — the comments. Just sat next to a mom who complained about her boys to the point that I was regretful that one of my sons was overhearing. It wasn’t just a “had a bad day” rant. It was an anti-boy rant. There is a big difference, and it’s hard to hear.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. I love your blog and your heart! :)

    Amy

  365. Emily February 13, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Your words could not be more true! I encountered a “pink sweater” lady myself yesterday after church. I had my 18 month and 7 month old girls with me. They were going crazy – I was flustered and everyone just stared and made comments under their breath. I needed to read this. Thank you!

  366. Laura February 13, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Oh you sweet, wonderful mama! You are right- it is SO hard some days, especially when they are still so little and normal! And it seems like it is always harder when you are going out of your way and trying to do something fun with them. I was much more judgmental when I only had one (perfectly behaved) child. Now I have 4, and that last one has made me throw out any parenting theories or judgments I had left! It’s too bad that the world has lost its “filter”, and people feel free to share any and every thought they have. You are doing a great work, and I feel confident that you are turning out 4 amazing and unique products that the world couldn’t live without! Thanks for letting us have a glimpse into the process.

  367. ange February 13, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    What a wonderful post, you are so right about parenting! I have four kids as well and we have the opposite, 3 girls and a boy at the end. People also say to us, Looks like you finally got your boy at the end. Augh….that is not why we have four kids, so we could have a boy. Yes, God blessed us with a son which is amazing but we love our three girls and if we would have had a fourth girl, that would have been amazing as well. You are an awesome mom and we all have those days where we feel like failures. Way to go taking the sandwich shop route over fast food and too bad the lady in the pink sweater couldn’t see past her own nose she was looking down. I think people forget how hard it is to raise kids and they seem to remember their kids being perfect when they were little. Thanks for the reminder to encourage others, we all need that!. Have a blessed day!!!

  368. Sarah February 13, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Thank you for being so honest and sharing from your heart. I almost cried when I read this. I know just how you feel! A lot of the time I’m a single mom. My husband is an airline pilot and only home about 9 days a month. Some times it’s so hard! The past few days have been really hard for me. I love my “job” as a mom. But, sometimes you get so tired ( in body & spirit). Some days it’s just overwhelming all the things that have to be done in a day including homeschooling. I want to be sure I also do fun things with them too. I guess we all feel like we don’t measure up at times. But, God never puts more on us than he puts in us and I’m so glad for that! I’ll pray for you. As moms we need that all the time!

  369. Tilly Sak February 13, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Thank you. Thank you. I needed this today – you spoke to my heart. You are doing a wonderful job as we all are. Though some days seem hard, know that in years when they are grown, kind, respectful, loving and have families of their own – they will truly know. And show their thankfulness.

  370. Mama Cook February 13, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    I am the Mama of 9 kiddos and you can only imagine some of the comments I’ve received when I’m out in public! The worst is the library…we used to use the self-check out, but inevitably my 2yo would throw a tantrum as the baby was screaming and my 4 and 7 year olds were trying to scan their own books, then a libarian would come over and say, “can I help you.” {In THAT condescending tone.} Now, I go straight to the libararian to check us out and usually they are overwhelmed by how many books we are getting, but they asked for it! :) Hang in there…it’s get’s better and really, you do stop caring…when we had 4 was the worst – I don’t know, people seemed to feel like they had the right to make comments. Now with 9, they just look at me in shock – or (I like to believe) awe!

  371. melissa February 13, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    I have three boys…..Every day I read your blog and think “wow this mom is a super mom!” I hope you know you are an inspiration to other young moms out there battlling hot pink sweater ladies!

  372. mary beth February 13, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    I have so been there! My kids are currently 3, 2, and 1 and it is a challenge to go out in public. I am so blessed when perfect strangers help or are encouraging while I’m out and about. Thanks for posting!

  373. Shelley February 13, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Tears filled my eyes as I read this. I have 3 boys myself and life is sometimes so very hard. I have been that same mom standing in line trying to do the right thing and it all falling apart around me. (Although people usally feel sorry for me because I don’t have a girl – Really? How sad is that.) I am most thankful that God puts others in our life who are in the same place and feeling the same feelings. It give me great comfort to open your blog this morning and read this – knowing I am not alone in my struggles as a mother. I don’t just want to be a good mom, I want to be a great mom – But sometimes that is not possible and the mom I want to be doesn’t always come through. I praise you for your honesty and humbleness. Keep up the fight inside you – not just for your babies, but for yourself.

  374. Julie February 13, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Emily, you are a great mother! I found this quote to be so encouraging to me this weekend, and I trust it will encourage you as well: “Because Jesus was strong for me, I am free to be weak;
    because Jesus won for me, I am free to lose;
    because Jesus was someone, I am free to be no one;
    because Jesus was extraordinary, I am free to be ordinary;
    because Jesus succeeded for me, I am free to fail.” -Tullian Tchividjian

    And on the topic of motherhood and guilt, this post by Lindsey was very convicting and encouraging: http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2012/02/digging-out-of-the-pit-of-guilty-motherhood.html

    Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us. May we be women who seek to encourage not only ourselves in the Gospel but others as well – especially busy, hard-working moms!

  375. Alison February 13, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    My husband is a full-time firefighter as well, and works 24 hour shifts. I know exactly how you feel! I’m the same with my daughter – I was at Ikea one day while my husband was working, and a group of middle-aged women were commenting (while I fumed internally) at “how brave I was to take an infant to Ikea…” Really? Either we sit at home or we go out and about and live — why is that so hard to believe!? Good for you for living and making memories with your kids!

  376. Christi February 13, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    You said it so well! And you are not alone! I only have one, but I’m from a family with four children and more and more these days I wonder how my mom did it. I know it’s hard! I’ve gotten dirty looks when my little guy “talks” during church (I think he’s starting to sing!) and I wonder, “Isn’t this where he’s supposed to do this?! He’s here! At church! And he’s trying to talk and sing! Give me a break!” Cheers to you for doing your best for your kids and for biting your tongue with that insensitive woman. You’re serving your kids well :)

  377. Emily February 13, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Beautifully and truthfully written. The fact that you opened yourself up like this testifies that you are a great mom and that you care about your kids. Keep up the good work!

  378. Veronica February 13, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    As a mother of one I am not always that outspoken about my frusterations as a parent. However, last week as I sat at work crying to my childless co-worker about the stress and struggles of parenthood I realized that it truly does not matter the number of kids that you have. God gave us the strength to handle what he has in store for us. HE also gave us angels (friends) to help us through.
    The timing of this post, for me, was perfect. More mother’s need to hear that they are not alone and they are also not the first to experience parenting hardships.
    Thank you for sharing!!

  379. Amy G February 13, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    Thank you! Thank you so much for writing this. I needed this today. I too have 4 kids- 4 girls- and I get asked the horrible question every time we go out “Are you going to keep going for a boy?” Oh I get so tired of explaining that I am so thankful for my girls and I know God’s plans are the best . . . yadda yadda yadda . . .! Seriously people! My girls are right here hearing your words and seeing your face that says I’m crazy!
    It is hard. And today I was feeling a little more on the failure side. So thank you for sharing from your heart. God used your words to uplift this weary mother of four. Thank you for the reminder to encourage other moms. Blessings to you today as you enjoy the craziness of being a mom!

  380. Debbie February 13, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    amen

    I only have 1 right now with 1 more on the way.
    I grew up in a family of 4 kids. I was the oldest and I saw how much work it was (even though i was part of the problem im sure)

    I treasure the comments on how good your kids are or the ways people help out and I hope that I remember to do the same to others.

  381. Colleen February 13, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    I think all moms have these moments, no matter how many you have. We all have times where are littles are delightful in public, and the moments where they make such bad choices we want to cry in embarrassment. It’s just part of the journey. One of my least favorite things is when people try to empathize with me when I tell them I have a toddler and an infant. “A toddler boy?? Bless your heart…” I ALWAYS reply with, “It’s just so much fun. I love this age.” They generally look taken aback, but it’s true! This stage is a delight, as exhausting as it can be at times. Alllll this just to say, I feel you, friend! And ALWAYS remember that your kids are louder to your ears than anyone else’s. Nobody else probably recognizes their chaos as much as you think they do. And there’s no hot pink sweater that couldn’t be improved with some well-loved, hard earned baby stains. (And SERIOUS props for avoiding the drive through!)

  382. Rachel February 13, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    Thank you for your honesty. As a reader of your blog, posts like these make it so easy to relate to you. I love all of your other posts but I’m often left wondering how does she do it all! I struggle every day with two but want to do the best by my children just like you. Parenting is definitely the hardest but most rewarding job out there.

  383. Wendy February 13, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    First time poster here… I have to tell you that you are living my life 15 years ago. I was a young mother of 4 children (1boy and 3girls). I had a husband in the military. He was gone 6 months out of the year so I was with them 24/7 and they with me. I received the same odd looks and strange comments from strangers. I especially liked the “Are they *all* yours?!” to which I would gaze behind me to make sure a gaggle of children didn’t just appear. When did 4 kids become such an oddity? You are doing a wonderful job and your kids know how hard you work and how ignorant strangers can be. Hang in there. The days are long but the years are short…

  384. Mandy February 13, 2012 at 6:25 am #

    Oh how I feel for you and I want you to know that had I been in that sandwich shop, I would not have hesitated in helping you. I am a single mom..have been since the father of my kids left when I was pregnant with our youngest. My girls are 9, 11 and 12 now which means they were 1, 3 and 4 at one time. I obviously did everything with them. I frequently cried in the grocery store while pulling one cart of kids and pushing a cart of food. I always felt like I wasn’t doing it right and people used to hurt my feelings so much. Since I’m a single mom, it’s also assumed I was irresponsible and got myself pregnant all these times without a stable man, when really I just fell in love with the wrong man. But my girls are worth all those struggles I’ve had and all the ones still yet to come. Being a parent IS hard. It’s hard not to let others get to you but keep your head up and know that you are a good mom and if your kids are happy and healthy that is ALL that matters.

  385. Courtney February 13, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    Emily, I read and love your blog but don’t often comment. For some reason this post just struck me this morning. I’m a newlywed and not yet a mother, but I wanted to thank you for giving an accurate picture of motherhood. I know it will be an amazing thing and the most joy-filled experience of my life. But I also see that it doesn’t feel like that each and every moment of the day. Thanks for being honest and open about raising your kids and your own triumphs and struggles. I don’t know if you’ve read this blog post, but it’s been going around my friend circle (they are all having babies right now). It’s similar to your thoughts: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glennon-melton/dont-carpe-diem_b_1206346.html

    Thanks again for being real and open! Have a great day!
    Courtney

  386. Brenda Weaver February 13, 2012 at 6:15 am #

    I’m right there with you! I have three kids and they’re all finally getting to be pretty much independent (my youngest is 6), but those years when they’re all little can be SO hard! And sometimes others don’t help at all with their stares and comments.
    I’m sorry, but I had to giggle when you described your kids lunch eating scene, when one spilled the yogurt and another dropped his sandwich, and one ate all the chips. I giggled because I totally GOT it! I’ve so been there. many times. I remember when my daughter was two and she’d spill her milk all over her shirt every.single.time we were out to eat! And they’re kids and still learning, and they don’t always do it right. Now I can giggle, but when you’re in the middle of it it can be embarrassing and frustrating.
    I can tell by your post that you are a great mom, trying hard to do your very best. Sometimes others can’t see that and it can be so discouraging! I agree that it’s so nice when we get those helping hands and compliments from strangers. I need to do more of that!

  387. sarah February 13, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Your story so hit home with me. A couple of months ago my daughter who just turned 2 this past Saturday broke her leg and was in a cast. She wasn’t able to walk so I had to carry her everywhere. I should also mention I was about 28 weeks pregnant at the time and having very bad problems with my sciatic nerve, some days were hard to even walk. Needless to say we didn’t get out much for that four weeks she had the cast. One day though I was determined to just go have breakfast with a friend and my daughter at a local coffee shop. When we arrived the place was packed but we found a table near a group of older gentlemen. Lucy, my daughter doesn’t know a stranger and was trying to engage one of the men in particular with her smiles and gestures. I could tell he wasn’t warming up to her so I decided to move her highchair away to the other side of the table so he wouldn’t be “bothered” by her. Over the course of our meal Lucy was very well behaved with the exception of making it rain about 2 dozen cheerios on the floor. When it was time to go I glanced over for a broom that usually sat in the corner but this time it wasn’t there. I said to myself internally “oh well I tried” and as I struggled to get Lucy’s casted leg out from the highchair the man said from his chair very loudly “aren’t you going to clean all that up?” I thought her was kidding and gave him a nervous smile. But he went on about how disgusting it was that I’d leave such a mess- I swear the entire coffee shop stopped to watch him barade me. I was floored as I hauled Lucy to the front counter and asked for a broom but they assured me not to worry they’d take care of it. I BEGGED for a broom. I don’t know why but i did and they still wouldn’t give me one so we walked out passed the table of men who were still slinging nasty comments. I loaded Lucy into the van, started the car and totally lost it. I still tear up just writing this. I was humiliated and so hurt. I was trying my best. I just wanted us to get out and get some fresh air and be in public and this is how we were treated. I’ll never ever forget that experience. I wouldn’t never treat someone that way anyway but now I go out of my way to be kind to other mothers with things like opening doors for them, or giving them a smile when it looks like they need one. WIth all that said I hope you never meet another pink sweater lady.

  388. Jessica R. February 13, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    Amen to everything you wrote. And thank you for writing it. What especially hit home for me was your thought that although we do not have tantrums on the floor of a store, we are just as full of ugliness that we try to hide. Your comment that we can try to look good on the outside but our children know the real us–the impatient, selfish, lacking-of-grace moms–is a big Ouch. But true for me as well. Reading what you wrote makes me glad that every day is a new day, full of mercy and grace from God to start over. I think more than anything, being a mother of small children has forced me to acknowledge that I cannot do everything on my own, in fact, I can do nothing apart from God.

    I’m on the lookout for a fellow mother to encourage today! :-)

  389. Ashley February 13, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    Thank you so much for this. I can relate to so much! We have three boys and I am pregnant with #4. I am already gearing up to hear all of the “trying for a girl?” comments. Honestly, I’d love another boy, but that seems ridiculous to most people in today’s society. Know that you have another mamma out there praying for you!

  390. Jennifer February 13, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    This post really touched me. I can soooo relate to this……being a mom is HARD! But it is also the most rewarding and wonderful experience in the entire world.

    I have three boys but my first two are only 12 months apart and my third is 8 years younger than my middle son (God is funny that way) The entire time I was pregnant and even now so many people say ” Oh I bet you wished he was a girl” or “oh another boy are you going to keep trying for a girl?” These comments are so hurtful. When did little boys become something no mom could possibly want to deal with??? The saddest thing is that my older boys (ages 11&12) get the meaning of this and wonder why more value is placed on girls.

    Thank you so much for writing this post!! And remember you are the Best mom of all 4 of the beautiful kiddos God entrusted you with…….always

  391. Helen February 13, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    I’m a mother of two – 5.5 and 2 – with exactly the same attitude: I should be able to take them out with me, to do normal daily things, and it will – mostly! – be enjoyable, despite any little blips that might happen. Blips are normal with children, part of what allows them to grow. After all, if we don’t make mistakes, we don’t learn. On the whole we’re complimented, when we’re out and about, but there are belittlers out there. I tend to feel sorry for them: they must have some reason why they behave like that and that’s unfortunate for them. Go you for being so proactive and wanting to show your children the importance of independence and following your own heart and mind. I’m with you 100%

  392. paige February 13, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    it always kills me when people feel the need to say the stupidest unnecessary things….usually that are insulting to the person.
    with four girls i often times & even this weekend heard the “you never got your boy” comment. i mean really.
    usually those kind comments can cover a multitude of the tacky ones. you are obviously a great mama my friend!
    ps-years ago i thought i should write a book with a title somewhere along the lines of “things you don’t say to a mother of four girls who just buried her husband” .
    xoox

  393. Andee February 13, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    I, too, am a mother of 4 children. They were all born within 5 years and like you we just let God decide when they would be ours (except our first – our sweet daughter we adopted because we thought we couldn’t have children!). There is nothing more discouraging to a mother than the look or comments of other women in particular. I, too, am always asked if they are all mine. I always want to respond, “no, I just really enjoying hauling around this many random children as I try to shop!” My kids are getting older now and it’s a different kind of hard work. I often see the mom of younger kids and feel her frustration and sometimes despair that the chaos of young ones will never end. I so agree that you always offer help to any mom that is frustrated and needing help. It is encouraging for a stranger to lend a hand – even if it is only picking up the sippy cup your child has thrown on the floor for the hundredth time. My husband and I have been complimented many times on the behavior of our children while we are out with them. There is nothing greater than hearing those words. It reminds you that you do have great kids! Hang in there!! We are all in this together!

  394. Debbie February 13, 2012 at 5:37 am #

    I know you Emily only thru reading your posts each week, but thru those have a window into your heart and life. You are a great mother to your four precious children. It is hard…I only have one and it’s was a challenge…..so I can only imagine how much more challenging four can be. But, God honors the efforts of a godly mother. All those outings, lessons, time with them…they won’t forget and will want to pass those same things on to their children.

    I too was the daughter of a fireman and had many days and nights at home with my mom. She also tried to make daily life normal and not wait till my dad was home for fun and adventure.

    Be encouraged! You ARE a wonderful mom!

  395. Miia February 13, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    You are, once again, so at the point! It is hard and easy-looking things can get very complicated with 4 kids around (I know by experience too). Like sandwitch lunch. After a lunch brake (or normal dinner) I sometimes tap myself on the shoulder: well done, well done, healthy food, nice athmosphere . Then I think, what, is this all I can do; just proper food and not an open fight between siblings. But then again; sometimes the most easy-looking things need very much energy/ support to be easy-looking and smooth. :)

    Thank you for this post, it was so great! Have a nice week with your kids!

  396. Claudia February 13, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    Beautifully said. I do not have children. It is a choice my husband and I made many years ago. I can only imagine the challenges of having four young children and all that goes along with your daily routine. I’m sure it’s hard. But I know from reading your posts that you are a great mom. You did the right thing by taking your children to a restaurant where there is healthy food as opposed to the drive-thru. And, while the pink-sweater lady might have said it in an unfriendly tone, I think you were brave to do this. Brave because the choice you made was one that could have put you in an embarrassing situation (elbowing, fussing, crying) but you did it because you’re teaching your children how to behave in public. You are to be commended! I’m sure every day your patience is tested, your nerves are rattled … but you so beautifully put all that into perspective when you wrote that you could not imagine life without them. I will take to heart what you wrote, and the next time I see a mom with young children, I will try very hard to be helpful in some way.

  397. Laree @ Ever Heard of Euless February 13, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    I have a friend who had two boys and then a girl. All the time, the comment she received was “now you can stop that you got your girl”.

    Her brilliant response? “I plan on having ALL of my children!”

    As a woman who is getting ready to be a mother of 4 (hooray this august!), I know this is something I will go through. It is tough. And so worth it!

    I know why you wrote this. Because it needs to be said. No Mom I know will say her life is all sunshine and roses. There are a heck of a lot of rainy days and weeds. But the rain makes our roses grow, and appreciate the sun even more, and weeds teach us that we have to constantly watch over our garden to protect it from harm.

    You’re doing a wonderful job. Keep it up!

  398. Ashley February 13, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    I’m a mom of 2 under 2 (though, not any more – today is my daughter’s 2nd birthday!). We want to have more and sometimes I find myself wondering how I could do it when these 2 babies can be so hard at times! Your words were so encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle with us. It’s a blessing to know I’m not alone.

  399. Morgan L February 13, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    SOOOO beautifully written and exactly what I needed to hear this morning. You are a good momma and your kids know that.

    Thank you, Emily.

  400. Kacey @ Shes.No.Martha February 13, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    I can’t believe how idiotic some people are… They just don’t think. My sister is also a mother of four — three of which are 16 month old TRIPLETS (just keep that in mind!). People say the most amazing things to her as well…

    If it is any consolation, I am one of four…and we are now the best of friends. I don’t know how my mom did it, but she did it with grace — as I imagine you do too! Just think — someday they will all be older and close friends and you can look back and smile!

  401. Kalee February 13, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    This warms my heart this morning. Not because you had the experience, for that I’m so sorry; but I feel this way often and it’s so comforting to have company in the trenches of motherhood. I love my children dearly, it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. When it’s rewarding it’s the most rewarding, when it’s challenging there is nothing harder. I wouldn’t trade it either.

  402. Christine February 13, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    I have three kiddos, and I, for one, believe there are way too many pink sweater ladies in the world! I am sure that being the wife of a fireman is HARD work! Wishing you a day filled with friendly Costco workers and men who hold the door for your crew!

  403. Angie @ stylishlivablespaces.com February 13, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    Emily what a wonderful post. You have a talent for expressing the challenges of being a mum so well. Yes as a mum of 3 young boys, I too share your pain when an errand or outing turns into a debacle but I love every crazy minute of this fleeting stage of motherhood. Thanks for sharing

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