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The Blessing of Big Families

>26 April 2011
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I’m often surprised, and completely caught off-guard when people react as if I’m crazy when they see how many children I have. As if three (and one on the way) is a lot! I understand that nowadays most people have only one or two children, but why is more than that so inconceivable?

I can’t help but be saddened a little for those who say things to me like, “You’re having another baby? Have you lost your mind??!” And there’s the incredulous, “How many more are you going to have?!”

Statements like these make me take a closer look into the family of the one who is making such comments. And all too often I quickly understand why they would ask such a thing; most of these people haven’t learned to enjoy their own little ones. The children are usually disobedient, and a burden to their parents.  It’s not that I don’t think they love their kids, they simply don’t seem to cherish them as the blessings that they are. It’s hard to enjoy a little holy terror. (Though it’s not the kid’s fault he’s so awful, he’s only doing what he’s been taught and allowed to do.)

Another statement I often hear is, “How can you afford so many kids?” Which also speaks volumes of our society today, and where our priorities lie.

My husband and I hold to the “old fashioned” view that children are still a blessing from the Lord. Why would we want to turn that away? Have you ever been around a big family (4+ kids) and heard the mother say, “Yeah, I think we should have stopped with 2.” I dunno, maybe you have. But my experience has always been that the families I know with more children than average tend to want even more. Why? Because they enjoy them.

I’m not saying I plan on producing as many children as I possibly can. No. I’m just saying that I’m not opposed to more. Do I enjoy being pregnant and enduring childbirth? Uh… no. A big no. But the fruits of that “labor” are so incredibly precious. And worth every moment. And if the Lord decides to bless us with a number 5 in the future, then I will be overjoyed once more.

Please don’t misunderstand. I know many families with only one or two children who hold them dearly, but are very happy not having more. I understand that big families aren’t for everybody. But if you are one of those people who gawk at a young mother with a trail of children following her at the grocery store, please don’t be quick to judge.

I must say though, for as many rude comments as I hear (and sadly, even from family members) I also am blessed by strangers as well. Often people will come up to me while I’m out and say something like, “What a beautiful family you have!” or mention how well behaved the kids are. And I truly am blessed by that.

It’s nice when people notice the children for the precious gifts they truly are instead of looking on them as if they are supposed to be a burden. No, they aren’t always perfect, but my children are NEVER a burden. And it hurts me to hear people talk as if they should be viewed as such.

I don’t regret any of my children, quite the contrary! And I’m sure I wouldn’t regret another if the Lord plans to bless us with any more.

Those of you who have large families… what do you say when people make rude comments about how many kids you have? Or when your family acts like you are crazy?

Generally, I look at them just as incredulously and pronounce what a blessing my children are. I’d love to know how you react.

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68 Comments »

  • april said:

    i think the only one Ive got is “aren’t you done yet?” and ive only got 3…mine are spread out(14, 11 1/2 and 4) so i get more comments about the wide gap( i usually counter with ” but I dont have to pay for a babysitter” :P)

  • Heather said:

    We do not have a large family but we are above the ‘normal number’. I was told by my grandmother, who had four children herself, that I was being selfish for having a third child. Other family members would make jokes about ‘how not to have more kids’, or yes the ‘your having another baby?’ & ‘How many kids are you going to have?’. I however have never had strangers say anything but praise towards my children (& I’m quite thankful because I do not possess the strength to walk away). I love hearing how well behaved they are, or how smart they are, etc, from perfect strangers. I have noticed they are usually older folk that come up to us and make the comments & rarely anyone my age or my parents ages.
    We decided to stop at three for biological children but this is because I had 3 c-sections do to severe complications with my first child. The doctor was able to convince both myself & hubby that it would be best to not have anymore because of my body. one day, when we feel its right, we will either foster or adopt. Surprisingly my family has even shunned us for talking about it. I’ve heard everything about how difficult those ‘problem children are’ to they will ‘abuse my kids or be a bad influence’
    Hubby’s family is a 180 from mine lol. Not only is he 1 of 5 kids but his mother also fostered children of all ages from the Dominican Republic that would come up to the states for medical care.

    Now a days i just ignore them. They don’t live in my house nor are they privy to the day to day doings. While they may have an opinion, I am not a child anymore & what we do, don’t do, or talk about is our business in the end. Good Luck & don’t let the naysayers bring you down!

  • Laura-Lisa said:

    Funny you should blog about this, my bestie and I were just talking about something similar last night. And similar family objections…and in my usual way trying to figure out what in someone’s life would make them so objectionable to adding more children to their family…not just the average are you sure that’s what you want to do, but the “what are you crazy?” kind of family member and the only thing that we could come up with is pretty much that they must not have enjoyed the ones they had or saw them as a burden of sorts and because they could not handle their own children could not imagine having more than they did…I do always find it helpful to think about why someone would choose to be so poor of attitude in those situations and choosing to be sympathetic toward their misfortune rather than get mad at them helps me feel better.

  • emily said:

    Amen And AMEN again!!

    I only have one child (but we are trying to have many more!)
    So… I cannot answer that question because I never get those comments with one child. However I have many friends with large families that get stares, dirty looks and negative comments about their children, their homeschooling, and everything else.
    It really aggrivates me. Especially when family members make those comments. The question I always ponder is why?? why does most of society have these ideas and views on family size and children? where did it come from? I think your doing the right thing by letting them know your children are a blessing to you and your husband and you wouldn’t have it any other way. I know 2 women right now that have two children each and they had their tubes tied to make sure they do not have more. And both of these women are my age! their like…27-30 year olds! and i’m thinking in my head…how could you limit God’s plans for your life like this? what if you change your mind? what caused you at such a young age to want to stop having more children?
    I don’t understand it. I’d love to know why women today feel this way. I mean is it the career ?

  • oceans5 said:

    I have 3 kids close in age ( roughly 3 in 3 years) and I have heard it all. Honestly it doesn’t bother me anymore. I have heard some that actually made me laugh and then the person that said it and I start talking casually. Thankfully I don’t think anyone has ever been verbally rude about it but when my kids were 1,3 and 4 I went to Target and we were eating at their little place and one of my kids started to cry so the entire front of the store looked at us and rolled their eyes. THAT made me mad but I couldn’t take on the entire store. LOL.

  • oceans5 said:

    Also wanted to say…A lot of the comments I get about having 3 kids is because I was a young mom. I am 27 now. My oldest will turn 8 in August. We got married at 18 and a little over a year later had our first at 19. People made comments about how young I was and how did I handle 3 kids. Um…my husband works hard to support us and I stay home and raise them. I mean what do you say to that? There are so many rude views out there.

  • Melissa said:

    We have four and are pregnant with our fifth, and the oldest is six. I don’t even like going out in public anymore with all of them because of the stares and comments. Before I plan a trip, whether to the grocery store or the pool, I have to make sure that I not only have enough energy and grace to deal with my kids, but with the comments that are sure to come. People are doubly horrified when they find out I’m homeschooling…apparently I’m certifiable! Some days I’d agree…:) Kids are a whole lot of work, but I’m trusting that if we don’t grow weary in welldoing, we will reap the peaceable fruit of righteousness someday in the lives of our children.

  • sandra said:

    I cant belive how rude people are! I only have 2, 1 boy and 1 girl. I’m one of those who had my tubes tied at about age 28, young? I guess, but we knew we wanted to stop at one boy and 1 girl. My sister only has 1 and never considered having a second, I never understood that, but I guess its everyones own preference. I would never think of saying such rude comments to anyone. Whats wrong with those crazy people?? the only other thing I have to add is this, I have a family member who had troble conceiving, so they had one daughter who was 10 years old when their second was born. at my grandfathers funeral, we were seeing people we hadnt seen in quite some time, and lo and behold, there were a few who made comments about thiers being 1 and 10, as if it were suspicious. my uncles answer to all of them was ” we’ve decided to have one every 10 years.”

  • Nicole said:

    I agree with Oceans5…my hubby and I also married at 18 (he was 20) and 1 yr and 2 mo later my oldest was born. I got lots of comments then about us being too young to be married, let alone already having kids. We were thrilled about having kids and it couldn’t come fast enough. (If it wasn’t for high school, we’d have started earlier…lol) Anyway, I had number 4 when I was 28 and have heard lots of comments about the size of our family and also about us being so young with that many kids. I hated the remarks about them, if they were a burden, we wouldn’t have had so many. The upside is we also get many comments about how well behaved our children are, so we must be doing something right. We love having children (all 4 of them) and if someone doesn’t agree, then they should just be happy in their lack of them. I don’t judge them, wish they wouldn’t judge us.

  • Save the Canning Jars said:

    The people who make rude comments about the number of children one has, are also making rude comments about EVERY OTHER SUBJECT that pops into their head (like rude comments toward the pastor, the neighbors, the mother-in-law, etc.)

    Rude people drop “rude bombs” every chance they get!

  • Rebecca said:

    My favorite response from a friend who is pregnant with number 5 is “We will have as many as we can effectively disciple”.
    My pet peeve goes the opposite way when friends with big families “poormouth” about their time, finances, and limitations and even expect their friends to regularly babysit for free so they can pursue outside work or interests. If you choose the kids, you choose those limitations.
    I can’t imagine anyone getting into their 50′s and 60s (or eternity!) and feeling like it wasn’t well worth the sacrifice.

  • Kimberly said:

    I am one of “those” families…we have 9. After 3 biological children, we decided to do foster care, which turned into adopting 6 children who had nowhere else to go. (At one point during our fostering years, we had 15 kids under one roof!) Was it hard having a large family. You bet! Did it create tons and tons of extra work? (oh, the laundry that we’ve done!) Sure did! Would we do it all over again? ABSOLUTELY! We’ve heard all of the questions and then some…”I can’t handle my 2, how are YOU doing it?”…”Bet you’re counting the days until the nest is empty, huh?”…”Whatever made you do a crazy thing like that?”…”Don’t you know that the earth is overpopulated because of people like you?”…and my personal favorite…”So, which ones are bio and which are adopted?” My answer for that one is, “I don’t actually remember.”

    For every rude comment though, there are the ones that touch the heart, and not just mine. I love it when someone comments about how much a daughter or son looks like us not knowing that they have attachment issues, or what great kids they are/adults they’ve become. It’s a blessing to see how my kids treat others and how quick they are to offer a helping hand. They are more tolerant as adults and know how to work hard for what they want.

    The only “problem” that we see with having a large family is what to do with all the extra room in the house when they move out!

  • Allison said:

    I’m a 29 year old mother with 5 children ages 10, 8, 6, 5 and 2. It’s rare for us to go into a store and not receive comments. The three most common are: “You must be running a daycare!” “How old are you?” and “You sure have your hands full!”

    They’re strangers so I usually don’t take it personally. I politely reply and walk away. (It’s sometimes hard to stop and chat when I’ve got all 5 kids.)

    I’m interested in what other mothers say. I like hearing the witty responses. =) The comment Rebecca shared was great. Do any of you use it as an opportunity to witness to others? I think it would be an excellent opportunity, I just don’t know what to say.

  • Tracy said:

    I am a mother of five under the age of seven (my oldest turns seven tomorrow). We live in a small rural community, so everyone in town knows us because we are always walking. Most people I’ve met are kind (we are also an elderly community), but a few have been very rude. One gentleman actually accused me of adding to the starvation of children in third world countries because of the number of kids I have. I despise the comment “don’t you know how that happens.” As if I’m a stupid animal that just functions on instinct. However, I love the response “Yes I do, and my husband and I are very good at it :)”

    As long as you have a large family of well-behaved children, I think you will get more polite comments than rude comments. Also, if one of the children do act up in public and you deal with it immediately and people see you meeting out discipline (I’m not talking about public spankings, but getting down and talking firmly with the child), the eye rolling and negative feedback is not so bad.

    One of the most exhausting comments I get is “You must be very busy.” My typical response is “no busier than any other mother, because my kids generally play well together.” This comment just irks me because I don’t feel overwhelmed or busy until that comment is made, and then I just feel wiped out.

    But listening to my children run around and play together makes up for the negative feedback.

  • Mona @ Healthy Homesteading said:

    I only have 3 but have always wanted more. It may be that God doesn’t have in mind that I birth another but I have always wanted to adopt. The worst comments I got were from my grandmother who only had my dad. She just couldn’t understand why anyone would want more children. My brother and sister-in-law have 5 kids and I think she was baffled at that.
    I did used to make comments of my own about teenagers. I thought the teenage years were going to kill me at one point. But now I miss having my oldest in the house. Teenage years can be trying but they can also be such a blessing :).

  • Debbie said:

    We are a blended family. We each had 3 children when we married, ages were 3,6,7,7,8,15. People thought we were nuts. Especially when we were running from one baseball field to another in the same nite to try to catch everyone’s turn at bat! It was also “fun” to hear the comments about affordability when I was pushing 2 carts in Wal-Mart buying school supplies. But people really started commenting when I became pregnant at age 38 with number 7! First of all, what was I thinking adding to our already big family, but I was also “old”! I also got the “you were almost free, why would you have another one?” Unbelievable. I just responded with “I’ll take as many blessings that God has in store for me!”

    I cherish my children and do thoroughly enjoy each stage of their lives. Now their ages are 6,16,19,20,20,21,28. The rude comments have now turned to “are you his grandma?” referring to my 6 yr. old. (ouch) Although, I truly am a Grandma to an adorable 5 month old. When I see large families, I sometimes wish I could have had a large family….then I realize.. I guess I did, it just didn’t seem that big, it was just our normal.

  • Taya said:

    The one we hear the most with our five is “Are they all yours?” What a dumb question this is. I normally just smile and say yes they are. Then we normally hear all the other comments like are there twins. Yes. Then I hear about stair steps. What I have really noticed a lot recently though is the Older generation who tell me that I remind them of their mom and they were from a family of……
    As my children have gotten older I hear less and less that I have my hands full and more and more on how well they behave. When I had to break down and go to the laundry mat to dry my clothes the Manager came up to me when I was finishing and told me she was afraid of us when we came in. She was sure that they would run all over the place and destroy thing as other kids do. She wanted to come and tell me that she was amazed at how well they behaved. I started realizing that some people react to the number of children and are afraid because MOST children today do not behave well and they are sure that this is the case with all kids. This happens almost everywhere we go now. Restaurants, stores you name it we normally have at least one person stop and tell us how amazed they are. My oldest are ten so maybe that is where the tide changes. Even having a baby I don’t hear that many rude comments anymore. I think the kids behavior and our families love for each other shows through and helps dispel peoples myths about large families.

  • Dawn said:

    We have 3 kids – ages 3, 1, and newborn (3 weeks old). I’d love to have more, but due to cardiac issues during the last 2 pregnancies, we’ve decided to be content with our three kiddos.

    It’s amazing how many people think that 3 is a big family – at the grocery store, the doctor’s office, everywhere. Even our pastor had to comment on it – “Are you trying to catch up to the Duggars?” Really?! I was shocked when he said that! I couldn’t even reply!) I think it’s probably because we’ve chosen to have our children very close together – 39 months from the birth of the first to the birth of the last.

    Children are indeed a BLESSING! I agree 100% with your comment, Kendra, that no mother of many will say she wished she stopped at two. It may be more work – and possibly more expense – to have more children, but the blessings are so worthwhile!

    My favorite comment is, “You sure have your hands full!” Then I get the opportunity to reply, “But my heart is full, too, with my little blessings!”

  • sherry said:

    Kendra,

    My husband and I have been blessed with thirteen birth children, the youngest born to us in my forties. So far we haven’t conceived again, so he’s probably our last *baby*. We have found God’s word to be true…children truly are a blessing from the Lord, and we wouldn’t send any of them back!

    I think most peoples comments are simply a reflection of our cultures attitude toward children,… they EXPECT us to want sympathy rather than CONGRATULATIONS…you poor dear…I’m so glad it’s you and not me…don’t you know… Many are receiving perspective from the world rather than the word:( I do hope to be a part of changing attitudes in our culture!! I’m basically a shy person and would rather slip in quietly and unnoticed. God must have a sense of humor because slipping in unnoticed with lots of children is almost impossible! I find that if I respond to people in a positive way…Oh yes, I’m SO glad it’s me…I’m SO blessed and grateful for these children…they are truly a gift from the Lord…I suddenly see a change of expression on their face…a mixture of shock and maybe shame. Suddenly they look at the sweet faces peering up at them and they stutter…well…yes…and they’re so CUTE…and…SWEET…and…WELL BEHAVED:)I think we have amazing opportunities for being a witness, no matter the number we have. How we view our children and how we treat them speaks volumes, and we can, by God’s grace, be a reflection of Christ’s view of children…He loved them and welcomed them! In trying to look on the bright side, one no longer has to think of ways of making conversation…people often ASK questions about our faith! Oh, and I’ve noticed that after maybe six children people stop asking you… do you know how this happens…how many more…they must think you’re a lost cause after that many?? And when your group includes older and younger children and you are happy and they are happy and respectful…people are amazed because they no longer expect families to be happy and young people to be respectful. And something that REALLY shocks them is the fact that you actually LOVE being together.

    For a difficult family member who thought we were over-populating the world, we prayed and decided to gift him with a few books every year. He LOVES to read and each one happened to include a Christian perspective on life:) Eventually his attitude changed and today he can’t believe that some people could actually think us weird!! Family members often *change their tune* eventually…especially as they see that you are happily tending to your business and enjoying the blessings the Lord has given you.

    Kendra, please forgive me for going on and on…I appreciate your blog and what you are doing:) Blessings on you and your family.

    Sherry

  • Amy said:

    Yes, people are very, very rude. I think family sometimes are the worst…maybe because they feel they have a right. I only have 4 (ages 15, 10, 3, and 1), but I guess because of the age differences it seems like more? I’ve had everything from “don’t you know what causes that?” to “are you trying to catch up with the Duggars?” Really? I have 4 children…that’s a far cry from 19 and counting. Those 4 weren’t planned (nor prevented) but truly all blessings from the Lord…and in HIS timing…not mine. I’m 39 now, so I can’t honestly answer their question of “are you finished?” I just smile and simply answer, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will gladly accept another one of His precious blessings.” They usually don’t have much to say after that.

    BTW, my 15-yr-old (who looks 18+) daughter thinks it’s hilarious when people think the baby is hers. The prude little old ladies in our small town just look at her like, “poor girl…what a shame.”

    Love your blog, Kendra…still learning a lot from you and comments from your readers.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Thank you all for such wonderful thoughts and comments. I’ve laughed at several of your “responses” to rude people as well. You are right, having well-behaved children is definitely a witnessing opportunity and a wonderful way to show the world how children ARE a blessing when “trained in the way they should go”, no matter if you have two children or twelve.

  • Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said:

    I don’t have a large family…but always wanted one! I have two boys…my husband was of the mindset that two was plenty. I wanted four…would have compromised at three…;) But…it is what it is. A friend of mine and her husband have 12 birth children…all of them so kind and well-behaved. She homeschools as well…and does a great job. I think until you know someone with a lot of kids…and see how their family works…and see that they’re just like you and me…just with lots of kids..you stop judging. From an outisders point of view…it IS out of the norm, it IS intriguing, it IS unimaginable…until…

    Someone mentioned our society…it definitely tells us that two kids is plenty…unless you have two of the same sex, THEN it’s ok to try for a third…why? So you can “have it all”? We’re a selfish society…we think we can’t “afford” so many kids. Sure we can…it’s just a matter of priorities. Bigger car? Bigger house? Bigger tv? Or bigger family?

    Good for you for following the leading of the Lord…I wish I’d had a couple more myself. Maybe some of those comments come from jealousy…people can be ugly when you have something they want. I’m glad you do your best to deal with them with grace.

    xo

  • Michelle said:

    Good for you! I wouldn’t date anyone who didn’t want AT LEAST four children when I was in that phase of my life. I have always wanted a large family. My husband and I have been married 11+ years and are childless, but not hopeless. I am fascinated with those around me that have large families, and I can’t get enough time with them. It breaks my heart when I hear of people limiting their family size deliberately, but I think it’s a reflection of our society at large. Typical U.S. citizens embrace curses (debt) and shun blessings (children). It’s just another area where those who claim to be the church are accepting what society tells them instead of going to God’s Word for guidance. I’m so glad when I hear about families who have chosen to follow God’s design for their lives. Keep it up!

  • Dawn said:

    I may have a different perspective than the other commenters. I have been pregnant 7 times but have no living children (six miscarriages and one stillborn son.) My husband and I have always wanted to adopt as well as have biological children and have been waiting for an adoption to happen for almost 2 years. We have had many challenges but have faith we will be parents soon. It breaks my heart when people complain about their children or otherwise act as if they are a burden. I know parenting is not a easy task but it is a shame when people do not appreciate what they have as parents. I am so happy there are people such as you and your readers who realize how much of a blessing children are whether you have one child or twenty. Just when you hear these rude comments, know that there is probably someone like me standing quietly near by wishing they were in your shoes.

  • Heather said:

    I’m in the same boat with the opposite “problem”. My husband and I were married 4 years before getting pregnant. Then I miscarried. Six months later I got pregnant again and we consider her our blessing. We have not been able to get pregnant again. All my family and close friends know the situation and how much we would LOVE to have more children. This is why I feel so hurt everytime I’m told we should have more kids. I always tell them “We would love to have more children and give our daughter a sibling, but apparently it is not in the cards for us. For some reason we seem to be meant to have only one child.” I do believe God has a plan for us all. Our family, so far anyway, is meant to include only one child. Believe me, we are so thankful to have her. We were told we more than likely would not have children because my husband has a very low sperm count. Sorry if that’s “too much information”. :) Anyway, I feel your pain on the opposite end of the spectrum.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Heather and Dawn, my heart goes out to both of you precious ladies. The Lord has a reason for this plan He has for your lives. I pray you have peace in whatever may come.

  • Lisa said:

    I know I have been guilty of making a few of those comments. (you must have your hands full) I never meant it with any disrespect though. I always say it with a smile because I know children are a huge blessing but they also keep you very busy. I am a mom of 2 amazing boys and have always wanted more but so far has not been Gods will. I also babysit for several families so I am used to having a lot of children around. So for me it is a good thing having your hands full and it is more of a “I’m with you sister” than a rude comment.

    Just keep in mind that some comments are meant to be rude but others are meant to be funny or conversation starters.

  • Milehimama said:

    Our beautiful #9 was born in February, and we get these comments all the time. It’s really sad when people comment about how they’re done with one, their kids drive them crazy, etc. IN FRONT of their children.

    Responses? Mine range from generic to snarky.
    i.e.,
    My, your hands are full – better full hands than an empty heart
    How can you afford so many – Free labor, how can I afford not to?
    Do you know what causes that – Yes, I do and it’s really fun. You should try it sometime; OR Yeah, didn’t your mom tell you? Well, when a daddy and a mommy love each other very much…

    Do you know what causes that- Faith in God and love of children.

    Are they all yours? – No, I just get to borrow them for a little bit.
    How many are you going to have? 42.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Lisa,

    I myself have said the “you must have your hands full!” thing to moms I’ve seen out. Personally, when I hear it myself, I am not offended at all by that one. ‘Cause it’s true, lol! I do have my hands full! But like you said, it is a blessing to be in this position, definitely. So I agree with you that this particular comment is usually meant in appreciation and not judgment. :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Milehimama,

    I know what you mean about parents saying mean things about their kids right in front of them. That always breaks my heart! No wonder the kids act out, it’s what they know mom expects of them!

  • Sara said:

    Kendra, I confess I’ve been talking about you behind your back.

    Just about what an amazing mom you are, and how beautiful and well behaved your children are. :-) I grew up in the homeschool culture where it was not unusual to see a family with 7+ children… we’re talking smart, obedient, hard working, disciplined children. So, even though we made the choice to not have kids, I stand in awe of what you’re accomplishing by raising up these little humans in the way they should go. Yours are the kind of kids we desperately need in our society. Why stop with 4 or 5? LOL

    Wonderful post!! Hope we get to see you guys soon.

  • Nikki R said:

    My favorite comment (so far)came from an older gentleman a few years ago as I was headed into a store with my little ones.He said”you are not going to be lonely when you are old!!”I could not help but wonder if he was lonely??
    Usually the public only says nice things.We are thankful for each of the blessings that God has given us.I do tell people when they ask how many we plan to have that we have left this up to God to choose.:)I do not think that many on their dying bed have said”I wish I had not had so many children.”
    I think that most families with larger than average families live a little differently ….we eat at home instead of eating out and we often wear something that has been worn before(we recycle)!!!I would not trade any of these things…..I think of my children as my biggest most precious gift from our Heavenly Father and we are so thankful for them.~Nikki

  • Carole said:

    I think people are secretly jealous when they see a large, happy family. They wish they’d had the guts to have more when it was possible.

  • Cliff said:

    You know it’s weird that people are so wishy washy on this subject. Sara and I have gotten a ton of flack in the past for NOT having kids at all and yet people are also critical at a mother who has several?? I am convinced that people in general are really just confused over all.

    I’m proud to know two people like you guys who take full responsibility for the children they produce. I have met your kids and I can vouch for this article — your kids are most definitely some of the most well behaved (and smart!) I have seen in a looong long while. It’s sad really that more don’t take this job as seriously as you do. Priorities indeed!!

    To be perfectly honest, I personally have to watch myself and be careful not to be critical of the ‘child-making time period’ that our generation is currently going through. From the range of comments above, I may get pummeled at admitting this fact..lol. One of the reasons this is a struggle is not because I don’t love kids — those that know me know that I seem to attract the wee ones like magnets. It’s just that Sara and I both made a conscious decision not to have any — one of the very many things that we “matched” on when we first started dating. We both love kids. But as a couple without any, it is sometimes difficult to relate to a couple who does. It’s also EXTREMELY difficult to find a couple to spend time with, because most everyone our age is currently in their child-rearing years. And of course there is that occasional couple who is always complaining about how they never get to spend any time together or how “bad” things are now that they have kids. Um, if you’re so sorry you had them, then why did you?

    A wise woman once told me that once you have a child of your own and you experience the joy that it brings, this changes you and makes you want to experience it more. But if you don’t have one, you probably won’t miss it too much. We simply made the choice to serve the Lord in other ways. But I commend you both for going after it with all of your hearts. In “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”. Kendra I thank you for taking this so seriously and for bringing so many wonderful new people into the world. In my list of young folks who are ‘doing it right’ in today’s messed up world, you two are right at the top.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Sara,

    You are so incredibly sweet. Thank you for your kind words, really. It means so much to me :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Awww, Cliff, I’m totally giving you and Sara big fat hugs right now. You guys are awesome, and we are blessed to have friends like you in our lives! Thank you for your encouragement. I am sure you get rude comments as well from people who just don’t understand the decision you guys have made for your own family. People (unfortunately, family and friends most of the time) just don’t think about how what they are saying might come across sometimes.

  • brandie said:

    I have three, ages 7.5, 5, and 1.5. We haven’t received too many comments, probably because everyone who knows us thinks we’re already a bit “odd” so having more than the standard 2 kids isn’t that far of a reach. I’m actually having the baby itch again, but I have heart issues, so that’s out of the question. I’d love to adopt someday. I’ve encouraged my girlfriends that comment that they’d like to try for #3 to go for it. I tell them they’ll never regret having another baby. I look at my third baby everyday and marvel that we thought we were done at two babies. I’m glad that God put the desire to have another baby in my heart, and so glad that He changed my husband’s heart to agree to have a third.

  • Old Spirit said:

    I have 4 grown children and would have loved to have had a couple more but that just did not work out for us. They are a blessing 99.9% of the time and I wouldn’t change a thing. I think people miss out by limiting their family. It is sad everything is based on $$.

  • Tina said:

    DITTO!!!!!!!!! (and we’re contemplating baby #5)

    THE WORLD NEEDS MORE CHILDREN LIKE OURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    CAN I HEAR AN AMEN????????????????

  • Valerie said:

    I am in a similar situation as Melissa.
    I am also pregnant with fifth.
    My oldest is just 7. This time around we have decided to let the kids tell our family members. In some situations they have forgotten to mention it as of yet to their grandparents! Since they aren’t Christians and don’t approve of homeschooling- I’m giggling to see how long this will go on. There is a profound lack of joy when people hear you are preggers for the 5th time.

    One thing I find interesting as summer is approaching is, many mothers dread their children coming home from school for holidays,weekends and worst of all SUMMER!
    Sure I have my moments of wishing my kids even went to school but for the most part, I would never give them up for 8 hours a day.

    I love it when people ask me what I’m having- I like so say- “well, I’m pretty sure it isn’t kittens”
    When people say I must have my hands full I say, “Yes, and I’m so glad they’re full of children instead of anything else.”
    then there are the rude comments about birth control……. I can’t help but think really rude thoughts- just to myself that make me giggle- like “Well, abortion is not out of the question until I’m in labor”- I’d never say that -someone might try to hurt me.

  • Brandi said:

    We have 4 boys and we are pregnant with # 5. when we told family about this precious gift from God we were completely ignored and we got really rude comments. One said ” I sure hope it isn’t a girl because your boys will be ignored.” others said “Well we figured since the last one is walking, it was about that time again.”. The ages of our are 9,6,3,1 and pregnant. I just tell people that this was God’s plan for us, so if they disagree then they can ask God! My children are our blessings and they amaze me everyday! If other people are bothered by our big family then they don’t have to, our door shuts the same way it opens! If they dont want to enjoy our blessings with us then I feel they are the ones missing out! I love this amazing feeling of a big family! I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • barbara stephens said:

    I am a mother of three and grandmother of seven. I wish I’d had more. I do believe that children are a blessing from he Lord. God bless you. Don’t pay attention to the nay-sayers. You are a wonderful, young mom.

  • Jessica K. said:

    I love our babies and want to have many more! Even when they misbehave (Just got finished with a dramatic time-out here!). We only have three at the moment, but have definetly heard comments from both sides of the fence.
    I think it is a sad reflection on our society that children are very often viewed as burdens, rather than blessings. (And I’m not talking about people who have made a decision to not have children! God calls each of us to our own purpose!) Especially when so many are unable to have one (my heart and prayers go out to you ladies who are suffering).
    When people ask us how many we are planning on having, my husband always responds, “Well, I want 11, but since Jess is the one giving birth, we have compromised on 7.” That usually shuts them up :) And I am not totally set on 7 anymore, lol. God has definetly changed my heart about having a set number. And if we never have that many, then that will be God’s will as well.
    I think that unfortunately (and I hate to mention this, not trying to start a debate or anything!) since abortions are so easy to come by, that our selfish society does view children as a throw away item rather than a precious blessing on all who are touched by them.

  • Tina said:

    Don’t you love the: “Have you figured out how that happens yet?”

    I love the response of a pastor’s wife I heard once: “Yah, and we like it!” You won’t get anymore comments from that one at least. Now, how many thousands more to go……

  • Nicole said:

    I am 28 and have 5 children and while it is a difficult and busy season of life, it is SUCH a blessing. It allows me to lay down my own life and crucify my selfishness on a daily (hourly?) basis. It has sanded my character greatly and my children have probably pushed me into all fruits of The Spirit more than any other thing I have done.

    My children are 8, 5, 4, 2, and 7 months – and I couldn’t imagine life without each and every one of them. While we don’t plan to add any more children at the moment if God’s plan is for us to have more children I would welcome them with large, open arms and a thankful heart. My will for my life is laughable compared to what He has in store for me!

  • Donna said:

    My how I can relate to all the comments. We have four daughters. We would have had more but didn’t feel that we could parent any more than we had hands to hold. My favorite comment that would send me over the edge was “don’t you know what causes that?” I had one stranger tell me that we were trailer trash and my daughters were the next generation of trailer trash. (never lived in a trailer but my parents had a really nice one) Many years later, my oldest is an engineer and my second is on the deans list while getting her biology degree with a chem minor. Three and four are in high school taking all honors classes and starring in several sport teams. I love large, loving, well-disiplined families.

  • Rachel R. said:

    Tim and I got married at 22 and 26 – after we met in college. We planned to wait a year at least before having a baby, but were not overly serious about preventing one. Instead – it took us 4 years to get pregnant. Kendra was born Feb 1995, just a few months before our 5th anniversary. When she was 18 months, I had a miscarriage, then Vannan arrived July 1997. I was elated that I had a second baby – I had always wanted a BIG family (more than 6 kids). But in Jan 2002 and July 2002, I lost 2 more babies. Finally, I had Joel June of 2005. People often make comments about his being an “accident”, but honestly – he was planned … just late. ;) Two more miscarriages followed as I passed my 40th birthday. Then LaRue arrived Oct. 2009, just after I turned 42. She is 18 months old now, and honestly, my children are the joy of my life.

    My next sister down just had her 13th baby – though her first died from a genetic disorder.

    My 3rd sister just had her 3rd daughter.

    My adopted brother just had his second daughter – I take care of his first daughter full time. (Long story – and quite sad.)

    And our baby sister has 4 – 3 boys and a baby girl (she’s almost 3).

    In all, my dad has 26 grandchildren. I find it amusing when I hear grandparents comment on 5 or 6 being “too many grandkids”.

    One place this attitude comes from … is public schools. I remember being told over and over about overpopulation, and being responsible by only having 1 or 2 children and making sure that they are productive members of society and to allow them maximum opportunities. I think they drummed into me hard because 1. I had a big family. and 2. I loved being in a big family. and 3. I wanted a big family.

    The rudest comment I ever got was an “on the other foot” comment. I’m extremely shy, but one day I was at the mall (walking distance) to escape the heat of our apartment in the middle of the summer. I kept seeing 3 women with 15 or so children from ages maybe 12 downward – most of them holding onto one of those ropes you see in preschools/ daycares on field trips… and at least 2 in a stroller. I finally got up the nerve to ask one of them about the children – I don’t remember exactly what I said, something about if the children were part of a daycare or all belonged to them … I was going to say nice things either way – the children were very well behaved, although some of them looked rather sad. …. But one of the mom’s turned on me and “bit my head off” chewed it up and spit it out. I was almost in tears and ran off as fast as I could. I’m sure she spent the next few minutes or longer ranting about how rude I was … and all I could think was how sorry I felt for the children to be a child of hers. … That was before I had Kendra, when it was becoming increasingly clear that pregnancy was not going to be easy for me.

  • Julie said:

    I think, no matter what the situation, people will make comments that can be perceived as rude. I’m the very blessed mother of 3, two boys born thru birth and an Ethiopian daughter. I think as an adult, rude questions are par for the course, it’s when the questions are rude and asked in front of the children that it’s a whole different situation. It’s amazing what type of questions strangers will ask in front of young ears.

  • KateB said:

    We only have 2 kids, both boys 4 years apart almost to the day, so I don’t get the comments from strangers. But I can sympathise with the hurt feelings over those sorts of comments.

    When we found out I was pregnant with our second my Aunt, who is one of the most special women in my life and spent mroe time with me as a child than my own mother did, actually asked me “And is this a good thing? Are we happy about it?” I was completely flabbergasted! How on earth can you think that is an apropriate question?! I tried really hard to be gracious and said somethign along the lines of “of course” but that comment has really stuck with me (and its been 5 years).

    I swear some people think that thing on their shoulders is just a hat rack some days.

  • Veronica said:

    DH and I have 3 beautiful children thru adoption, ages 9, 7, and 2. When I told my mother that we are trying to adopt one more, she laughed and said “Wow, you are really are a glutton for punishment!” She said she was joking, but I told her I never realized that she viewed her only grandchildren as “punishment” :-(

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Veronica,

    Family can definitely be the worst. Comments like that really do hurt. Probably because they come from people we love.

  • Dan said:

    I have to admit that my wife and I only have one child so far… but we’re just getting started. As of yet we haven’t comments on family size, but then again not to many comment on just one child. What we do get flack for is living car free. It seems that nowadays you have to have a car to have a baby and to do without is just insanity! The reality is that life without a car is similar (I imagine) to that with a large family. What seems so different from the outside is normal when you live it every day.

  • Kelsey said:

    I came across this site while searching for info on treadles, and found a lot I can relate to. I am a single mother of three, due to domestic abuse. I am far away from from my home town, for my safety, and sometimes comments from strangers about “having your hands full” -to which I simply reply “happily” -ring in my head from every direction. homeschooling often means people look ay my 10 y/o son like a delinquent, and choosing to be car free, tv free, and junk food free in favor of bikes and trailer, books and simple organic home cooking all seem to make people think I don’t know better, as though I were some pitiable depression era phantom. May they look beyond their assumptions at us all who choose to say ” yes I have heard of the pill, mcdonalds, cars, and disney, and I choose another way” when they do they will see all our millions of pairs of what my 4 y/o calls ” shiny eyes”. Until then we can be content to know our eyes shine with pure gratitude, and love. And those are things which will never run short no matter how many babies our hands are full of. Remember you are awesome! Thanks for sharing! You’ ve lent strength to a single mama trying to homestead in an apartment by the highway, and loving it! now any proliferation tips for turning my three bedrooms into acres? ;)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Kelsey,

    So blessed to hear from you! Your children are very fortunate to have such a strong, wise mother in their lives. I wish you the very best. Stay strong, there are many other mothers out there making the same hard choices, bucking the system, and taking the family back. Good. For. You!

  • Jill said:

    I have no children but I’m the oldest of six so many of these comments sounds familiar. (I still remember the stares as my family took up an entire pew in church).

    I like the advice of Miss Manners who suggests two great replies.

    If you like to be polite, simply turn the tables and say, “Why do you ask?” Most times the person will be embarrased because they’d be forced to admit just what you said, Kendra, that they think their own kids are awful so yours must be too.

    If you don’t mind being a bit cheeky you could say, “Oh come now…if you want to know the details of my sex life, go ahead and ask”. Most people would get the hint that, much like the act that produces a child, decisions concerning reproduction and contraception are no one’s business but the couple’s.

    Great post – enjoyed the comments!

  • theresa said:

    children are born dead in sin from adam and are not much of a blessing unless the Lord gives us grace to (primarily)train and (also)discipline them – they are gifts and we are to glorify God in all things, thanking Him for them and their (hopefully) pleasing behavior – let’s be kind and talk about the blessing that our children are instead of using inappropriate zingers to snap back at people who possibly do not know the Lord and how He operates!

  • Teresa said:

    I can relate to what Sara and Cliff wrote because my husband and I don’t have children either. Hubs never wanted any of his own and I was ambivalent about it when we married. It’s not that we don’t enjoy kids, because we do. In fact, I work as an elementary school librarian. I often joke that there’s no way I’d ever be a teacher if I had children of my own.

    As Cliff stated, I think the most difficult time for me was when my friends started having children. I suddenly found myself left out of get-togethers simply because I wasn’t a parent. That was hard. But enter graduate school followed by a couple of job relocations and I stopped worrying about it as much.

    Should my two nieces find themselves in need of loving parents to raise them – we stand ready and willing to take on that challenge. We also don’t rule out adoption should the right kiddo come along.

    But if life continues along with just the two of us, that’s fine, too.

  • Angela said:

    We have 8 children and I’ve pretty much heard it all. At this point in my life if they are rude about it I just tell them I don’t recall asking for their opinion which always shuts them up. Seeing as though they aren’t taking care of my kids then they can keep their opinions to themselves. My kids are the greatest blessing I have ever been given!!!

  • Jessica said:

    Hey Kendra.When I go out in public with my children, people will say…AND HOW OLD ARE YOU…I guess because im soon be to be 23 that I am WAY too young to be having children. Maybe they say that because I have a two year old and 5 month old twins. It upsets me when people say that. Like you have to be a certain age to have children. Also, Like you said I do love when we go out and people will say “what a beautiful family” I have. I love every single one of my children. They are the greatest gift I have ever recieved. People always say to me also, ARE YOU HAVING ANYMORE. What is it any of anyone elses business if Justin and I decide to have another child.

  • Ashley said:

    My husband Paul and I married at 19 and 24. We have three children ages 4,2 and 4 months PLUS one on the way! I hear the rude comments all the time. The most actually come from my own mother. But the one that irks me the most is something that my brother in law (who has no children) says- “Don’t ya’ll ever play board games?” He even bought us one as a present one Christmas so that we would “have something else to do”! One of my SIL’s also refers to us as “rabbitts”. This baby that I am pregnant with now was quite the suprise! But a blessing in God’s timing all the same. We love and enjoy our children, I stay home with them and do my best to raise polite, well behaved, smart, Godly children. It truly is a shame how we as a society have put money, status, possesions above having a family to love and care for. My dream is that when I’m old and gray my children and grandchildren will come home to visit, call me with questions and stop by unexpected to chat…..and I plan to enjoy every minute of them from now until then!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Ashley,

    Wow. Yeah, I can see how the board games comment, and being referred to as “rabbits” would be extremely obnoxious!! Good grief.

  • Anita said:

    Hi, my husbsnde and I have 6 childern 5 of which have been born in 5 yrs our youngest still breast feeding. I want to starte by saying, that every eldery women I’ve ever spoke to said they wish they would have had more childern,some of which had good sized families.See we know that fulfillment does not come from a clean huge house and a lexus in the drive.We (meaning all you good people) have figured this out! I believe that it takes awhile for some others to come to this concluison and by the time they do it is to late, and so they are left bitter and with regret, they see us and realize what they, to could have had if they didn’t let the voices of the world,make their decsion for them. I know that this is not the case for every family, I know it is hard for those who want more and can not.God bless you all! Anita

  • Toni said:

    Having raised three children (each of which have three children), I just have to comment. I can remember when I had my third child that suddenly we no longer fit the “normal family”: everything it seemed came in sets of four- dishes, “family packages” for entry to activities, even recipes. (I would never enter contests that featured a giveaway family trip because they would be for four. Living on a tight budget, I always thought about who wouldn’t get to go.)

    Life was hectic, challenging, and frustrating then, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was also rewarding, fun and endlessly interesting. My goal was to raise responsible adults. They are! They all have their individual interests but are very close and to and supportive of each other.

    We live far from each of our children now that we have retired to Mexico, but now we can travel to visit them and host our grandchildren for several weeks during the summer. We love how our grandchildren love, respect, and enjoy us. Our lives are truly enriched by our children and grandchildren. Thank God for our Big Family!

  • tracy said:

    I found all these comments surprisingly interesting. 1st regardless of my personal thoughts on family size, it amazes me that people can be so rude. I have told moms, ‘wow u have your hands full’ but mean it as a conversation starter more than anything…ANY mom with ANY number of children has her hands full. I grew up as the oldest of 5 & I think the hardest thing for me to see in large families is that the oldest child/children end up helping to raise the younger. I feel as the oldest that I truely missed out on many of the joys of childhood because I had to help mom w/ the littler ones. I, myself have twins & u couldn’t pay me to have another baby. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than life itself & I am a stay at home mom but God only gave me two hands…one for each child. My children deserve the best I can give them and even with just two I am not able to give the one on one attention I feel my kids need and I can’t imagion spreading my attention any thinner. Even as a child, I don’t remember getting any time w/ my mother, she always had a baby on her hip or on her boob. I do understand why some woman want more children but I honestly don’t know how they do it. – on another note, I have never understood why family’s a lot tend to stop after 3 kids (or any odd number of children). From what I observed, when there is an odd number of children someone is always left out, there are never equal teams, someone always has their feelings hurt. Just my 2 cents from a small family :)

  • Julia said:

    I got married at 18 and had my baby boy ten months later. He is now almost seven months old and I am dying for more children. I hope to hit the double digits someday :) My husband had 14 children in his family and they are so happy. His father was raising 5 children on about $10/hr and they do not feel deprived at all. He only has happy memories from his childhood, and I hope we can do the same for our children. Kids are a blessing, but most people do not look at it that way.

  • Jen said:

    I have 2 kids 18 months apart and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I wasn’t even back to work off maternity leave when I found out that we would be having a second. Every time I am in the grocery store I get ” I bet you have your hands full” Yes some days I want to rip my hair out and yes my coworkers think that I am crazy for wanting more but that is what I choose to do. I have just gone back to work as of last week and really really wish that there was a way that I could stay home with my children and have more. Hopefully my plan is to work for aboutb 1.5 years and get most of the debt paid off so that I am able to have more children and stay home with them.

  • Lindsayjane said:

    I am expecting my fifth child and surprisingly don’t get too many comments other than ‘don’t you own a tv?’ To which I reply ‘no, I really must get one!’. At my antenatal appointment, when I was expecting my fourth, the doctor wanted to discuss having a c section so that I could have my tubes tied which I thought quite funny. Kendra, I think you and your family are lovely and real inspiration to me on how to live frugally and enjoy your family rather than following what society now perceives as a successful life chasing material possessions. You are doing an awesome job!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    You are so sweet, Lindsayjane. Congratulations on #5! What an awesome blessing. Keep up the great work yourself :)

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