So what it is about a big family that makes it such a hot topic? In a part of me, it really gets my blood boiling when I get the stares. I’ll admit we get them when we’re having a bad day and no one, I mean, NO ONE has ears to listen with. It’s those days I like to give myself “the stare” as well. At the same time, I too can recall a thought running through my head when I see moms with overflowing carts of kids. But I tend to remind myself that I don’t know them. Passing judgement on them wouldn’t be right. Who cares if she’s stacking kids on top of each other in the cart? That doesn’t mean they are all hers. And still I see other people cast “the stare” without any disregard to that mom or her feelings.
Don’t be shy. You know which one I am talking about. The stare that says, “Look at her. She clearly cannot control those children. Maybe she should have thought twice before having all of them.”
I like my big family. It’s what I have always wanted. But myself and other moms are catching flack for our big family. The looks, glances, stares and whispers are enough to drive us nuts. Perhaps we are already nuts for having a large brood but isn’t that our business and no one else’s?
I did have a lady sympathize with me tonight while I was deciphering the school supply lists in Wal-mart. As I was telling Shorty that I can only talk and listen to one of them at a time, an older lady with a little girl, said to me, “Don’t I know it? I used to do this with six in school all at once.” She was a nicer lady who added that there were no more kids at home. Clearly she was grandma now and shopping with her granddaughter.
Six?? Oh my yes. To me, 4 is fairly large but there are other families out there who are larger. So why does it seem to bother people so much so that they can’t resist saying things like,
“Aren’t you done yet?”
“Have you figured out what caused that?”
And my personal favorite, “You aren’t having any more are you?”
To which I like to count them and then reply, “Um yup. Still need 5 more to make a baseball team.” And walk away. (Really. How many do I need by the way?)
But I don’t hear about famous people like Angelina Jolie, Justin Chambers, and even proud papa, Chris O’Donnell who is expecting his fifth child, getting looks, stares or questioning inquiries about whether or not another round of reproduction practice will pay off.
Why is that? Is it because they are assumed to be able to better care for them? Being famous doesn’t make a better parent. What about the family that just welcomed baby number 17?
We live in a world that is getting smaller by the minute (compare your new cellphone to the old one, go ahead, I’ll wait. That thing that fits in your pocket and plays music? We used to call it a Walkman).
And families are not excluded to this. If you have over 2.5 of the recommended amount of children, you are disregarded as Irresponsible (because I like the process of making the baby?), Crazy, or even Rich (ever hear anyone say “You must be rich to afford all those children”?)
No matter what you are called or thought of as, you are definitely not favored by mainstream America. And maybe because as everything gets smaller, the cost of raising them gets bigger.
But I don’t necessarily think that’s true either (save that taboo topic for another day).
I know why this is such a hot button for me, but I am interested in knowing from the stare-givers and whisperers and the moms to one or a million and one… Have you ever watched a large family in public or known one? What are your thoughts on big families? Do you think its sorely outdated to breed a large brood? Why or why not?
Can’t I once get a, “You must have a lot of love to give.”
To which I would reply, “Yes. Yes I do.”