Hey stranger. I see you. I see you staring at my four year old screaming with every bit of strength that he wanted rainbow Goldfish, not the original ones. I see you nudging your partner with your elbow trying to get them to look at my almost 2 year old running away laughing while I'm wearing my baby in the infant wrap on my chest, shouting his name, and pushing the overflowing cart in Target praying out loud that I don't spill my only Starbucks of the week.
I hear you. I hear you say things like, "Do you think they're all hers?" and, "Wow...those kids are close together in age." I hear you gasp when my middle child tells me, "NO!" Or when I realize I forgot my nursing cover and have to awkwardly, unintentionally show off what I've got just to get the baby to stop screaming for a few minutes.
I hear you. I see you. I don't care. Because what you don't see and what you don't hear is this...
-I am a mom of three incredible children ages four years old and under. Yes, they can be pretty rambunctious, but if only you knew how much fun we have together.
-Yes, my toddler boys pick out their own clothes and hardly ever match. They look goofy together, but the amount of excitement they display when I tell them, "Of course you can wear your rain boots AND that superhero cape," is remarkable.
-Yes, my daughter is typically dressed better than me. She's cuter too. So there's no wonder she looks like a rockstar while I strut my stuff in my favorite pair of GAP sweatpants.
-No, I didn't shower today. I sweat like a teenage boy at football camp this morning while pushing my triple stroller for a three mile run before making it to the store today. You don't realize how much fun my kids have when we exercise together or how much they beg me to go for a run with them. Or how absolutely chaotic life would be if I didn't do this one thing to take care of myself today. So a sweaty, happy mommy is better than a clean one who had a rough morning of trying to look cute.
-Yes, car driving by, my kids are playing outside in their underwear, rolling in the mud. The memories being created in the midst of this mess is better than any toy could ever give them.
-Yes, we did plan to have this many kids this close together this early in our marriage. Yes, we do plan to have more unless we begin to feel otherwise. What I have to say to you about this is, I'm happy for you for how you choose to live your life. If you don't think my type of lifestyle is something for you, then don't live it and leave it at that.
So, stranger, if only you knew how happy I am and how full my heart is even on the hardest days. If only you could focus on the light. I know you think I'm crazy. I know you think I'm living a life that's set up for disfunction. I know you are staring at us because you think to yourself that I couldn't possibly handle this chaos. If only you knew that I thrive in chaos and that's why I'll smile at you when you look at me like I'm crazy. In the words of Moana's grandmother (because I have seen it enough to quote practically the whole movie), "I'm the village crazy lady." I may look like I'm crazy trying to herd this group of amazing kids in public, but someone's gotta do it and I'm grateful every day that it's me.