Sunday, April 22

Things Large Families May Wish you to Know

The papa reading
I'm absolutely borrowing this post idea from one I saw on the "I Love My Large Family" FB page but with my own ideas. And so, what might large families wish you to know?

1) We don't mind if you stop us in public and ask us about our family.
This is nice. This is sweet. If you are over 80 and your eyes tear up, it is especially sweet. A few weeks ago we set a sweet elderly women to mush in the thrift store as she told us all about how her two beautiful little girls both died of cancer decades and decades ago and admonished me that children are the greatest wealth. I love to meet you. I may even hug you.
Now, this doesn't always happen, but just as a caution to help you out a bit, cause I'm fond of you stopping us to say "hi", - the questioning in our minds turns sour when it devels into the intimate portion of our life as a couple with our children in the conversation. Would you like me to question your parents about their s@x lives in front of you? Oh, please, please, please don't go there.

2) We know we have our hands full.
Are you asking to help? I could use an Alice from the Brady Bunch. I could also use a good drywaller. If you could fill both positions, well then, I think I love you.

3)Having a large family does not mean I am gifted with supernatural patience.
  Like most character issues, patience grows as it is challenged to grow. So does creativity and organization. Most days, I wish NOT to be challenged in these areas.

4) The thought of us fitting in your house may make your skin crawl, but please don't forsake fellowship with us.
We'll gladly meet at a park, the zoo, a museum... or get a sitter and do a double date. I would LOVE to have an adult conversation with you. You may have to remind me how this is done.

5) Having a large family neither means we are on state assistance or wealthy.
Lifestyles and debt are expensive, children aren't.

6) Once they turn three-ish, my kids generally dress themselves.
We have a *no camo* rule outside of hunting or going to the cabin, but all else is fair game. If you see the toddler's jeans tucked into his red rubber boots and it isn't raining out and he isn't in a barn, just smile. He's cute. The five year old is also adamant about what matches. Flowers and stripes are fair game. The brighter, the better. Just think about all the clashes of color God uses in creation. She's on to something.
Finally, thank you so very much for your encouragement.  We'd love to encourage you in your mission of parenting as well. We know that our decision to have a large family makes us an attraction and oddity and we'll try not to park our abnormally large vehicles too close to yours. :)


Sonya said...

Thank you for such a nice post. I love the humor your sprinkled in! I know that you are writing from the larger family perspective and most likely you already realize this, but I did want to comment that large families are not the only ones who receive comments or questions. I grew up as an only child, and if you want to be bombarded by questions and comments - that is definitely the way to go! From the endless negative stereotypes, to the asking me directly why my parents didn't want any more children (it wasn't their choice and I sure wanted lots of brothers and sisters - it wasn't my choice either!) I'd say our family received tons of negative questions and pretty much zero encouragement on the family size that God gave us. Currently my family and that of many friends falls into the smaller 2/3 child category. Some of us would love to have more, but can't for various reasons. We also feel at times that other larger families view us as less blessed than they are, or that we don't trust God as much or love children as much. So, I did like your post - you are such a good writer! I guess I wanted to write a comment since I feel sometimes that larger families can feel that they alone get occasional negative comments or feelings from others that families of other sizes don't get, and I guess I felt compelled to share that the grass is not always greener:) Thank you again. I find your blog an inspiration.

amy said...

i LOVE this hannah! and it is so true!

Michelle H said...

nuaI often marvel at how many very old people are surprised at our large family, it was the norm even when they were young. We have what I refer to as a small large family- we only have seven, and no, we will not be the next Duggars anytime soon. I am 40 next year so the chances are *rather* slim. My sister has 11 children and is only 35, so please pester her with your Duggar jabs, my brother-in-law loves it to bits, trust me, because after all they ARE the ones who started the "trend", right? I was recently asked if we are ever brave enough to take half our children to the store at once and shocked the poor lady by telling her we actually take them ALL out at once. There are plenty of times it's really irritating, but mostly I think how sad that other parents enjoy their own children so little that they think we're crazy. I find the more I have, the more I'm amazed at God's blessings of babies, of Him trusting me with the development of their character. It makes me very sad to imagine the end of the baby years. Being a mother is the very meaning of Bittersweet.

Homestead Living said...

Oh, I love this post! I may borrow something similar soon.
Blessings to you!

Sally said...

I love this. You approach a couple high-frequency statements with such grace...I need to work on that inside my head! I am going to share this on Facebook - thank you!

Lydia said...

This was beautiful. I love the gentle and loving way it was worded - much more than some of the snappy and sarcastic "come back" posts I've seen on this topic. Blessings to you and yours!

BParrish said...

I'm a midwife and some of my favorite families are the large ones. So much love and when they get older there is so much support of each other. Just precious!

Lindsay said...

Thanks for this post! I loved it and chuckled through it. On Saturday I had my 5 kids (ages 8-4mo) by myself and an old man asked what orphanage I was with. Not.cute. Usually I get a lot of encouragement from that age group. A woman stopped me after church a few weeks ago to say that we make her want to have more kids. Her husband wasn't really on board-they've been married over 60 years! Made me laugh.

Allison said...

Great post, Hannah. Even with a "modest" 4 kids, I have experienced some of the above. I love the elderly ladies, too. When folks are amazed at how high my patience level must be to homeschool four kids, I just smile and say, "Patience? No, I have none of that. But, God gives me some of His every day."


Rebecca said...

I loved this list so so so much.

We have a family with 12 children as friends and since moving away from them, have opened up our home several times for them coming with the whole family and staying a weekend. The mother told me how rare this is-people usually don't even invite them to SUPPER any more. The reality is, though, that it is almost EASIER to host them because their children were brought up RIGHT and actually HELP! The whole time I was there I didn't do dishes ONCE-the teenagers did!


I especially love #4 (I would TOTALLY invite you over or double date with ya!) and number #5. Amen to that one.

The Beaver Bunch said...

Beautifully written and so true! A a mother of 7 I couldn't agree more!

Mrs. Mike and kids said...

beautifully put. So true.

Momma Bug said...

Quite fun :-)

I wish I could easily convey to other mothers how much I am just like them. Mostly in the area of patience.
It seems to be taken for granted I have more children because I have more patience and grace,
as opposed to the reality: I have more patience and grace because it is a necessary art to learn with all these people in every crevice of my life!
All attitudes are a choice. All good attitudes take deliberate work to refine.

I've experienced more and more encouraging commentary as I remember to take a cheerful heart and smile with me when I go places with my children.
Me enjoying these hoodlums is a hard advertisement to snub :-)

Anonymous said...

Love it.. Sonya..
I would love to have more.. but I am very happy with the 2 the lord has sent me..
I get the.. you going for the boy???
People are just clueless sometimes.

Sue in NJ

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a lovely written post. I had to comment on Sonya's comment as it spoke to my heart. I am a mom of one beautiful boy that my husband and I thought we might never have. He has 4 brothers and sisters whom he has never met as they are angels in heaven. We too have the opposite problem and get probing questions on the other side of things. We have prayed to have "too many children", but God has so far seen fit otherwise. I thank you for your eloquent writing because you do not ever cross the line over to the "we are better than you because we are bigger" attitude which I have unfortunately encountered. I truly appreciate your blog, writing and insights on motherhood. Thank you for your sincerity and kind heart.

Tonya said...

You did forget to add the one where we kind of prefer if you dont ask we are running a daycare if we are brave enough to venture out in public with all of our children :-)

Unknown said...

Great post. It made me laugh and tear up all at the same time. We are expecting our 5th in a few months and the comments and situations you referred to are all common to us too.

Anonymous said...

Along the same lines as Sonya, my dh and I are blessed with two boys.I love them more than anything. For various health reasons, we are unable to have anymore children. I find it somewhat hard, but most of the time I choose to be thankful for the blessings we already have. What really, really hurts me is when people ask me all. the. time. if we will be trying for a girl!!! First off, we'd be trying for a baby, and just because I am a feminine, girly-type person, does not mean I am mourning the fact that we do not have a girl. People seem to assume that I am. Just the opposite, I love having two boys and wouldn't trade them for anything. But those comments really hurt me. I get it almost everytime I leave my home.

Unknown said...

I loved this post! We are expecting our 5th baby at the end of Sept. So far, because we're still wearing jackets in NY as you are well aware, I haven't gotten too many comments out in public because no one can see my sweet belly. Expecting comments and praying for the grace to answer in a joyful, God-honoring way!

Aimee said...

I've enjoyed your writing (I don't even remember how I stumbled upon your blog); thanks so much for sharing. As I read today, I realized we may well be from the same neck of the woods, too.

I too have found the little old ladies are the sweetest. We used to get many "God bless you" comments from dubious onlookers while we grocery shopped, and I was so happy to be able to tell them, "He has!"

My heart goes out to the commenters who long for more children or have lost babies; we lost our fourth baby at 20 weeks. For our family, adoption was the blessing God allowed to come out of that sadness. However many we each have, children are a blessing, yes?

Me said...

Thank you all for the sweet comments. To you mamas with one or few children who wished for more, I hear your heart. A few of my friends wanted as many babes as God would give them and this has ended up to be one. Several of my friends have enlarged their families through adoption and one of my best friends and her husband have adopted all of their children. No doubt there is a need for a compassionate, "what small families wish you to know" and "what adoptive families wish you to know" also. :)
I love it when you all comment so I can peruse your lovely blogs. :)
Have a sweet night,

Anonymous said...

I have always enjoyed reading your blog. My husband and I desired many children and God only blessed us with one. As someone who also home schools, I frequently read comments on other blogs from moms of many children. Perhaps I can shed some perspective on the comment, "You must have your hands full." I frequently read that this comment offends people. I truly don't understand the defensiveness on this comment. From my point of view, as a mom of an only child, when someone says that comment they mean it as an acknowledgement of the tremendous amount of work and dedication required to rear many children. For me, that statement is made out of total and complete admiration--and yes, at times envy. I understand the offense at some personally intrusive comments, but I truly believe that most people who say this, say it only in admiration and acknowledgement of you selflessness. May God continue to bless you.