I thought people were joking when they told me that going out in public with my brood of four kiddos would be like opening myself up to a public heckling gallery. I mean, really, they are just kids. Lots of people have kids! And four? Four is nothing compared to the Duggars. Surely four wouldn’t turn heads. I was certain that some mothers were just being a tad too sensitive. Surely people would not care enough to comment on how many children I had. (At least not to my face.)
But I was wrong. So very wrong.
I have honestly been blown away by the never-ceasing comments that seem to come my way, complete with a creepy man in a van who once flagged me down while I was out walking with my kiddos to ask me if “I knew what caused that heh heh heh.” #gross
I’ve pretty much heard them all, and still every time I get one comment in particular I can’t help but shake my head and laugh. Which is why, when I saw what a fellow mom of four has done to combat the trolls hounding her, I silently stood up and applauded her. Well, I mean, I would have stood up and applauded her had I not been busy holding my own baby and making my other kids a sandwich, of course.
Natalie Lesnefsky, a mom of four and founder of the blog At Home With Natalie, decided that enough was enough when it came to the No. 1 comment she — and almost every, single mother who has more than two young kids — would frequently get out in public with her crew:
Are they all yours?
“We have four kids now, but even when we had three, we got this question almost every time we went out,” Natalie explained to me. “I think that you deal with people and their lack of filters when you’re pregnant (all the belly touching and advice), and it continues on when you actually have the child! People think they can ask or say anything when it comes to your family size or how you got there. I was a little taken aback the first few times we went out with three, especially because I didn’t think three was ‘too many.’ I tried to calm the mama bear in me and kindly smile and move a long. If not, ‘Are they all yours?’, I hear ‘Wow you are brave!’, ‘Oh you sure have your hands full’, ‘Wow you must be tired!'”
So after finding out that she was pregnant with her fourth child, Natalie decided it was time to take action.
“I knew the comments were going to keep on coming!” she says. “So I thought it would be fun to have a cute and snarky tote bag to answer that comment. It has ended up being a great conversation starter with fellow mamas. Even ones who might not have a slew of kids themselves, but have a friend or sister who does! They always name someone they know who needs the bag!”
And the bag pretty much sums it all up and coincidentally, also shuts a lot of haters up. Plus, it has a heart on it, so you know we aren’t being too mean.
To make the bag, Natalie actually designed the tote on Photoshop and then hired a manufacturer in the U.S. to print it. When it hit her shop on Etsy, the bag sold out quickly. “[The response] has been incredible!” Natalie gushed. “Lots of hubbies snagged them up for their wives or girls for their mom friends or sisters. I love seeing the social media shares of their sweet crews and the tote bag!”
And good news — if you’re still wanting to order one for a Christmas gift for yourself (ahem) or a friend, Natalie tells me that she has a few left that will arrive by Christmas if you snatch one up by Dec. 15th.
Like myself, Natalie admits that she is a bit puzzled by why she gets so many comments like the “Are they all yours?” in the first place. “Just like you never ask a lady if she is pregnant unless she is giving birth in front of you, (I learned the hard way when I was 12) you shouldn’t comment on her family size in a rude way,” she notes. “I don’t really see where the struggle is. People don’t have filters and they might mean well, but don’t realize how they come across and that you’ve already heard that same comment a couple times that day.”
For moms dealing with a plentitude of commentary with their own broods, Natalie advises us all to stay the course and keep smiling.
“I’ve learned to just kill them with kindness and take the interaction as a chance to shed some light on how motherhood is exhausting and overwhelming, but it’s amazing and beautiful, too. We are building our tribe, and I love seeing their sweet personalities as they grow up. They won’t be little forever. Sometimes people need to hear the good parts of having a lot of kids and if they feel open enough to talk about how crazy it must be for me, I feel totally open to talk to them about how incredible it can be!”
Despite the comments, Natalie loves being a mom to a large family and is open to the idea of having more in the future. “I love seeing them interact with each other, when not tormenting each other, and just watching those relationships blossom!” she says. “By far some of my favorite moments have been when the big kids come to the hospital and meet their new sibling. It’s magical.”More On