Not a day goes by when someone doesn't mention how big my family is. I'm not exaggerating. Sometimes those comments are nice, like when someone says, "Your house must be full of love." Other times, however, they're just insulting. I mean, what am I supposed to say when some random stranger asks, "Don't you know how those things are made?" Hell if I know, but I do know I'm over the assumptions people make about moms with big families. Because not only are those assumptions usually wrong, but they're horribly rude.
I guess I sort of get it. I mean, before I had kids I use to judge big families, too. When I saw "those" moms I would think, "I bet she's religious," or, "I wonder what her life is like," and even, "Doesn't she know about birth control?" I meant well, I think. I was a feminist, so I wanted to make sure everyone was able to choose when and whether to become a parent. Hell, before I became a mom I wasn't sure I wanted any children, let alone five. I changed my mind, though, and I'm honestly glad I did.
But now that I'm here — in a too-small house with five kids, three cats, five fish, a husband, and a dozen dying houseplants, give or take — I understand how wrong I was to judge other women with big families, or assume I knew what life choices they had made in the past. But I do find some small comfort in the fact that, at the very least, I never said those things out loud so those moms could hear me. So, when I say that I am tired of being pigeonholed and misunderstood as a mom with a big family, please understand that I used to make the same mistakes. This isn't me being judgmental, it's me being exhausted.
Because here's the thing: you don't know me or my family, and you really can't tell much about me by simply looking at the number of kids I have. I like my life, and while there are days where I am tired beyond belief, and days when our house is so loud that I think I might lose my mind, I'm thankful for my big, loud, loving family. So I think it's time to set the record straight, because I have a feeling most of you have the wrong idea about moms like me.
All Of My Kids Were Planned
Some people have a really hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that someone actually had five kids on purpose. Our situation is a little bit different, because we have a blended family, but my point is: you absolutely shouldn't make assumptions about someone else's family planning decisions based on the number of kids they may or may not have.
I'm Not Religious
People ask me all of the time if my family is Catholic or members of a religion that prohibits birth control. Nope. We're actually atheists, raising our kids without the idea of God.
(Honestly, though, I don't often correct people. They tend to treat me better when they think I'm religious, which is pretty messed up.)
I'm Actually Pretty Organized
I have to stay organized if I'm going to survive a single day in my home. We've learned which routines work for our family to run smoothly, and which ones don't. It doesn't always go as planned, but I do just fine, if I do say so myself. And despite our necessary level of organization, we consider ourselves to be peaceful parents, which means we don't spank our kids and, instead, try to treat our kids like human beings.
I Think Birth Control Is Awesome
I love birth control. I think access to birth control and abortion care are human rights that we all must fight to protect. You can't judge my politics based on the size of my family, and while I chose to carry my pregnancies to term, I will completely support a woman who chooses differently for herself.
I'm Done Having Babies
Life Is Easier With Five Kids Than It Was With Two
Some things are way easier now that I have such a big family. Our middle three keep each other fairly busy, so we don't have to constantly give them our undivided attention. The oldest is willing to occasionally help with the baby, which takes the pressure off us exhausted parents. Hell, sometimes it's easier to have all five kids home instead of just the baby. No, that's not hyperbole.
I'm Happy With My Choices
My kids are amazing, with unique personalities, likes, dislikes, and needs. My husband and I take our jobs as parents seriously, so we're constantly meeting our kids where they’re at, and making sure they have what they need to be safe, healthy, and happy. But my partner and I are pretty damn happy, too. I have no regrets, except maybe that my husband and I didn't meet sooner in life.
Our family is awesome. We're big, loud, silly, imperfect, and wonderful, and I wouldn't have it an other way.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.