Monday, March 13, 2017

5 Things I've Learned About Having a "Big" Family

Imagine my eight month old strapped to my chest in a baby carrier, her three older stair-step brothers holding hands walking into the grocery store. They choose a special car cart to use and have a brief, passionate discussion about which two boys will get to drive and who will be left to stare at my face and the back of they baby's head. Sure, we're taking up some time and space but for the most part it is managed chaos and we aren't truly inconveniencing anyone. YET..

I see the looks.

Five Things I've Learned About Having a "Big" Family

1. People assume they're paying for you in some way. Don't get behind them in the grocery store--she's probably going to use food stamps. In fact, cut in front of them. Why do they have so many kids? No lie--someone has asked me before if I needed the number to Planned Parenthood.

2. If you have a big family, you are already in someones way. Just this trip I'm walking down an aisle with my crew and someone else was, too so I moved to go around. No biggie. THEN a third woman comes out of nowhere, pretending to not see us and comes barging right through despite the fact that there's no room and I can't pick up my cart (because there are groceries and three children weighing it down) to inch it over a few. It mattered not that I was easily there first. I was in her way. I was slowing her down and she was going to passive aggressively show me. If you're going to have a big family, go ahead and prepare yourself for some folks to act like they have a say in your life in some way. Literally, my big family doesn't have an impact on you at all. Why do you care? Are you watching them for me? DEFINITELY NOT. Are you buying their diapers? Nope. Food? No. You're doing nothing for them so keep walkin'.

3.When you all go out together, someone will always ask "Are they all yours?" or they'll say "You've got your hands full." I don't mind either of these statements for the record. Sometimes I'm amazed they're all mine, too and I DEFINITELY have my hands full with them.

4. Some people will grant you a knowing nod, a twinkle in their eye, or a smile that reminds you of the great responsibility you have in raising these little people. Usually it's a sweet older lady who has been there, done that and sometimes it's a woman who doesn't have any children yet and desperately wants to mother a child. Either way, these people refresh my heart. Be these people who grant grace instead of judgment.

5.You will grow every day. It may not be in number. It probably won't be your bank account that shows growth. No, you'll be stretched thin there...but your confidence in yourself as a mother will grow. Your love for your family and the amazing way you seem to balance EVERYTHING will grow. Your appreciation for others walking this path with many kids, with various special needs, with whatever will grow. You'll be different. You'll be those people I mentioned at number four. You'll give grace.

Y'all, my kids were actually pretty great in the store today yet I felt a lot of shade thrown our way. We've got to be better about this. If you've opened your Bible at least just a little bit, you know that children are special to God. Stop holding them to impossible standards. They're learning how to act and we, as parents, are learning to parent them. And while they embarrass me daily, they make me incredibly proud, too with all the moments you don't get to see.

Thank you, Lord, for a big family full of chaos! Thank you for growth and grace. Amen.


Jen said...

Yes! I agree with this 100%. I especially agree with what you said about holding them to impossible standards, they are kids, let them be kids. Yes you can teach them manners and to be kind but at the end of the day they are learning too. You rock, mama!

Sarah said...

Things like this always make me sad. I'm one of five kids and remember some of these things. It's not even like you have 10 kids, either. It's sad that we live in a time when four or more stand out so much. I'm not in any way saying you don't have your hands full or anything along those lines (I've told you before I think you're amazing), but it's unfortunate how society has changed.

Amber Nicole said...

"Don't you know what causes that?!"
"Are you planning for more?!"
"You're having another kid?"
"You two are gonna need a bigger table" <-- this was probably my favorite because it was an old man in the mall one day. Like, not in a restaurant, just walking past him & he shouts that out. Like, what?!

#2 hits a cord. People do this constantly. I hate feeling obligated to apologize on my children's behalf to some rude person that was annoyed by my children in the first place. Some elderly man almost ran Owen over with a cart once at checkout, because it's small, and he was trying to make a sharp turn QUICKLY. David grabbed up Owen real quick and yelled at the elderly guy to be more careful. It was just rude & totally uncalled for. Big families are my jam. I'm the oldest of 4.
Major hugs to you & your crew from us & our crew <3 <3

Lisa C said...

I have honestly always wanted four kids. I tell people that, and they look at me like I have three heads. I still don't understand why people feel compelled to comment on other people's families.

Jenn said...

I think with just 2 I have my hands full at times and people have felt the need to tell me that too. Especially when Bear acts out at Speech. I love what you said about the kids learning. It's a process. Bear may say thank you 100 times in a row, but the one time he doesn't say it to a stranger I get dirty looks. No on should be made to feel like they are a bad parent for their choices. Definitely not for the number of kids they choose to have. By the way... you are an amazing mom.

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