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Post in Besides Beauty

Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Almost every time I go out shopping or out to eat, whether I have only 1 kid or all my kids with me, I will get a question like, “How many kids do you have?” or “Are all those yours?” When I say, “I have 4” or “Yep, all mine!” I inevitably get told, “Wow! You look so good for having 4 kids!” I always give an enthusiastic “Thanks!” but it makes me wonder, what if I only had 2 kids? Would I still look good then? What if I didn't have any kids?


This statement is often followed by the question, “What do you do to stay so thin?” and an expression that implies they are waiting for some kind of epiphany. “I eat 3 pumpkin seeds and then do a somersault every day.” (I’ve never said anything like that but I’ve thought about it.)

If I try to keep it light and say, “Oh they keep me busy! I don’t sit down much!” Like the lady yesterday, I will get a story about how much running around she does and look at her… What am I supposed to say to that? Do they want me to agree with them or tell them they look great? If I give them the common sense answer,“ I don’t eat a lot of crap and I work out” I get a blank stare and a disappointed “Oh.”

Then I walk away feeling awkward and her probably thinking I’m a ______ (insert word that rhymes with itch.)


Thanks for listening to my annoyed rant. How do you handle similar situations? Any witty comeback suggestions?

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Yeah I had lost 20 lbs. in college thanks to good old fashioned eating less and exercising more. Now that I'm in my 30's and on birth control, maintaining that weight loss isn't as easy as it used to be. If a pregnancy is in my future, I know it'll take me forever to lose the weight.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Your sister sounds like me. I'm about 5'7 and I barley weigh in at 100 pounds. Before anyone says anything I have no disorders and am perfectly healthy, I'm not deficient in vitamins or anything either. Sometimes when I go on medication I drop weight scary fast, I've had to quit medicine several times because I dropped to 90 pounds. It took less than a month for me to accidentally drop the weight and about three for me to put it back on. I really wouldn't mind gaining a little but that does not seem like it will be happening anytime soon. My metabolism will probably slow down a little as I get older. 

 

I have a ton of problems with fitting clothes for my whole body. I have a long waist so you can pretty much assume if a shirt/dress is supposed to hit at the waist it will be at my ribs. Nothing is ever long enough to cover my stomach either. I need an XS in just about everything since my waist is less than 20 inches. However my chest, butt, and thighs don't fit that same model. My boyfriend laughs at me trying to get my jeans on because I can't get them up over my butt. Once I do have them on you can fit your whole hand down my pants because my hips and waist aren't that big. My chest can be irritating as well because often I need about a medium up top. Forget button up shirts. I've had some shirts get stuck on me because I'm broad shouldered. Also my chest is kind of high up, so if a shirt is supposed to sweep down to show a little cleavage you can bet I'll be about 80% uncovered. 

 

I have weighed in 115 before when I was exercising everyday. Unfortunately my body became really dense and I actually became smaller all over, just with well defined abs. I was really confused as to why my weight had gone up but my clothes had gotten really baggy. 

 

I really like my hourglass figure I just hate fitting it. I always look for simple things when shopping because I have less trouble with them. I love skirts as a result, I'm working on adding dresses to my closet but that is proving to be difficult. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

The compliment/insult I always got was "You are so thin! Are you anorexic?" I hated it. I never could figure out if they were intentionally trying to be mean or if they were just stupid. I got judged on chest size as well. Many girls/guys would point out how I had a small chest. I wore baggy shirts and non-padded bras. It was actually quite interesting in the locker room when girls realized despite apparently looking "anorexic" I had more meat in the right places than they did. About the only girls in the locker room beating me were curvy girls and ones that had ran out and bought the Victoria Secret add two cup size bras. 

 

Speaking of which I had the most hilarious moment with my cousin who was drooling over this girl because she had a massive chest. I took one look at what she had on and knew it had add 2 cup size padding because it was in my current VS catalog. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I think the worst time anyone asked me when I was due was Christmas 2011.  We were at Dan's boss' house for the office party and one of his coworkers asked me when I was due.  Most of you will likely recall that I had posted about losing our first daughter at 6 weeks postpartum.  I was asked that the day of the party and the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of what would've been Alyssa's birthday.  Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't burst into tears immediately both days.  But I did say "I'm not pregnant."

 

You should've seen the looks on their faces.  Priceless.  And then immediately fell all over themselves apologizing.  Yes, thanks for making me feel worse (I had gained 20 lbs afterward due to depression.  I did finally lose it by doing Weight Watchers after Ashley was born though.)

 

Then in October 2012, I was asked on Ashley's due date (10/6) when I was due.  I had just come from the OB and was finally a fingertip's width dilated and was hungry, so we stopped by one of my favorite places at the mall for lunch.  My response?  "Today."

 

You should've seen the woman's eyes when I responded.  You could practically SEE the wheels turning and then her hoping my water didn't break in the middle of the mall!  Ashley decided to stay put past her eviction notice until the 9th though...which is the same day that her friend Audra has her second birthday.  So Audra's party is this weekend and Ashley's is next weekend.  Can't wait!  I swear this year has just flown by.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

first off, i am so sorry for your loss. i can't even imagine. i would have totally lost it, i am very impressed that you managed to hold yourself together! 

 

second, when i was pregnant with my daughter, my ex and i would go for drives through the hills around the end of my pregnancy. he was backing up during one of these adventures, and the wheel of our van got caught in a ditch and we were stuck. finally someone happened upon us and helped us out (we were in the middle of nowhere on a back road!) and she asked "when are you due?" "yesterday." haha. i'm sure you can imagine the look on her face! lucklly my daughter wasn't born until one week later! she was probably having the same thoughts i was right about then! "holy crap, this woman is going to give birth right here in the middle of nowhere inside of a minivan!" haha

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Sigh, I completely understand how you feel Smiley Sad  I'm 31 & have 2 kids, 11 & 5.  I'm super short & really thin.  I get the "BOTH are yours?" or "you look so YOUNG" all the time.  Or I've had people talk to my mom about my kids, not realizing I was the parent.  I just smile & move on.  Its annoying for sure, but snarky comments really just make me look & seem childish, when the objective is to be taken seriously as an adult & parent.  I think your answer is perfectly acceptable Smiley Happy  My fav answer for being so in-shape after kids is "Ohh, chasing after my kids really keeps me in shape!" Some people love to engage others & push their buttons, but being the bigger person just feels better Smiley Wink

 

xo, Mia

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I get the "so YOUNG" comment too.  I was 20 also when my oldest was born.  Would they prefer we looked old and haggard?

 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

LOL!  They'd LOVE it if we looked like a disheveled hot mess!!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I "love" when people (especially 20 somethings lol) tell me I look good- for my age...... LMAO I'm like ummm excuse me I am 35 NOT 95! Last time I check I was not a dinosaur or an old purse. lol 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Wow, I'm 100 lbs and have two kids and no one ever comments on my weight. Perhaps it's because my baseline resting expression is a 'don't mess with me' one. It's not on purpose bunsuitable have been told that I look mean. Ah well, it hasn't stopped some people from asking if I'm the nanny though!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Oops, that should read 'but some people' instead of 'bunsuitable'. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

My mom got sick of people asking if my sisters and I were all hers, so to cut off all of those intrusive and nosy (not to mention totally rude!) conversations from happening, when someone would say "Oh my goodness, are those all yours?"  she would answer "Nope, I stole them!"  Then she'd smile and walk away.  Works like a charm!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I was thinking of suggesting that, but US residents are way too soft for that these days. I wouldn't be surprised if someone called the cops on her for saying that. I mean people call DYFS if you yell at your kids too loud in public. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Well, at least I won't get a big head from strangers complimenting me.  Kids keep it real.  The day after posting this, while driving my kids to school my oldest daughter says, "Hey look!  Every time we go over a bump Mom's arm fat jiggles!"  Then my oldest son chimes in, "You're right it does!  Mom, flex and see if it still does it!"

My triceps are the bane of my existence. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I hear you!  I have four also.  What are you supposed to look like? I know women with none, one or 7.  I think more of it is heredity, and yes, drink lots of water, don't eat a bunch of c**p and most importantly, beautiful inside, beautiful outside<3!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

When I was 30 lbs heavier than now (about 3 years ago), my family would say "You have such a pretty face." So just specifically my face is pretty? The rest of me isn't?

I'm at a comfortable weight now, but my family still likes to make me feel bad about the fact that I was heavier. At Christmas when I saw my aunt 2 years ago, she said, "Oh, look who put down the Twinkies and went to the gym!" My mom chimed in, "Well, she had to learn the hard way that she can't eat everything and not gain weight!"

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Ugh.  I hope you ate seconds of pie in front of them.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

That would've been such a triumph! I could probably do something like that now, but I was too embarrassed and self-conscious back then.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Hmmmmm.... And I hope you asked for seconds on the ice cream to put on your pieSmiley Very Happy  How Lame!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

And let's not forget about the whipped cream!

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