Large Families on Purpose
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Large Families on Purpose

Kids. Some families have one, some families have a few, some families have…a baseball team’s worth. There is a saying that goes something like this, “It doesn’t matter how many kids you have. One kid is a lot of kids.” And many parents would agree with this sentiment. When you brought home your first baby it was a game-changer. Everything about life as you knew it flew out the window. One baby felt HARD and EXHAUSTING (if your first baby was actually two or more, I commend you). A few years down the road you might have thrown another kid or two into the mix, but by then you realize everyone is just winging it anyways so you don’t feel alone.

Are large families becoming an oddity in America?

The majority of us stop having kids at around 2-4, after that, we are all babied out and we are ready for the “easier days” that people with older children keep talking about, but none of us are convinced actually happen. Then there are others who love adding to their brood and growing their families so much, that they end up needing one of those party buses to drive everyone to school.

According to the Pew Research Center, the rise of the two children family and the decline of the four children family is in full mode. Showing that in the late 1970s, the average woman had given birth to more than three children. Since that time, the average family size has declined, driven largely by declines in families with four or more children. Now, moms have 2.4 children on average – a number that has been fairly stable for two decades.

When people see large families the rest of us who feel like we’re drowning with one, two, or three kids stare at them in awe. How do they do it? Does that mom have an IV of coffee running through her blood? Where can I get one of those?

Of course, there are those that offer unsolicited comments and advice to the parents of large families. Most people mean well when they make these comments, but sometimes they can come off as rude, snarky, and impolite. Denine Del Priore, a stay-at-home mom of soon to be five children, experiences these comments on a daily basis. Denine mentions that “They say families of 4+ children are the happiest, and I totally agree. I am currently expecting baby #5 and I feel so blessed and content. Unfortunately, this time is different, I am not excited to announce this pregnancy to anyone. Probably because when I have I get responses like:

Denine and her family. Soon to be 5 children!

“Are you done now?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Was this planned?”

“Don’t you know there are things you can do to prevent this?”

“Do they all have the same father?”

“You must be Catholic or Mormon.”

“I feel so bad for you.”

I find it hard to understand why it is anyone’s business how many children my husband and I bring into this world. Sometimes I wish I lived in Arkansas by the Duggars so my family wouldn’t stand out.”

Military spouses, in particular, have a stigma of “popping out kids” so those of us with large families often get the hit with the double whammy of large family stares and the military spouse stereotypes. But truth be told, any service member in charge of others and military spouses with a large number of kids have a lot in common.

For example:

  • They both have to deal with several young (sometimes crazy) people
  • They both have to maintain a level of coolness when faced with pure and utter chaos
  • They have to organize a large group of people to eat at once
  • They travel in buses
  • They counsel young people on right from wrong
  • They are in charge of many lives that depend on them to make the right decisions

In fact, it’s probably safe to say that CO’s could learn a few things from these bad to the bone moms who are able to control, raise, and maintain their cool when faced with the chaos that comes with things like the after-school rush.

I have yet to come across a large family that hasn’t made the choice to have several kids. Their reasoning why is their own personal business, and strangers don’t need to stare, make comments, or share their two cents. Keep your comments to yourself, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

Parents are just trying to do their best to keep their children alive, happy, and to become decent citizens in the world no matter if they have one kid or 9 kids. So instead of telling a mom who is trying to load 4 children into car seats along with groceries that she “has her hands full”, just watch in amazement at the fact that one person can handle more people than are in your entire extended family.

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