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kubiac

Share your expertise on having more kids than "normal"

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34 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Four isn’t really a number that’s so high. I don’t get this at all and wonder if you just live in a weird little pocket. It’s above average, but average wouldn’t BE average if there weren’t a LOT of people above it. 

I live in a HCOL suburb and I know plenty of people with 4 or more. I grew up rurally in a family of 4 and it wasn’t unusual. My 3 siblings ALL have 4 or more kids and I’m the freak with two. 

I can never relate to these posts where the OP thinks 3-4 kids is a giant stare-worthy family.

I wonder about this, too. It's interesting how this varies in different parts of the country. I've never lived anywhere where three, four, or even five kids would be considered unusual. Where we live now (midwest), I think six kids would be the tipping point where eyebrows would raise. 

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{{{}}} Op sorry about the flak you're starting to get. Been there done that. My parents were not very supportive of 3 & 4 (pre-birth, now you'd think it was their idea, lol). My sister told me in her "congrats on birth of #3" phone call that I couldn't have any more kids because "you can't love more than 3 kids and you'll just neglect them". She hung up on me when I called her to tell her I was expecting #4, lol. 

Re comments from strangers:

The "Hands full" is what I get the most. Almost a weekly basis. Usually goodnatured though and they are just trying to make conversation, so I'm friendly about it and say "it got easier once I learned to juggle", but I think I'm stealing a few lines I've seen here. For non-nice tones on this one I usually reply "Not full enough" which usually confuses them long enough to get away.

I have gotten the "how those are made" lines; mostly while pregnant. I usually respond with a "Yes, do you need some tips?" Never gotten it from a creepy man, though, usually older women. 

One thing I notice is I get more positive comments if I am super-interactive with the kids. For example; grocery shopping fast and putting stuff in the cart, moving quickly, "come on guys, move over to the side T, M don't touch that" gets more [ambivalent/negative] comments than having one kid hold the list, asking them what we're getting, have another kid weigh the produce, asking them for their opinions on what type of apples, etc. 

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17 hours ago, kubiac said:

Hello! I am due with #4 in May. In our area and social milieu, having four or more kids is...not common.

We know one Orthodox Jewish family with 10, a Catholic family with 5 kids, and I have a couple of LDS friends who are from large families. But four or more is generally NOT the done thing around here.

Where I live, I find that one kid is common, two is the "norm," three is "oh how cute they like having kids and they can afford it" or "well you know those immigrants are so family-oriented," but four is "what is wrong with you are you insane?"

Sidebar rant: My parents are somewhere between irked and irate (they only had three, so that's their number). We are 41 and 42, married, happy, financially independent and have a paid-off home. Our kids are well-fed and well-educated. I need to lose weight but other than that none of us have any major health problems. My dad said we were being selfish and expressed a concern that we won't be able to take care of them in 10 years (which is totally unfair since we live two miles away, and are available at their beck and call, and heretofore they have always literally *laughed* at us if we asked if they needed any help with aging) and demanded that we find a birth control method. I was pretty much planning to get my tubes tied after this one, but I told him we do have a lot of ambivalence about birth control versus family building. Heck, just being told I *have* to do something makes me want to not do it and head in the opposite direction and do IVF to get pregnant with #5 & #6 as twins.

ANYWAY, I think we have entered the phase of our family building where we are statistically weird. Only 14 percent of American women have four or more children. I was wondering if any of you larger-family moms have any experiences or wisdom on how you manage responses to "you're nuts" or "you're being selfish" or other responses you get from people. Help?

 

At first, I thought he was referring to not being able to take care of the kids since you will be in your 50s but if he is worried about himself??  Well, I was raised to respect my elders and not be rude to them, but that would fly out of the window in NY minute after a comment like that.  I would be VERY blunt and tell him that I suggest he start touring good nursing homes now bc since I am so selfish in his opinion, I won't have the time.

I thought 4 kids would be a perfect number for us, but I was too old and too tired to even think about it, so I am the wrong person to comment on if it's "normal".

May you have the healthiest and easiest of pregnancies and be blessed with a wonderful healthy baby!

 

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I'm currently eight months pregnant with number 4, and my oldest is six. Four kids isn't unheard of here, but our spacing makes people wonder if we are planning on a dozen or so, I think. Actually, we are planning on four being it, but random strangers don't need that info. We get a lot of "do you know what causes that?" said jokingly, and when I respond "I thought so, but if it is what I thought, we'd have several hundred at this point, so..." the comments quickly die. We also get "it must be hard having so many so little" to which my stock response is "I haven't heard that there is any number of kids that makes things easy, but thankfully they are usually good kids." That last bit is often said with a over-the-top grin at whichever kids had been trying to drive me crazy most recently, which makes the kid laugh. Most people seem to like the acknowledgement that all families can be difficult and there is no "right" number. 

Then again, my grandmother's response when I told her we were expecting #1 was "I'm sorry," even though we were healthy, financially stable, and had been married a year. I think it was one of the first signs of cognitive decline for her, so I now try to assume, for the sake of my mental well being, that any out-and-out rude comments are the result of old age, poor health, or the like.

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49 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

There's always the snarky answer, "SOMEONE has to pay for your Social Security!" I've used it once or twice. 

I’ve used that a time or two.

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I've heard the whole range - from "you're ruining the environment" (said by people who eat factory farmed animal products daily!) to "do you know how that happens" to the kinder versions ("you must have your hands full," "is this the last or are you having [gasp] more?!", etc)

My mom actually got me the book The Fifth Child when I was pregnant with our fifth child.  This was after she'd gotten me The Glass House when we had 3 kids and were unemployed (thanks for the vote of confidence, mom).  I had to just realize for myself that her aversion to having lots of kids came from a valid place - her own mother had had my mom at 19 then 4 more, all boys, in fairly quick succession, then freaked out and deserted the three middle boys and her husband (mom's dad) and ran off with a younger guy, taking mom and the youngest boy.  She didn't see the middle boys again, nor did mom, until they were grown.

So for mom, the idea of having lots of kids means Disaster.  Potential Ruin. 

I've taken to not even telling my mom and sister first when I'm pregnant.  Sadly (not sadly?), after DH, I announce it here, and there is always a group of people ready with good wishes.  Then, bolstered by that, I can tell my mom and my sister.

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1 hour ago, Margaret in CO said:

There's always the snarky answer, "SOMEONE has to pay for your Social Security!" I've used it once or twice. 

 

And not only pay social security, but physically do the work of running the country - farming the land, extracting the oil, driving the trucks, nursing the sick, doing elder care for the elderly, all of it.  I know some people have fewer kids and others have more and that is fine - but what is going to happen if everyone has a max of 2 or maybe 3 and some people have 1 or none?  We'll starve, that's what.

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Wow! I am not sure what I would have said if my parents would have ever insinuated my having children put a damper on caring for them. Is that their retirement and elder care plan? You guys? I think if a child wants to take care of their parents that is lovely but in no way should it be expected. I would have probably said something like "yeah dad, your right. We absolutely won't be able to take care of you now. Looks like you probably should have had some more kids to increase your odds!" I would have a couple more just to really freak them out!

We have 5...I have heard it all and then some. When people are rude I love to say things like "this is only half of them too!" And watch their mouths drop. People think they are funny and being friendly. It tends to not bug me too much. Big families are a curiosity to people. I LOVE being a parent and would have 2 or 3 more if I could. Full hands and full hearts is my favorite. 

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Congratulations!  Given that my dh is from a very traditional Irish Catholic family (that generally had anywhere between 6-12 children), our family of 7 is not that big of a deal.  Also, our local smallish community does seem to have quite a few families with five children.  Really, the main thing that has made our family stand out is that they are all very close in age.  (No. 5 was born when No. 1 was 6.)

We've had people assume that No. 5 was an accident though.  

Interestingly, only one of of my five kids, I think, will consider having a bigger family.  I think the others will stick with the 2-children model.  I think life feels more complex for them and 2 seems like a manageable number.

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3 hours ago, xahm said:

We get a lot of "do you know what causes that?" said jokingly, and when I respond "I thought so, but if it is what I thought, we'd have several hundred at this point, so..." 

This had me belly laughing. Like now I want people to ask stupid questions just so I can answer with this. 

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We have 6 and a couple of my kids are always asking when/if we'll have more. (We recently found out we're having #7 but haven't spilled the news yet as I am still trying to process this turn of events.)

I come from a family of 7 kids and there are 30+ grandkids on my side alone. When one of mine asked if we were having more I asked him why he wanted another sibling. He told me "because I want my kids to have lots of cousins!" It made my heart explode a bit because I do dearly love the relationship that my kids have with their cousins. I have dozens and dozens of cousins as well and it really was fun growing up!

Edited by DesertBlossom
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47 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

We have 6 and a couple of my kids are always asking when/if we'll have more. (We recently found out we're having #7 but haven't spilled the news yet as I am still trying to process this turn of events.)

I come from a family of 7 kids and there are 30+ grandkids on my side alone. When one of mine asked if we were having more I asked him why he wanted another sibling. He told me "because I want my kids to have lots of cousins!" It made my heart explode a bit because I do dearly love the relationship that my kids have with their cousins. I have dozens and dozens of cousins as well and it really was fun growing up!

Congratulations!! 

The more babies, the more baby threads! Thanks for doing your part.  ?

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19 hours ago, Murphy101 said:

Someone at Sprouts today asked me if they were all mine. I only had 4 with me.  I said yes and they looked at my kids astonished and asked my kids, “Oh my god, so which of you have the same daddy?”

I

 

Good Grief. I would spend some time thinking up a humdinger of a response for when / if this comes up again.

This reminded me of a scene from a movie - it may have been "Cheaper by the Dozen" when Dad is out with 5 - 6 of the kids and gets a comment about having too many kids. He casually said something like: "Yup, and we left half a dozen at home."

I don't know your parents but I have to say I find it rather selfish of them to worry about being taken care of in ten years versus having another grandchild. 

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5 hours ago, Selkie said:

I wonder about this, too. It's interesting how this varies in different parts of the country. I've never lived anywhere where three, four, or even five kids would be considered unusual. Where we live now (midwest), I think six kids would be the tipping point where eyebrows would raise. 

 

OP seems to live in SoCal and I can imagine that the prevalent thought is that you have ruined your life with children. It seems the more self-centered people are in certain areas, the less kid-friendly the place becomes. 

A little further north, in an agricultural region, where I am, four kiddos are nothing out of the ordinary.

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I grew up in the Midwest and still live here, but what makes a "normal" family size definitely varies with local culture (for lack of a better term) even here in the Midwest.

Growing up I had an aunt and uncle with 4 kids and everyone I knew considered them to be a big family. "You know, it's because they're Catholic" everybody said. LOL It never ever in a bazillion years would have occurred to me that I myself would someday have 6 children! It was definitely not an urban area, but not rural. Suburban probably, although we didn't/don't call it that.

Now I live in an extremely rural area with a strong Mennonite influence and go to a church where big families are a lot more common, so 4 kids seems average - not too small, not too big. My 6 is still on the large size for this generation in my current local culture, but it's not unusual at all for people my age who grew up here to have many (4 or 5+) siblings.

But when I visit my hometown with my crew, people's eyes bug out in surprise LOL

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17 minutes ago, happypamama said:

@DesertBlossom congratulations!! Seven is exciting and wonderful!

Thank you! I love babies. And I love my kids. But I am feeling a bit old for this and the first trimester has me tired and grumpy and wondering just how I am going to do this again. On the plus side, I get to go shopping for all the fun baby stuff because I donated all my baby clothes and my cloth diapers a year ago.  ? 

For real though, my kids are going to be over the moon. It's fun to watch them dote on my 3 year old "baby." While I am thrilled to have so many helpers, I may never get to hold this baby except to nurse. ?

 

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1 hour ago, Liz CA said:

 

OP seems to live in SoCal and I can imagine that the prevalent thought is that you have ruined your life with children. It seems the more self-centered people are in certain areas, the less kid-friendly the place becomes. 

A little further north, in an agricultural region, where I am, four kiddos are nothing out of the ordinary.

This seems to be the prevalent ideology in a great many circles of our area. There is a lot of talk in these groups about overpopulation and the environment, but personally I think its code to mask that frankly they're too self-centered and don't want to be troubled with children, as they aren't exactly living monastic lives of materialistic restraint or sacrifice. Maybe they just think that them saying that masks the real reason and we can't tell they're self centered. Maybe it's a rule in the Junior League handbook right next to the helmet hair pictoral examples that you can only have 2 kids at a maximum or else someone might mistake you for the help......

Once we had #3  I started giving more thought to who in my life was supportive of children and our lifestyle and who wasn't.  We found ourselves gravitating to families here that are other homeschoolers, or are LDS or Catholic as both groups seem to have a better and more outward appreciation of children. I'm also thankful that we live in a heavier Hispanic area, because I don't ever get the side eye from my Hispanic friends and neighbors either. Our Hispanic friends  almost all come from big families and the families tend to think the more the merrier. I like that a lot. They're very supportive. I have never gotten a snide comment on number of children, or how close together they are from a non-white person now that I think about it.........

Our new church has an entire area packed with passenger vans and with only 3 we are now on the low end of the spectrum for # of kids. I am great with that. Sometimes I wonder if I should worry that I'm placing myself in a bubble, but then I realize I'd rather be in a bubble with people who love and appreciate children that out of the bubble and depressed by the reality that so many people don't like kids- even their own. 

 

Edited by texasmom33
Pictoral. Not pectoral. Spell check really seems to like pectoral......
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27 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

Thank you! I love babies. And I love my kids. But I am feeling a bit old for this and the first trimester has me tired and grumpy and wondering just how I am going to do this again. On the plus side, I get to go shopping for all the fun baby stuff because I donated all my baby clothes and my cloth diapers a year ago.  ? 

For real though, my kids are going to be over the moon. It's fun to watch them dote on my 3 year old "baby." While I am thrilled to have so many helpers, I may never get to hold this baby except to nurse. ?

 

Hahahaha, yeah, I hear you there. I’ve been informed that this is actually my Mr. Five’s baby. The kids were all hoping for twins so there would be more baby to go around. (And I’m old too. It was definitely easier at 24 with my oldest than at 41 with this one. But aside from being high risk and getting a million appointments because of health history, it’s actually been a pretty smooth and easy pregnancy. I hope yours is as well!)

Edited by happypamama
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19 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

Sometimes I wonder if I should worry that I'm placing myself in a bubble, but then I realize I'd rather be in a bubble with people who love and appreciate children 

I love this. I always forget that outside of our bubble, 4 kids and homeschooling is high on the weirdo chart lol.

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19 hours ago, DesertBlossom said:

I've only ever had one person get angry at me-- she asked if it was my first, and I said it was my 5th. Instantly her demeanor changed and she got angry and she started asking how I was going to pay for college for them all. I was so stunned I just walked away. 

At a doctor's appt for DD (with a doctor we love) the doctor started talking about how hard that many kids would be and how he and his wife *only* had 3 and he didn't think they could handle more.... and on and on and on. I said something about loving a big family, but I wished I'd had the nerve to point out how his words might be affecting my DD who was very much old enough to understand that he thought that many kids were a PITB. I like him enough in general to give him a pass, but it was bothersome and he obviously had no clue how he sounded.

We sometimes get questions like if we know what causes it, but it's usually said as a good-natured jab (though still annoying). Someone once remarked that we ought to get a TV and DH responded that we'd never found anything on TV that was more entertaining. ?

I'm LDS and while lots of LDS families stop at 2 or 3, I know lots and lots of couples our age or just a bit older who had 6, 7, 8 or 13. So I don't really feel all that out of place around here with our 6. But what I've learned is that people like to make stupid comments no matter what stage of life you're in. If you're single, they only ask questions about who you're dating. If you're childless, they want to know if you're trying. If you have 1, they want to know when you're having more. And eventually they start asking if you know how to stop.  I learned long ago that it's better to pay them no mind and to own my own decisions. 

 

Yes this. 

You will never be doing it right to everyone.  We have 5 and get comments all the time.  None negative, just wow kind of ones.  My family didn't like that I had 3, 4, 5.  Heck even 2.  One really outspoken family member only wanted me to have one, because that is what they did.  And that is always right.  Of course now they are happy we have all these kids.  I sure wish we had more. And I know that I will think like that even more when I am older. 

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3 hours ago, DesertBlossom said:

We have 6 and a couple of my kids are always asking when/if we'll have more. (We recently found out we're having #7 but haven't spilled the news yet as I am still trying to process this turn of events.)

I come from a family of 7 kids and there are 30+ grandkids on my side alone. When one of mine asked if we were having more I asked him why he wanted another sibling. He told me "because I want my kids to have lots of cousins!" It made my heart explode a bit because I do dearly love the relationship that my kids have with their cousins. I have dozens and dozens of cousins as well and it really was fun growing up!

 

Congrats!!!

 

Congrats OP too.  So happy for you.    Healthy 9 months to both of you.    I saw a ton of babies today and I got the fever.   

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@kubiac I haven't officially congratulated you yet either! Congratulations!  I do hope that your parents come around. Grandparents have the potential to be such a blessing in the lives of their grandkids that it pains me to think they aren't excited along with you. Hopefully someday they'll see the error in their thinking and love that baby with all their hearts!

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Congratulations on your new little one!

When we had our 4th baby, we had a neighbor who would say "I can't believe HOW many kids you have!" and "you have sooooo many kids, I just can't believe it" and "your family is sooooooo BIG!"  She would say something to me and point it out to others around me every time I saw her.  I saw her several times a week because there was a neighborhood park where our older kids played together, plus our husbands worked together (military) so I would see her around the neighborhood and at any work function.  She would sort of shake her head and make sure that anyone else around us knew just how many many children I had....   

I sort of shook it off - but it eventually started to bother me since she had THREE kids of her own.  I mean, 4 kids is a lot of kids when you have 1 kid, but when you have 3 kids, one more is hardly earth shattering, you know?  

Anyway, people are weird. And rude!  For a while there I did feel like I had my own entourage while shopping at the grocery store.  But they all grew up so fast and next year I will just have one at home - I wish I had about 2 more kids...  Enjoy your new baby and your HUGE family ? 

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On 11/2/2018 at 9:05 PM, gardenmom5 said:

but for most, I've also seen the "play stupid" card.  making them explain it to where most people will become extremely embarassed.

thought I tried that once with a nurse who was giving me instructions on how to wean my fourth . . . . I finally had to say "I know what I'm doing, this is my fourth child".  . . ."   they're all yours?" . . . she thought my kids were "his and hers", or babysitting other people's kids.  

I remember being asked if they were all mine once at a doctor's appt for one of the kids when I only had 4. I asked why they wondered. The nurse whispered, "Well, one doesn't look like the others." (I'm assuming she was referring to Dd#3 who is a mini me where all the rest look just like DH.) Instead, I chose to play stupid. I replied, "That's because he's a Boy!" (My first three are girls.)

The breast feeding "helpers" in the hospital are terrible. It doesn't matter what number kid you are on, they always think they have to school you. I refused to wake up my babies to show them how I nursed, and they insisted I needed to. I remember specifically refusing to do so with #4 and saying #3 had just weaned (herself) weeks before so I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing. The woman then started lecturing me on how I would need to watch out for jealousy and also how bfing older kids isn't like bfing a baby, blah-blah-blah. I sent her packing and told the nurses I didn't want to be bothered by her again. (Didn't help. They were very big on "supporting" their bf culture.)

I couldn't believe how many comments I got when I was pg with #3. At the OB's office mostly!

I remember getting the oil changed on our van and I only had three of the kids with me. One guy said, "Younjust need a couple more and your family would be perfect." I gave him a huge smile and said I guessed our family was perfect because I had two more at home. That shut him up.

I get the second marriage/blended family thing. When I was in for surgery to remove retained tissue after losing my last one, a lot of the nurses assumed DH was my second husband and we were trying to start family #2. I don't know if it was because I was obviously so broken up which they couldn't process except through the lens of me only wanting another baby because it was with a new guy?? Or because it was the only thing that made sense with a large age gap to my next youngest (once they found out I had other kids--most assumed I had no other kids).

Big families are not the norm here,  but there are some. In our circle, there are several with 6 or more. (One fellow homeschooler has 6 and the oldest kid is 9. They get lots of comments.) DH was stocking up at Wal-Mart after #5 was born and a fellow shopper asked if he had a big family or ran a day care  (or something). DH said he had a big family (because 5 kids, right?). He swore never to answer that again as the woman asking him had 17 kids. :laugh:

Congrats to all the pg moms - whether this is #1,  #7 or some other #. We'll want baby pictures and eventually to cheer you on through their college applications. :ph34r: We are happy for you!

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My FIL was so mad that we had more than 2.  We have 4 and most people I know have 2 and some have 3.  I am incredibly grateful that we have four kids.  I haven't gotten any snarky comments but maybe because of an age gap.  I didn't have four really little ones at the same time?  No idea.

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13 hours ago, DesertBlossom said:

Thank you! I love babies. And I love my kids. But I am feeling a bit old for this and the first trimester has me tired and grumpy and wondering just how I am going to do this again. On the plus side, I get to go shopping for all the fun baby stuff because I donated all my baby clothes and my cloth diapers a year ago.  ? 

For real though, my kids are going to be over the moon. It's fun to watch them dote on my 3 year old "baby." While I am thrilled to have so many helpers, I may never get to hold this baby except to nurse. ?

 

This is where I'm at too! Being pregnant wasn't a picnic in my 20's, but it wasn't that big of a deal. In my 30's it was harder but manageable. Now at 44 I. Am. Feeling. Too. Old. For. This. Thank goodness my older kids are so helpful. They take care of everything while I lay in the recliner and wait to not feel nauseous anymore. And yeah when the baby actually arrives I just hope he/she someday figures out who his mother really is ??

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Our area is rather rural so lots of support for large families but many only have 2 because mom has to work. But I know lots of moms of 2 who say “I’ve always wished we had another baby or two.”

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I think that it's really interesting how people/stranger feel the need and for some reason the right to comment on family size, when they'd never comment on other personal topics. I have no defence, other than when our fourth was coming I continually responded to comments with, "This child is a true blessing to us." I focused on the positive. Sure all the challenges are there; finances, energy needs, etc. I could have responded with, "I'm not an idiot, and all that is obvious." But I chose to keep it positive and rarely did anyone challenge the statement about a child being a blessing. What could they say, "No, a child is only a burden and you are wrong."  

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We're a family of 7 and we're a multi-racial family.  So, yep, we've heard it all at this point!  And we get stared at all the time when we go somewhere.  A couple of my kids think it's funny (the girls), but son actually gets angry.  Not only do most of my kids not look similar, but some look like they're completely different ethnicities.  I've been asked if I adopted kids from China...asked by customer service people if I can be helped separately from my family...asked what country they're from...asked if they're "really all mine"...  Yeah, it gets tiring.  

We've heard the "you're ruining the environment and adding to overpopulation" argument from our vegan relatives, too.

We have a family member who insists we have so many kids that there's no way we can possibly take care of them all.  He tells other family members this behind our backs.  We have another family member that was saying there's no way I could possibly give each child individual attention, because there's so many of them.  And don't get me started on the homeschooling comments from relatives.  Geez, People.  

We've heard the stupid "you know how that happens, right? Wa ha ha ha ha...."  Um, yeah.  ?  It always seems like it's a man telling that stupid joke.

And about the bubble you live in regarding whether or not having more than 2 kids is common/uncommon.  No one in my generation, in my family, has more than one kid (except one cousin who had twins).  They're very college-educated/career-oriented and they don't want to be hindered by a large family.  None of them are stay-at-home parents, either.  So, I guess we really are weirdos...

 

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3 hours ago, RootAnn said:

I remember being asked if they were all mine once at a doctor's appt for one of the kids when I only had 4. I asked why they wondered. The nurse whispered, "Well, one doesn't look like the others." (I'm assuming she was referring to Dd#3 who is a mini me where all the rest look just like DH.) Instead, I chose to play stupid. I replied, "That's because he's a Boy!" (My first three are girls.)

The breast feeding "helpers" in the hospital are terrible. It doesn't matter what number kid you are on, they always think they have to school you. I refused to wake up my babies to show them how I nursed, and they insisted I needed to. I remember specifically refusing to do so with #4 and saying #3 had just weaned (herself) weeks before so I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing. The woman then started lecturing me on how I would need to watch out for jealousy and also how bfing older kids isn't like bfing a baby, blah-blah-blah. I sent her packing and told the nurses I didn't want to be bothered by her again. (Didn't help. They were very big on "supporting" their bf culture.)

I couldn't believe how many comments I got when I was pg with #3. At the OB's office mostly!

I remember getting the oil changed on our van and I only had three of the kids with me. One guy said, "Younjust need a couple more and your family would be perfect." I gave him a huge smile and said I guessed our family was perfect because I had two more at home. That shut him up.

I get the second marriage/blended family thing. When I was in for surgery to remove retained tissue after losing my last one, a lot of the nurses assumed DH was my second husband and we were trying to start family #2. I don't know if it was because I was obviously so broken up which they couldn't process except through the lens of me only wanting another baby because it was with a new guy?? Or because it was the only thing that made sense with a large age gap to my next youngest (once they found out I had other kids--most assumed I had no other kids).

Big families are not the norm here,  but there are some. In our circle, there are several with 6 or more. (One fellow homeschooler has 6 and the oldest kid is 9. They get lots of comments.) DH was stocking up at Wal-Mart after #5 was born and a fellow shopper asked if he had a big family or ran a day care  (or something). DH said he had a big family (because 5 kids, right?). He swore never to answer that again as the woman asking him had 17 kids. :laugh:

Congrats to all the pg moms - whether this is #1,  #7 or some other #. We'll want baby pictures and eventually to cheer you on through their college applications. :ph34r: We are happy for you!

that would be dh's brother.  people who ask "whose that kid who is always hanging out with the ___family?"   very much takes after mil's father.  armenian.  dark olive skin, black hair, black eyes.   dh is very fair with red hair (still!),  his sisters are a mix (except for coloring, his youngest sister is otherwise the spitting image of their armenian ggm.)

I was hospitalized with pneumonia with #5 .. . I was the patient for drs to come by a lookie-loo at (there was no medical reason for them to "stop by") . . . my youngest at home - was 11 1/2.. .  It's very easy for others to assume I have no other kids.   but if one of the other kids is with me . . .they must be the parent.

the mom-baby nurse I had with dudeling was great.  she found an experienced mom "refreshing".   she didn't get stupid questions from me like "the book says the average labor is ___"  . . . well dear, the baby hasn't read the book.

I had a gas station attendant lecture me about over population when I was pg with #3.  (yeah my car was old and very not pretty, but it was paid for.  I assume he was stereotyping and thought I was a single mom.)      I lectured him about what the birthrate has to be just to maintain a population.  that  parts of western europe, and japan don't even have a replacement population birthrate among their own population.      - he did shut up, and should be grateful - dh wanted to talk to the guy's boss about how he treats customers.

my grandmother . . . . I really think there was something sketchy in her family.  and I think it was where i got the message the perfect family had one boy and one girl.  (my mother was an only).  . . . . I was a 'third'.  (thank you orson scott card.)  . . . . . . how many families of ten, the majority of children (in this case seven) have zero, one, or two - at most!  only three of her sisters had large families, and two were among the oldest three, then one from the "middle" of the pack.

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By they way, kids go through some icky phases. It’s really nice to have a sweet baby when your middle schooler is being a pill and it’s so encouraging to have the fun of school Ager when your older teens are heading off to college

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5 hours ago, RootAnn said:

The breast feeding "helpers" in the hospital are terrible. It doesn't matter what number kid you are on, they always think they have to school you. I refused to wake up my babies to show them how I nursed, and they insisted I needed to. I remember specifically refusing to do so with #4 and saying #3 had just weaned (herself) weeks before so I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing. The woman then started lecturing me on how I would need to watch out for jealousy and also how bfing older kids isn't like bfing a baby, blah-blah-blah. I sent her packing and told the nurses I didn't want to be bothered by her again. (Didn't help. They were very big on "supporting" their bf culture.)

 

Ugh, I don't want to hear that!  I'm supposed to be writing my birth plan, which pretty much is, "Leave me alone.  I know what I'm doing.  I almost certainly have more experience with labor and BFing than any of your nurses.  I will ask you if I need help."  But I also don't want to be rude to people who are taking good care of us, and I was very grateful they were there when I was figuring out how to pump last time and that they're super pro-BFing.

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6 minutes ago, happypamama said:

 I was very grateful they were there when I was figuring out how to pump last time and that they're super pro-BFing.

I get this because my oldest is a NICU baby. (Although I don't think all the nurses were pro-bf and I have a conspiracy story about one of them giving my sweetie a bottle. But that's another story.) The later women's reason for continuing to plague me was that I could have been doing it wrong for every other kid, and she wouldn't know unless I show her exactly how I latch the kid on and feed him/her. So, if they catch you with a hungry baby and you feel like showing them all your moves, maybe they'll leave you alone. Or maybe they will believe you know what you are doing without proof.

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3 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

By they way, kids go through some icky phases. It’s really nice to have a sweet baby when your middle schooler is being a pill and it’s so encouraging to have the fun of school Ager when your older teens are heading off to college

This. Totally. The older ones remind me “this too shall pass” when the younger ones are growing through a frustrating time. The younger ones remind me how sweet and cute and lovey the older ones once were when they aren’t being their normal sweet selves.

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On 11/2/2018 at 8:35 PM, Momto5inIN said:

I would also be verrrrrry tempted to ask my dad if he was really sure he wanted to be involved to that level of detail in my s%x life ... because I could sure find ways to make those conversations very uncomfortable for a father to listen to ???

Man....I almost snorted pancakes out my nose reading this. I'm totally doing this if it comes up with my parents again!

On 11/2/2018 at 8:37 PM, busymama7 said:

 

I think if anything that dramatic(rude and inappropriate) came from my parents though we would have to have a very firm discussion about what was appropriate to say and that we would reduce contact if that kind of talk continued. 

 

That's what I had to do when my mother insisted on forcing the issue. After number 2 she said I was not "allowed" to have more. After number 3 she just assumed I was done. After number four she kept asking when my husband was having a vasectomy, and then tried to force the issue on the phone one day even after I told her that I was sitting in the car dealership buying a car!! I finally said, point blank, "It is NOT OKAY to question other people about their birth control, or to try to dictate what they use. That is NOT OKAY."

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To the OP and her original question I don't know if anyone is ever an expert on having a certain number of children or answering clearly rude comments. The comments just reflect the commenters' beliefs, prejudices, and ignorance.  We have 9 children.  When they were younger, we did get comments from relatives and elderly friends, and stares from strangers.  Having more than average can be a challenge, but with it comes blessings and joys that a smaller family may not get to experience.  Four or five children is the cut-off number for the naysayers.  Once you exceed that number people assume you are a hopeless case and quit commenting.  Four is such a fun number of children!  Congratulations on your newest little one!  

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On 11/3/2018 at 1:30 PM, moonflower said:

 

And not only pay social security, but physically do the work of running the country - farming the land, extracting the oil, driving the trucks, nursing the sick, doing elder care for the elderly, all of it.  I know some people have fewer kids and others have more and that is fine - but what is going to happen if everyone has a max of 2 or maybe 3 and some people have 1 or none?  We'll starve, that's what.

It's weird isn't it, as if people don't understand that our economy and society require a constant supply of new people in order to function.

I think we could deal with a slowly shrinking human population with a lot of social and economic reorganization (and a realization that constant economic growth in the face of falling worldwide population is improbable) but anything much below replacement rate is going to lead to serious problems. And yes, an average of two births per woman when many women have 0 or 1 child means some of us are gonna need to have more than that golden number of 2. Except if we do that we are crazy or selfish or something.

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I only have four, so I never consider us to be a big family but around here we are certainly outside the norm.  

I have had strangers at the park ask me if they all have the same Daddy.

Maybe it is because of where I live but many of the comments I get are about how selfish I am because my "giant" family is using up more than our share of the planet's resources.  

So I would say, "I am not trying to overpopulate the planet.  I am just trying to outnumber the idiots."

My family was excited by each pregnancy announcement, and my in-laws kept their thoughts to themselves for the most part.  Except when pregnancy announcement #4 coincided with our purchase of a newer/ larger vehicle and my MIL blurted out,

"Oh my goodness!  It isn't like a goldfish growing to fit a bigger bowl!  You don't have to fill all the seats of that new car!"

I did have one shocking comment that left me speechless.  Years ago when #4 was a toddler, my youngest brother was getting married.  I had never met his fiancee and the wedding was being held in another state in her home town.  After the rehearsal dinner I was juggling the baby & watching all the kids who  who were not a part of the wedding party when the pastor (a total stranger) came up to me, introduced himself and asked me which children were mine, so I pointed out my kids in the pile of cousins.  He then asked me if I was planning on having more.....which I felt was awfully personal.....my surprise must have shown on my face because he rushed to explain his interest by saying,

"Because you have perfect aryan children, so pure and lovely.  We need more of them."   And then he walked away.  I have never been so shocked.  For a split second I thought I must have imagined it, like maybe I had sunstroke or something, but my SIL was standing nearby with her kids and she said,  "Did he just say that?"  What would possess a person to say that to a stranger?  Just because my children are blue-eyed blonds I must share his racist views?

Congratulations on #4.  The more the merrier I say :)

Amber in SJ

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On 11/2/2018 at 6:58 PM, kubiac said:

 

ANYWAY, I think we have entered the phase of our family building where we are statistically weird. Only 14 percent of American women have four or more children. I was wondering if any of you larger-family moms have any experiences or wisdom on how you manage responses to "you're nuts" or "you're being selfish" or other responses you get from people. Help?


If you have the time and the inclination, do go down that trail with them.  I'm selfish?  Please explain how it is that I'm selfish?
They'll say something about having kids because you want them and you'll have to explore how it is that putting forth intentional and effortful raising of the child for the next twenty or so years makes you selfish.  Personally, do you see that nothing sways people who are insistent on believing what they want to believe?  I thought we'd really changed our family's minds on homeschooling.  Nah.  They were just seeking the right opportunity to attack again.  Same here.  People tend to be comfortable in their ignorance.

 

On 11/2/2018 at 7:58 PM, MeaganS said:

I find most comments are positive, but they generally focus on the fact that we have 4 girls.

LOL, we use this to get over the shock of 11 kids.  Mention EIGHT of them are girls and people latch right onto it. ;)

On 11/2/2018 at 8:16 PM, LMD said:

 

I find being super positive and owning it helps with strangers. So when they go "? 4!" I reply with "Yes! We're so blessed!" Or they say "wow 4 must be hard" I reply "it's totally worth it! We have lots of fun!"

Family is a whoooooooole 'nuther ball game. Best to ignore, have good boundaries, and hope they are decent people who will love the new baby in the family! 

I'd agree with that.  Here's my .02 fwiw - being positive and sweet if and when you can.  With family, however, you probably need to take it in hand. Potentially, "You're being rude right now."  And just smile and wait for the response.  Just NEVER try to excuse it - like, "Oh, we can because..." It shifts the responsibility onto you to come up with a "good enough" excuse.  No.  Just no.  Shift responsibility directly onto them - why are they rude, why is that comment acceptable, etc.

On 11/2/2018 at 9:21 PM, kubiac said:

 

THIS IS BEAUTIFUL AND IMMA USE IT. Thank you. ?

Use it carefully.
The "better full than empty" was a favorite of mine.  
My sister was infertile, struggled, lost twin boys. 

I will NEVER say anything like that again unless I knew the person, their history, and it was just a goodnatured comment.  It is incredibly painful for people struggling with infertility or loss.

On 11/3/2018 at 8:52 AM, Murphy101 said:

 

Find good friends.  Spend time with your husband.  Go on coffee dates or play dates with friends you can be completely honest with about the realities of our lives. Over time, these will be the people who raise you up, sometimes literally.  And having people who can circle wagons around you or your kids when necessary will be a genuine balm to the soul in the future. So invest today.

Boundaries are important.  Especially if you live so close.  Don't let them think that proximity of houses gives them a say in what goes on in your household, much less your bedroom.  And you are an adult, it's acceptable to lay it out in just such terms for them to understand.  There comes a point when respecting our parents includes speaking to them as the adults we all are.


This - especially on friends and boundaries!

On 11/2/2018 at 9:18 PM, happysmileylady said:

I am the oldest of 4, and I have 4 kids.  To ME...these sorts of comments are part of life, and then move on.

......

And in my mom's world, there's no reason to come down hard on people who mostly, are just trying to make small talk.  A cashier asking "do you know what causes it" is really just trying to be funny in making small talk because there is only so much to entertain a person standing at a computer for 8 hrs punching in numbers and dealing with the same stupid jokes over and over and over.


It's okay to be rude and insulting if you're poorly paid or bored?  I could paraphrase Orwell and dignify their comments in that ignorant people haven't fuel with which to keep their minds entertained... And yet that isn't an excuse to allow it.  I do the same - attempt to dismiss or laugh at stupidity.  But I have to tell you, as I've gotten older, my tolerance for ignorance and rude comments is lower.  I've come to realize I've done them no favors by giggling at their comments.  None.  Best to nip it in the bud for the next poor, unsuspecting soul with four little ones, lest I encourage him to make it (yet) again.

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7 hours ago, Amber in SJ said:

 

I did have one shocking comment that left me speechless.  Years ago ..., my youngest brother was getting married.  I had never met his fiancee and the wedding was being held in another state in her home town.  After the rehearsal dinner I was juggling the baby & watching all the kids who  who were not a part of the wedding party when the pastor (a total stranger) came up to me, introduced himself and asked me which children were mine, so I pointed out my kids in the pile of cousins.  He then asked me if I was planning on having more.....which I felt was awfully personal.....my surprise must have shown on my face because he rushed to explain his interest by saying,

"Because you have perfect aryan children, so pure and lovely.  We need more of them."   And then he walked away.  I have never been so shocked.  For a split second I thought I must have imagined it, like maybe I had sunstroke or something, but my SIL was standing nearby with her kids and she said,  "Did he just say that?"  What would possess a person to say that to a stranger?  Just because my children are blue-eyed blonds I must share his racist views?

Congratulations on #4.  The more the merrier I say ?

Amber in SJ

was this your sil regular minister?  her family's?  does she share those views?

1 hour ago, BlsdMama said:


LOL, we use this to get over the shock of 11 kids.  Mention EIGHT of them are girls and people latch right onto it. ?

 

 

Use it carefully.
The "better full than empty" was a favorite of mine.  
My sister was infertile, struggled, lost twin boys. 

I will NEVER say anything like that again unless I knew the person, their history, and it was just a good natured comment.  It is incredibly painful for people struggling with infertility or loss.


 

doesn't making the focus on eight girls (vs. three boys) seem kinda sexist?   my grandmother was one of ten girls (no brothers)  -  it was sexist in their family as there was always an underlying message of there are too many girls, and ___ was supposed to be a boy. (a rumor went around town that the youngest was a boy)  to my grandmother, boys were valued solely because they were "boys",  (girls were nothing special.) granted she grew up on a farm, and in that era boys were stronger to do more farm work.    my brother became "the boy" and got away with stuff because of it - it did him no favors.

 

many things people say should be given consideration to the person with whom they're speaking.   The day I went to the hospital to turn off my mother's life support, I got on the elevator to go up to the CCU, and there was a man who wanted to celebrate his loved one recovering and was trying to tell me, a stranger to him, all about it.   I just ignored him.  it was the most polite thing I could do right then, when all his comments did was make me want to cry more.

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16 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

was this your sil regular minister?  her family's?  does she share those views?

doesn't making the focus on eight girls (vs. three boys) seem kinda sexist?   my grandmother was one of ten girls (no brothers)  -  it was sexist in their family as there was always an underlying message of there are too many girls, and ___ was supposed to be a boy. (a rumor went around town that the youngest was a boy)  to my grandmother, boys were valued solely because they were "boys",  (girls were nothing special.) granted she grew up on a farm, and in that era boys were stronger to do more farm work.    my brother became "the boy" and got away with stuff because of it - it did him no favors.

 

many things people say should be given consideration to the person with whom they're speaking.   The day I went to the hospital to turn off my mother's life support, I got on the elevator to go up to the CCU, and there was a man who wanted to celebrate his loved one recovering and was trying to tell me, a stranger to him, all about it.   I just ignored him.  it was the most polite thing I could do right then, when all his comments did was make me want to cry more.

People comment that way if they’re mostly boys too. Somehow the count is supposed to be even.

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15 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

People comment that way if they’re mostly boys too. Somehow the count is supposed to be even.

Don’t worry, some people will comment even with an even count.  Because it really has less to do with the family and more to do with the person asking the question.  Most people are nice and curious and not terribly rude.  And then there’s the few people out of their mind, raised in barns, off their meds, etc.

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2 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

was this your sil regular minister?  her family's?  does she share those views?

doesn't making the focus on eight girls (vs. three boys) seem kinda sexist?   my grandmother was one of ten girls (no brothers)  -  it was sexist in their family as there was always an underlying message of there are too many girls, and ___ was supposed to be a boy. (a rumor went around town that the youngest was a boy)  to my grandmother, boys were valued solely because they were "boys",  (girls were nothing special.) granted she grew up on a farm, and in that era boys were stronger to do more farm work.    my brother became "the boy" and got away with stuff because of it - it did him no favors.



Wouldn't that really depend on what was being said?  There is NO underlying message of too many girls here.  Not ever.  ;)  I'd take a dozen more girls, but that does flabbergast people.  People are so used to thinking of girls as a downfall that they are generally genuinely shocked when they meet someone who says, "LOVE having a ton of girls."  Then they seem to switch to asking REAL questions - aren't they more emotional?  How do we balance relationships?  Is that sexist?  Absolutely.  It assumes my boys are (edited to add: NOT) relationally based or emotional.  I can't help their assumptions.  But I will tell you, when I get sick of the smart@$$ comments about our family and my sex life, I do absolutely turn it to having eight girls. For whatever reason, when you throw people off, they stop being "funny" and the conversation takes a more sincere turn because I've moved past their innuendo and assumptions.  Who thinks they know life with eight girls?  No one.  I never mind when someone wants to have a sincere conversation about what our life looks like.  I am probably more hostile and defensive than I should be when people want to be sarcastic and sassy about my family - it's not a joke.  It's my family. They aren't a gaggle of geese - they are individuals who happen to be a PART of a large family but that is not WHO they are.  Imagine if you went through life with people assuming you are just 1/3 of a whole person?  This is often what we get. If you have two children, no one bats an eye at them being unique.  We get the comment ALL THE TIME that our kids are so different from one another.  And that's okay - I don't mind breaking the assumptions AND having those REAL conversations.  What I mind is when people insist on both having shallow conversations AND making assumptions.  If you make an assumption, be prepared to be called on it.  If you insist on a shallow conversation, then let's make it about the weather, shall we?

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2 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

 

many things people say should be given consideration to the person with whom they're speaking.   The day I went to the hospital to turn off my mother's life support, I got on the elevator to go up to the CCU, and there was a man who wanted to celebrate his loved one recovering and was trying to tell me, a stranger to him, all about it.   I just ignored him.  it was the most polite thing I could do right then, when all his comments did was make me want to cry more.



I want to add here a hug.  I'm sorry that happened to you.  You're right - you're absolutely right.

To clarify for others:
I am not sure if ya'all been faced with the weariness that comes from having to essentially be "on guard" out in public that moms of "mega-families" exist in.  I've shared this example before but the lady who stopped me at the end of Costco, "...I've been following you all through the store and watching your family..." I know she didn't realize she came off like a stalker, but I think that the whole "real life on TV" made watching people and being papparazzi somehow acceptable - like there are no boundaries for MY family because the Duggars decided to make a tv show - and I'm really not kidding.  I'd never, ever, ever ask someone with a "normal" amount of kids, "So, what's the deal?  You and your husband don't like sex?"  Ever.  But it's open game for large families a shocking amount of time.  Have I been asked, "Don't you know what causes that?" Yes, and that's NOT shocking.  Here's what is shocking - have I been asked more than once? Yes.  Have I been asked more than six times? Yup.  Has more than a DOZEN strangers asked me about my sex life? Yes. I'd say the count is between 2-3 DOZEN - no kidding.  

I realize we look like a circus.  I do.  I also realize we're out during school hours.  But I'm not offended by the, "All yours?"  or "No school?"  Nope.  Nope.  And not even the curious stuff.  

I'm not offended by run of the mill stuff but crazy comments have happened a fair bit. I used to take them really well - just laugh it off.  I'm 40 something now and I figure - one, I no longer feel the need to laugh at other people's stupidity or be nice because they refuse to do so.  There is an assumption that NOT being nice is the same as being rude. It's not.  It may be that it is perceived as rude because I don't laugh at someone's joke at my expense, but perception and truth are rarely the same.  Now I feel some odd obligation that if someone hasn't learned manners by whatever age they've been let loose in public, I'm under no obligation to humor their ignorance.  Shrug.  I'll always try to make them think about what they said if I can.  

I remember being at Costco one day when, very uncharacteristically, an employee was very careless with my items.  I corrected her once (nicely) and she rolled her eyes at the checkout guy (who did not find her amusing.)  Afterwards I went to customer service and explained she was behaving very "NOT" Costco and they might want to correct it.  I was told, "Everyone has bad days sometimes."  Um.  It was the day I'd found out I was going to be paralyzed from my toes to my face.  I just walked away.

Sometimes you get really sick of just being the person who takes it with a smile on your face.  And you begin to realize that that thing I said was true - that there comes a point when you realize, as a thinking adult, you are in no way obligated to just smile and "be nice" and that by choosing to be real, honest, and not shallow, that doesn't make you rude either.  :wub:  Somewhere along the line we gave our girls the idea (and I definitely got the memo) that you are either nice or a bitch.  That's a falsehood we should never convey to the next generation.  I aim to raise very genuine girls, girls who think, girls who stand on two feet, girls who are kind but can state truth... I hope they never smile and nod when being mocked.  I don't want them to be easily offended, but neither should they sweetly laugh when someone is offensive.  That is a hard line to both draw and teach - men can do it just fine, but women are a whole other story.



 

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1 hour ago, fairfarmhand said:

People comment that way if they’re mostly boys too. Somehow the count is supposed to be even.

My first two are a girl and a boy. I got so many "Oh! A matching set! You can stop now!" I'm my mom's third girl, I remember 2 or 3 people saying to me when I was younger "Oh, they were trying for a boy?" Didn't understand until I was much older. 

Now I have 4 and even. People seem so pleased by this. I'll admit I'm pleased too, but mostly because I'm 2/3 of the way to being able to say to any kid "your brothers and sisters" and not getting corrected about my count "you mean my sisTER not sisterSSSS" thing. gah. Totally a legit reason to have 6+ kids, right? 

I remember this one guy was shocked that I had (then) 3 kids. We were at a Halloween party and he had remarked how many Incredibles costumes there were and I said "Oh they are all mine." I then said, jokingly, that we were planning on 10 total, one birthday per month. I thought he was going to have a stroke, he couldn't say anything. I told him I was joking. He said "Oh good, 10 would be insane, 3 is bad enough." I replied, "Oh, no, I mean about the birthdays, we'll probably have a couple in one month." He stopped talking to me, lol.

The next year at the Halloween party (mutual friend's party), I had #4 in arms and just said "Here's February!" And he kind of smiled. I get along with his wife well and always enjoy talking with her at the various parties we see each other. He gets along well with DH but did a double take when he found out we were married, hahaha. TBF, he has one kid he loves very much, just no plans for more ?

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1 hour ago, BlsdMama said:



I want to add here a hug.  I'm sorry that happened to you.  You're right - you're absolutely right.
 

Somewhere along the line we gave our girls the idea (and I definitely got the memo) that you are either nice or a bitch.  That's a falsehood we should never convey to the next generation.  I aim to raise very genuine girls, girls who think, girls who stand on two feet, girls who are kind but can state truth... I hope they never smile and nod when being mocked.  I don't want them to be easily offended, but neither should they sweetly laugh when someone is offensive.  That is a hard line to both draw and teach - men can do it just fine, but women are a whole other story.



 

thanks for the hug.

there's another aspect about teaching kids to be nice . . .this one is a girl, but I spent her teen years trying to encourage her to NOT be an intellectual snob.   she had prof's in college she looked down on as not being as smart as her.     . . . sigh (thunk thunk thunk). . . .  honey, just because they're not as smart as you . . doens't mean they don't' have something to offer!   and trying to teach her some things are more important than being smart.  like treating people with respect.

and there is a line - some things shouldn't be tolerated, and other things . . . they need to work on the attitude . . . . however, giving a jerk a pass under the mistaken assumption you're "being nice" . . . is actually just enabling someone to be a jerk - and it's not "being nice".   being "nice" would be to ask them such things as "why would you ask such a personal question of a compelte stranger?" . . "why would you spend your precious time to  follow me around the store when security might think you were a stalker?"

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18 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

thanks for the hug.

there's another aspect about teaching kids to be nice . . .this one is a girl, but I spent her teen years trying to encourage her to NOT be an intellectual snob.   she had prof's in college she looked down on as not being as smart as her.     . . . sigh (thunk thunk thunk). . . .  honey, just because they're not as smart as you . . doens't mean they don't' have something to offer!   and trying to teach her some things are more important than being smart.  like treating people with respect.



I think I understand precisely what you're saying - and I just want to clarify - you're saying that we can teach girls to be kind, to be firm in their stance, and to not consider themselves better than others?

Potentially, it could be taken as, "Be nice else you're a snob." (AKA a nicer word than the one I chose, but essentially the same.)
I read the second half of your post and it seems as though we're saying similar things, but this first half was more confusing for me.

I'll be honest in that this is one of those button pushing topics for me.  
Large families, large homeschooling family, mostly girls, and it's assumed we are sexist.  No.  It assumes a certain level of lack of either intellect or foresight - "Don't you know what causes that, i.e., don't you know any better?"  
I had a lovely family member (and I mean that genuinely - she really is great, we just don't see eye to eye on this) say to my oldest daughter who was close to getting her bachelor's, "You're not going to just waste it right?  Staying home? You'll get out and use it?" And that was the a ha moment - at what moment does someone think they have the right to insert themselves into someone's life to make a derogatory comment? 

And it's funny, because there are 1,001 instances in which we would NOT do this.
So, I'm trying to figure out why it's okay for this - not to offer advice, not to offer anecdotes, but to make derogatory or mocking comments.  And it has to be because people consider it an inferior option?

And I know, "They're just trying to be funny.  Not a big deal.  Don't overthink it."  Except.
Except these comments have happened to me well over 100 times.  Not everyone is just trying to be funny.

And in many ways I'm glad that they have because it's made me think - I went through a season of sarcastic and funny comebacks.  But they didn't make people THINK.  And I'm under no illusion that I can make them STOP.  So... it's made me think (longer than most and more than most, obviously, because it has impact in my life) about people's intentions in their comments and what mine ought to be in response.


Family size is a very serious thing for me - it's part and parcel of my basic religious beliefs.  We have so many kids because, at it's base, we felt God could be trusted with something as enormously important as our family size.  It's personal.  It's prayerful.  It's a decision santified and washed in prayer.  It isn't a thing to be mocked.  I've sacrificed twenty-two years of my life to pour into 11 kids.  It's not a job that can be done while I get to do a lot of side things, especially homeschooling, as you all know.  While it does not define who I am, it certainly is a large part of the reflection of who I am.   These off hand comments that minimize the largest and most important part of my life (mothering) and diminishes the impact that I feel I've left, no longer amuse me.  Nor am I willing to pretend to be amused.  Pretense is largely overrated and it's not being a snob.  It's recognizing that there are fun things to mock and serious things which ought not be mocked, and drawing a boundary between those things. 

Men and women largely label themselves as a way to define who they are - not that that encompasses WHO they are, but they use these labels to describe themselves to tell others what is important to them and ascribe to themselves characteristics - Christian, gay, black, lesbian, Muslim, Asian, homeschooler, Professor, Dr., etc.  My label is mother.  It's not acceptable to mock or chide or make sarcastic comments about any of the other, but if a woman takes her call to motherhood seriously, she needs to be able to laugh at herself to be kind to inappropriate strangers?  There comes a point when you have to ask yourself - If you took yourself more seriously, would others then also?  And if they don't, isn't that on them? But you still take seriously that which is serious?

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