Since we’re expecting our 5th in July, we’ve pretty much heard it all at this point. Doesn’t mean it’s any less hurtful when someone just doesn’t UNDERSTAND the big family concept (and feels the need to explain all the things), but we get it. FIVE KIDS IS INSAAANE. However, so are your perfect two (which I know you know). We just manage it differently cause… We’re different people.
So, I’m walking down the peanut butter aisle (cause let’s face it, we ALWAYS need peanut butter), one hand on my 8-months-pregnant belly, and the other hand half pushing the cart and half holding the 18-month-old in place (since he is absolutely convinced he should be facing backwards, toward the two in the basket and one hanging off the end of the cart), and I hear another couple talking in lower tones about six feet away. I can’t catch it all due to the noise level in my two square feet of space, but the general idea is one I’ve heard in the background of hundreds of other shopping trips, so I let it roll off and move on. But it still stings a little.
“OMG, so many kids.”
“I would never want that many. Aren’t you glad we don’t have that many?”
“They’re all so close in age. They must be crazy to have had them all that close in age.”
“Who would want that many kids?!”
Yes, I hear you.
You probably think I have no idea what kind of picture we are. That I’m completely oblivious to the chaos… And your comments about it.
But I hear you.
Do you really think all of that? But furthermore, do you really think we don’t notice?
When you say my family is big, do you really think I love each one of them any less than you love your single child, or your perfect boy-and-girl, 4-seater-sedan family?
My husband doesn’t.
Why would we?
We hoped for each one of them. We waited for each one of them. We longed for each one of them as if they were the first. We’ve watched each one of them sleep peacefully, little eyelashes fluttering and little fingers and toes flexing, and we’ve held each one of them as they’ve earned new teeth, battled fevers, learned new superpowers (in the form of bruised knees and bumped heads, usually), and braved nightmares.
We’ve taught each one of them. From the oldest sweeping under the table and folding laundry to the youngest learning where toys go when they’re done being played with. They are not a burden to us or society. They help each other. They entertain each other. They love each other inseparably.
Did you know it’s actually EASIER with more?
We have less toys because they play with each other. We have less housework to do because they always want to help, and we’ve taught them how (each in their own strength and ability).
Yes, sometimes–ok maybe all the time–the noise levels can be deafening. There are many days that we’d love to have just five minutes of total silence.
But here’s the deal. WE MADE THIS FAMILY. And that makes it the best ever.
And I’m pretty sure you feel the same about your family, too, whatever size it is.
You know what else? I LOVE YOUR FAMILY. If it’s one baby or twenty.
So, next time you’re around a mama who looks like she “has her hands full,” try saying something like, “you are totally rocking this.” Cause that’s what she needs to hear.
And if you can’t say that? Maybe try something my mother taught me. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Cause we can still hear you when you’re whispering. It’s the looks, the way you jump out of our way, it’s all the same. The way you exclaim some comment about our family size. We know what you’re most likely thinking.
When you say my family is big, we hear you’d never want that many, and you don’t know how someone could be so stupid as to have that many. It’s too much work. It’s too much money. It’s too much noise.
Let’s be real, here.
When you say my family is big, we hear we’re shortsighted and we’re incapable and we should really have some kind of government-related help, even though we NEVER deserve it for being so dumb as to have that many in the first place. We hear we’re a burden to society.
We hear we can’t do it.
We hear YOU couldn’t ever do it.
Just setting foot inside a grocery store with that many kids is something most parents (including us) would prefer NOT to do. But here we are, rocking it.
At 8 months pregnant, I’d definitely prefer to sleep or waltz around in slouchy PJs than take 4 kids out in public, looking at least moderately presentable, and grocery shop at crazy hour. But again, here we are, cart bouncing around like we’re trying to start a disco, but rocking it.
Nobody’s locked in the car, anyway.
We may have our lapses of parenthood judgement, but having five kids wasn’t one of them. So you can stop saying it now.
Especially when–gasp–this is our plan. We like it this way. As crazy as it is.
And I’m pretty sure my big family is going to rock pretty much everything. Cause we got this.
I am a single mom of 5, I get it and you are rocking it! Theres more love and more to love within a “big family” and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Such a true post here! amazing woman you are loving on all ur little ones.
I have 3 sweet girls and get looks & comments with 3!
I Loved, I mean LOVED this post! As a mother of four children (all of which managed to survive despite my limited parenting skills and sometimes lenient discipline methods.) Two of these children are now adults And making their own decisions About life, and two are what I refer to as the second coming of toddlerhood: the early teen years. Hopefully, I have learned how to deal with some of the impending events sure to come a bit more easily than with the first two.
I heard all the same comments (probably a few more) that you mentioned whether folks dared to say them aloud or whisper behind me as our brood passed. I couldn’t be more proud (of my family-naturally) and of all mothers braving the frontiers of unsolicited advice or less than understanding bystanders, who have clearly missed out on the benefit of raising a large family. I’m thankful to be among good company and surrounded by the love and support of my MANY children.
My soon to be wife Sara and I cannot wait to start building our family, we already have one ruthless 2 year old boy, but we want a big family too. Our plan is to have at least 5 more. We love being moms, we love the enrichment our first brought to our lives. Being a parent to a big family is amazing, there is so much love and laughter. Sure there’s a lot of screaming and wildness and difficulty, but at the end of the day it’s always worth it! KEEP ROCKING IT MAMA, YOU’RE AWESOME!! You’re a great role models to mothers!
My comments are usually ones of admiration or envy. I have the “ideal” one boy and one girl but I always dreamed of more. Mine came to me through adoption and we had to work hard for the two we have.
Yes, you got this, rock on. :)
[email protected] Measured Mom
I LOVE this – thank you! I often bring all five of our kids to the grocery store. Funny that there are some stores where I get a lot of smiles and appreciation (“Wow — these are all yours? What a beautiful family!”) and others where I get a lot of dirty looks. I am now about 8 months pregnant with #6. I agree with all counts — it’s crazy, crazy, but a huge blessing – and I DO believe that having a bigger family is easier than it was having just one or two. We can’t wait to welcome our newest gift in December.
Even as a Mum of three I get comments along these lines on a regular basis, so I can only imagine the looks and comments having 5 in tow could generate! You and your husband clearly have a positive attitude and are willing to put in the time and energy to support and teach each child. Yes it’s crazy sometimes, but big families rock. x
Hey I have 4 children ages13,11,9,2 they are my life yes we’re a big family and they are my everything..I get starred at all the time oh especially since I’m a young momma.28 well here’s the thing no one pays for my mortgage food nor what my family needs..I do..I get so upset when ppl stare and whisper and look at us like we’re a part of a circus….I love my family..and for all the mommy’s who have big families..yes we are rocking it…you goo girl..love this post..thanks also for standing up for all of us big family mommies…proud momma of 4 ..I’m blessed.
I can really understand. I’m an only child so people think I’m CRAZY. We have 9 well loved children!! They are not wild kids but wonderfully loved. People have been shocked that I would have more if God blessed me with them. I cannot have anymore (medical issue). I have been given examples on what I should do to Stop having more :( some very shocking, bold advice.
I have also had very positive comments. We Fully Enjoy each one!!!
Aww, I am sorry to hear that you get negative comments about your family size. I feel like I have been unusually blessed with positive comments about our 5 kids when we were in America. I am sure people are awed and amazed by your family now though. I love how people here love children.
I love this a million times. We have 7 children, one has passed away and when people make comments I just can’t help but think, which one would you rather I didn’t have? Because I am already missing one…you never know people’s situations:) we are insane but insanely happy to have this little tribe to call our own. Bless it. Thanks for writing this! Rock on.
We have TEN! Yes, count that out…1, 2, 4…10! We are a blended family that each came on board with 5! The new age Brady Bunch! I was a single mom of 5 (3 boys-with a set of twins in there & 2 girls) for 9.5 years. My ex husband left when our youngest was 6 months old. I felt no one would ever want me and my five. That’s too much too handle because society made me feel that way. Like here I was a single mom, probably with all these baby daddies, suckin up government assistance. Nope, they were all 5 from my lousy ex HUSBAND, that I never planned on him leaving us in the middle of the night… But God has a tickled sense of humor because I got together with my current love, he told me he had 5 kids (ALSO 3 boys and 2 girls- with a set of twins in there) what was MY first thought- FIVE KIDS! OH THAT’S TOOOO MANY! Then I realized my judgement had a LOT. OF. NERVE! Our kids range from ages 8-18. Love them all and yes, we do get it best because they always have a playmate, never a dull moment, chores get done quicker and they look after one another! Many days I say I can’t wait until they’re out of the house, but I know I will be bored out of my mind!
You are AMAZING. :) And what a great story, LOVE it!