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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

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!

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Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

And let's not forget about the whipped cream!

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