The Joys of Having a Big Family
When you look at families like Jon and Kate Gosselin and Nadia Suleman, the idea of raising a family that big seems unrealistic and almost irresponsible to many people. I suppose that Nadia and the Gosselins aren’t the best examples, considering the media scrutiny that they are constantly under - but for the average mom and dad heading to Target or out to dinner with a troop that resembles the movie Cheaper by the Dozen, it doesn’t stop people from shaking their heads and wondering: “What are they thinking?”
For those of us with more than 2.5 kids (how do you have half a kid by the way?), we see the glances, the head shakes and we even see people muttering to others around them. Two years ago, I wrote about the frustration I feel from other people and their judgments about having a big family. Not much has changed since then - I’m still frustrated but I’m handling better.
I might not have six or seven kids like some of my mom friends but I still have what is considered “a big family” by society’s standards. When I went shopping for a dining room table right before Peanut was born, I insisted on one of the large dining tables with the leaf that can be pulled out and at least six to eight chairs.
“For company?” the saleslady assumed.
“No. We’re a family of six,” I replied and patted my round pregnant belly. The conversation went downhill from there.
I get a lot of questions and assumptions from people who see us or meet us for the first time:
“You must not believe in birth control.”
“Don’t you know what causes that?”
“Why didn’t you stop at two?” (That’s my personal favorite... after which I start letting the kids act like heathens on purpose.)
“Are you going to have any more?” I like to reply, “Yes. Just because it will annoy you.” (I say other things too but they probably aren’t suitable for print).
In all those questions though, no one ever remarks on the joys of having a big family or thanks me for making sure someone’s contributing to social security when it comes their time to collect it. In fact, it seems that people are more concerned with the struggles a big family might have.
Let me tell you right now, if someone gave me the option of going back and starting all over but with the limit of only having half as many kids as we do, I’d politely tell them to stuff it. For all the trouble the kids may cause, or the frenzied days where I have to be in three different places at once (and not one of those places are for me), I wouldn’t trade it. So for anyone who’s wondering if there are any joys to having a big family, aside from the fact that there’s a lot of love to give, let me share with you what they are:
1. I get to kiss four extra people before I go to bed at night. (How many people do you get to kiss before you go to bed?)
2. There’s never a shortage of something funny to tell someone. Many people go through their day without a single funny thing that happens to them. I have at least a 25 percent chance of funny just by getting out of bed every day.
3. I always have an excuse to buy chocolate. (“But honey, Bebe wanted to make brownies tomorrow night.")
4. My reading skills are sharp! Someone always needs something read to them. It doesn’t matter that they can read it on their own, there’s something about mom reading that is different and better than their own voice.
5. There is always someone to help me out. Even when the hubs is at work at night, I have at least one extra pair of arms to help clean up, chase, or even hold someone down when necessary.
6. Leftovers in my house are almost nonexistent.
7. In the middle of winter, little people climb into bed with me keep me warm.
8. My house never feels empty.
9. I always have an excuse to watch cartoons.
10. I have built-in groupies. There is no social networking necessary.
I could give you at least a dozen more joys of having a big family but I think you get the picture. Other people’s mutterings, glances, and off-hand comments are my kisses, cartoons and giggles. Which would you prefer?