7 Misconceptions About Moms of Large Families

7 Misconceptions About Moms of Large Families

As a mom of 10, I wanted to attempt to dispel a few myths about moms of large families. Because we get a lot of questions, and I’m sure even more questions go unasked.

A few myths of large-family mammas:

1. They are “special.” They have lots of patience. They are “superwomen.”

Not at all. None of those things. From my vantage point, I’d say one reason the Lord has given me 10 children is because I need such a constant lesson in patience. We haven’t been given anything extraordinary that helps us cope with a passel of children. We just rely on fall desperately upon God’s grace and take one day at a time. And like any other circumstance, we do the next thing, figuring out what works as we go.

2. Their love is spread too thin.

This is an idea we fabricated either from real, albeit false assumptions, or from an attempt to justify our birth control decisions. I know it’s fabricated because I only ever hear it from someone who hasn’t experienced having more than two children. The dynamics of a large family are different, in some ways from a smaller one, and one is the advantage of more inter-family relationships. While it may be true that a mom has to share her attention among more children, they also have the attention and affection of each other, a benefit not to miss. Additionally, if the family homeschools, (which is commonly the case with large families) the time together afforded them far makes up for the uneven ratio.

3. They don’t love their children as much as a mom with one or two.

Similar to the last myth, this one is only heralded by those with no experience. I used to be one. Very early in my marriage, I didn’t want more children because I didn’t want to deprive another child of the intensity of love with which I loved my first. Then, I had a few more and realized how foolish the thought was. But I thought there must be a limit; because I assumed my neighbor with 11 children surely could not love all her children the way I loved mine. Now, from where I am, to think that was once actually a real, “rational” thought in my head is insane. I had no concept of the miracle of Mother-Love…the heart with no bounds and love with no limit.

4. They should be old and haggard-looking.

Apparently, because I get lots of amusing comments about how I don’t “look like” I have ten children. I don’t mind those. Rumor has it that pregnancy releases “anti-aging” hormones. That’s a happy thought.

5. They are on welfare because their husbands, unless they inherited a fortune, can’t possibly support them.

I suppose there are people who maliciously breed for money. I’m not sure I’ve ever met them personally, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Their existence, however, doesn’t make it standard. Some people have children because they choose to not choose to stop it. And they really, really love their children. They also are not on welfare and have simply adjusted their lifestyle to accommodate their growing family.

6. They are “so lucky” to be able to stay home.

I had this experience once. A woman I knew gushed to me about how she wished she could have more children and she wished she could stay home but there was no way. Which was fine until….she told me how “lucky” I was. Honestly, it was a slap in the face. We were struggling financially. But we had made the choice to cut out more things–more meals out, more vacations, more shopping, more everything, so that I didn’t have to go back to work. The worst thing in life is not going without some earthly comforts. Whatever sacrifice we made–and we made many–was worth it to us and to our children, for me to stay home. I wasn’t “lucky.”

I didn’t drive the kind of car that woman did. My fingernails weren’t manicured like hers, and I had to forgo highlights for my hair at the time. There were deeper sacrifices too. There was a lot that didn’t feel “lucky” about my life, but being home with my children wasn’t one of them. I’ve never regretted the things I had to give up. Our lifestyle changed. But it wasn’t about luck.

7. They have never heard dumb jokes about their reproductive life and will surely find yours funny.

Let me help you out: we have heard every joke about fertility under the sun. And every rude comment and every probing question. Yours is not, I promise, original. Therefore, you sound embarrassingly corny when you lean in, chuckle and say, “You need to get a television.”

And I would kindly remind you that we do not return the comments in kind, and you would be mortified if we did. It would look something like this: (a stranger walks up to you and silently counts your two children, then looks around for others) “Is this all the children you have?” “Why don’t you have anymore?” “Is it because you’re infertile?” “Or do you just use birth control?” “You know what birth control pills cause, right? Cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol…” “Maybe you should consider getting rid of your television.” “Can you just not afford to have any more?” You get the picture. Pretty ugly, huh?

(Sincere comments and inquiries are very welcomed though, but these are different than the aforementioned commentary on reproduction.)

Just hoping to bridge the gap between us.

Some love for the mom of many:

A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family, Mary Ostyn

Large Family Logistics, Kim Brenneman

Large Family Homeschooling, Amy Roberts"/

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213 Responses to “7 Misconceptions About Moms of Large Families”

  1. Bethany Hudson says:

    *applause* I only have 4 children, but I can definitely relate to every one of these. Thank you, Kelly!

  2. Rachel says:

    As a stay-at-home mom of four, I too have heard most of these. How sad. By far the one I hate the most is about how “lucky” I am to be home. It has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with sacrifice.

    • liz says:

      I have 4 and hear the “lucky” all the time..mostly they are referring to my children who were adopted in front of them. No tact.

      • liz says:

        we have 4, but they are very young. 8 years and under. our youngest 2 are 3 and 2 yrs old. We have had our adoption profile turned in since December. So we are doubly “crazy” to people. To them they know it wasn’t a “surprise” or this or that….we obviously had to take major steps financially and otherwise to grow our family. People will say “again??????” when we announce we are trying to adopt again….so sad:( Our family is multi ethnic so it is somewhat obvious we adopt. Or assumed I should say. I did have a nice older man who was 90 years of age ask me at a park if they all had “different daddies”…can you imagine? lol.

        • Laurie says:

          And different mamas too!

        • Mrs. B says:

          Yup. Got the same question from a complete stranger. I think what bothered me most wasn’t so much what she said but HOW she said it. Super offensive. So it was another opportunity to “grow in grace” and forgive somebody who probably will never have a chance to ask forgiveness.

        • Amber says:

          We have 5 children, two of whom are clearly a different race than we are and people who have never adopted would not believe the comments people feel are somehow acceptable to throw at adoptive parents. We’ve gotten the daddy question, the ignorant comments about how lucky they are right in front of their face, and I can’t believe the number of people who have asked me if they are brothers. That’s how they phrase it. Are they brothers? I always just smile a little and say, “They are now.” Then they inevitably lean inevitable and say, “No, I mean TEAL brothers.” Honestly, though, they look absolutely NOTHING alike, apart from the fact they’re both Chinese of course. I know other people don’t think they’re doing anything wrong by asking, but I find it offensive every time.

  3. Rach D says:

    Love this! I’ve heard so many comments (go get your tubes tied! Don’t you know what causes that?! etc. etc.) I can also relate to the comment about falling on God’s grace…daily 🙂
    Rachael @ http://www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com
    Mama of only 5!!!

  4. Cindy says:

    Love this!! How true it is. We have had all number of “helpful” comments too. We have been blessed with 9 children and try to take some of them with us when we go out, as it can be a testimony also. We try and answer the negative comments with positive comments about how we think children are a blessing and we really like them all – really, we do!!

    • liz says:

      Cindy I love this. I always say to my husband for all the looks we get we are a walking testimony for so many different things…larger families…adoption…etc

  5. Brittney says:

    I only have 2 right now, at the age of 26. . . and I already get the “you know what causes that right?” Or, “If you don’t use birth control, you better be prepared to have more kids”. . . Do they know how discouraging that is?

    • Arlene says:

      Hi Brittney! I have 10, but my first was born when I was 27. Four were born after I turned 40. And the funny thing is, I STILL get the ‘You look WAY too young to have 10 kids!’ comment! How old do you have to look to have 10 kids?! Seriously.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m 26 and pregnant with our 3rd. We get the same comments from TOTAL STRANGERS. I made a conscious decision this time to call people out on their hurtful/rude comments because I, really and truly, think that people say these things because it’s the norm in our society. They don’t really think about what they’re saying. They just do and say what they’ve seen modeled for them by previous generations.

      • Elizabeth,

        I don’t think it’s a bad idea to let me people know they’re being rude when they truly are. A FB friend said she recently answered a lady and the lady’s reaction was disgust. The lady said, “All yours?! Woman, don’t you know how to say ‘no’?” And my friend answered, “You could have more too. Don’t you know how to say ‘yes’?”

        Which I didn’t think was rude, only an attempt to help the lady (maybe?) see what she was doing. The woman apparently didn’t take it well but it begs the question, why is rudeness allowed when we refer to reproduction, but no where else?

        • Nicole says:

          I got asked by a man(with 3 children) at church if I knew “what causes that , right?”. I was pregnant with our 4th and that is not that many more than his family. His wife was standing right next to him laughing, so I said, “only 4 times”. This is now my standard for that question because it does one of two things. Either they get embarrassed and become quiet because they realize how “into our fertility” they just went (like the guy and his wife at church did),or they get angry and walk off without saying anything. I used to think that people knew how nosy they were, and just didn’t care, but now I’ve realized that they have been conditioned to ask such things without even thinking. It happens every single time we leave the house, and I’m pregnant with our 5th child now. Most of my responses are more cheerful but this one question really gets to me.

  6. Carmen says:

    I love spending time with my friends who have 7 children. They’re the most loving kids you ever wanna meet and their mom and dad are the best as well. I don’t see how people can be so cruel to people so loving. I used to think it was a little crazy, and part of me still does, but I know 4 big families and I love every single one of them. Plus, I can get my “kid fix” whenever I want to. I’m 32 and still single, so no children for me yet. Some days I wonder if I’m ever going to be a mom, but I know God has a plan for me. 🙂 Bless all of you!

    • Carmen, I read a blog post one day by a mom with a large family, and she gushed about single women who love kids. She was saying how hard it is for her and her husband to ever get out alone, since most people wouldn’t dare take on babysitting that many kids. But she said how the single women who were willing to do that were such a huge blessing, in a way they couldn’t be if they were married with kids of their own. Anyway, I just wanted to pass that along to you, because it’s so true- you are able to bless those families, and I have a feeling that you will be blessed in turn.

    • Debbie says:

      Carmen if it is any comfort, my husband and I did not marry until we were 33 and 31. I had my first child (OF SEVEN) when I was 32 years old and my last at 44. I never dreamed that getting married so late, we could still have so many children. It has certainly been the challenge of my life, but I love them all!

      Blessings!

      • Kristin says:

        Debbie, reading your reply just made me feel a lot better. My husband and I got married in 2012, and I am now 29, and we don’t feel that we are in a place where we should start trying to have children. It is really rough on me because so many people around me are having their second or third child, and I want a large family (possibly 7) but I worry about health issues that can arise. But I feel a lot better reading your comment. Thank you!

      • Mrs. B says:

        So happy for you, Debbie! What a bountiful blessing God has brought into your life of children!

      • Dorcas says:

        I did not get married until I was 34 years old. I am so glad I waited for the right one. My only regret is that I was able to have one child due to health issues. She was our miracle child, so I am very thankful for her.

      • Jay says:

        Debbie,
        You just gave me hope! We got married at 33, had our first of four children at 34. I am praying for more, however my husband just turned 40 and I turn 40 in January. I never dreamed that 4 would be considered a big family, 6 has been my ideal number. Thank you ladies for your encouragement.

    • Kristen says:

      Carmen, my dh and I got married at 34. Not my plan at all. It’s hard to wait. Very hard. I’m not going to give you any platitudes. I’m sure you’ve heard them all. I was tempted to marry, even though I knew the guy wasn’t a good guy, but I was so afraid I’d be alone all my life. God kept me from some very foolish decisions. I kept telling myself, that even though I was single and lonely, at least I could do something to affect my happiness – take a class, volunteer, take a trip. My apartment, though lonely, was safe and peaceful. I’ve known women who get married, out of fear that they won’t find anyone else, even though there are many red flags and have endured abuse, unfaithfulness and divorce. God, in His timing, brought me a good man and we have a strong and loving marriage.

  7. I might have to beg you to tell me your story, how you came to have so many children and what it’s like day-to-day…LOL! But out of sincere curiosity, not to be rude. 🙂

    We have four, and are hoping for a fifth fairly soon (the “baby” is now 15 months). So we’ve heard most of this nonsense too. Still, I remain fascinated by other large families and would beg you to tell me how it goes as more and more babies are born. We love each of ours and the biggest reason I want more is to get to know more awesome little people!

    • Sara B. says:

      I am pg with #5. My brother and SIL are expecting #3. He asked me one day, “What are we going to do with 3?”

      I told him, “Adjust, just like you did when you got #2.”

      And that’s my answer for you (and me). Adjust. Just like we did each time we added another. 🙂 I’m not sure it gets “easier” to adjust the more you have, but I do think it’s easier to think about adjusting and being willing to do so. At least that has been my experience. Blessings as you wait for the Lord to bless you again! Ours was a 5-year wait, but so totally worth it!

      • Meg says:

        Honestly — I think once you get past 3, it’s easy. With the first baby, you’re learning how to be parents. Second comes along, you have experience with newborns but you have to learn how to divide your time while still learning how to parent a older child. I thought going from 2 to 3 was hardest, because you have to go from “1 on 1” to “triage.” 4 and 5 were a piece of cake, because once you’re outnumbered, it’s all zone defense!!

        • michelle says:

          “Zone defense” might be the best way of describing it!!! I chuckled put loud at that! That’s what I tell my friends too…we have four and I swear going from 3 to 4 was the easiest transition. First, you’re a more experienced parent and second…it really does count that once you’re outnumbered one more isn’t a big deal! In fact, my 4th was the easiest in terms of other little hands that were eager to help with him!

          • Julia says:

            I have 8. With 5 I figured I had motherhood figured out. Then 6,7,and 8 proved me wrong. Having a large family can surely keep you humble!!

  8. I love this all so much. Very true, and very fun.

    It reminds me of what I was thinking before meeting a friend for the first time. She had nine (now has ten), and I was certain that I was about to meet super-mom. I was a little nervous, too! Come to find out, she’s a pretty normal woman with strengths and weaknesses just like me.

    We have five and are 100% open to more, whatever the Lord allows. We are hearing the comments and seeing the looks, but we try to take it in stride and laugh to ourselves later. I also used to think many of these things, especially that too many children would mean that I couldn’t give them each the attention they needed. So now I’m trying to think of true, grace-filled responses for those comments that can quickly turn the conversation to the positive and perhaps even give the commenter something new to think about.

    Anyhow, I really loved your list and smiled and nodded through the whole thing!

  9. Lucy says:

    Luck is the term most of the world uses to describe God’s providence. And while you are right, it takes a lot of hard work to be able to stay home and teach the (many) children, there is more to it than that. Did you put that much work in when you picked out your husband? Did you make sure before you married that he was amenable to many children and you staying home to teach/train them? Reality is most couples (including ones that end up with a lot of children) don’t consider that in detail before they get married. They often encounter a change of heart sometime after the first or second child is born, and it would certainly be only the providence of God that brings the hearts of BOTH parents to the same commitment at the same time.

    I won’t say you are lucky, I’ll say you are specially blessed by God’s providence (does that sound better?), because all of those factors that worked out for you haven’t worked out the same way in my life (and the lives of a lot of women).

    I hope I don’t sound harsh, I don’t mean to be but if I were ever to meet you in person, I would probably mention you were lucky and now you would know what I mean 🙂

  10. Jennifer says:

    I love this post. We have two children and twins on the way. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Are you trying for a reality show?” This is due to the quick succession of our kids…when the twins are born, our oldest will not yet be 3.5! So we will have four very very young little ones. I don’t like any of the snide little remarks I get. Most of them are just annoying and I roll my eyes. But I agree with you…the “just lucky” one just makes me angry because my husband and I have chosen to live a simple lifestyle so that we can invest in what truly matters: our children. We do without a lot…and that’s a good thing. Having four under three and a half will be challenging, but I am so BLESSED. People tend to think something went wrong than something went beautifully right. I have friends who have lost babies to stillbirth, miscarriage, anencephaly, or are infertile. THOSE are sad instances. Lots of little ones is not, nor is it “crazy.” 😉

    • Pam Fields says:

      I have never hit a reply on a blog before…. But I hope this gets to the gal who is expecting twins and has 2 toddlers. That was me. I had a 3.75 yo and a 2 yo when my twins were born. It was a busy time. That is when the questions and comments from strangers started. My kids have never known strangers, we daily had conversations with people who were admiring ( and sometimes not ) my precious little family. 4 years after that, we had baby #5 and got a Sprinter van. They hadnt been on the market for long and then, we had strangers coming up to us to tour our van as we loaded our groceries. As I loaded things, the children would warn me “Mom, we’ve got another customer”, to let me know someone else was approaching and peeking in. Now, we have 9 children…. and the looks dont stop, the comments dont stop. Keep a smile on. What an inner joy and giggle I get when I am out with my baby and the teens are at home with the toddlers and grade schoolers and someone asks me ” Is this your first?” ” Just wait till he’s a teenager” . AH, life is fun. Always an adventure!

    • Suzanna Cantley says:

      My brother and wife have four with the last two are twins.
      These kids were very close in age also. Her parents also lived with them and was alot of help! Here is when family can help. Now the kids are 25 23 and the twins are 22, all still single but happy! Be encouraged that the kids will always close growing up together! My youngest is now expecting their sixth(fifth boy). I always wanted many kids but now I have many grands! Love them all.

  11. Becky says:

    I enjoyed your post. I don’t have any children but my sister just had her ninth so I can relate to your post through her I suppose. I am overjoyed every time she shares the news that she and her wonderful husband are expecting but I’m always disappointed with the way that most of our family handles the news. To get those snarky jabs about reproduction from strangers would be mildly annoying but I can tell that getting it from family really hurts my sister. That being said, I must disagree with you on the first misconception….my sister, and any other mother that commits her life to raising her children, is most definitely a “Superwoman”!

    • Amy says:

      Becky, I would truly give my right arm for a sister like you. Your sister is the lucky one, and I hope she knows it. You girls with sisters who love you need to go give that sister a hug, you just don’t know how good you have it. God Bless you.

    • Hallie says:

      That’s the best answer by far! Thanks for coirgibutnnt.

  12. I get #4 a lot. Which I guess is a compliment 😛 Sometimes I think people say these things to feel better about themselves.

    • Annie D says:

      I agree, Serene. People make those comments to justify their own decisions. It actually has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

      • Amy says:

        Wow Serene and Annie D,

        You couldn’t be further from the truth. To say a person is trying to “feel better about themselves” when they give you a compliment is truly disconcerting. You seem a little full of yourselves for being blessed with lots of children. How do you think it feels to have health problems that prevent children, or only allowed one child? Do you feel like such a hero compared to someone like that?

        The fact that I only have one child does not make me lose sleep for guilt one bit. I thank my God everyday for allowing me that many, because there are women in my shoes who would do anything for ONE baby. Get over yourselves, girls, and I say that in all truth and kindness. Most people just want to make friends with you.

  13. shawn says:

    As a mom with fertility issues, I realize how very blessed I am to have 3 kids, 1 and a set of twins. Yes, I used fertility treatments to have the twins (which were actually triplets), I constantly get asked that question! My husband and I still wanted more children, so we started fostering to adopt. I think that larger families have a different set of ideals than 1.5 kids, a dog and 2 working parents. Every large family I have met doesn’t dwell on having a new car, brand new large house, new designer clothes, they instead chose to look to the future of their children and make sacrafices to keep in line with the ideals they have for thier family. Bravo! Sacrifice, responsibility, and a sense of family are all great lessons learned at an early age in a larger family.
    I would love the opportunities to have my OWN large family! We have had 9 bio/foster kids at once so I know we can do! It’s just a matter of when or if it is God’s plan for us!

  14. Natalie says:

    I am not by any means a Supermom or naturally patient. I often wonder how the Lord allowed me to have so many children when I feel that I so often don’t know what I am doing!
    He promises that His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.(2 Peter 1:3) and that the Word of God fully equips us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).
    It is not easy, it would be much easier if we were only caring for the body and not for the soul. However, we can do all things through Christ who is our strength. I pray His strength would be perfected in our weakness. I am trying to encourage myself…it has been a difficult morning :).

    • Sherry says:

      Natalie, I so relate to what you said about “it would be so much easier if we were caring for only the bodies”…the soul part is really where the weight of responsibility comes to bear. Still trying, with God’s grace, to figure out the soul care for my wonderful brood.

  15. Karena says:

    The TV one is kind of funny. 🙂 My husband and I have been married for a little over a year and we don’t have one. I don’t miss it one bit ;D. Maybe the people who say that need to turn it off every so often, haha.

  16. Lillian Marsh says:

    Kelly, I love this! Especially #7. People would be shocked if we moms of more talked to them like they sometimes do to us. Alan and I have always wanted a houseful of children, and we are so thankful The Lord has blessed us with seven. Lillian

  17. Kimberly says:

    I love this post! Everything you wrote is very true. We are expecting our 6th and people really haven’t said too much this pregnancy, which has taken me by surprise. I think we must have entered into crazy territory when we got pregnant with our fifth (that’s when we heard the most “advice” and lame jokes). I think I get tired of hearing #2 most. Very untrue.

  18. Linda Cheston says:

    As a mother of seven, born in the period from 1971 to 1985, I have heard all of these. When people would like at my grocery cart of girls, and ask in a snarky voice, “Are these ALL yours?” I always replied, “Yes, God is good to me.” It shut them down every time.

  19. Christien says:

    Strangely enough I only have two children and I have heard those some of those remarks as well, but its a bit closer to home its my parents that constantly say the “You know what causes that, right?” Especially when I had gotten pregnant with my second. The cruel irony… Considering my parents had 3 children.

  20. Lindsay says:

    As a stay at home mom of 7 children in 8 1/2 years, I can totally relate. I was out shopping with my two littlest (ages 2 yr old girl and 6 mo old boy being worn in a carrier) and this woman comes up to me and says “wow you have your hands full” I chuckled and she repeats it “NO really you DO!!” now I’m boiling inside but laughing too… “Lady I have 7 children, this is a break”. I think I heard her jaw hit the floor as I walked away. How sad though. It made me think. These moms with two kids, no wonder they only have two. They are verbally beaten down by the older generation who was supposed to have more kids… if they say two is hard then three must be harder… but here is the thing about hard, we get accustomed to things, like riding a bike, walking even… if we challenge ourselves and start climbing hills it will seem hard. then we’ll get used to it… then we can climb mountains… even if it is just the piles of laundry in the house.

  21. Natalie says:

    Pregnant with our 5th, the pastor of our Bible church was the first one to say “don’t you know what causes that?” I was not offended, I have a lot of grace for Christians who see this issue differently. I just don’t understand how Bible Expositors who believe in the Sovereignty of God can divide it from our fertility. Obviously, it is God’s will that we come together as a couple :).

  22. Laurie says:

    I LOVE this! I have four and have heard all of this! My last two are 11 months apart, so I also get a lot of “you know what causes this, right?”. I love my kids, but the pregnant part was hard (not threatening, just sick and painful). So, if someone wanted to drop a baby here, now, I would take it! And yes, being “lucky” to stay home?! It’s totally about sacrifice. Ask my teens!

  23. Jeri says:

    We faced fertility issues. My mom told everyone at her church. Imagine my horror when dh and I are in the dairy section of the grocery store and we see someone she goes to church with and they say “You’re mom told us that you couldn’t have kids because dh has a zero sperm count.” Yeah, that jaw dropping thing you’re doing right now, that was us. It’s so sad that we live in a world today where people have no common sense about what is private, about what is decent to speak about. We had 1 child thru fertility treatments, then adopted 3 more intentionally, then adopted 3 more that were disrupted by their first adoptive families. We’re taking them as God brings them to us now. The things people say don’t just stop with biological families. I’ve gotten “doesn’t that cost a lot”, “how do you afford it”, “are you adopting more” with a grimace on their face like my answer will be painful to them, “you’re such a saint”, “those children are lucky to have you” (which makes me always cringe because I’m not perfect!). I’ve tried my best to have patience with people for 23 years. I’m over it. I don’t make snide comments in front of my kids, but if you say something stupid I’m likely to give you a stupid reply.

  24. Amy says:

    Even though I have only one child, I enjoyed reading this. I do have a couple things to say, though, about your last point. First of all, I OFTEN hear parents of large families make jokes about their own fertility… We just look at each other, and she’s pregnant, for example. There are others that make me roll my eyes as well, but I can’t think if another example right now!

    Also, people DO say things like you write here to parents of one or two children. When are you going to have more? Don’t you want more? Your daughter needs a sibling. You don’t want an only child; she’ll be so spoiled and won’t know how to share. Just relax and you’ll have another one. Take a vacation, then you’ll get pregnant. Now that you’ve adopted, I bet you’ll get pregnant. I could seriously go on and on and on!

  25. Lisa says:

    Well said, very well written. I don’t think any response is necessary at all, just look at rude people and walk away. Large families were so common when my grandmother (10 children) was bearing children. To each his own. I thought the last paragraph was fall down on the floor funny, GOOD for you, well done!!! I’ve been in Cedar and I loved it there, my nieces children have a genuine sweetness about them, their school and teachers were excellent and it looked like each and every child was well cared for, it was really refreshing. :o)

  26. Amanda says:

    We are pregnant with #4 (although, I haven’t started showing yet, so who knows how this is going to go!) BUT, They are all three boys, the oldest about to turn five. And, I grew up in a family of 9 kids, so I heard/saw my parents respond to foolish and obnoxious, or downright snide, comments my whole life. And I too become VERY WEARY of the *sigh* “It must be so nice to GET to at home, I could never do that because _________”. Especially since we’re in the military, and if the person who makes this comment is more highly-ranked than my husband they ought to have the smarts not to say they couldn’t stay home with their singleton because “they couldn’t afford not to work.” Yeah.

    BUT: I believe that in this culture of darkness, children are a tremendous light and testimony. I don’t think the Lord intends for our children to be ignored, He intends for them to be giving Him glory wherever, whenever, they are. So let’s not get too touchy about the thoughtless comments like, “Oh, you have your hands full” or whatever…I think so often, the commenter just can’t NOT say something and it’s by design. When I respond positively to that kind of comment, I can almost instantly see the person’s demeanor towards us change: they become almost visibly more attentive, courteous, and if they’re an employee especially, very helpful. Elderly folks especially just seem to be unable to not stop and chat. So rather than wear our feelings on our sleeves, let’s be gracious with those who just can’t ignore that our little lines of munchkins are the most extraordinary thing they see all day.

    • Lucy says:

      Along those same lines, when someone says “you’re so lucky/fortunate etc.” can’t we just be grateful that in this culture people are appreciating the role of a stay at home parent? It’s so much better than “those kids ought to be in school and you ought to be contributing to the tax base…”

    • Amanda–I heartily agree with you. I’ve gradually become less offended and more accepting of any opportunity to simply share a different perspective about children–to plant a seed that might grow beyond what we imagine.

  27. Sue says:

    We have 5 lovely children. We are constantly judged as my husband has always been in manufacturing management and each company he was with closed doors or downsized greatly resulting in 4 job losses in 10 years. We got a lot of “well, you wouldn’t be so bad off if you didn’t have so many kids”. The truth is, if my friends with 2 children lost their jobs for 6 months at a time and they went without their budgeted amount they’d be looking much like us. For sure and for certain. At least, we already knew how to be frugal. I can’t help their line of thinking but God knows our hearts and our efforts.

  28. Nicole says:

    We have 4, 3 girls and a boy. And unfortunately I have heard them all. It’s so discouraging how people act and 1 of my girls was born without part of her arm, so we get a lot of other very rude comments. BUT what they don’t understand is how completely and abundantly blessed we are. While they see “all these kids” and “a lot of stress”, we see all the love and blessings of the Lord. My husband and I have been talking about if we are going to have more. We are almost always usually strapped for cash and do good to pay the bills-but this is why our faith and strength in the Lord is so great. We have learned to lean on Him and He has and will always provide every need. Love all my kiddos and its good to read through the comments and see how many other families are on the larger side. 🙂

  29. Vickie says:

    This was great! I have 18 kids (3 by traditional birth, 15 by birth of a calling from God). I’ve heard all these too. We don’t announce that some are adopted but when they find out I hear comments like: “I commend you for adopting. I could never do that.” Really? God has called us to adopt, I don’t want commendations. I don’t want accolades. I’m just doing what God placed on my heart (my husband’s too)to do and to do it for HIM!

    I saw a Family Circus cartoon (I actually have it hung in my house) that shows Mom with the 4 kids talking to someone on the street. The woman asked how mom can divide her love between her 4 kids. She says, “I don’t divide my love, I multiply it”. I totally agree with this statement.

  30. Jeremy says:

    Dad of 5, hopefully more, but I don’t get nearly the same amount of rude, or naive comments my wife, or friends wives get. I prefer the “I’m sorry you can’t have more” response.

  31. Chana says:

    You have to have more patience, or you wouldn’t be able to take things one day at a time, nor would you be able to think things through rationally!!

  32. Samantha says:

    As a fellow mom of 10 I fully get what you are saying I’m in the UK and large families are seen as strange and I always explain I’m not on welfare

    • I have 8 children all grown up now and married with children. My family is so close, we get together for every occasion. Most of them live close by. I also have 21 grandchildren.

      Your article is right on so much so that I could relate to almost everything in it.

      The best part is when they grow up. They are so loyal and loving. Since my husband passed away 4 years ago, they are always around to help me in my big old farmhouse and gardens. I even had one child move back to New York State from Florida because he missed the family so much.

      Big families are wonderful!

  33. Mim says:

    We have only been blessed with one biological child and have been struggling with secondary infertility for the last 6 years. The questions people ask as to why we only have one blow me away! We are currently fostering a 10month old baby and have had her from birth. The questions people ask about her also blow me away. I suspect that unless you have the perfect quota of 2.2 children who are biologically yours than the rude, insensitive questions and comments will always arise. People don’t think anymore about how their words may hurt.
    I am one of 6 children and I remember being confused as to why mum always received comments. It never felt like our family was big. Great post Kelly.

  34. Jenn Hoskins says:

    I heart you Kelly! :). You stepped in my brain and wrote it all down, especially the inappropriate comments back to strangers. We did a video called “how to talk to strangers about sex” since they seem to bring it up so often! I may start asking them questions back.

  35. Megan says:

    I have 8 children, when i hear ‘don’t you know what causes that?’ i usually reply,’Yes, and we rather like it!’ Or ‘dont you have a tv?’ And i respond ‘if you think tv is more enjoyable than s** then you cant be very good at it!’ That makes them clam up pretty quick.

  36. Cathy says:

    However many children in a family is only between God and the parents. I have known many large families, but never any on welfare or public assistance. There is really no typical large family. I have seen mom’s 30 that look 40 and mom’s in their 40 who look like they have no kids at all..
    I don’t think it is a any of our business to comment on any size family except to say you have a beautiful family.

  37. Cat says:

    I also have 10 children. I am unfortunately on welfare because my husband hardened his heart so now im a single mom. I love my children, my life is just not what i planned.

    • Tabatha says:

      You know life does not come how you plan it, but it is what you make of it. That is amazing that you are able to be in your children’s lives and support them. Being on welfare is not always bad as long as you are using it until you can get back on your feet which seems to be with you.

  38. Annette says:

    I only have 3 living children, but we also have 4 who died before birth, so to me I am a mom of a large family, they’re just not all with me.

    We wanted a larger family, but it was not meant to be. I deeply respect those who have large families, I know the sacrifices involved because many of my fellow homeschooling friends have large families!

  39. Lori says:

    Loved reading this. I’ve probably heard every comment under the sun, but now that we have 14 and another on the way, I think a lot of people are just shocked into a stupor and don’t know what to say. The best comment I ever heard was “I’m so jealous!”

  40. Kristine says:

    LOL “malicious breeders” ! Mother of 5, (#6 on the way) here. Well said! Amen! Preach it! I could’ve written this same exact article (editing 10 to 5) in perfect honesty. I’ve had the same experiences. I only “answered back” once. This woman I had crossed shopping carts with a few times ( and who never let an opportunity to comment pass her by) was so shocked by my decision to go out in public with 4 kids & a newborn that after a series of the typical comments, she mentioned how unfair it is to taxpayers for people like us to have so many kids. I defended my husband’s honor informing her that he works hard as a carpenter to provide for us and that we pay our taxes and don’t expect anything from the welfare system. She said it was unfair to my husband. I let her know it was a difficult ministry to be married and to be parents, but it’s very blessed. She finally let out a loud “Better you than me!” and deciding I’d edured enough I replied, “You’re right.”

  41. Lisa says:

    Hi! I’m a Mom blogger of ten children, too — and this is spot on! We highly blessed mothers seem to have much the same experience. It’s kind of funny! Check out the post I wrote on much the same subject matter: http://arewethereyet-davisfarmmom.blogspot.com/2009/11/you-dont-look-like-youve-had-ten.html

    Nice to meet you, Multiblessed Sister-Mom!

  42. Michele says:

    Great list. I have six children. Now that half are in high school, I do not get the same look as when they were all 10 and under. I’ve heard the, “You know what causes that right?!” My come back is, “Yes, and I like it!” People turn red and walk away speechless. Sheeesh. I also answer the… “You have your hands full,” with… “Hands full of love.”

  43. Kathy Hartman says:

    As a mom of 13 children ages 6 to 34 with our 10th grandbaby due soon, I say shake the dust off your feet and keep on, with your chin up . I am reaping the great rewards of grandchildren now . Seeing how my children are raising their kids is so rewarding. Sometimes the rude comments come from bitter jealous hearts , sometimes people mean no harm . I have had may people tell me they wish they would have had many more children . My 11th and 12 kids (girls), take care of grandma and grandpa each week, which is ironic because the grandparents thought I should have stopped having kids after I had my first daughter (3rd child) . The burden of caring for the grandparents is so much more difficult with tiny families . Now with no babies ( Ours all came one by one out of my womb), my life is much easier and my teens love caring for their nieces and nephews so I just sit back and relax while enjoying my grandchildren ! The best part is when my kids with kids see how much work and sacrifice was put into raising children and how very much us parents love our kids . So don’t be offended , but take heart , children ARE a blessing from the Lord .

    • Tabatha says:

      That is amazing and It is people like you who make me want more because it’s more love to be shared. I personally only have 2 but when I see and hear of large families such as yours it makes me think of having more. I am just wondering does it get easier the more you have as they have more siblings to play with or is that another of my wishful thinking when considering more? I love my children but wondering if I personally could handle more mentally. Has that ever gone through your mind when having more or should I not have more if I think that way. I did not want children to begin with but I make beautiful children who are adventurous but mischievous at the same time, but think of having more, and would love all the advice I can get.

      • Kris says:

        Tabatha, mentally having children is challenging. No doubt, but I do believe it gets easier. I have 5 with one on the way and often I have started to freak out about having more. With each new baby I think I’ve freaked out. My husband is awesome and always reminds me that we’ll figure it out. That we’ll do all the prep we can, but honestly there’s not too much you can do to prep yourself. Just go for it and you’ll figure it out. People have figured it out since the beginning in all kinds of circumstances and settings. I totally recommend more children. It’s a lot of work, but they get older. Really. They don’t always need help to do everything. For me (and my husband) having kids is what we feel God is calling us to do right now. To give our fertility over to him. It’s not necessarily what I imagined for my life, but I love how I know I’m not wasting my time. These kids are God’s and they have eternal souls so everything I do for them is so worth it. I do intentionally do things to help with my mental well being, though. I try to get outside every day…nothing like some vitamin D to make you feel better. I always try to get dressed in the morning…it just makes me feel more alive and human. I am a nap fanatic. Everyone has to have nap/down time and be quiet for at least an hour every day. That takes creativity and strong discipline at times, but I need some quiet time to myself. I lay down every afternoon for a bit and it keeps me feeling energetic. I also try to get stuff done when the kids are awake and around. They can help or go off and play, but I go crazy when I don’t get down time to myself so I can’t save everything for when they are asleep. Anyway, I hope you can find people to look up to who support you. You definitely can’t do it alone. I wish you the best. 🙂

  44. Lauren says:

    Kelly, I was cracking up at #7! “Are these the only children you have??” I am so saying that! But listen, I found a way to turn the tables on them and spread the gospel! I actually had a woman thank me through the tears in her eyes one time. What I did was I made up a tract, that answers all of their questions in a humorous way, AND tells them about Jesus and it’s called “Since you asked.” So whenever someone asks us one of the top ten questions, we give them one and they read every last word! Now, the kids and I all get excited when someone asks us those lame questions because we get to share Jesus! I put it the document on my blog so you can download it and edit it to fit your family, but how COOL would it be, if we all started doing this?? Nobody reads those standard tracts, but these? I have NEVER had someone not read every word!! Do it ladies!!

    http://theapologista.blogspot.com/2013/10/since-you-asked.html

  45. Garden Goat says:

    As a mom with 9 children I enjoyed your post. I too have experienced topic #7 in spades. Sometime, my quick wit gets the better of me…these are some of my favourite answers reserved for the truly rude. The rest (the honest and genuinely interested folk) I patiently explain and answer their questions (usually just want to know how I do it and are very positive about the number of kids. Great Post! http://gardengoatquote.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/answers-rude-questions-large-families/

  46. Marcia says:

    Although I have 8 children, I have yet to have heard anything of this nature. If anything, we receive compliments about our family. Maybe you should move to Canada!

  47. I like to think that it’s called “knowing your audience.” I have a distant cousin (and fellow blogger) and another blogging buddy who are both pregnant with #7. I might joke with them (like the reaction upon finding out that they were both pregnant days apart) by asking “How on earth do you guys find time?!” but it’s because they are my friends. To make a comment to a perfect stranger? Rude.

    (Confession: I’m a bit amazed because, well, they are obviously having far more sex than I am, and I have a third of the children!)

  48. This post reminded me of a conversation I had with a couple of other moms at homeschool convention. One mom asked the other, “How many children do you have?” The other mom replied, “Only three.” Then we had a good laugh about how you know you’re at homeschool convention when you feel like you have to say you “only” have three children 🙂

    We “only” have three children, yet I’ve actually experienced some of these comments! It always surprises me because when I look around at the people we are friends with most of them have more children than we do! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

  49. Sheila says:

    As the oldest of only five and mother of only six, I can still certainly to relate to all of them. But the hypothetical questions/comments to someone with only two children did make me laugh out loud. Thank you. 🙂

    And although I’m not generally rude, and I DID say it with a smile, a few months ago I FINALLY answered the “don’t you have a television?” question the way I’ve wanted to for years and years: “Nope, we have much more fun things to do.”

    And my dad once said, to someone who asked if they were Mormons or Catholics, “No, just sexy Methodists.”

  50. Tabatha says:

    I am lucky to be a stay at home mom of 2 and sometimes think about having more because of people like all of you who have larger families. I think If others can do it and still be o.k. then I should be as well. My children get into everything and some days feels as if I have 6 children which is when I say my hands are full and then decide not to. I think of a stay at home parent with many children as super heroes though because it is physically and mentally challenging on days. I would like to know if it does get easier the more children as far as because of having more siblings to play with? I wonder about having more but go back and forth because I personally do not know if I can handle it, and would like to know if that has gone through any of your heads before considering more or if it hasn’t?

    • Amy Floyd says:

      Tabatha — I want to gently remind you that it is not in our own strength that we can accomplish what we accomplish. It is the Lord’s. In deciding to leave our family planning up to God, we took a step of faith. Faith that He would provide all our needs and would grow us in the way He would have us go. And He has done just that. It is NOT easy. Some children are VERY CHALLENGING. My 2 year old now leaves me in tears more days than not. But I love to counsel women just beginning to have children that having children has been the single-most sanctifying measure in my life. I am closer to God because of my children, and I rely on Him more because of them.

      In response to whether it gets easier… You didn’t give the ages of your children — I assume they are young. When I had 2, I felt worn out all the time. They were so young that they needed my undivided attention from the time they woke until they went to bed and often throughout the night. When I went to 3 (the oldest not quite 4), that was the hardest. Before, even when it was tough, I had 2 arms and could hold 2 children. With #3, the days were very long. From #4 on, yes, it has been so much easier. My older children could be real helps to me, and that made all the difference in the world. And as they grew and our family grew, they could help even more. I am expecting our 7th later this year. My oldest will be 16 this summer and is already driving. I have 14 and 12 year olds that are extremely responsible. If I cannot get out of bed one day, the house will not fall apart because of them! My 9 and 6 year olds play with the 2 year old.

      If you have young children and are overwhelmed, look for support. Look for a pre-teen or teenage homeschooled girl who can come over and play with your children while you get things done or even rest. That can be a huge help!

  51. Amy says:

    After reading these comments, I have to say that I have reaffirmed my decision to mostly ignore large families that I see out in public. You are what you are, a family with lots of kids. It seems nothing I might say to you would be acceptable unless it’s to gush over you, but then that somehow doesn’t seem right when the #1 misconception is that you’re not a superhero! Every time I read comments on blog posts like this, I end up a little baffled as to what moms of large families really want. Sometimes I think you want accolades for having lots of children. But then you don’t like people to say that you have your hands full. Sometimes I think you want people to notice how well behaved your children are, but then you say you’re not a supermom or full of patience. Is it okay to tell you that you have a lovely family? Would you say that to me when you see me out with my one child? If not, why not? I’m honestly sometimes just baffled when I read these comments, and I’m truly not trying to be ornery, although I’m afraid it can come across that way. I always thought I’d have lots of children like many of you do, but it turns out that God wanted different things for me. I say that so that you realize that I don’t have anything against large families when I make this comment.

    • I’m sorry you feel annoyed, and I hope the post itself doesn’t make you feel that way, because I really wanted to avoid that kind of spirit. For me at least, it’s why I included the last bit about “sincere comments.” Those are wonderful and very welcomed. But we do get a ton of rude reaction too, which is what I guess resonates with most readers here.

      I’m sorry that you get comments too; it’s a reflection, really, of our general lack of courtesy toward everyone, regardless of their situation.

      • Amy says:

        No, no, your post doesn’t make me feel that way at all! Just reading some of the comments and thinking that if I had a lot of children, I’d realize the blessings I have far outweigh the comments people make. But, of course, if I has more children, I’d probably be right there with everyone else…annoyed with the comments! I guess I just need my own blog to write about the misconceptions people have about small families! And I do understand the tongue in cheek and need to laugh about things. My husband and I can get ourselves rolling with laughter when we start talking about things to say to people who make comments about our small family and/or infertility! I think laughter about it actually helped us through some pretty difficult days. Thank you for your reply, Kelly.

    • Penny Raine says:

      Amy I would probably say to you that you have a precious child and that you are a blessed Momma 🙂

    • liz says:

      Amy,
      This was a really thoughtful reply I thought. At times i have said to my husband ” no matter what it’s going to irritate me”. This is usually after people say things that are probably well intentioned like… ” your kids are so lucky…better you than me…i could never homeschool..i can’t believe they are all so polite (as if i had nothing to do with it)” So I do try to just go with it and know MOST people aren’t trying to be malicious..maybe boundaries are a bit skewed, but even the “rude” comments I try to take with a grain of salt I think most people either don’t really know what a comment will trigger in another person..large family or not. Thats why I don’t say anything either and I have 4 kids and counting..lol

      • Amy says:

        Thank you. I know people say crazy things, but I think you’re right that many are well intentioned. That’s a good thing to remember!

    • Amy says:

      Amy,

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Hello from another Amy with only one child who is extraordinarily blessed also, and who also is afraid to talk to large families. When I am home with my only child all day, and then actually get out to a grocery store, I love to find people to talk to. Just because you’re a large family doesn’t mean I targeted you to annoy you. I am just trying to find someone who will talk to me and make me feel not so lonely and secluded. But now I think I will steer clear of large families. I always felt a little “not so welcome” when talking to large families. I thought it was just because they were busy, but now I’m not so sure.

  52. Kim M says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. So many times we are misunderstood as moms of multiples. God blessed us with 6 and in no way do I claim it’s easy. Lucky to me would be taking a nap without worrying about what mess I will wake up to. Thanks for sharing.

  53. Alison says:

    I have 4 children, and I never feel like that’s a lot…until we go out in public. Our youngest two are twins, which also draws a lot of attention and strange questions/remarks. My husband says he’s going to start answering very bluntly when people ask, “don’t you know what causes that?” 😉

    • Amy says:

      If the comments are not rude, I think most people, especially old people, are trying to get a little bit of what you have, to see the children, to have someone to talk to. People are so lonely, maybe you ladies with larger families can share a little of what you have by being gracious to those who want to make friends and talk to someone who have a different life than they’ve had. When I was a flight attendant and in uniform, people would stop me in the grocery aisle and ask me what it’s like. I always enjoyed people’s curious-ity. If you ever go to a nursing home, the older folks would knock you down to see the beautiful children, they are starved for young life, to look at it, to talk to it, to smell the smells of children, to hear their voices. Please don’t misunderstand the older generation. They live in a world that shuts them up and segregates them in groups of their own.

  54. Pamela Henry says:

    We just had our 6th child, she is 6 wks old.
    Love this. We have heard all those comments and more.

  55. Nichole N says:

    Thank you for this article! We currently have 5 children and I am having a hard time with the rude comments from family of all people! Or the what do you DO all day. This article reminded me that despite how others choose to live their life I’m pretty damn lucky to have my amazingly big family!

  56. Mike Conroy says:

    I have 10. Hard to believe how many times I’ve heard all the rude comments. One of my favorite replies to, ” You know war cause that don’t you” is Yes, and I guess we are lot more efficient than most people.

  57. Ashley says:

    I loved reading this! I only have three, but they are all boys (and boy are they!), so sometimes it feels like ten! But what is funny, is that often I feel as if I should apologize for “only” having three! Moms with fewer children often really look up to and have respect for moms of larger families, because we understand how tough it can be with fewer children and can only imagine the relationship mothers of larger families must have with God in order to maintain their sanity. It makes me, at least, want to work harder on my relationship with Him. Thank you for writing this. … Many blessings to you and your family.

  58. Deanne says:

    Loved this!!!! I wrote something similar a couple of months ago. It is nice to know we aren’t alone with the comments and assumptions. 🙂

    coffeemugsandsippycups.com/2014/04/25/what-i-wish-people-knew-about-raising-large-families/

  59. Penny Raine says:

    Yay Kelly!! and also I would add I do not have 8 children because I am ignorant. Rather it is quite the opposite and I finally surrendered to true wisdom. 🙂

  60. Sabrina says:

    I have heard many comments when people find out that we have 6 kids. And after the third one we have heard them all including “you know what causes that right?”, “How can they afford to have more?” and “You are going to get fixed after this one right?”. I don’t understand how my husband and I having babies is any ones business. Some of the worst comments have come from family on my inlaws side. My husband works and I stay home with the kids age 10, 7, 5, 3, 2 and 9 months. We support our own kids and are not using state assistance. We have good medical benefits through my husbands job. I love my kids and would do anything for them. Yes having more kids is more work, but you adjust to it. I think some people just don’t think before they speak. And every time we have announced that we are pregnant, we ALWAYS hear “another one???”. I just come back with “Yes, aren’t we just so blessed”. I couldn’t imagine being without any of my kids and would do it all over again if given a choice. We are actually thinking about having another one. I can only imagine the comments we will get.

  61. Denise F. says:

    We only have 6 at home and he has 3 grown. So 9 between us. We also have an 11 year gap ( God’s doing not ours ) between 2 & 3 of ours then 3-6 are stair stepped. We get a ton of comments. Like oh did you get rid of your tv or lose your job and cable? I would have more if I could but due to uterine problems and a multitude of heart problems for me we are taking our time and getting the ok before we go further with more children or forward with a hysterectomy. Scary time but I have all faith that God will lead us down the road we are too go down. I get tired of the comments, staring, the actual counting out loud of my children to which I say “thanks for counting them, now I don’t have to to make sure they are all here” with a smile and a chuckle. Usually lightens the mood. Some people just think that they need to convince us to conform to their beliefs on how many children are acceptable. I get tired of it but have learned to smile and keep on walking.

  62. Gretchen says:

    I relate to all of these. I “only” have 9 kids. All of us are used to the questions and stares. It’s not just the moms who have to battle misconceptions. The kids do, too. I think people expect them all to be like the children of Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel from “The Simpsons.” Not educated, ratty, snotty, unhealthy, neglected.

    I also laugh when I hear, “You look good for a mom with nine kids!” What am I supposed to look like? Ha! It’s a compliment, I think.

    Thanks for the fun read! I write about large family living, too, and appreciate how all these thoughts and musing spin around until you have to get them out!

  63. Kim says:

    What a blessing to have a large family. I have two children through the miracle of adoption. It was always my desire to have a large family, God had other plans.

    I am grateful for my two and am envious(in a good way!) of your larger families.

  64. Ruth says:

    Thank you for this it was great xx I’m a Stay at home mum to 6 children…ages as of 18/6/14 11,10,7,6,4,3 yrs xx
    It has it’s struggles, financially it can be hard, but we serve a great God and he provides for our every need. My husband is self employed. My older 3 are girls so they help out so much around the house. I am very blessed.
    I would always laugh off comments made by people even when in reality they hurt. Like..” you know what causes this aye” and ” WHAT, they are ALL yours”.
    God blessed us with a large family and I wouldn’t change it for the world x

  65. I *love* this.

    The “you’re so lucky to stay home/have a large family; I wish I could” comments are my pet peeve. It’s not luck: it’s a lot of trusting in God and a lot of sacrifice. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Thomas Jefferson:
    “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”

    Finally, it is very sad to me that every single negative comment I have had about our family size or the impending arrival of a blessing came from people with whom we have worshiped. Seriously. Our preachers and elders (and their wives) need to do a MUCH better job of sharing God’s perspective on children.

    Love reading your great posts, Kelly!

    • Amy says:

      You should honestly be careful that the person you are talking to might not be able to have more children/ stay home with the ones they have. I understand that you can’t get manicures/go out to eat/ etc. but there are plenty of people right here in America who don’t know whether they will be homeless next month, or where their next meal will come from. Trust me, there are people like that, and you shouldn’t always think you have all the answers or know what people’s lives are like.

  66. I am the mom of 5 kids, and my oldest is a couple weeks from turning 21. The youngest is almost 7 months old. Yes, I’m crazy. Yes, we know what causes it, we are obviously very good at it. And apparently we’re being given the children to raise that others are preventing and probably shouldn’t have anyway so they can’t screw up these amazing humans.
    http://feistyirishwench.blogspot.com/2013/08/originality-and-humor.html

  67. Heather Newcomb says:

    This is one great post!!! Excellent! I have never really thought about how it would sound if I did question them the same way. lol

  68. E says:

    My husband and I have struggled with secondary infertility for the past twelve years, and have tried many things, including NaPro. We have one biological child and two adopted children. Sadly, over the years we’ve had many people say the things you wrote about in number seven. “Where are your other children?” “Is this all you have?” “Have you considered looking into NaPro?” Some question whether we use NFP and have a “contraceptive mentality”. One mother of a large family we’ve long tried to get together with told me she won’t get together with us because she really prefers to get together with other larger families, where all of her children have someone their age with whom to play. I appreciate her honesty, even if it does hurt. We’ve long wanted to have a large family, and it’s not something we have any control over. The worst part is our worries for our children. Our son doesn’t have any brothers with whom to play. And our children are getting older, and would benefit from having younger siblings with whom to share, teach, and learn. Please pray for us.

    • Amy says:

      I’m so sorry you’ve had to hear those comments. Sometimes they really are downright hurtful, aren’t they? The woman who won’t get together with you is really missing out! She is missing out on having a friend, her children are missing out on seeing that friends don’t have to be just like us and other valuable lessons, such as learning that it’s okay for a sibling to have something (play time) that another sibling might not get. Besides, most children in large families are able to get along with kids of different ages. (Actually, I don’t think that’s as much of a large family thing as it is a thing that parents teach their children. My only child gets along well with people of all ages, too. But that’s beside the point!) Even without a brother, your son will be fine. I feel bad sometimes that my daughter doesn’t have any siblings, but I know that God has a plan for her life, too. Saying a prayer for you this morning!

    • Kim says:

      I have heard of large families and small families choosing to avoid each other for those reasons. When we started adopting our children, we had both friends and family stop getting together with us because of so many kids. They are very well behaved though but still they are children. If you are near Atlanta, we welcome you no matter how big or small your family. We made a point to show people it works out just fine. Sorry to hear that and praying for you

  69. Laura says:

    From one mom of 10 to another, thank you! My mother told me when I was young all the things I couldn’t/ shouldn’t do because I ” had no patience.” Oh the amazing/ horrifying day when I realized that, with God’s help, my “patience” was a choice!! One that I often make badly.
    I would add that I often meet older women ( probably once a week or more) who confide that they desperately wish that they had had more children. No one EVER comments that they wish they had stopped having children when they had two instead of having another!
    It is sad when we put things above people.
    Thanks for at least attempting to bridge that gap!

  70. Ashleigh says:

    Us stay at home mommies ARE fortunate to be stay at home! Yes, its hard, yes it takes a lot of sacrifice. But because we stay home, we see everything. We get to watch our beautiful babies grow up before our eyes. We get to witness the preciousness of tiny life, the adorable curiousity of a toddler, the child who is learning how to be like Mommy and Daddy, and the teen who just wants to find her place in this world. Before we know it, they will be grown, and we will be looking back, and we will KNOW we were fortunate. We are BLESSED to stay at home!

    As for the multiple children. I have four and one on the way. I get to see how each child is different, AND go through each major milestone again and again and again. I plan on having a lot of children. I really can’t wait to see how God blesses us next! Because I stay at home, I will never miss that first smile, the first word, the first step. No daycare or school will ever take away those firsts from me. We are fortunate to be moms of many children! It is hard work, but it is what God has called us to do. He put tiny precious children in our hands and called us to raise them in His image. We stay at home to do what He has called us to do. I feel fortunate and blessed to be doing what God has called me to do!

  71. Kim says:

    Love them all. We have 8 (4 of each). When asked “how do you do it?” My response is always, “One day at a time, one step at a time.” & God gave me three of my girls first….that helps. 🙂

  72. Staci says:

    We have 4. I’ve had 2 ectopics now, 11 years apart, and am unable to have more children. One time, we got the classic, “Don’t you know what causes that?” On a whim, I said, “YES! That’s why it keeps happening!!!” Oh her face! And I thought my husband would die. LOL But we still laugh about it sometimes! 🙂

  73. Kim says:

    Awesome and very beautifully said! I do have 7 children and expecting one more through adoption very soon. I have adopted 5 of my 7 so not all by birth but my love for them runs very deep. I appreciate everything you said here. I get many a rude comments such as “Are they all yours?” or “daycare outing?” and done right in front of my children. We are a diverse family but a very blessed family. We do not return unkind responses but the temptation has been there. Thank you for sharing!!

    • liz says:

      I have 4 children and counting through the Blessing of adoption. They are of 3 different ethnicities. We also get the “are you babysitting…they are not all yours are they?..and the worst, “they don’t look like you, they can’t be brother and sisters”.

      I had a lady actually approach me in the library last week and say to me “your daughter looks just like you, but not your son at all (he is Indian American and I am Caucasian as is my daughter) This seems very unnecessary to me. I mean what if i was widowed and remarried…seriously? This is more an “adoption thing” than a “large family thing” but we have BOTH so it is doubly hard..

  74. Kim says:

    To E:
    I have heard of large families and small families choosing to avoid each other for those reasons. When we started adopting our children, we had both friends and family stop getting together with us because of so many kids. They are very well behaved though but still they are children. If you are near Atlanta, we welcome you no matter how big or small your family. We made a point to show people it works out just fine. Sorry to hear that and praying for you.

  75. Karla says:

    I have 5 kids from 7yo to newborn. Everytime we go out someone have something to.say. My response? Well God provide us what we need. Once someone told me that I will kill my husband. It was a frien so I told him, are you sure?? Im the.one that gets pregnants, have sickness, give birth, breastfeed, stay up at nights ect… and I dont complaing about it, how will i kil him??
    People think this is a desicion of one. I didnt want to have so many child, but WE decide to do as God plan.for.us. and I really cant imagine my life.without any of them.

  76. Michelle Gunnin says:

    My favorite comment was always, “You know…they know what causes that right?” Some friends of ours, also with 4 kids, have a great come back for that one. “Yes we do know what causes it. And we like it. Very very much.” Stops them cold every time. No one knows how to respond to that one. 🙂

  77. Naomi says:

    As a mother of nine, my best response is “I am exercising my reproductive choice.” Keep eye contact and watch the questioner search for a response.

  78. Stefanie says:

    As a mom of 9- I have been through all this- I worked outside the home up until I had my 7th- I was in a professional field and often heard about “having to many children”- “all she does is stay pregnant”- yada yada yada- I don’t get too many comments anymore- I still have 6 living at home- but I know have a don’t you dare make a comment about the size of my family look to me!LOL!!! It took years to perfect!

    and to the TV comment- I always tell them- we do have one! HA!!!

    Great article!!!

  79. carla says:

    a friend of my sister’s went to the store with most of his 11 children. Cashier asked, “You know what causes that don’t you?” He replied,not so quietly and to her embarrassment, “Great Sex!”

  80. Angelina says:

    LOVE these! Each one hits the nail on the head! As a mom of (only) 8 kids, I get all these all the time! The TV “joke” infuriates me so much–I have so many responses I never say! God bless you and your beautiful family and thank you for this article! It totally made my day!

  81. Mary says:

    I am a Mom with 13 children and I am thankful for this site. These questions are common because people have a hard time understanding that much unselfishness. Even though at the time I knew I would have that many children at 18. I had no real concept of what that meant.Now as my youngest being and oldest 35. Everyday is a new challenge and even after two bad marriages I am thankful for the Lords unselfishness to me. I truly would never had the Love, Patience, vision, strength, encouragement, passion etc if I wasn’t a Christian and didn’t really know what that meant. His Love for me helps me get up one more day and count my blessings. I ended up at this time as a single Mom. I run an accounting business and a food pantry and Family assistance Center that I could not do if I didn’t have the help that the Lord already gave me with my bakers dozen. May God Bless everyone that has one or more children to see Jesus in their face and love them as he loves you. Love from a Mom that is truly blessed.

  82. Mary says:

    And one great comeback for all those questions that inspired me was.
    They ask me if I believe in Birth Control. I tell them I believe in Birth out of Control.

  83. Kristen says:

    We have 5 kids, all adopted and multi-racial, and we get the same caliber of questions large families get, just about adoption. I can never think of an appropriate come back in the moment, so usually I just smile and say something vague. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt – it is unusual to see a Caucasian woman with a whole bunch of kids in varying shades of brown- and realize they are curious and probably just don’t know how dumb and inappropriate they sound.

  84. Lila says:

    Sorry, but you do look kind of old.

  85. Julie says:

    I’m in the group of folks like E and Amy who struggles to have children. We have been TTC 9 years, and although I always wanted a family of 5+ upwards, we have been blessed with one living child and several waiting for us in heaven. I greatly admire and respect my friends who are able to cont. having babies. I have learned a lot from them, and I do value family and children. We just don’t get everything we want to have happen in our lives. We could all use more grace in our lives. My experience has been the same as someone stated above: the negative and hurtful comments came from the people closest to us – who are all Christians! I don’t think that phenomenon is necessarily only related to the value of children or the grace to comfort and love on those of us whose hearts break because our babies are missing from our lives. I really think we Christians in general fail to humble ourselves enough to walk in another person’s shoes for a while – esp. people who are very different from us. To be learners when it comes to others’ experiences. God has given us His Word to help us live our lives, but it’s meant to transform us so we can see God and people the way He sees us. Too often we forget to think/feel with our transformed selves before we open our mouths. Thank you for posting this and thank you to everyone who’s already replied up there. Dialog like this helps me understand how I can better love my friends with large families. And I want to throw in there how grateful I am that they include us in their lives – one of my hopes for my DD is to spend enough time with friends that she can get into some conflict with other kids and start to learn how to navigate resolving it. That IMO is an important life skill. So, one body with many parts – we need all the parts. Thanks 🙂

    • Amy says:

      That was very well put! I think one of the blessings of infertility in my life is that it has made me much more understanding of others’ life circumstances. I really think that if my life had gone the way I planned, I wouldn’t have developed as much compassion for others. Infertility reminds me that God is in control, and He wants us to continue to look more like Him. If I had been able to have many children, I’m pretty sure I’d have felt like it was all in my control! (I am NOT saying that all parents of large families think that way. I just know my own heart and how I would have thought.)

  86. As the father of eight I can relate to this article. My wife and I have heard it all, We’re special! Lucky! You do know what causes that? Are you done now?

    Funny thing is that now that they are older and they can really help
    I hear more and more how lucky we are.

  87. I get the ‘I’d love to stay at home with the kids, but we just can’t do it’ ALL the time. And it totally riles my goat! As if we CAN …. well, we ‘can’, we ‘do’, but boy, life in the UK is not suited to a one-income family. I would LOVE for my husband to be able to be home every night at 6pm (like their husbands are). I would love for him not to have to slog his guts out day in day out because his income is our only income. And yes, I’d love to be able to have an annual holiday, a car that’s less than 12 years old, and the occasional family meal out.

    All that sounds like I’m miserable, and not happy with the choices we’ve made … *nothing* could be further from the truth! But when I hear of ‘meals out’, ‘nails and make-up sessions’, ‘this year’s holiday’, ‘another new car’ etc etc, don’t tell me you ‘can’t stay at home’ …. 🙂

    Oh and a confession: I remember being pregnant with #2 and thinking, ‘I am sure I’ll love this baby, but there’s no way I can love this one like I love the one I have’ …. Ha! How wrong THAT was!!

  88. Amy says:

    “Just hoping to bridge the gap between us”. Honestly, I feel like you’ve singlehandedly ripped open that gap with your own two hands. Now I know this is why I feel so self conscious around large families.

    • Amy,

      Interesting. So strangers and friends should be allowed to be rude or insensitive to us and our children and no one should ever attempt to examine what is actually being done, what it looks like and feels like? This post wasn’t written in anger and there is nothing offensive about it, yet you are offended. Seems it’s a no-win situation with people who simply don’t like large families.

  89. Phyllis Galvan-McGeath says:

    This mom of 7 loved your story and shared with with others:)

  90. Wendy says:

    I had 2 children. I would never ever comment to *anyone* about the size of their family because it’s none of my business. However I don’t quite understand the hostility towards some of the comments people make. As one of the other posters said, if someone says “you are lucky” they may mean it as “you are blessed.” Whatever the interpretation, it is not meant as an insult. Neither is saying you look too young to have x number of children. People have always told me I looked too young to have children, teenagers, grown children, grand children…whatever. Whether you have 1 child or 20, how is that an insult?

    I can understand being fed up with some of the stupid, nosey and rude comments, but why rile yourself up about something that is intended as a compliment?

    • Wendy,

      Thank you for commenting. I answered both of your questions in my post. I actually said I liked the comment about looking like I don’t have a large family. That is not viewed as an insult. Maybe more of a misconception about what children do to you, but not an insult.

      The “lucky” comment is only an insult when accompanied by the other things I talked about in the post. Otherwise, we *can* assume it’s merely a compliment. I’m truly not prickly about many comments anymore, but as a mom of a large family, it’s difficult to communicate how many rude comments we have had, and therefore, I’m assuming some of those who have commented here that do seem more prickly are coming from a place of being defensive because insults seem to be the default. We would all do well to offer more grace, regardless of the intentions, though.

      • Wendy says:

        Your last sentence nails it and I certainly include myself in needing to offer more grace. It’s much easier said than done, but something to strive for.

    • Mrs. B says:

      @Wendy

      I understand your point about not allowing other people to get under skin to the point that you end up engaging in ungodly behavior.

      HOWEVER, this comment was made to me by a complete stranger when we had four children (“Do they all have the same father?”)

      The problem wasn’t so much what she said but the manner and context in which she said it. She was clearly trying to stir up trouble for whatever personal reasons (what they could have been, I have no idea, she was and still is a complete stranger.)

      I’ve treated the incident as a kind of thorn in the side. I don’t want spiritually immature people to be able to manipulate me with their unkind, unthoughtful comments. What’s more–I don’t even know what she might have been going through herself to do such a thing. But I do sympathize with other Moms of Many who are “expected” to answer such personal questions by people who could really care less or have no intention of being a blessing to their family.

  91. Kassy says:

    Much if this is true, but I would like to say something about the lucky to be at home. I am one who is lucky enough to be at home. And I am one who says that. I suppose you could say blessed to, but they both mean the same. I am lucky to choose to make those sacrifices, I am lucky my husband is willing to work harder so we can have enough, I’m lucky my kids are ok with not having everything their friends have. Yes these May have to do with choices and learning, but I’m lucky I have learned and am learning to make those choices. It’s really perspective. And I like to perceive it as blessing because I would rather be lucky than hard done by.

  92. As a mom of nearly seven children, (baby due in 5 weeks) we hear all sorts of things.
    But the RUDEST (and possibly most funny?) comments are “Do they all have the same dad?” which is usually asked in front of all the children, leaving the kids looking at me completely baffled, and usually in the checkout lane at Costco. Apparently the long skirts and modest tops STILL convey that I’m somehow a floosey, procreating with a bunch of different men. How can I not laugh at this? It ‘s Hilarious!

    But my favorite is when someone says “Aren’t you being irresponsible?”

    I reply with “I’m not irresponsible, I’m IRRESISTIBLE.”
    😀

    I love to find the humor in these things. Nobody has a filter anymore.

  93. Elizabeth says:

    This is great! It is so funny some of the misconceptions people have. It is sometimes a struggle not to give a rude reply back to the person saying the comment! I cant believe some of the comments and we have heard them all, multiple times!

  94. Veronica says:

    Okay, most of these were cute, but #7 was HILARIOUS. You could just write an entire blog listing all the insults we can use on people who ask us rude questions. I remember back when I worked in an ornament store and I was pregnant with #8, and people would ask me if it was my first, and I would say “no, he’s my 7th” and they would start in with the questions, but often they’d say, “Your husband must have a really good job?”. I would just say “No, I work here, he is in college” and then I’d feel obligated to explain that he gets the GI bill, but then the questions would get even more personal, “Are they all from the same dad” -_- I used to lie and say yes but then I started telling the truth, I have been married twice. It’s hard to answer a question like that politely and since I am at work I feel like I have to be polite. What’s worse is the people who DEMAND you have to stop having kids, you’ve probably heard it before. Now I am pregnant with number 8 and my sister who only has 1 kid thinks I am crazy and seemed annoyed when I told her. Well, I don’t plan on stopping any time soon, I will have how ever many children I am meant to have! I am 29 years old now so I have a good 15 or more years of fertility 😀

  95. Keri says:

    I have had the “Are they all from the same marriage” one and then actually had an elevator full of people clap for me when I said yes. It was hysterical. I only have six.

  96. Reany says:

    I am currently pregnant with #7 (plus 3 in Heaven). It’s unbelievable the comments we getfrom, family and strangers. I was told by a stranger while pg with #5 that my husband should get a vasectomy. I was astounded by her rudeness. I just walked away. It also hurts when folks tell me they assume I am “always pregnant” and “isn’t it time for another.” Especially when I just had or in the middle of a miscarriage.

    People also assume that we are either Catholic or homeschool (my kids go to Christian school).

    When they say the superwoman comments I tell them it’s all relative. I had a much harder time with just one. I was a new mom and had no idea what to do. Now it’s easier because I’ve done it but each child comes with his/her own blessings and challenges. It’s nice that the older children adore their younger siblings and are very helpful.

    You are doing a great job. You are supermom. Every mom is supermom.

  97. dj says:

    I dont know that I would call it “luck” but id give anything to be able to stay at home. I never shop, get my hair or nails done, etc and still cant afford it. I wouldn’t say stay at home moms are “lucky” but I’m jealous

    • DJ,

      I’m so sorry. And I don’t want to presume anything about your situation since I certainly don’t know it. But to encourage you, we couldn’t afford me to stay home either for a long time. We just did it. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. There’s sort of mystery principle at work that you do what you have to do when you set your feet on a path. And for us, that’s what it looked like. It was FAR more than going without nails or hair appointments. We went without a lot, but I wouldn’t think about trading it for what we gained.

  98. Lisa says:

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong at all with telling someone that their comment is unwarranted and a bit rude! I also don’t think that telling them that when they can walk in your shoes, they may not have the same questions, is wrong! Some people don’t think before they just blurt something out because they see someone or something else that doesn’t fit into their mold of what someone or something should look like! Having said that, it is unfortunate that there are people who have big families in order to bring in more $$$, but there are also large families with a large number of children that get ignored and others favored, and some abused (I was from one of those families); of course my parents have learned alot from getting older and I do not know if they regret any of their actions but do know that they are alot different! there are some of their adult children that they still do not associate with, and then they also have grand children who will not ever know them as grandparents…it is really sad! So if you are going to have a large family, by all means….whatever God blesses you with, the better, but please Love them all (and not the same), they are all individuals and will have individual personalities! Because of the way I grew up, I only had two children, plus I was left alone early in my marriage, so I really couldn’t handle anymore alone, but I Love children! they are truly a blessing from God! I am about to welcome my 2nd grandchild into the world and I am tickled pink! (probably because she is a girl! ~ 1st one was a boy) ~ Just one thing though if I may…. teach them about Jesus! Their lives will have a purpose! Read the word to them and teach them that they have life everlasting with our creator if they choose to live for Jesus! give them the ‘real’ tools for their life toolbox! Thanks for reading!

  99. […] 7 Misconceptions About Moms of Large Families […]

  100. Lorrie says:

    Thank you for this! What an encouragement! I’m a mommy to five littles (two sets of twins and a single) under the age of nine. I love them all so much and consider them a gift from God. We are open to having more, but I’m a bit concerned about my age (I’m 38) and having multiple c-sections (I’ve had three elected due to being naive and misled by doctors) and no vaginal births. Have any of you mommies had multiple cesareans? If so,how many have you safely had? Were all your deliveries c-sections or did you deliver naturally after multiple c-sections? I would love to try delivering naturally if I could find a doctor to support me and if it were safe. Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Can’t wait to hear from you all! Thanks!

    • 6 arrows says:

      Lorrie,

      I have not had any C-sections myself, but a close friend of mine had three, and then, having been led to believe that any more than that would not be safe, she got a tubal ligation.

      However, some years after that, the Lord convicted her that she had made that decision based on fear rather than faith. She then had her tubal reversed, and became pregnant again.

      It was her plan to have a VBAC with her fourth child, but after a very long labor in which she failed to progress far (they learned during that labor that her physiology was such that she just could not deliver vaginally, even a small baby, as her fourth one was), she did end up having a fourth c-section, with no complications.

      So, in her case, there really was no problem with having that many caesareans.

      On the other hand, a close friend of my sister-in-law almost died having a fourth c-section. Her heart stopped for a while, but medical personnel were able to revive her.

      Also, a mom I knew many years ago nearly died having a VBAC with her second child because her incision from the first birth ruptured during labor, and she thought the extreme pain was just normal labor, when actually she was bleeding internally from the rupture.

      I don’t relay these experiences others have had to scare you or to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, Lorrie. None of us can accurately predict what the future will hold under any birthing circumstance, not medical staff, not lay people. The main thing to do is pray for wisdom to discern the Lord’s leading in this, and be willing to obey His will for you.

      I believe working with a calm, level-headed Christian physician is of great benefit, as well. Most of the dire warnings about things that could go wrong fail to materialize.

      Blessings to you, Lorrie, as you seek to know His will.

      (P.S. I met someone many years ago who, like you, had two sets of twins and a single. The single one was first, then twins a year later — she didn’t know until the second twin was coming that there was a second baby in there! — followed by another set of twins the next year — not a surprise that time, as they’d had an ultrasound to check. 😉 Their family had five in diapers for a while!!)

      Oh, and one other thing (regarding your age). I’m 52, and 38 seems really young to me now. 🙂 My fourth child was born when I was 38, and my fifth and sixth in my forties, the youngest one being born a little after I turned 45.

      From an older mom to a younger one, let me tell you… Don’t let anyone convince you you are old, obstetrically-speaking or any other way! 🙂

  101. Lorrie says:

    Oh yeah! Someone told me a good response to rude comments would be, “Which one of my children do you think I shouldn’t have had?” That pretty well stops them in their tracks and definitely gets them to think about how important each child is and what a special place they hold in our family.

  102. Ashley says:

    I think alot of what you said is true but I dont agree with number 2. A lot of the post I have read are from moms with lots of children and what they think about it but what about what the kids think. Now I am not a mother of lots of children because I am 23 and just had my first baby but I am 1 of 8 kids and as much as I believe my mom loved all of us. I also believe that the time she had to show us was spread very thin. I am the 3rd child and the oldest girl. I felt because my mom wasnt able to give every kid the attention that they need they always turned to me. Dont get me wrong I loved having a big family and love the relationship I have with my siblings but it really would have been nice to be a kid longer than I was. Because my younger siblings always turned to me I had to grow up very fast and feel like I missed out on alot and really didnt have anyone that I could lean on because the last thing I wanted was to add to the full plate my parents had. So just thought I would give the point of view from a kid of a large family. I know this isnt true about everyone and everyones kids have a different view about their large family but I think alot of the moms lean on the older kids too much.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Hi Ashley,

      I’d like to gently stretch your thinking a bit on something you said in your post. If we were sitting down face-to-face over a cup of tea, you would see a smile on my face — just sayin’, as tone can be hard to read over the internet. 🙂

      These statements of yours interested me:

      “…I am 1 of 8 kids and as much as I believe my mom loved all of us. I also believe that the time she had to show us was spread very thin… my mom wasnt able to give every kid the attention that they need.”

      I have heard similar statements made by others, almost always in reference to larger families.

      Let me ask you, Ashley (you don’t need to answer my questions, I just pose them as thought questions), to think about that idea of “giv[ing] every kid the attention that they need.”

      First of all, is there a quantifiable amount of attention we can determine children need? Say 30 minutes per day? Or two hours? Or…depends on the age — this much for this age child, that much for that age? Is it a matter of adding up all the time X number of children need, such that a parent’s ability to give that much quantity of attention would spread one too thin?

      And then there’s the matter of how we define attention. Does only one-to-one attention count? If a mom reads out loud as her children are gathered around, and only one child is sitting on her lap, is that the only child getting attention? Or only the inquisitive child who is asking questions about the reading, and getting them answered, and not the children who are listening without speaking or being spoken to directly?

      How about if mom and only one child are in the kitchen preparing a meal, each sort of lost in their own thoughts and not always speaking to each other? Parent and child are together in the same room, working on a common goal in relative silence — is that attention, or is it not?

      It is my opinion that “attention” can be defined in so many different ways, the oft-used phrase “the attention that they need” really doesn’t say a lot.

      What children need is love, and I would say you are very blessed to recognize that that is indeed what you got from your mom, in spite of the fact you feel she wasn’t able to give you and your siblings the attention you believe you needed.

      I believe that in these days, where many couples are purposely choosing to avoid having more than a few children, this idea of children needing attention (how ever one defines that) has gained a strong foothold, whereas in former times it was recognized that children needed love, which can be expressed in many ways, not only in terms of parent-to-child, one-to-one direct interaction.

      Now are some children truly neglected by their parents? Yes. That is a sad reality, but the problem there is due to the attitude of the parents, not the number of children there are. It can happen in a family with many children or few children.

      Ashley, do you believe as I do that God is sovereign? If a family trusts Him to open and close the womb at will, blessing them with as many children as He chooses, will He forsake them and make an impossible situation for the parents to meet the children’s true needs, to the extent possible by humans?

      I believe God equips His people to meet the needs of all those to whom one is called to minister, particularly one’s immediate family. If anyone is disobedient to that calling, then it is not God or the number of children He has given that is to blame.

      I am thankful that you and your siblings grew up in a home with a loving mom, Ashley, and that you have good relationships with your siblings. Blessings to you as you raise your baby and any children the Lord may give you in the future. He will and is now equipping you to meet their true needs, and I think you will be delighted to see how your love will expand with each new child if you should be so blessed to receive more offspring from the hand of our loving and faithful Lord.

      • Very well spoken, C.

        This:

        “I believe that in these days, where many couples are purposely choosing to avoid having more than a few children, this idea of children needing attention (how ever one defines that) has gained a strong foothold, whereas in former times it was recognized that children needed love, which can be expressed in many ways, not only in terms of parent-to-child, one-to-one direct interaction.”

        This is true. Interestingly, though, it only seems to apply with moms of multiple children and that is a great irony. Most moms who have larger families are at home full time, devoted to the constant care and attention of her family and even have (usually) freer schedules out of necessity. Many of them homeschool which puts them with their children 24 hours a day. Conversely, a typical mother may work and not see her children until evening. Those same children may have homework or sports activities that prevent them from having “one on one” time with parents. Often even Saturdays are filled with over-stuffed scheduling that limit the face-to-face, relationship-building time. Essentially, a typical family has far less conversation/attention-giving time than a mom who is home all day with several.

        And yet no one seems concerned about this. As long as the children are getting to do “normal” stuff like school and sports and whatever, it matters little how much the parents actually interact. But suddenly if she has more than two, everyone is certain her children are being neglected.

        Things that make me go hmmmm…..

        • 6 arrows says:

          I agree, Kelly. There seems to be a double standard there: a willingness to verbalize one’s skepticism that children in a large family can get the proper attention, but unwillingness to speak to the very real issue of over-scheduling of outside activities and the toll it takes on parent-to-child relationships.

  103. Carrie says:

    This is great! I stay home with my three and home school. I don’t consider myself lucky either, we made the conscious decisions to do what we had to do for me to stay home. Though I will say that I consider the ability and resources, my husband’s job, to be great blessings. Luck had nothing to do with it. I believe God did though because it was a desire and priority for us.

  104. Kristy says:

    I loved this. God has not chosen to bless us with children, yet. I love how He knows what is best for each of us, though. We have been struggling with infertility for about a year but we have chosen not to find out what the problem is. We figure if God wants us to have children, we will. If He thinks we shouldn’t, no amount of money or science is going to make that happen. We are blessed with a family who loves adoption as well. We have known that one day we adopt since before we were married and I believe God is preparing us for that next step as well. I use to tease my husband that I was going to get an old church van & it would be our goal to fill it up. Lol We decided to let God choose how many He wants us to have.

    Thank you to all you hard working mamas out there who sacrifice so much for your families. We recently cut our finances by more than half when we decided that I should quit my career. It has been a learning experience in sacrificing but God has blessed us more than we could have ever imagined. We knew we better learn how to live frugally on one income before kids since we want to home school any children God chooses to bless us with. You guys are my heros. 🙂

    • Kristy,

      Your trust in a sovereign God is beautiful and inspiring.

    • Keri says:

      Kristy,

      This is such a silly little thing but I have to share it after seeing what you wrote. I have a friend who wasn’t able to get pregnant for many years. They didn’t know why. They moved to China for two years and she got foot massages. Very inexpensive there and good for health they say. They were in the process of getting ready to adopt and she got pregnant. She was well into her 30’s maybe even 40! She went on to have two more children. Just had to share that.

      Also, I think it’s great that you are already learning how to live on one income! I know it’s not always easy but we have lived on one income for so long and when my husband resigned from his job almost four years ago due to his partners flipping out over the bad economy, we were okay. He works for himself now and we had learned to keep our debt down. It’s been a great lesson for our adult kids to watch and see before they have families of their own. We have three adult kids who still live here with us and work full time who also contribute to the household by paying rent of $100.00 per month. They know that’s cheap..lol. They also pay for the internet and help out if one of our two dogs needs vet work. They even treat us to dinner or lunch often which is a Blessing. You will never regret it! Blessings to you!!

    • 6 arrows says:

      This is a precious testimony, Kristy. Your attitude of gratitude shines through so magnificently.

  105. Jan Edman says:

    It’s funny, how at times I am in a grocery store, restaurant or just walking down the street, and they have 4 or 5 children under the age of 9 or 10, asking myself “How do they do it?” It shouldn’t shock me, because I had 5 children under 10 and never thought how it looked or that it was difficult. I love being a mother, they are the joy in my life. ONe time an older table of diners at Red Lobster kept looking our way throughout the meal. I hoped there wasn’t a problem. They walked over to our table and told us,
    when they walked into the restaurant and saw they were being seated so close to our table they cringed and almost left to go to another restaurant. We just wanted a nice relaxing evening out and assumed they would be trying to enjoy their evening over loud, rowdy, crying kids. Then they said, we couldn’t help but watch your children during our dinner in amazement and see how well mannered and polite they were to each other. That compliment meant so much. It also reminded me if in a situation like that again and any of the kids became loud, to be respectful and understanding to others and step out to calm them down. I always try to send a smile of affirmation to other young mothers. They need encouragement and approval! It is a very important role, and I am so thankful, God entrusted me with these children,

  106. venita garner says:

    I have often wondered how would you like me to make some equally rude comment!? I even get all that crap from people at church. We have 10. I’d love more. We will see. I’m gettin’ old. I’ve just started school so I might be done with my baby season. I love this blog! It’s so YES! I can identify with that.

  107. Leah says:

    Hi all. I am leaving this comment from the opposite view of the article. We have one son who is almost 11 yrs old, and many times when we’re out, people comment, “Just ONE??? He’s so handsome, you HAVE to have more!” We have been trying to have more for a long time, but have been through several miscarriages and prayed and God has gotten us through. Large families are wonderful, and such a blessing and gift. Just wanted to mention that people will always comment what they will, on a whim, with just one child or many. Little do they know we have had multiple miscarriages and been through much pain, and little do they also know what a blessing it is to have a large family! So, be encouraged, and by the way, we just found out we’re finally expecting a second child due in June, after 11 yrs of just being able to have one! Praise the Lord! Have a great day and thanks for reading my thoughts. God Bless.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Leah,

      I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with comments like that. There is no excuse for anyone to say such a thing.

      And I’m praising God with you, Leah, that the Lord has blessed you with a second child! How precious to experience again the growth of new life within you. May God bless you and your family abundantly with many good gifts as you continue your parenting journey!

    • Leah,

      I’m so happy for you! And I guess you’re right; people will overstep boundaries regardless.

  108. Patty says:

    I am the mother of 12 and like many of you- have heard it all! My favorite story was when we were eating out after church. I was pregnant and walking in ahead of my husband with 3 of our children. Two older ladies were leaving and smiled at me and told me what a beautiful family I had. I turned around and motioned that my husband was coming with 4 more. There smiles turned to scowls as they realized we had clearly crossed the boundaries of good taste 🙂 They told my husband that someone needed to tell us what was causing that. My husband likes to never miss an opportunity to tell people that children are a blessing and not a curse. He didn’t miss a beat and said, “Why, we are having so much fun!” He meant, with the children!! They took it the other way. He kept walking and didn’t get to see their shocked expressions. I loved it and thought they really deserved it!

  109. Jeanne says:

    I so know what you mean about rude coments! We are also a large family by choice- choice of adoption curently we have 7 children in our home 7 adopted and 5 of our children were natural when people saw us coming you could see their heads bounce from counting.. One time just for fun we went to the furniture store and told them we needed to check out new mattresses and took them all. We had so much fun!!
    and the glares oh my!!!

  110. Christy C says:

    Kelly, Wow! Such a great post and replies!

    I am a mother of fourteen living children. I too have heard every joke, comment, etc. The sad thing is most of them come from people who go to church and say they are believers. They make comments TO ME on other moms in church who are expecting their fourth or fifth child. “They don’t need another child. They can’t control the ones they have now.” “She needs to have her tubes tied. Her husband just does not help her out enough.” It makes me wonder what is being said behind my back. Maybe their kids do run all over church, and yes, the husband does not help out as much as he could…but it is not a reason to play “Bash the Mommy”.

    My life and children have been directed by God, through prayer. (We lost two babies in miscarriages.) Our thirteenth child coded in my arms just 48 hours home from the NICU. He had stopped breathing and had no pulse. He was gray and lifeless. But God gave breath back to him. He is ONE of my miracles!

    Fourteen living children, four in-love’s, grandchild number nine arrives in December, and one terrific husband. I am not lucky, I am blessed.

  111. Flicka says:

    I will give you another perspective on amounts of children. I wanted ten but my husband wanted 3. We had three and then we adopted one that fit into the empty age slot. All of our children grew up and left home. I was an empty nester way too soon. I had too much time on my hands and I was not one to work out of the home. I tried it and 3 weeks was the amount of time I could endure an outside job. Now I am a widow and a Titus 2 teacher of younger women. Today one of those women came to visit. She has just become an empty nester at a young age. She too does not like it. There will be years ahead of rambling around trying to fill the emptiness in the home. Yes, we could go out and fill those hours with helping others and we do at times. A home loving woman is not eager to be on the go a lot. Years ago women didn’t retire from being a full time Mom until about age 60ish or more. I now have 14 grandchildren but the littles are in the south and I am up north. I find littles here to hold and laugh with but I wish I would have had those ten babies. Count your blessings name them one by one. Hi Mz Kelly. 9/22 Happy late birthday.

  112. Debbie says:

    As a mom of 12 I’ve heard it all too. Believe me I am far from patient! But with a lot of Prayers (and sometimes tears) God truely Blesses us and gives us that patience when we truly need it! I agree with Meg, the first 3 are the hardest, probably because we are still learning how to be parents! After that it gets easier.
    I feel sorry for the ones that don’t know better and assume we must be on welfare, but , and not enough love to go around!God provides and we have all we need, maybe sometimes not all that we want! But I’m sure none of us would trade these kids for all the exotic vacations and ‘things’ , for that’s all they are is things!
    When our Big Kids grew up but were still at home they would come home from work and go for the baby! The baby would be passed around and I hardly had a chance to hold him! Until it was time to feed him! It brings tears to my eyes seeing these big guys holding the youngest one- and so proud of the newest little one. They were always so excited when another baby was born, and never ashamed or embarrassed that we had so many.
    The Middle Kids and Little Kids learned from us and the Big Kids, and have passes that on to their own families. There is nothing I would trade about a big family, and the love just grows til sometimes it feels like your heart will burst with all the love it holds!

  113. Cheri in Idaho says:

    Thanks! From a momma of 7

  114. Nichole says:

    Isn’t it amazing? We are a family with 5 boys and I get comments like these all the time. I don’t even consider us to have a very large family because we are good friends with several families of 10-12. It’s a sad commentary on how the world views children- as a burden instead of a blessing. May the Lord keep blessing us!

  115. Jenni Forsyth says:

    Just wanted to share something that encouraged me. A very good friend of mine was at the check out at Costco one day, with one of her 4 left in the cart. The teller made a comment about if she wanted to keep this one. My friend said “Oh yes, she’s very precious to me!” The teller was surprised and said she’d never heard that before – that most parents are ready to leave their kid there. Really encouraged me what a testimony we can be with our kids by not replying like the world expects or even just ignoring comments, but expressing how much our children are loved! 🙂

  116. Sheri says:

    so true! <3 <3 <3
    Wife to one, mother of 10 🙂

  117. Stacy says:

    I am Christian and live in a Catholic neighborhood. It is very small and many of the moms who live here can still be stay at home, even with teenagers, since the economy in this area is good. My husband makes excellent money and I send my kids to a charter school. I am able to stay at home with our fifth child, our four month old baby. We have five children total. Our older daughters are 14 and 12 and our twin boys are ll. Then there is our baby. The issue is when I walk around the neighborhood, I get such nasty comments from five moms of two or three children. They are my neighbors and send their children to Catholic school and boast about their religion. This is fine and I respect that but they have been so mean to me since having my baby. I don’t understand why. They are not supposed to use birth control, right? They have many home schooled, large families within their Catholic church community. I, while a good Christian, still used birth control and planned every pregnancy. I am also 43 by the way. However…the comments from these five women are “Do they really get Cheaper by the dozen?” (in front of my kids) and “WOW!Starting all over again huh?” and “Soon you will need a bus!” I cannot believe how rude these women are to me and my kids and I just want to be out for a stroll. We have a lot of opportunities to offer our children and are blessed and I just love being a mom. Since there is a large gap between my baby and her brothers we may try for one more baby. We our love our neighborhood but I expect the comments to keep getting worse in front of my children if we have another child. Also, although I am stay at home now, for 15 years I worked as a college professor, achieved a Ph.D. and served on my kids’ school board. Women (not men) also tend to treat me like I am stupid or poor because I have a large family. We have more than enough to provide and I am so blessed to be home with my kids. Is that such a crime?

  118. clair says:

    We also have 10 very treasured children. Can relate to all of these very well. But I love number 7 gave me a good laugh.

  119. Amanda says:

    When I was pregnant with my 3rd my aunt told me “geez, you need to sew it up!”. Apart from being completely inappropriate, she had three kids herself so her disapproval made no sense. I now have 5 boys and am always asked when I’m going to try for a girl. A large family with both genders is thought of as abnormal, but apparently it’s ok to have a lot if they are all the same gender and you need to get the missing one.

  120. I’m working on company shopping website that uses joomla as its server (if that’s the correct word). . Someone uploaded files with spaces and apostrophes in the wrong folder and Joomla won’t let me delete them in the usual way.. . How can I delete these files (or edit the file names so that they can then be deleted as normal)?. . I posted this question on the Joomla message board but so far no luck..

  121. Christal Scott says:

    I have 4 sons and when people ask me if I will try again for a girl and I say yes they are floored. They can’t believe that I want more children. I’ve heard so many times, “Oh my, 4 boys? Bless your heart.” Or “You must have your hands full.”
    I have so much love to give why shouldn’t I give it. I’m getting closer to 35 so I can’t have many more children but I love seeing God bless our family with beautiful, healthy children. He truly is amazing.

    • Christal,

      No, most people can’t understand why more children, which is bizarre, since really the only earthly thing that will last that we can produce or invest in is people.

      Oh, and I will have 5 children in Jan. since I was 35 😉

  122. Denise says:

    When I went to the doctor when I got pregnant with my fifth child he asked me if I wanted to have it and after laughing in shock he continued with his arrogance and said, “Are you sure? You don’t want to be just raising kids all your life.” If I was 5 years younger I would have not taken it as well as I did.

    It is very sad that children are seen by some people as an inconvenience and a burden.

  123. Brian Branch says:

    Sorry, but number 5 is generally true, at least in countries with such welfare.
    Parents with more dependents are more likely to be on welfare than those with few dependents.

    Might not be in every single case on earth, but few things are complete absolutes.

    • Kinberly says:

      Hi Brian and/or Lisa!

      I would love to see the proof of your statement. Would you happen to have it available to share here?

      Thank you so much!

      Kimberly

  124. lisa says:

    I am there with you.

  125. Rach says:

    I’m a mum of ten and love my children all the same one doesn’t miss out of love cause I have more then one, I’m a stay at home mum and recently trained as a nail technician which I do from home ever hour possible not that I have any spare hours, it is hard work but a massive blessings and I wouldn’t change a thing, I have to agree with other mums about the lucky to be home, believe me it’s not luck it’s hard work, lunch break, tea break etc what’s that? and if u need the loo, should I say if u get a chance to go to the loo u can bet ur life at least one will follow so not even a break then. To save money and still have the same fun we just do things differently, holiday is in a tent not caravan, hotel or b&b, macdonalds is chicken nuggets from Iceland in a home made box, oven chips in a paper bag and a milkshake straw in a plastic cup, cinema, shop brought popcorn in a popcorn pot (brought from shop at 59p each re-usable) and a film from the cupboard. So much more to add but I have to go, just one last thing, the TV comment gets me the most could do with a decent come back if anyone has one (nice one though)

  126. MaryS says:

    FYI – there are some people who look down their nose at those of us who only have two children. I only have two children and I have heard people say “Oh, you only have two children?”; The Bible says “Be fruitful and multiply”; “Christians shouldn’t use birth control”.
    (I could explain to them WHY I only have two children, but honestly, it is none of their business)
    I think it is between you and your husband and the Lord how many children you decided to have, not anyone else. So, those of you with large families, please do not criticize those of us with small families.

    • 6 arrows says:

      “Oh, you only have two children?”; The Bible says “Be fruitful and multiply”; “Christians shouldn’t use birth control”.

      I’m sorry Scripture has been pulled out of its context and used in this way against you.

      I’m trying to wrap my brain around what sort of environment you’re in where you are hearing comments like that. Is there legalism in your church body?

      I would recommend either extricating yourself from people like that, or speaking directly to them, asking them not to be critical. Kelly and the people who have commented on this blog understand, as you do, that family size doesn’t tell the story.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Mary,

      Coming back to what you said above (Feb. 26, 8:40 pm)…

      I agree it isn’t anyone’s business why you have the number of children you do, but your next statement is rather curious: “I think it is between you and your husband and the Lord how many children you decided to have, not anyone else.”

      It’s that word “decided” that I’m mainly looking at. Where is God in that if you are deciding to have a certain number of children? Does His Spirit ever lead one to have a certain number of children, and then it’s up to you to be done? I think not.

      I believe that there are sometimes circumstances where pregnancy prevention can and maybe even should be practiced. You won’t ever get a blanket statement like “Christians shouldn’t use birth control” from me.

      But I find the entire numbers game a completely different subject. “Deciding” how many to have sounds more like a human construct. God doesn’t say, “You should have this many, and then practice birth control so you won’t have any more children than that.”

      I am truly sorry if you had wanted more children than the two you had, and are unable to have more. That’s kind of the impression I got when I first read your post. I sensed your hurt, and I imagine that comments like “Oh, you only have two children?” would increase the hurt all the more under those circumstances.

      But the “decided” part makes your post look quite a bit different. Know what I mean?

      Just something to think about.

  127. Something I have found that I LOVE about BIG family mamas is that when I get together with them with my five kiddos, they do not ever seem flustered, upset, irritated, or ready to just be done with the play date because of the amped up level of noise, chaos, and work that many kids getting together bring. I have one friend who just birthed her 9th baby. She is the epitome of grace and very “lets just go with it and find joy in it all”. I am not blessed with tons of patience, sometimes I feel like since becoming a mom of many, especially having had four of my kiddos in just barely over 2.5 years, that I have less and less patience, so this acceptance of the added chaos and work that are many small children is such a blessing in a friend, and I have only EVER found that in moms of many.

  128. Nicole says:

    I am the eldest of 11. I wholeheartedly love them all. I do not know the younger ones as I do the older 4, we where close & bonded. We still are. Today the older 3 of us have children older than our youngest siblings. It’s sad for me because I can not know them like the others. While it may not be so in most families. My parents should of stopped.
    We did suffer for their lack of control. I see a lot a parents telling us their kids didn’t sacrifice, that their is enough love & time. I’m sorry but as a child whose grown up in that family, who know has her own. It isn’t true. Their is some degree of sacrifice, forced growing up for every child in a home of many. Am I saying it’s Terrible, no. I’m just saying before we say what our children are or are not getting maybe we should ask them.
    I am not against big families, I just think we should stop thinking of the (I) & think of the kids more. My mother would tell you it was dandy.
    Yet, only 2 of her children have kids, out of the 6 old enough. & the others have sworn not to. Already sacrificing so much of their life to child rearing. Because no mom can do it all. At some point siblings become caretakers as the baby, moves up & moms arms are filled with the newest.

    • That’s an interesting perspective, Nicole. I have found things to be quite different in our home, with 1 married child, and even with the ones at home. For example, I still have my children the younger ones and the teenagers, *ask* to get the baby up so they can play with him, or come and take him from me just because they want to hold him. It doesn’t seem that they feel burdened at all. Additionally, I think too often we think of “older kids taking care of younger siblings” as some horrible sentence when in fact, we should see it as a very basic practice of the Christian life. “My life for yours” is a theme Jesus hammered in his disciples (and us) and instead of embracing that opportunity that comes so natural in families, we treat it as “something that shouldn’t be.” I don’t get that.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Nicole,

      “I am the eldest of 11. I wholeheartedly love them all.”

      That second sentence is key — you love them all with your whole heart. The difference in age between you and your youngest siblings does not affect your love for them, nor their love for you. The fact that you don’t know them as well as the older ones of your siblings makes no difference in your capacity to love them all wholeheartedly. And that is exactly by God’s design. Beautiful, isn’t it, that we can still share those strong bonds of love despite differing situations regarding our ages, our present living circumstances, whether with them or apart, and the like?

      God is still writing your story, Nicole, and that of all your siblings. Perhaps when all of you are adults, you will find, as I did, some special connections between you and the youngest ones of your sibs that you never thought possible. I am the eldest in my family of origin, as well, and there was a time, after we were all adults, that I felt closest to my youngest sibling, because of our similar interests, even though she lived in a way different part of the country than where my other siblings and I lived.

      Cherish the many blessings God has given you in the form of siblings. Not everyone is blessed thus — you’ve been given a precious gift many times over. When hard times come in the future, siblings, in all their created uniqueness, can be a source of much love, support and encouragement. Not to mention the joy and delight of sharing the good times with them, as well.

      Praise God for these fellow image-bearers God was pleased to give you as your own brothers and sisters on earth. A beautiful gift, each of them, and here for a purpose, just as you are.

      Blessings to all of you.

  129. Elaine says:

    I am so thankful for the 13 that God chose to give us.
    I have heard many comments over the years.
    I loved it when an older person would see me walking into a store with 7 or more children and say, “Well, God bless you.”
    I would always smile, and reply, “He has!”
    How we respond can make all the difference in ‘what people think of big families.’
    Sometimes people just don’t know what to comment…but they try. Sometimes, they can’t believe that they are all yours. It’s a shock.
    Just keep plugging along, with a smile, and know that a soft answer is a good answer.
    An older lady once told me to answer rude questions with the simple question, “Why do you ask?” (and smile) But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think it’s a clever turnabout, but I never wanted to make someone else uncomfortable.
    Children are truly a reward and blessing, albeit, I bet a lot of us could relate to each other’s laundry stacks!! 😉 carry on, Mamas! I am now expecting number 13 again….the thirteenth grandchild!!

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