Here in Tennessee, I get comments just about every single time I go anywhere with all 5 boys.
People are so kind and encouraging
and while I get plenty of "You've got your hands full!"
I also get lots of "You're doing a great job!" "What a darling family!" and "You are so blessed!"
Yesterday was the designated day to drop off school supplies and meet the boys' teachers.
I forgot I had taken the stroller out of the back of the van at home,
so I paraded through the school holding Benson while the other 4 boys trailed along filling the hallway, stopping for drinks, running ahead, pausing behind, and making frequent exclamations.
I juggled everyone in the classrooms, trying to fill out forms and organize supplies while making sure Maxwell didn't pull all the books off the shelves and Benson was calm despite it being time to eat.
I walked into the cafeteria to check out the stations there and a school employee came running up to me, a big smile on her face.
"First of all, do you need help?" she asked. When I mentioned that we were okay she continued, "Would you like me to hold your baby over there while you take care of what you need to do?"
I thanked her but informed her that we were just about to head out.
"Aww...I almost got to hold you!" she cooed to Benson.
The boys stopped at the photo booth on our way out and then Benson squirted potty out the side of his diaper all over the floor and my foot.
I rummaged through my purse and pulled out the baby wipes, bending over to clean up the mess, and then we were on our way.
As we walked out the door, a couple of women were on their way in and they paused, visibly counting my kids and then commenting on the fact that they were all boys!
(Next question from many people: "Are you going to try again for a girl??")
The last woman I passed stood there with her eyes wide saying, "I just...You're...I can't...You just...5 kids...You must be supermom!"
I laughed and said, "You should see the state of my house right now!"
She said, "Who cares?? You have a smile on your face and none of your kids are crying!"
I laughed again and continued on my way, herding kids, changing a diaper, sending Talmage back into the school to grab a forgotten item, and finally making it home to make lunch and confront the mess of the morning.
Altogether, I felt like a frazzled mess.
But the encouragement from my fellow moms left me feeling uplifted and happier in my role,
despite the overall chaos and constant commotion.
Kindness from other moms leaves me feeling all the more determined to encourage others instead of being critical or passing judgment--even mentally.
We're all in this together, moms, right?!