Deciding to raise a family is something that is usually agreed upon by both spouses. Whether families have 1 child, 2, 3 or 4 children or even a large family (No Excuses has 7 children); it is personal and each families right regardless of how many children they wish to have.
Having children is a blessing and a miracle; babies grow to become adults right before parents eyes, however when it comes to large families, they are prone to ridicule and humiliation. At times very negative statements and remarks are expressed verbally on how they should raise their family and the majority of this often comes from ones own family and relatives.
Recently No Excuses was contacted and asked the following question:
“How do you as a larger family (4+ kids) deal with the negativity from family about having more kids?
Upon thinking of an answer to this question; I decided to broaden this with answers from other large family bloggers:
We at Great Googa Moogas have 8 children, including our angel, and have recently welcomed 2 grandchildren into the family. We are lucky that most of the negativity we receive about being a large family is pretty general, and from strangers, but there are some comments that still sting. Especially when they come from close friends or family.
I do understand that these comments are not always meant to be negative and there is either an underlying thought towards our well being or an underlying fear from the commenter about their own ability to cope.
We naturally get the comments about no TV and are we religious (neither the case) and we often get the “better you than me” to which I wholeheartedly agree. Children should be loved and very much wanted as all of ours are.
Are we planning on adding to the GGM tribe? Absolutely, no, maybe; well it depends on what day of the week it is, but I do know that if we do add to our family, it will be of nobody’s business but our own.
We at My 7 Little Australians are lucky in that on the whole, our family is very supportive of our large family. We have had the odd comment from senior members from both sides when Littlest Miss (7th & last) came along. One senior family member on my side started to count the amount of meals we would have to prepare (but I think the cost of the food was the main ‘concern’) each week and said it was just ridiculous.
A senior member of My beloved’s family has commented on how My beloved will never stop working. We have on occasion taken a comment to heart, but really at the end of the day they are few and very far between. I think they know however family or not, our family size is really none of their business and we don’t really care what others opinions of our choices are.
We are very lucky though, as some large families get not support at all!
For the most part our families don’t say much about our family size any more, I think that is because I don’t allow them to get to me over the negative comments. At times my Mum will still have a dig about overpopulation of the planet and how having more than 2 children is an absolutely selfish thing to do. I just gently remind her that it’s our life, we don’t ask for anything and our kids are happy to help them out with things they need doing.
I have a quick tongue and I can easily think of sarcastic replies to their comments, but I need to ask myself is it loving that I snap back? I think a soft answer will go much further than debating with them. We have 7 children between the ages of 19 and 3, we have also had several foster children in our home as well. I think the best answer to negativity is the way the kids have turned out.
There was time where my family just expected another baby every year (or so)…….we have 6 kids (aged 18 down to 7, 4 boys 2 gals)
There was also a sweet time our family used to laugh about, get excited and feel real pleasure at the mention of “the pregnancy” word, until about the 3rd babe then it changed, then (bless them) they began to question, argue, get mad, sigh and roll their eyes!!! Eventually, if I told any immediate family about an impending blessing, and they lost it with a rant and rave (rolling the eyes I could tolerate) but after their rant I would gently but firmly look them in the eye and ask them this rhetorical question; “Which one would you like me to get rid of, seeing as they are such a radical change to the dynamic of our family and the extended family??” #-o That would silence them, mostly………….
My guess would be that they realised that each of the existing children were actually a precious addition to their lives (and they actually LIKED them) They also realised that they would prefer these kids to exist than NOT!!! That blunt rationale put everything into context, they would realise that the wee babe existing in secret was already a given and they had better “do” love rather than resentment….
In saying that, some of our reactions were a bit gutless…….I think we did try avoidance…….ummmm let’s not tell em till later in pregnancy, and sometimes WE would just sigh and roll our eyes right back at them……….. BUT, the facts were that once that baby was in their arms they forgot the fear, the doubt, the radicalism of a daughter that had 6 kids!!! They became family. For that I am grateful, we had a choice YES but we chose to take the time to walk them through the shock worry and fear, this experience did not make us resentful or sever our relationships. Now my oldest stays with them whilst he studies at University and they adore this relationship and ALL they have with our children.
Big Family, Little Income (father of 7) ~ Most of my family realize it’s our decision, although their faces say things like, “better you than me”. My parents have said things like, “Oh, no. How will you afford it?” But they haven’t for the last few (at least not to our faces) because we just kept ignoring them and pumping out kids anyway. Plus around child number five I started asking which one they’d prefer we didn’t bring into the world whenever it was brought up. We don’t lead an extravagant lifestyle and we make do. I’d rather have these kids than fancy stuff and holidays abroad any old day 🙂
It’s not a house, it’s a home ~ “We have seven…people often say “don’t you own a TV?” – we don’t mind and really just ignore it. We feel we are blessed with our crazy chaos”!
Facebook page ~ It’s not a house, it’s a home
My Jewellery Box ~ Mostly I just ignore their misunderstanding judgements, criticisms and usually just laugh along with their jokes, as I find it is not worth starting an argument with them.
I am happy and confident about my choice to have a large family of 8 children and no one has the right to make me feel inferior because of this. Large families are unique, entertaining, full of love and a joy, therefore why would I want it any other way?
Coming from a small family with only one sister and marrying a man with 7 other siblings; I did get my share of negativity from my side of the family. Most of these comments were directed to my own mother by her own brothers and sisters (my mother is also one of 7 children) they were never directed to me personally (if only they had been and I would have set them straight). These comments in the earlier days towards my mother were “is she ok with this; why does he (my husband) do this too her)”. We had our girls very close together; number 1 and 2 ~17 months apart, 2 and 3 ~15 months apart and 3 and 4 ~ 20 months apart. Of course when our first son was born (number 5 was a boy), the usual comment arose “so you have had a son, no need to ‘try’ for any more right” and number 6 and 7 of course came after ~ with no regrets whatsoever!
As the years rolled by, lots of praise and kind words have now been given. My family now look forward to seeing our children (which is not often as we moved interstate). We also are commended on how well they are behaved, dress and their lovely manners.
I often wonder what goes through the minds of ‘outsiders’, not all large family children are a pack of unruly children and we don’t all need a Nanny Mcphee!
Negative comments whether from family, friends or even strangers can be quite upsetting; however as most of the other large families above have mentioned, ignoring these negative comments is the best thing one can do. Unfortunately this also may include having to avoid various people and having very little to do with them as possible.
Your family is the one that matters the most, nothing and nobody else should matter as long as you are happy and content with your own family life.
As for strangers comments such as ~ “Are they all yours”? Don’t you have a Television? and “Wow, you must have your hands full“; while these comments are frequent and common; they can of course be turned around and reflected back with humour and sarcasm.
Therefore, be proud of your family, it is YOUR choice, just smile, say “yes they are all mine”, I have three televisions, I know where they come from, there is nothing in the water we drink and I use both my hands to hold, hug and embrace each and everyone one of them!
Nothing else matters but the love of our very own family.