When did we stop liking children? Seriously? Can anyone put their finger on it?

When did our nation adopt this perfect boy-girl, 1.9, family dogma?

I have 4 children.

That’s it.


We aren’t exactly running an orphanage. In a lot of circles having only four children would be considered a small family.

If you have more than 2 children you have probably had someone say one, or all, of these things to you (especially at the grocery store):

Are those ALL your kids?

Now, if I had a dollar every time I have heard this, we could pay off our house! Really.

I like to answer this seemingly obvious question in different ways (depending on my mood that day).

Usually I say, “Well, they do seem to be following me around calling me “Mom.” 

But sometimes I like to say, “Nope, I had to run to the store to buy these 377 items you see in my cart, and I thought I bet this would be whole lot easier with a bunch of random kids that aren’t mine.’

When we were expecting number two, people would always ask me “Is it a boy or a girl?” We already had one boy SO it just made perfect American sense that we should make #2 a girl, THEN we could call it quits.




Everyone can have everything they want, our parent to child ratio will equate perfectly! (Obviously, I’m not buying it ;))

How about this one?

Are you going to have any MORE?

Let’s pretend for a second that is okay for complete strangers to assume they are entitled to any input on the number of children I, or anyone else has is okay.

Okay? Okay.

Not okay!!

This is RUDE. People with {what some may consider} a large family, find this comment offensive. My reply is always pretty consistent with this one.

“Only if we want to.”

That usually zips that line of conversation up pretty quickly. 

Now this one, in my humble opinion, is way over used.

I just don’t know HOW you do it.

Hmmmm. Is this a compliment? A question? A statement? You would think I would have a default script prepared for this one, but as of yet, I don’t think I’ve ever responded the same way twice.

How about this one? I know you poor expecting mamas have heard it more than you care to.

You know what CAUSES that, right?

I think (if there ever is a next time) I will say, with a straight face, “No, could YOU please explain what causes that?”

My personal favorite?

How can you AFFORD all those kids?

The short answer is, we can’t. We sacrifice. We wear second hand clothes. We pass on things that we don’t have the money for. We’d have to take out a second mortgage to go see the latest movie at the theatre, so we don’t go (not much of a sacrifice in my book). We try to be content. We make do with what we have, which by the way, is like 95% more than the rest of the world. We make it work!

Now, wait for it. It’s coming. It always does!

What about COLLEGE?

I have to admit this makes me smile. I realize education is important, I really do—BUT—I will not bow down to the altar of the education god we have come to worship in this country. This may be shocking and scandalous, but here it is. Not EVERYONE has to go to college. I said it. I mean it. College is not for everyone. I do have at least one child who plans to go to college. He knows that he must study hard now, test well later, dig for scholarships, and after all that, pay his own way. His dad and I cannot afford it. We love him more than our own lives, this he knows. That does not change because we cannot foot his college education. We will help him every step of the way, but in the end, his education is, and will be, his responsibility. He will have to work for it, just like any of our other children that want to pursue a college degree.

If you have several children you KNOW what I am talking about.

You KNOW what it’s like to walk into a public place with your little waddling duck parade trailing behind you.

You KNOW most of the people in the restaurant just secretly prayed your family wouldn’t be seated by them.

You have had your children counted as they filed in, like people work for the citizen’s census committee or something.

I get it.

We don’t see a lot of large families these days, but WHY? Have we asked ourselves why? Why do we cringe when the children walk in? Why do the moms on Facebook want to plow a path for the bus after their children have had a couple snow days?  How does this make our children feel?  Unwanted?  In the way?

Why do even elderly people, who used to adore little ones, now turn their noses up at the children? Why do people try to talk you out of having any more?

I have some theories on these WHYS. We have been served this ideology that children are to be taken care of by “experts.” We have been fed this thought that diapers can be changed, and noses can be wiped by anyone. Why would a capable and intelligent woman forfeit her potential to stay home and do the mundane, the ordinary, the grunt work? How can we as women be satisfied in being ONLY a wife and mom? I mean any woman can do that, right? That’s what we have daycares for.

You may be asking yourself, how are these things related? What does people not liking children have to do with whether or not you stay at home or have a career?

What I KNOW is this. Children require A LOT; a lot of care, a lot of life training, a lot of correction, a lot of compassion, A LOT of time. Obviously, a lot of children are falling through the cracks. They are not being held morally accountable.   They are being more influenced by their peers than their parents. They do not know how to behave properly. It has left a bad taste in the mouths of people. People expect my children to behave badly (and sometimes they do, because after all, they are children). They think they are going to wreck the place, be rude, rowdy, and a nuisance. I get it. I tell my own all the time, “Here’s a chance to make grown-ups like children again, don’t waste it. Be courteous and kind. Be engaged. Act like a civilized person.”

You may think I’m getting a little carried away here. Saying we don’t like children as a whole, sounds a bit harsh.

I’m not talking about meeting their material needs. Oh, as a society, we are all over that one. Most children have nicer clothes, shoes, and devices than full-time working adults. I’m talking about meeting their needs of morality. Teaching them right from wrong, and insisting they comply. Teaching them to respect themselves, and others. Teaching them how to behave in a grocery store and a restaurant so people will once again embrace children and large families.

We are so consumed and busy with stuff , it has blinded us. Work more, buy more.

I have always jokingly said, “Instead of having lots of money, we chose to have lots of children, and you can’t usually have both.”

I think people associate a large family with poverty, exhaustion, doing without. Absolutely, that is part of it, but it is not one dimensional!

We serve one another in love. We don’t have as many material things as a smaller family, and that’s okay. We have to put the needs,(and sometimes wants) of other people ahead of our own.

It is not all sacrifice though! There is joy, uncountable joy that comes with a large crew!

You are NOT hearing me say that everyone has to have a bunch of children because we did. What I am saying is, we have bought into this idea that large families are a burden to us all. They are not!

I have even heard people say it is “irresponsible” to have more than two children. WHAT?!

My response to that nonsense?

Is it easy having four children? OF COURSE NOT– HOW COULD IT BE?

Is it tiring? YES.

Is it expensive? ABSOLUTELY (Do you know how much food an almost 14 year old boy alone, eats? ;))

Is my home Pinterest perfect? HA!

Is it beautiful and fulfilling? WITHOUT A DOUBT.

The reality of a family photo shoot.

The next time you see some mama in the store with a passel of little people behind her in the middle of the day, take a moment to thank her for investing in the future. Thank her for sticking with it when we all know it is expensive, exhausting and underappreciated. Do not discourage her with meaningless questions and ridiculous assumptions.

Look for the good in the children, you will find it. Let’s all learn to love hanging out with our own people again!

Thanks for stopping by the Modern Mayflower.

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