Being a mother is such a blessing. I remember once I got married, I was ready to have more children immediately. When I say immediately, I mean I wanted to be one of those women that were pregnant a couple months later. Unfortunately, that was not my story. I had some health challenges (unrelated to fertility) that had to be addressed so, I knew pregnancy was going to hold me back a bit. However, I was ready! I downloaded my ovulation app and I was certain this was going to be a quick situation, I mean besides, I had birthed a baby in 2003, surely in 2014 I was ready!
Let’s take a step back.
When the news broke that I was engaged there was a swarm of questions, well, primarily two of them. First, have you picked a date and next, do you guys want to have more kids. Now, the answer to these questions were pretty easy for me to answer, Yes and Definately! Whoa, what a hellstorm I was embarking upon! My husband and I came into our marriage with three children from previous relationships so, we had experienced on several occasions, just what it was like to have a “large family.” However, it was really apparent to us, once it was known that we wanted to add more children to our inherently large squad.
I am a pretty tough cookie but I am a bit sensitive, hey what can I say, I am a woman and I own that position proudly. When I would share I wanted more children, I received the following responses:
“Wow, you really think you can handle that?”
“Girl, it couldn't be me.”
“Are you sure? I mean three kids is a lot already”
Now, to be fair, we do have a child in a wheelchair who completely depends on us for his care. Nevertheless, Its safe to say our responsibility with our son was a no brainer to consider however, some folks weren’t aware of our sons disability. These comments were a bit hurtful because I had longed to have more children upon marriage so,, to encounter such responses was a bit of a downer, I never mentioned it publically, until this moment.
Now, that's just a bit of my story.
Ten Mama’s were so gracious to me to share their story and completed a survey regarding encounters they experienced when people are aware they have three or more children. Here are those responses:
Mother A - You should of stopped at the 2nd child. Why did you have 5?. I don't see how you do it.
Mother B - Dang all of them your kids?
Mother C - they assume or imply that I used fertility treatment for twins and knew what I was getting myself into
Mother D - You too young to have that many kids. I hope that's your last one. Where's your husband?
Mother E - I always get asked if my children have the same father. Especially due to the fact that one child is “darker” than the other two. They all have the same father by the way. I also get asked how can I afford all my children because I work in retail.
Mother F - People are just shocked you know, having more than one child is not the norm nowadays.
Mother G - I have been asked by many people are all of those your kids ? Then once I reply , “ yes.” The reaction is usually oh wow that a lot of kids.
Mother H - She has three kids like it's wrong.
Mother I - I have been asked by many people are all of those your kids ? Then once I reply , “ yes.” The reaction is usually oh wow that a lot of kids.
Mother J - People are more shocked when I tell them I have 4 children. I get comments like those are not your kids or if I'm out with my sister they assume we are all of her kids.
I cringe. I cringe because I have been in some of these situations and its painsteaking. Mothers need mothers and I am a firm believer of this, clearly this is why we fiercely love to have our mothers, grandmothers or a motherly figure around during our young mothering days. We need one another because we, hands down understand what being a mother is like.
Being a mother of more than three kids put most of us on the “ Do not call list” for some friends, family and even professional opportunities My grandparents who have five children had a hard time renting apartments because of their family size. My grandmother shared many landlords were apprehensive and declined them because five children were a threat to the upkeep of properties. People make decisions for mothers of multiple children as if it is a state of handicapness. Not in a sense that people are quick to lend a hand but moreso, quick to let us know what they think we are not able to do or cannot afford (MAJOR JAW DROP AND WTF INSERTED HERE)
Well here is where I draw the line...
I will not try to make others comfortable because most times, it comes at the expense of myself and my family. Having a large family is what we have and we love it. It's a well oiled machine of chaos, tantrums, puberty, anxiety, diapers, lots of diapers and the list goes on. Now, don’t get me wrong, we joke about our family size and we will be the first to tell you that we have a large load, exhausted and we are busy a lot. However, there is a lot of love in our families and at the core are two people (sometimes one parent) trying their best. Here are ways you can help us.
Invite Us. We want to be invited to events, trips etc. We don't want you to worry about our finances or our babysitting situation. Leave all of those personal things for us to figure out. If we need to cancel, we are still appreciative that you invited us and you will continue to invite us.
Hire Us. This is more so for the mothers because organizations love to hear men are married with children because that makes the case that he needs his job and he will come to work. Big families seem to be great at being a fixture for people to marvel at but professional talents can sometimes be overlooked. However, just because a mama is tugging a heavy load of children doesn’t mean she doesnt want opportunities. She deserves them too. She should not be overlooked because YOU are trying to figure out her babysitting and nanny accommodations, chances are, if she commits, she has things in order. Besides she's probably smart as hell!
Help Us. If you see us trying to open doors, dropping stuff (because we are always dropping things) and seem a bit all over the place, just ask if you could help, open the door for us, pick up the item we have dropped and give it to us. If we say that’s okay, don’t get offended. You have asked and you were a stand up citizen.
Check on Us. We are okay and sometimes we are not. We seldom have an opportunity to return the favor (to call you) as much as we would like because we are trying to keep ourselves and our large family well. We would love to chat on the phone, if we dont answer, its okay to follow up with a text, we probably are busy changing a diaper, screaming at someone or probably shedding a tear ourselves.
I hope through this it has opened your heart to be quick to listen and slow to speak
(My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19). Motherhood and parenting is a hard enough job, Supporting one another is how we grow and how we create a community.
If you think this was just completely horse crap, check out other articles as mothers share their feelings.