By current America’s standards, I haven’t been a “large family” (over 2 children) very long.
For about 22 months to be exact with my 3.
People love to come and talk to me about my growing baby bump (mostly welcome, just a few weirdos).
When they ask, “is this your first or second?” I absolutely LOVE answering, “Fourth!”
Mostly because I don’t ever get advice afterwards.
Most often people say things like, “oh, so you know what you’re doing!”
Today I want to talk about two common misconceptions about “large families” from my experience thus far.
I’m sure there are WAY more, but these are the two myths that I have run into most often, as of late:
1. I am judging you for “only having one / two / none.”
One of the responses that makes me sad after I proclaim, “Fourth!” to the incessant stranger family planning questions is “oh…well…I only had two…but…they were really close in age / are really needy / never slept etc.”
It only makes sense that someone completely foreign to me interrogating me about my family size would also inappropriately feel the need to overly explain theirs.
One of the WONDERFUL (I mean it: WONDERFUL) things about being in “the trenches” (what I call having littles under 5 years old) is that your judgment bone gets a little rest.
For a few reasons.
One: it’s really hard to judge a mom about their parenting tactics/decisions/goals while one of your children is pulling down his pants to pee in the Target parking lot …while the other one is screaming that you took away his third lollipop of the day.
Two: You simply do not have the time nor the brain power. I don’t mean this is a “mommy fog” type of way. I mean this in a you-are-counting-to-three-to-count-your-children-and-ten-to-keep-from-freaking-out-while-planning-dinner-and-the-dream-disneyland-vacation-and-the-demise-of-the-barista-who-gave-your-kids-lollipops-even-though-you-said-no-while-crunching-budget-numbers.
Three: You now fully understand (because you breathe it every.day.) how generalizing another human based on their family size is just pure balderdash.
2. I am jealous of you for only having one / two / none
The only thing that makes me more sad than the above response is the response from those who then spew off on this tangent of “I wanted to have a mansion first / travel the world / save the endangered spotted toad / contribute to society / have a good career / be secure in our marriage” before I had kids.
That’s great for you.
However, I do not view my children as a hindrance or a plague or a disease or an inconvenience and to insinuate them as such in my life is just plain insulting.
I get it. You drink “grown up drinks.” You even get the drinks with the little umbrellas. And no one steals the umbrella and stabs their brother in the eye with it. And you don’t call them “grown up drinks.” On a beach. While donating to humpback whales and impressing your boss and dating a model.
Awesome (not sarcastic)!
But I’m just not jealous.
Not while I’m being tucked in on the couch by a two-year old, and laughing at bubble mohawks, and listening to the first time that the brothers ask another for a hug and it is happily returned.
I will also not stand for my “family lifestyle” to be perceived as a “less than.”
Not in my eyes. Not in His eyes. Not in my children’s eyes.
I believe that we all have the family sizes we are meant to have.
Whether that’s 0, 1, 2, 5+ whatever.
It’s about time we stopped comparing and started enjoying the journey that He has laid out for each of us.
Whether you’re called to save humpback whales by drinking margaritas on a beach (is that a real job?) or you’re drowning in laundry and dishes today.
Let’s focus on our calling instead of another’s calling.
On being the best person WE are called to be.
My God knows me perfectly and knows exactly how many children to give me.
He knows the same thing about you!
And, guess what, I guarantee you it looks different!
Why? Because YOU’RE a different person than me!
Let’s celebrate each other’s blessings and keep in mind that if one person is blessed in a certain area, with our awesome God, there is NO LESS BLESSING to go around.
God knows how to perfectly bless each of His children.
Let’s celebrate that today.