When you become a mother, your identity is wrapped up in raising children and people perceive you as just that – someone who is raising children. For a while when my four children were young, it was true that there wasn’t much going on in my life except for diaper changing, park-hopping, and snack distribution. Now my oldest daughter is 12, and my triplets are eight. I have written countless articles for online magazines, contributed essays to books, and co-published my book. Yet, I am disappointed that in social circles and among people I meet for the first time, I am still just a mommy machine.
Everyone who knows me is aware that I have triplets, and triplets is still a rare life occurrence. When I am introduced to new people, it always goes like this:
“This is Megan. She is the one who has triplets.”
I get it. People with higher order multiples are viewed as a kind of mythical creature who are sometimes admired and almost always pitied in a kind of “glad it’s you and not me” way. I admit, I would probably feel the same way if the tables were turned.
What I don’t understand is, why do people assume that just because I have triplets, I have no other life? At dinner with friends, I always make it a point to ask other moms what they have going on in their life right now.
Some examples would be: How is work going? Or if I don’t know them well yet, I ask if they work or stay home with their kids, trying not to be presumptuous with either life choice. What do you like to do for fun? Do you have any hobbies?
No one ever asks me what I do, or what I am all about. They always ask me one thing, “How are the kids?” If they don’t know me, they ask with profound curiosity, “Sooooo, how do you do take care of triplets? How does it work?”
Let me be clear, I never begrudge questions about being pregnant with triplets (a common question), or raising triplets. I appreciate what my body accomplished in carrying three babies at once, so I don’t mind sharing stories about the process. I love my triplets, therefore I enjoy talking about them. I usually say all the things people expect me to say, like, “My life is very full and busy,” or “My house is a very loud place,” – all generic but true statements that give my audience the little carrot they are after.
Once we get through the entire triplet conversation, I am always disappointed that I am only as interesting as the children I bore. Every once in a while, I would love to hear, “So what else do you do?” or “How is your book selling?” Perhaps the rest of my existence isn’t as fascinating, or maybe quite innocently, people just love talking about kids, and mine happens to be unusual.
When new acquaintances find out that I am a writer and have written an actual book, there is always shock and awe. “What? You wrote a book?” The disbelief is almost too much for them to bear.
Next time you are around another mom – whether she has one child or five, singletons or triplets – don’t forget to ask her about herself as an individual, not only as a mom. Even though we have kids, and raising kids can be all-consuming, it doesn’t mean that is all we ever want to talk about.
Hi, my name is Megan, and I have triplets plus one, and yes that is unbelievable, and you don’t know how I do it. But, I am also a writer who loves practicing yoga and drinking a nice glass of dry champagne by the pool on a warm day.
Megan Woolsey is the co-editor of Multiples Illuminated, writer, and publisher living in Northern California with a very supportive husband and a wild bunch of red-headed children – a set of triplets and their big sister. Megan has been published in The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, BLUNTmoms, Bonbon Break, Mamalode, In The Powder Room and is an essayist in two anthologies. When Megan needs a break from the kids, you can find her perusing her social media pages – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.