October 11, 2010

Defending the size of my family

Do you often feel like you need to "defend" the size of your family?  I do.  And there aren't that many of us!

Either I'm dealing with nasty looks or comments like "Oh, you're having ANOTHER one" (said when pregnant with my 3rd) when I'm out and about with my four boys or I'm trying to explain why I ONLY have four kids.  I either have too many or not enough.  I can't win!

I wonder sometimes why I feel like I have to defend my choices.  I also wonder why people ask the most impertinent questions and seem to feel entitled to very personal information.  In asking questions about my adoption one woman asked if I was raising my husband's illegitimate son from an affair he had had.  Uh, NO.  There was no affair.  Just an adoption.  Why jump to such crazy conclusions?????

One of my sisters is unable to have children of her own.  She has endured years of people asking hurtful, personal, unthinking questions.  Why do we do this to each other?  Why do I feel like I have to tell everyone I can't have more children for medical reasons?  Why can't I just be content and tell people to mind their own business?  Why don't they mind their own business?  Why don't I?

One of the things I struggle with in defending my "large" family is the question of courtesy.  Let's say we want to buy a snack.  We go and stand in line and wait 10 minutes or so.  We finally get to the front and there is a single person behind us.  Do we let them go first?  Do we order and make them wait?  How about at the grocery store when I have my cart LOADED with two weeks worth of groceries and I'm about to put them on the conveyor belt.  I notice a person behind me with half a cart.  Should I let them go first?

My husband and I debate this all the time.  He calls it courtesy to let the single person (or several single persons or smaller families) go first.  I claim that if I stood in line and have "done my time" I should not feel pressured to stand aside.  I also don't want my children feeling like we have to apologize for having four kids.  That because we 'have so many people' in our family that we need to feel like we're a burden and thus let others go first.  I constantly wrestle with being 'thoughtful' to those around me and helping my children feel that they are just as valued and important as those with fewer (or no) kids.

Am I even making sense?  For the record I like to let old people and pregnant women go ahead of me in almost any situation.  But what is the proper thing to do in other situations?  Why is buying a Slurpee such a moral dilemma????????


  1. I have four children. I've noticed I get invited to less! LOL. I feel your pain about defending the size of your family.

    As far as letting people in front of me...unless the person has one item, I just take my turn. lol. Is that bad? I am not trying to NOT let someone in front of me. I just don't think I need to let the world in front of me just because I am purchasing more. In fact, I should be catered too since I am funding the store and stimulating the economy with my large purchases! LOL.

  2. I know the feeling--only for me it's the opposite. I have one nine year old kid and I live in Utah! Here that kind of makes me a freak! Although I shouldn't have to explain anything, I immediately tell people we're trying to adopt because I've gotten some rude comments in the past.

  3. When I'm in the right mood I'll start in about reproductive body parts if someone brings it up. Then say something like, "oh, did you not want to know that, because it sounded like you wanted to make it your business?" It comes across more snarky on the internet than in real life.
    I also touch people's stomachs back if they touch my pregnant belly. VERY effective!!

  4. Now that we're up to 4 kids too, I've decided 4 is an odd number. It's not 8 and it's not 2. People don't know how to respond. Mostly I just get looks. Is it a big family or a smaller family? I had a waitress tell me how impressed she was because ALL of my kids behaved so well at the restaurant. How did I manage eating out with so many kids?

    The other day, I only had the 2 boys at Walmart. I was enjoying how peaceful my shopping experience was until strangers started coming up to me. I had more comments about my hands being full (Luke was in a backpack, Isaac the shopping cart and they were both very well behaved) that day than when I'm hauling around all 4. Weird.

    The worst was missing our airplane flight to Oregon and seeing the airline people trying to find 5 empty seats on the same flight (Luke was still a lap child). I hate putting people out because of my "large" family.

    And for the record, Tyler usually lets the single people order before us. I take too long to decide what we want. But, once we're in line and I'm ready to order, they have to wait their turn. As far as shopping goes, they can always find a shorter line or wait. Especially if I've already started to unload my heaping cart-o-groceries.