Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I've had two experiences lately where people have been SHOCKED at the number of children I have. I mean seriously I have FIVE...I'm not Michelle Duggar for heaven sakes!

Yesterday at the park there was a woman there with her dog. Her dog ran over to my kids (and scared my daughter to death) and she came over. I had 4 of my kids with me, she looked at all of them, looked at me and asked, "Are they ALL yours?" I told her they certainly were and her jaw dropped (I am sorry but four just isn't that many). She asked if some were adopted (what?) and I assured her I birthed all of them and told her I had one more at home. Again, the jaw dropped.

She said, "And you're still smiling?" I told her they are my greatest joy and make me happy. She said, "There must be drugs and alcohol involved." I assured her there was none of that. I finally realized why she was so incredulous....she had no children of her own and never intended to have any. She couldn't possibly understand the true and lasting JOY they bring! She did say (I guess she had to find a reason why I would have so many) that God must be on my side...I wholeheartedly agreed with her.

And then today at Costco I took four children (one was a friend) with me. They were quite well behaved actually, but still being kids and I got some smiles along the way. As we got to the receipt checker at the exit he looked at the kids, counted them and raised his eyebrows at me. I said, "Oh I have two more that are in school." He said (quite condescendingly with his arm on my shoulder), "Now Mom, isn't 6 enough? (never told him they weren't all mine). FINALLY I thought quickly on my feet and said, "Nope...working on 6 more." and smiled at him and walked away.

Since when did it become complete strangers business to comment on how many children people have? I take care of my children, I feed them, clothe them, love them, and provide a loving stable home life for them. No matter if I had 1 or 12, it is nobody's business!

I will proudly proclaim that I have FIVE children and it was a very conscious decision! Iam grateful for each one of them and consider them blessings not burdens. I love my crazy,messy and chaotic home and can't imagine life any other way!


Jen said...

Oh how I LOVE your response to the checker at Costco! LOL

My experience has been the opposite. For years I got the comments from people that I needed to have more children. Even people who knew I struggled with infertility. Even after we adopted people would ask me when we were going to adopt again. Seriously people?

You are right, it IS nobody's business how many children people have. I do see an issue when people continue to have children, without the means by which to support them. I don't think you should keep having babies if you have no way to feed them and no plans on making a way. But other than that who is to say? Many of my friends who have "large" famlies (by today's standards) have been commented to multiple times about the size of their family.

I grew up the oldest of 5 kids. I remember telling someone how many of us there were and his response was "Don't your parents know what birth control is?" It never occured to me before then that anyone would think my family was outrageously overpopulated. LOL

Danielle said...

When I was pregnant with Grace, we were on vacation in Jackson, and I had some complications and had to go to the hospital. Every person I had to talk to (doctors, nurses, registration, etc) could not believe I was pregnant for the fourth time. One lady asked if all my children were living! It was mind blowing for them. Too bad for them, I say:)

Melissa said...

so true. People don't know what they are missing. I get way more questions because of the double twins. My mom who had 8 always said she got the most questions when she had 4, after that people just assumed they weren't all hers. After my first set of twins (boy/girl) I had so many people tell me I must be done beacuse I had one of each. What?? people only have more than 2 children so they can have a boy and a girl. Now I just get the what are the odds of 2 sets of twins question.

luntaz said...

I've had the opposite problem too. Before I had children, and wasn't sure if I would be able to, someone actually asked me if I was barren. Wow. With only two children, I don't get a lot of flack from people outside our church...but inside? I definitely feel different. The smaller families of today's world was the subject of a recent Sunday School class. The class was lamenting the fact that couples just aren't having big families anymore. One lady commented that, "Even some good members of the church are only having two children." Jay and I wanted six children. We got two. Our two kids are amazing and are joys to be around. But there are still some days where I mourn the big family I'll never have.

Cheryl said...

Danielle you are an AMAZING Mom! Your kids are so lucky to have you and shame on those people for judging people's family sizes..you never know people's situations and their hearts!

Kerri said...

So funny Cheryl. Thanks for posting. :) I come from a six kid home, and being in the special position of being the youngest - I can tell ya that I'm really glad my parents had 6!

On the other side, I felt really guilty at the thought of stopping at 4 kids until I saw a picture of Elder Uchtdorf with his, count them, 4 kids. :)

I realized two things - that motherhood is the most important, full time position out there, and also that we each have different missions here and we need to support each other as women trying to live the gospel of Christ - not spend our time passing out guilt or feeling guilt over how many children we have ... k, soapbox put away now.

Cheryl said...

Kerri...I thought I might have to stop with 2 bcause of some health issues, but I heard Elder Scott talk about his TWO, count them TWO children and it gave me some peace. I have dear family and friends who have one child and would desperately love more, but don't know if it will happen. The Lord will judge our hearts, not our number of children.

Cheryl said...

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen... And Amen!!!

lunatz, I agree with you, too. There is no "Magic, Righteous Number" that people think there is. It's very personal.

My friend told me once, as I was lamenting my then "4-children-run-in-with-strangers-who-feel-the-need-to-comment-on-them" (I now have five like Cheryl):
"Wear a T-shirt that says, 'Please! Comment on my life choices!'"

Yeah. Anyway, I hear you. Being back in Provo has made it easier, but I'm quite the phenomenon amongst Brandon's classmates at Wharton! :)

Laura@livingabigstory said...

That is the best line ever to the checker!!! Good for you - I'm never that quick on my feet!

What's so sad is that people would even think to ask those kind of questions!! When I was (quite) pregnant with my youngest, I had to go to an office party for my husband's work. I was talking to one of the big muckety-mucks, and she asked if this was my first. I said no, that I had 2 more at home. She looked at me incredulously and asked *really* loud, "Don't you believe in birth control?!" Pregnancy hormones took over and all I could do was just smile and try to hold it together.

I just read Heather's post @ Women in the Scriptures (http://womeninthescriptures.blogspot.com/2011/03/this-is-type-of-feminist-i-am.html). As I've started to read more blogs lately, I realize the importance for strong women who celebrate family to speak out.

Wow! Long post ... sorry :)

Allison said...

@Kerri - President Uchtdorf has two children.


Sarah said...

I couldn't agree more. I remember this awful incident when I was telling my then general practitioner that I had a recent miscarriage and wondered if I was up to date on blood tests etc. (desperately trying to find a cause) and he said,snotty, "Really? Are you crazy? You want MORE?"
(PS...I loved your comment on my blog...and could not agree MORE!)