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If you have a big family... getting grief from your own parents?


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I have always wanted a "big" family. I have said in the past 5 or 6... but I'm not committed to any number. We might go "duggar style" and just see how many little blessing we have. ;) Or, maybe we get to a point and know that we're through. I don't know. I do know that I don't want my tubes tied today, lol!

 

I currently have three... 4.5 year old, 2.5 year old, 5 month old. I love that my kids are as close together as they are. The older two play together and love each other. They both adore the baby. I have many days of wanting to pull my hair out, but all in all, I feel that I am leading the good life right now. This is what I've always dreamed of... and I'm getting to live it.

 

My parents, however, are very much against it. They thought we should wait until we were in our thirties to have kids... and I'm not quite thirty yet and already have three. I have one sibling... responsibly spaced 4.5 years apart. My parents did not want a second baby until I was basically in school. And, they think that would be the correct way for us to have done things.

 

Every time I talk to them now, I get comments. "You better be careful you don't get another one on the way." "There is going to be inflation soon... you may have to go back to work and how will you afford daycare for all those kids." "Would you really want another one? Don't you hate getting up at night? Hate throwing up during pregnancy?" Constant comments.

 

My parents live six hours away. They do not financially assist us in any way. They are not very involved with the kids. They enjoy them when we come for a visit, but they don't make the drive to see us.

 

Honestly, I'm fed up. I've tried ignoring the comments. I've tried to nicely say to stop the comments... our birth control methods are not your business. I've tried to joke off the comments. Nothing works.

 

Do I just be patient and ignore what they say? Is there anything I can do to make this situation better? Has anyone else dealt with this?

 

FWIW, I never complain to them about feeling overwhelmed, being broke, etc. I don't complain about the kids being unhappy or anything like that. I think the issue is mainly that this isn't the way THEY would do things.

 

It bothers me a lot that I don't feel like I have their "approval". But then, I don't want to not have more kids because my parents disapprove...

 

Any words of wisdom???

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I have three, and my family (mom included) started making comments during my third pregnancy of the "this is your last one, right?" My mom did say a few times, "She might have to have a fourth one, though, because I can't imagine not having a baby around!" That was nice. I'm sure they'll make some little comments if I get pregnant again, but I know I can still ultimately count on their love and support, because I do have uncommonly adorable babies. ;)

 

I have NO idea if we'll want a fourth -- we were seriously considering vasectomy at first, but then we both realized that we wanted the option open to us, at least.

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It bothers me a lot that I don't feel like I have their "approval". But then, I don't want to not have more kids because my parents disapprove...

 

Any words of wisdom???

 

My words of wisdom are not meant to sound as snarky as they will come out. My words of wisdom are for you to "get over" seeking their approval of your choices.

 

And then develop readiness for some firm boundaries. You could go on "forever" alternating between waffling boundaries, ignoring and being upset. Or, you could take the risk of awkwardness that comes with a firm, direct "that's it" discussion.

 

Remember, though, when you have that discussion, don't *discuss* your actual choices. The only content of the conversation needs to be:

 

Mom and Dad, no more comments about birth control, our family size, discouraing remarks or negative ones. As soon as one happens, I am hanging up or leaving. I love you and my family choices are not a criticism of your choices.

 

And repeat the above, but do NOT defend your choice and convince them of how happy you are. They won't get it.

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Mom and Dad, no more comments about birth control, our family size, discouraing remarks or negative ones. As soon as one happens, I am hanging up or leaving. I love you and my family choices are not a criticism of your choices.

 

And repeat the above, but do NOT defend your choice and convince them of how happy you are. They won't get it.

:iagree: Especially the not defending your choices or trying to convince them. Do NOT get into a discussion of any kind! I've had to say to various family members, "This is not open for discussion" and walk away/hang up the phone. I also do not let them see that they are upsetting me because for some of my sicker family members (mil, for example) that would give her a thrill. :glare: Any response I gave her was calm, confident and clear (it only took me about 6 years of practicing/fighting to get it perfected, lol).
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I asked my mom, the last time she said something (we have seven), "Which one shouldn't we have had, mom?" (or maybe I said, "Which one should we give back?"). She backpedaled quickly saying, "Oh, no, um..." and I haven't heard anything since.

 

But then again I haven't announced a new pregnancy recently either.

 

:lol:

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Just say, "Mom I want a big family. We are going for it. I know you didn't want a big family but I do. Lots and Lots of Kids. Either be happy or don't mention it. So, how's Dad's tummy trouble these days?"

 

 

Love this -- simple, sweet, genuine and to the point.

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Guest RecumbentHeart

:grouphug: I think you've received some good advice that is useful for anyone that does not abide by the "one boy, one girl" rule. ;)

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I think you do need to be firm in telling them to leave those decisions to you.

 

I think for the most part, our parents are just concerned about us. I don't think they mean malice by it. They are probably concerned about you being overwhelmed and about financial difficulties. I think parents continue to worry about us until they die.

 

My Dad said he remembers this one family from his church growing up who had 10 or 11 children, and the only thing he really remembers about her is that she always looked worn out and ragged. He implied the same about the many quiverfull families we meet with when he met them. Most of them are not able to provide financially for their own without outside financial help either.

 

So, I don't think they are unwarranted concerns, but your parents really shouldn't nag you about them.

 

PS -- If we decided to have another, I'd hear it from my parents as well. They'd be upset because they see how overwhelmed I am with homeschooling, domestic stuff, my husband's being 50, etc.

Edited by nestof3
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Isn't one of the final parenting frontiers dealing with the fact that your child doesn't want to make the same choices? I have seen this in my parents. We've always been very close and until I was well into adulthood I think they felt I made all the choices they would have made. But now....well they aren't necessarily unhappy with my choices, but they seem to be uncomfortable with the fact that my dh and I do not make the choices they would. (homeschooling, having several children, etc). You've had good advice on this thread - and it does start with you. It's time to move on from wanting your parents approval - for some of us, it takes getting into our 30's to get past that, I know. :) I'd gently let them know - no more comments, no more hints, this is who we are - stop trying to guide me. And then I'd think on it no more...

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My words of wisdom are not meant to sound as snarky as they will come out. My words of wisdom are for you to "get over" seeking their approval of your choices.

 

And then develop readiness for some firm boundaries. You could go on "forever" alternating between waffling boundaries, ignoring and being upset. Or, you could take the risk of awkwardness that comes with a firm, direct "that's it" discussion.

 

Remember, though, when you have that discussion, don't *discuss* your actual choices. The only content of the conversation needs to be:

 

Mom and Dad, no more comments about birth control, our family size, discouraing remarks or negative ones. As soon as one happens, I am hanging up or leaving. I love you and my family choices are not a criticism of your choices.

 

And repeat the above, but do NOT defend your choice and convince them of how happy you are. They won't get it.

 

I agree with this. If it were me, however, I would let them know straight up front that I enjoy my children, and do not plan to have a small family.

 

It is likely that they are concerned about you because they feel you are being irresponsible. If they knew you had a plan in mind, that might change. You are under no obligation to disclose your plan, to discuss details, nothing. So I might add to Joanne's above: "I appreciate that you are concerned about us. Thank you. I love you, and our family choices are not a criticism of your choices."

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You are so precious.

 

Just say, "Mom I want a big family. We are going for it. I know you didn't want a big family but I do. Lots and Lots of Kids. Either be happy or don't mention it. So, how's Dad's tummy trouble these days?"

 

Shoot. I should have read this first, before I replied.

 

See, though. Same idea. I think disclosing that you have a plan, big family, is important.

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I agree with Jean. I'd say, "dh and I want to have a big family. That's our choice and we're not looking for anyone's approval or opinion." Then don't leave an open door for communication, using Jean's method.

 

I know how it is to look for approval from your parents. Can I just say that for me, as a Christian woman, I had to learn that the only I needed to seek approval from was God first, dh second. THAT WAS IT. Yoiu know, leave and cleave. You're going to set yourself up for frustration if you can't learn to NOT seek their approval.

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I get this sort of thing from my family also. My mom went so far as to say "Geez I didnt know you were a breeder!" Huh? This comes from the woman who had 7 children!

 

This baby (due in Dec.) was a very big surprise for us and I actually showed a little emotion about it. My parents took that as a "all comments are welcome" sign. My dad is the worst and finally I said something pretty crass to him (cant say it here on the board) about my body, s*x, my dh, and specific reproductive organs. :D That shut him up pretty good and he hasnt mentioned anything ever again, well except for to tell me not to have a tubal! :) Cant win.

 

Anyway no real advice for you except maybe just lay it out for them. Let them know that their comments are not welcome in the least and back off. Sometimes you have to put it bluntly so they get the point. Just do it lovingly if possible.

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We have four together and dh has two adult sons. We hear stuff all the time from our families.

 

Dh's parents complain that they'll have to open another college fund. This is something we NEVER asked them to do and have repeatedly asked them NOT to do. They also wonder outloud sometimes if we even know where babies come from...this gets a graphic answer from dh because they are just being hateful about it.

 

My mom says we can't have anymore because she already has her personalized license plate--NANA 10. I just jokingly said she didn't have to claim another grandchild if she didn't want to. Well "of course" she would!! :lol:

 

My dad looks at us like we're crazy but doesn't say anything.

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Guest RecumbentHeart
They also wonder outloud sometimes if we even know where babies come from.

 

argh! DH fields the "You do know what causes that, right?" and like questions with Scripture, "Yes. The Lord opens and closes the womb."

 

It has just disturbed me that even church people can be so crude and devaluing of children.

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I'm one of 5, so I don't get the concern over it. I don't quite get 19, but I also don't see 5 or 6 as unreasonable. If you can handle it, more power to you.

 

I am getting a bit of a chuckle at the irony of the timimg of this post. I have a friend who is in the hospital as we speak delivering #7, and her in-laws don't get it and constantly harp on her and her dh.

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I know EXACTLY what you are going through. My parents had 6 but to hear my mom tell it "we were all accidents" and if she could do it over she would not have that many. Well, I have 12 kids. Boy howdy, when my 3rd was born it was like I committed some terrible crime. By the time I was a mere 29 years old we had 5 kids. To my parents that was "stupid" and "irresponsible." I basically got to the point where I wouldn't even enter into a conversation with them about children. Period. I would not discuss it. So, we just kept having them and eventually my parents just backed off. In fact, they actually began to enjoy my kids. Now I get "teased" a bit by my family but they know me by now. I will have them until I can no longer have them. They have excepted that and I don't hear much anymore about it.

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We got comments like this. IMO, the best way to deal with them is to refocus and dwell on the real motivations behind your parents' comments. They very likely are not expressing disapproval at all, but rather love and concern. They had a small family. It made them happy. They want you to be happy. They think you'll be happy if you do what made them happy. A large family is uncharted territory for them. Most parents are fearful and concerned when their grown children enter uncharted territory. I can see now that what I perceived as rude comments from our parents just stemmed from goodwill and concern, not disapproval or rudeness.

 

If it's any consolation, these comments subsided over the years. Around #6 they quit trying. I think they figured we'd gone irretrievably over the deep end. Now that they see we have well-adjusted young adults and that we're happy and the kids are happy, we actually get positive comments. Hang in there.

Edited by Luann in ID
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My mom could be heard pseudo whispering, "YES!!!" in the corner of my hospital room when I told my OB to tie my tubes after we found out I needed a c-section for our 6th. LOL Nice. I told her later that, yes, I heard her glee and that she should be glad (I guess) that my pregnancies were so difficult because she would have had a few MORE grandchildren otherwise. hehe True, though!

 

It IS annoying, and my parents aren't too verbal about it (although still pretty obvious about their worry/frustration/opinionated-whatever) but I love to tell them, "You know, you raised a very independent daughter with a love for family so you must have done something right." That usually ends it and they soften with a response about just worrying that we'll be alright. Which is usually a major underlying issue. ;)

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My first thought on this was that your mother/parents are worried about something. They are projecting that worry on to you. But, you don't seem to know what it is they are worried about.

 

In other words it's not about the exact number of children you have, it's about something else.

 

What is it? Is your mom concerned that you'll end up in a hovel, barefoot and hungry? Is your mom worried you'll regret having more children? Is she concerned that you're 'losing your independence' because 'you're tied to your kids'? Is she afraid you won't be able to pay for college? Is she afraid your dh secretly resents numerous children? Does she even know what's bothering her about a large brood?

 

I think I would ask some probing questions of your mother the next time she brings this up. It sounds like you would really like to know what's bothering her, so ask. Then you can answer her doomsday scenario predictions with a laugh, some compassion, and confidence. "Gee, Mom, dh isn't likely to lose his job now or ever. And even if dh were to lose his job we'd be able to make it just fine. We're good with our money. We know how expensive kids are. We'll be just fine."

 

I guess right now I just don't see that she's been so overbearing as to need a firm boundary drawn. She's your mother, she cares, she's got wisdom, so try to find out what's up. Then, if she continues to project her opinions onto you, I would go with the boundary thing.

 

That's my take on things from way over here across the Internet. YMMV

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I have a relative who is nearly violently opposed to anyone having more than one child. She attacked the father of another relative who has two children when when he suggested she might have a third, I can't recall, and it was really ugly. She is stuck in some 1970s overpopulation hysteria even though many countries have so few people they are giving financial incentives for additional children (Singapore, Japan), or beg for immigrants (most of Europe) to keep their birth rate up. If she ever tries any of her business on me, she will be very sorry.

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Next time they bring it up I'd go on and on about how you and your hub enjoy making babies so much that you just can't resist and you know accidents happen all the time nevertheless you're not going to stop making tea and.............

 

Maybe tmi would shut her up.

 

Really, I'd tell her she could mind her own business or you'd cut her off.

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Next time they bring it up I'd go on and on about how you and your hub enjoy making babies so much that you just can't resist and you know accidents happen all the time nevertheless you're not going to stop making tea and.............

 

Maybe tmi would shut her up.

Really? I'd think this would be the perfect opportunity to get birth control advice, specifically permanent birth control recommendations.

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My mom's the same but she's been open that she worries for my health. My in-laws comment because they worry for my DH having to support everyone.

 

I think all family got the hint this last pregnancy when every friend and online friend knew we were expecting over a month before any family did. When family did figure it out, we added that they were the last to be told because we didn't care to hear their negative comments about our growing child, again. When it did come out, it was non chellant like "oh yeah, we are pregnant, forgot we hadn't mentioned it yet." Not a negative word in almost 2yrs now!!:D

Edited by MyCalling
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Nah, if she brings that up just go on about how you need spontenaity (how do you spell that???) and that planning ahead like that takes all the fun out of it......

I'm saying that I know plenty of people who would say, if you tell them you don't have time for birth control or planning or whatever, then have your husband get a vasectomy and be spontaneous all you want.

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My words of wisdom are not meant to sound as snarky as they will come out. My words of wisdom are for you to "get over" seeking their approval of your choices.

 

And then develop readiness for some firm boundaries. You could go on "forever" alternating between waffling boundaries, ignoring and being upset. Or, you could take the risk of awkwardness that comes with a firm, direct "that's it" discussion.

 

Remember, though, when you have that discussion, don't *discuss* your actual choices. The only content of the conversation needs to be:

 

Mom and Dad, no more comments about birth control, our family size, discouraing remarks or negative ones. As soon as one happens, I am hanging up or leaving. I love you and my family choices are not a criticism of your choices.

 

And repeat the above, but do NOT defend your choice and convince them of how happy you are. They won't get it.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

 

Joanne is all kinds of brilliant.

 

And, it's a hard thing to do, I've BTDT. But not doing it is allowing them to parent you into your 50s...

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I'm saying that I know plenty of people who would say, if you tell them you don't have time for birth control or planning or whatever, then have your husband get a vasectomy and be spontaneous all you want.

 

Yes, I get that. I'm saying if you go into a detailed description of your tea time they might butt out.

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Yes, I get that. I'm saying if you go into a detailed description of your tea time they might butt out.

 

"Of course we know where babies come from! We just can't keep our hands off each other! And it was so awesome when we did it out in the back yard. We really like trying new locations. We're thinking about buying this new wedge shaped pillow thingy that I read about on the WTM, to help me get to the boiling point a little more easily...."

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:grouphug:I'm right there with you ALL THE WAY:grouphug:

I was 1 of 2, 4 yrs apart and my parents almost disowned me when I had a "honeymoon baby". They have been upset about every single pregnancy and yet they love their grandchildren and brag on them left and right.

I am also right there with you on the wanting my parents to not only accept my decisions but support them. I think (?) this is normal. They are your parents after all!

 

I am very close to my mom and I have had a lot of conversations with her just telling her what I have learned about birth control, how I know God is sovereign and in control, and how I am open (and a little scared) to having as many as the Lord decides. I want to be upfront with her so she at least won't be surprised.

 

On that same note, my father and I have butted heads since I was born so I do not have any conversations with him about it. There is nothing I can say that will change his mind...only God can do that (and I am definately praying for that).

 

Just my 2 cents :)

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But.....have you heard of the Boundaries books? They could be helpful. You don't need anyone's approval for your family size. You know what's best for YOU.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256346088&sr=1-1

 

I have read it before, but it's been ages. Might do me good to read it again. Thanks for advice everyone!!! It's at least comforting to know I'm not alone!

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Stacey, wow, I have not read all the pages of responses... but honestly... I would copy what you wrote as the original post (in Word or something) and print it out. Mail it to them with a handwritten note, expressing that you just need to get this resloved and that you love them. Let them make the next move. OR, just read it to them on the phone.

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I think it's quite weird that one has to "justify" that she has kids by saying that she likes to be intimate with her husband.

 

Not only am I completely opposed to giving juicy details of my intimate life to others, especially in the middle of an argument, but I think it would be completely ineffective, as the potential implications (people with one kid aren't very romantic, while people with many are; I am irresponsible and too impulsive to consider the potential repercussions of my actions; second/third/etc children are mostly accidents due to high libido) are not in line with my beliefs.

 

I think I can safely say that if I am not interested in discussing birth control with someone, I sure am not interested in discussing children's conception with that person. I don't think anyone is entitled to that.

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