The other day, I found myself wondering why there seems to be so much confusion within the general population regarding large families. I grew up as the oldest of five children and I am married to a man who is one of twelve children, so we have both fielded more than our fair share of "big family" questions before we started our own "big" family.
So, we were certainly used to hearing things such as, "What's dinner like at your house? Do you fight over food?", by the time we were expecting our 5th child.
You may laugh at the above question; you may have even asked it a time or two... but, if you really think about it's meaning, maybe you can begin to see why a member of a large family might be slightly offended by it?
Sure, I have many friends who grew up in large families, and when we get together we joke about the various things people say to us when they discover we are members of a larger-than-average-family, or when strangers see a larger-than-average-family in public.
"Did your parents want to start a baseball team?"
"Are you a nursery school?"
"Didn't your parents EVER hear of birth control?"
"HOW many of you ARE there?"
"Are they ALL yours?"
"Your kids are so well-behaved!"
(this one said with disbelief)
"I'm glad it's you, and not me!"
And, that's just for starters! I have many quick answers to all of these questions, and I've heard a lot of other people's answers, as well. Just run a quick search on "large families", and you will find many, many sites devoted entirely to answering these rude (yes, they ARE rude!) questions.
Now, I am completely aware that our society has stopped reading Emily Post's book on etiquette, and I know that most of you have probably been offended by a really inappropriate comment/question a time or two. But, truly, large family-bashing seems to be the last "acceptable" form of discrimination.
And what is discrimination rooted in?
So, let me gently enlighten all those who really don't understand.
I mean it, I really do. I think that a little "education" goes a long way.
So, let's open our minds and our hearts...
1) I certainly do know what "causes" this many children to be born (I'm very good at it!), and I
don't feel that a large family is a "bad" thing or and "accident".
a) I am PROUD of being one of five children.
b) I am PROUD of being the mother of six children.
c) That said, my fertility is private and not up for discussion. And, NEVER in front of my
children. (Did you enjoy listening to your parent's sex life being discussed?)
2) As I mentioned in my first post, God is a necessity in my life. Not just because I am
the mother of six, but because I am a mother. Period.
a) So, yes, we let God "plan" our family. Sometimes, He plans to let us keep and raise a child,
and sometimes He plans to let one of our children bless us from Heaven.
b) This doesn't make me an uneducated doormat.
c) This helps me to realize that any one's "control" over any thing is an illusion, and if I
am to stay sane at all, I'd better let the Guy who is in control take over.
3) We did not win the lottery, and we are not "wealthy" by any definition of the word.
Conversely, we are not on Welfare.
a) If my decision to have even my first child, was financially based, I wouldn't be a mother.
b) Our children have all their "needs", and most of their "wants". If I had one or two kids, I
still wouldn't give them all their "wants".
4) We are very happy. All of us. 'Nuff said!
And, listen, EVERYBODY......
Big family or small, please think before you speak! It's a good rule for all of us. A little bit of politeness goes a very long way, and our world could use a few more polite people in it.
Hey, don't get me wrong! I love talking about my kids! I just don't think their creation is an appropriate (or practical) topic of conversation for the check-out lane at the grocery store. And, I am certainly not asking anyone why they aren't interested in having more kids. Whatever happened to "live and let live"?
Oh, and, no, we do not fight over the food at the dinner table...
My cooking just isn't worth the trouble.