All the ridiculous and inappropriate questions I get when I take out twins in public have never totally bothered me… with the slight exception to when the elder male cashier who asked me if I delivered both vaginally… I’m sorry, curious friend, but any questions about my vagina will remain unanswered.
Anyways, being a singleton sibling of a set of twins I’m used to twins getting a certain amount of attention. It is abnormal and fun and others want to share in nature’s little twists.
However today a comment sent chills down my spine.
While Ellie has remained petite for her age, Walt looks a full three months older then her. He has several teeth, lots of hair and a bigger build. It is not uncommon for people to genuinely ask “are those twins?” Because they may not be sure.
Today checking out at the store, while the checkout lady began pestering me about opening a in-store credit card, like a good employee, the twins began to get impatient. I responded with a “not today but thank you for asking.” Maybe I was too polite.
She proceeded to tell me the benefits of the card and asks again if I would want to open one now. Right at this moment my son bites his sister and very offended she begins to cry.
So now Ellie is in my arms as I comfort her and tell the checkout person once again that I’m not interested.
Could she not see my struggle? Please just let me pay so I can get out of here.
But she continued on. This is where she begins telling me how much I could save by clipping the weekly coupons from the ad or downloading the app. My patience is going…
“I understand.” I say “right now everything is a little chaotic, but I will keep that in mind. Do I put my card in the chip reader now?”
And here it is folks, the comment that took the lead as the most insensitive comment ever made to me.
” Yes you can. I know it’s got to be chaotic, this is why most people wait a few years between babies.”
I quickly informed her they were twins and only a minute apart. “Oh!” She said.
I quietly took this opportunity to educate her, ” but even if they weren’t, I don’t think you can judge a family based on the five minutes it take to checkout in the store. Sometimes are more demanding than others and that is when we skip the coupons at checkout. ” I winked and smiled to help foster a moment that would educate not solely discipline, just as I would do with a young student when they were embarrassed by what they had done wrong. I hope my kindness and her embarrassment would help her be more kind to the next struggling momma in her line.
Although having twins is not comparable to having two close in age, it is important to acknowledge that these situations are each difficult in their own way. Motherhood is difficult in its own way. As women, we should not be judging each other, specially in the small interactions with strangers in public.
Of all the prying questions or comments, I never found any as offensive as this suggestion that I should have waited longer between children. To presume that had my children each been single births, that I had than some how been foolish for having a second beautiful baby is insulting, unkind, and awful.
As a stay at home mother with a husband gone most days and evenings, I look forward to my little interactions during the day. Keira, the checkout girl at walmart with babies at home 10 months apart. Diane, who is full of positive energy at Starbucks when I haven’t eaten anything all morning and decide to treat myself to breakfast. Angelito, the local WIC provider who always helps me out to the car with my bags of formula. I might only be five minutes of their day, but their interaction with me was so important to mine. They might be the only people I see face to face that day, that you know, talk back. I think if the cashier had realized knew the positive impact she could have had, she might not had been so worried about her credit card signups or rewards program and instead may have focused on what I needed as a customer.
So if you see a mom with twins or two young babies struggling to pull a grocery cart and a stroller, or having her two kids who were perfectly happy the rest of the day simultaneously decide to breakdown at checkout, or any mother struggling for any reason, offer help, give a smile, say I’ve been there, it will be okay, you’ve got this momma, you’re doing a good job, etc.
And to all my mommies out there, you are doing a good job.
And for the love of all things that are holy, if you are a cashier, please give that poor momma a break and make checkout speedy.
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