Tuesday, July 13

Motherhood

I never once sat back and thought to myself, "I think I'll aim to be lonely and tired in motherhood" but lately I am admitting to myself that this is true.
I have no regrets about this life that has been clearly God-wrought and God-established and I know that these feelings have nothing to do with our children but more with the current rotundo stage of life I'm in and the Christian culture we live in, which, as a whole, is not welcoming to large families. I never thought we'd be "that" family, but here we are.
1.) Two weeks ago we went to a playgroup at a park where we were not the largest family and no one once asked, "how do you do it" or looked at me like I should be institutionalized.
2.) We have a lot of fans in DSS (department of social services).
3.) Last week two friends brought their children over while the mamas and I worked batches of peach jam and casserole dishes of peach cobbler.
4.) This morning another friend (newly Christian - woohoo!) texted a message to my phone about a playgroup at the park and can we *please* come.
I write these out to remind myself that I am not completely friendless and am surrounded by some incredible women, who don't mind making six extra p-butter and jelly sandwiches in addition to the two needed for their own children, or having a family of eight over for dinner or coming over to simply give me some adult interaction so I really don't need an institution. :)


The truth is though, that the unspoken negativity often speaks louder than the gifts of friendship and affirmation. Why is that? Why, when we're blatently uninvited, does that hurt more than the gifts of genuine hospitality bless?
I'm thinking because it brings cause for me to protect my children from the hurt and I remind myself that half-hearted hospitality is appealing to no one. Our home is full. There are usually guests here at least twice a week, laughter, crazy kids with snails for temporary pets, who go out to the garden to graze off peas and herbs and give me cilantro scented kisses.
Lord, help to have a greatful heart for the true gifts of friendship you've placed in my life, for the blessings of hospitality offered to us, and help our home to carry an atmosphere of Your grace and welcome always,
In Jesus' name, I pray,
Hannah
Blessings to you all and a week of beautiful hospitality given and received to you!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hannah,
I totally understand how you feel. I think us moms with larger families feel that way at times. I just remember who wants my four boys to come over and create chaos? So I just have people over it is easier. I am finding that larger families get together because we all know how difficult it can be to be invited to smaller families homes. I also made a point this summer to tell all my sons friends that we are going to the beach this week at this time if you want to play come and hang with us. This has been great for all of us since we are at a different location.
Well, my point is that you are always welcome to come out here. We welcome all of you with open arms!
Marissa

april ausdenmoore said...

Hi Hannah,

WE only have four children. However, I have been hurt by not being invited. I guess a family of six is large here. I enjoyed your post. I hope everything goes well. If we are ever in Upper state NY we will have to meet.

Diane said...

You are "that" family not only for the reason you've stated. You are "that" family because of the love, encouragement, patience and acceptance you show daily to everyone you come into contact with. A rarity to be sure. :O)

Mominapocket said...

It is true our culture is not welcoming to "big families". Just look at all the ways our society works against marriage and families.

Our culture puts emphasis on creating wealth with the definition of wealth meaning money and cumulating more stuff.

There is nothing more wealthier than healthy family relationships- a lot of them.

I was taught this truth by my grandmother (a mother of 10) who grew her own food,created their ownentertainment, all within their home containing one small bathroom.

By her actions, she lived the truth that "children are Not a burden but a blessing from God".

Nancy

Heather said...

Hello! I really appreciate this post- I think its a great attitude. One thing I would like to suggest, though, is that maybe sometimes the comments that you hear aren't meant to be as unfriendly as you mean them to be. Even when I had only one child I heard "you have your hands full" - In our culture being busy is such a prized thing - I certainly didn't take it as that they didn't like my little family. I also watch the Duggar family on TV - I know that they are often, often asked how they do it and they take it as a compliment and an opportunity to share. So- even though there are some people out there who may not like large families (just as there are those who feel sorry for those with no children or only a few - I grew up the opposite of what we have now as an only child - and wow - you should hear those comments!!! I definitely did not want to repeat that experience - harsh, harsh , harsh!) its possible that the comments are not as critical as you might think. Thanks again for a nice post!

Michele said...

Very brave, vulnerable post, Hannah. I felt those same feelings many times over the years. Everyone looking on admires you and your lifestyle, but they are afraid to get too close. It can be hard, I know. That's why it's so important that Sean is your best friend. I found that I just had to be the one to reach out if I wanted friends. Not always an easy thing to do. But worth it in the end, as you cultivate true and lasting friendships. Laurie King was one of those people whom I "took a chance" on, and we are best friends 20 years later.

Anonymous said...

WOW.. I never would have thought that you would be unwelcome.. Well you would never be unwelcomed in my house !

I have to work, It is what it is... but I keep a list hanging by my desk to pick me up when I am down, It is a list of "things I have learned as I have matured". I have to repeat #5 to my self weekly, "do not compair yourself to others, they are more screwed up than you think!" that thought and my serenity prayer.. keep me going alot !

If you are in NJ you would be most welcome at our home.. all 9 of you? LOL

Sue in NJ

Anonymous said...

Hannah -
I live very far away from you and often wish I lived on the farm next to yours. There are times when I am tired and lonely too. Some of those times. I walk over to the computer and check your blog for a little encouragement. The wonderful thing about blog world is that I have that option. You and your family are a great encouragement to ours. Thank you for this "one sided" friendship.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post.
We are expecting number 4 any day, with our oldest being 5 1/2.
While it really doesn't bother me to be "not innvited", I can completely relate to the loneliness and desire for "adult" conversation. It is good to know that others feel this way, too. Thank you for your constant encouragement!! As another commentor said, I often come to your blog looking for a little burst of pick-me-up. Your sincerity is so refreshing!
Thank you!
Andrea

Trudy Callan said...

I suspect that many of these people just don't know what a blessing several children can be because they haven't experienced it and they aren't accustomed to the extra activity and noise and they have been trained to think otherwise in our fallen world. I'm sure their thinking can be changed by seeing large families in action. I know my home is very loud with all of my little kidlets. I'm sure it can be irritating to those who aren't used to all of the noise. But there are so many out there that don't mind and realize what a blessing children are, and we just have to focus on those people and seek them out. It's good that you have others over. It's probably easier for you that way, too, because you don't have to pack everyone up to go somewhere. You are a wonderful example to people everywhere you go and to us in blogosphere. Thank you for sharing your life with us and being a light.

Trudy
www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

Gardenmis said...

You are a beautiful person and I love that you share your joys and disappointments through your blog. God supplies our every need and I know He will continue to supply the friendship you need as He does for all His children. I have always wanted a large family but God has blessed with 3 children instead of the 6 I thought I should have. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I try to go out of my way to befriend those with lots of children and be a blessing. God has blessed me far more than any blessing I could be to others. You may never know this side of heaven how much your family blesses others, so keep smiling!

Mrs.Mike said...

Amen! We do live in a culture where large families are the only large thing people don't want.
I too use you as a 1 sided friendship I guess. I often use large family bloggers to uplift myself when I feel alone.:)

mandi said...

Thank you for this post, Hannah. We are a small family of 4, so this didn't really apply to my situation as much as it applies to my outlook. I have never thought about this 'stigma' towards larger families. Maybe because it is my hearts desire to have a large family. Regardless, I want to examine my own heart in this matter and be better about reaching out mom's with lots of little ones.

Hugs to you , momma.

Sue said...

Oh, Hannah! My heart goes out to you! Here, we're thought crazy for having 4 children and homeschooling...but 3 of my friends have 7 children each and another close friend has 8...we love to get together as often as schedule will allow...and usually, our family goes to the home of the larger families, simply for convenience for them...but we also have a lot of hospitality at our home...especially with my oldest daughters being 17 and 15. You are fulfilling the calling that the Lord has blessed you with...and that calling encompasses many areas, but first with your children...will be keeping you, your family and your new little blessing in prayer! ~Sue~

Walnut Creek Cottage said...

Hannah,
I don't live close, but I certainly would welcome you. I grew up in a blended family with 8 children. My grandfather was one of 13, and my first husband one of 11. Lots of family and lots of noise seems perfectly normal to me!!!

Mindy

Karen G. said...

I can only imagine where you are coming from as a mom of six. I was only a mom of 2 and I stayed at home and did not work. I also homeschooled for several years as well. Both of those things brought with them some isolation and loneliness. I welcomed adult attention often! I am encouraged by your family and cannot tell you how much you and Sean are an inspiration to others. I noticed that just in reading these posts and I know others who appreciate you.

Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

I only have two children but I often feel like the outsider. We go to a big church and there are lots of mothers with children but they often do not include me or my kids in playdates. They had a "dessert night" at one of the mother's homes one evening and almost every younger couple was invited but us. Our church has a Wednesday morning playgroup but when I take my kids many of them do not talk to me. I've tried so hard to "fit in" and be very nice to these girls, but they are very cliquey and feel like they are always judging me. I can't understand why. I've spent hrs talking to my husband about it and just feeling very brokenhearted. I think it has to do with our parenting choices (it was an issue with some of them when my youngest was a baby and all the other mothers were letting their babies cry it out but me) plus the fact that we are homeschooling. I don't exactly know what it is, but it hurts and it's too bad that we live so far apart Hannah, because I'd love to get together with you!!!

Treena

Joy said...

Hi Hannah~

I can sure understand feeling "lonely and tired" in motherhood. In our case, though, it has nothing to do with being a larger-than-average family. We have 5 children, but all of our friends have 7,8,10 or more. In fact, we sometimes feel "looked down upon" because we don't have more! It can get to the point with the "large family cliques" that your family size determines how accepted you are. That isn't good, either. :)_

We also home church, so we regularly have people (with lots of children!) in our home, and we also enjoy time in the homes of other families (we take turns hosting church). The thing that I find hard is that everyone stays so busy with their own things during the week that it is only on Sunday that we get together.

What I miss is just some time enjoying fellowship with other moms, without the children! I love my children so much, I'm so thankful to be a mother, I never leave them with babysitters, etc., but I just crave some uninterrupted time to talk to other moms and just enjoy the blessings of friendship! As a teenager and a young adult I enjoyed my girl-friends so much, but that has all changed after I threw myself wholeheartedly into motherhood. I have talked to my husband about these longings in my heart for friendship, and we concluded together that maybe this is just a season for us to grow closer to each other as husband and wife and best friends. :)

olga said...

thank you Hannah for this post. I thought I am the only "lonely" mom (expecting the fifth child)in this crazy world i see things are much the same over there in america and here in Russia. Yes, sometimes it hurts to see that even our grandma seems annoyed by our family visits, but i keep reminding myself the only thing that matters: children are blessings of God not burden.
thank you for your blog, it is such an encouragement!
God bless your wonderful family!