In one of my other posts, I touched on what I wish people knew about raising a large family and what it is like to be a part of a large family. I love the positive reaction I received from other parents with many children and/or people who grew up in a large family! I feel blessed that I have been given the opportunity to raise so many little ones! 🙂
The other day I was browsing the internet and came across this awesome blog post at “Tales From the Mommy Trenches”. (Seriously, go check it out!) I couldn’t help but empathize with the author and every word she wrote. If I had a dollar for each time some Johnny-Do-Gooder tried to shame me in my choice to have a large family, I would have quite a bit of cash in my pocket.
Last night, as I was laying in bed trying to quiet my mind, I couldn’t help but think about the mom in the blog post, as well as myself and other moms of many. And moms in general, no matter how many kids they have or how their family came to be (whether grown in their womb or in their heart). I didn’t realize gaining the title of mom came with the open invitation for others to speak their minds on how we are running our lives.
Every time I walk into the store with my “gaggle” of children, I notice the stares and comments given by strangers. Oftentimes someone in one of the stores will feel it is their duty (?) to come up and inform me that I have my hands full, or some other typical comment. I usually smile and try to be polite about it. I do not want my kids to be ashamed of having a large number of siblings, even though I’m sometimes meant to feel shame when answering embarrassing questions. (“Do you know what causes it?” “Have you heard of birth control?” “Are you addicted to pregnancy?”)
Not too many years ago, having a large family was the norm. Now? It is viewed as a physical anomaly, much like sprouting an extra head or set of arms (which, by the way, I would not mind at. all.).
There have been a couple of reasons thrown around various blogs lately; some authors have even gone so far as to say choosing to have a large family is “irresponsible”. Many people feel that having a large family is selfish and the cause for overpopulation. I wish I had the ability to describe my feelings in regards to that as eloquently as this author did. Other people feel that we can’t quite possibly know our children on a personal level because there are so many of them. I don’t even feel the need to explain how ridiculous I think that thought process is. But despite my feelings and opinions on the matter, most people
cannot will not change the way they interact with parents.
And it is often times heart breaking.
Making jokes about large family parents needing to find a different hobby, or suggesting that we put a TV in our bedroom (no thank you!!) are not clever, nor are they appropriate. Would the commenters like it if someone started making jokes out of their private life? Since when is talking about a couple’s private life acceptable? Those opinions are the open door to shaming someone else.
Telling a mom that maybe she should stop having children because one of her current children is throwing a tantrum in the check-out lane is anything but helpful. Telling a large family mom that she cannot handle her kids after she mentioned having a rough day with the kids is extremely hurtful. Moms with many kids have the right to have a bad day, the same as a mom with fewer kids. Instead of passing judgment and issuing hurtful comments, offer support and a hug. Sometimes that is all that we really need.
Reminders that “this too shall pass”, “it won’t always be like this”, “you’re doing great”, and anything else that is edifying are wonderful, NOT belittling.
Children are a blessing and something to be celebrated, whether that child is a couple’s first or twentieth! Each person on this planet has a purpose and unique role to fill. Making a parent feel shame for bringing another life into the world is not only rude but it is also unproductive.
The problem with opinions is that we cannot control the opinions of others. The good news is that we can control our own opinions and practice the old adage “If you can’t say something nice [or uplifting or positive or motivational], don’t say anything at all.”
Now excuse me while I go cuddle with my little blessings! 🙂