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.
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.