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As a mom of many, it is amazing the questions I get asked sometimes as people I just meet hear about the number of children that I have. Interestingly, the same questions usually get asked, and even more notable is the fact that other moms of many get asked most of the same questions!
I wish I could say that the questions I get asked were all asked in a gracious way, and although that is not always the case, I do my best to answer graciously.
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Just in case you were wondering what these questions are, or maybe you’re wondering some of them yourself, I thought I would just address these common questions once and for all.
1. You do know what causes that, don’t you?
This is the most common question, and the majority of the time it comes from men. I try to keep in mind that they most likely are trying to be a little quick-witted by asking this question rather than take offense to it – because in reality – it really is quite an offensive subject to take on with a woman you don’t know hardly at all. In response, I might say something like:
- “we are still trying to figure that out”
- “yes we do, and we kind of like it”
- “well, we have to find something to do since we don’t have cable”
2. Are you Catholic?
This is always an interesting question. I think the assumption is that Catholics have large families since most people are surprised to hear that we are not. I actually don’t know of any Catholics with large families, but I think this was simply more common in the traditional sense.
3. Are they all yours?
I think people are really asking if we are a blended family when they ask this one. Most times, I think they would probably discover that larger families are blended, which is why it is always surprising when I tell them that all of our children have the same two parents.
4. Do you know the Duggars?
I think some people think of large families in a cult-like sense. Therefore, the assumption is that we all know each other. I think this might be the one that makes me laugh the most. I generally hear this one from the older crowd. I’m really not sure why.
5. Are you trying to get your own tv show?
I so hope that people don’t honestly think that we would choose our family size based on our aspirations of Hollywood dreams. This would be an awful lot to go through in hopes of hitting it big. Most often I think the person who asks this just isn’t thinking. Sometimes I think people just feel as though they have to say something, and this is just what falls out.
6. When are you going to get fixed?
I will be honest. It is really hard to not take offense to this one. I’m not sure if someone is really likening me to how we often speak of animals who get spayed or neutured, but I do really have a hard time not seeing this as just being rude. On the other hand, “fixed” could also be used as a solution to something that is broken, so my response usually has something to do with that. Usually I respond by saying, “We don’t really feel that either of us is broken, so we really aren’t planning on it.”
7. You must have unlimited amounts of patience.
While I will say that as a mom of many patience is an asset, I will admit that it is not something that I come by naturally. I think I have learned to be patient not only with my kids, but also in knowing that my days are heavily laden with distractions and roadblocks that stand in the way of how I thought it would go. With so many dynamics within a family that is so large, I find patience with life to be greatly needed.
In all reality, I don’t have unlimited amounts of patience, but I do have the opportunity to work towards that goal numerous times every day.
8. What’s your magic number?
We don’t really have a magic number. We choose to let God have more control in the area of family size than most. Therefore, we don’t have any kind of number in mind. We question what God’s magic number is!
9. Did you come from a large family?
I think it is a natural assumption that my husband and I have many siblings. People are always fascinated to hear that we both come from families with three children. It is rather uncommon to be a pioneer in this area, but it is always interesting for others to hear that we came from “normal” families.
10. I have no idea how you do it. I only have two kids (or whatever number) and can hardly manage them!
When this statement gets made I am always quick to answer that a large family is the mission field that God has called us to, and He doesn’t call everyone to the same mission field. God doesn’t ask us all to die to self in the same way. This is simply the lifestyle that He has asked us to embrace over time. I say over time because it really has been something that we have been called to over the years. God has given me the grace I need to parent seven children, just as He gives you the grace you need as a parent of two (or whatever number).
11. How are you planning on putting them all through college?
From the time we started having children, we have trusted that God will provide. When it comes to everything about the lives of our children, college included, we trust that God will provide for them as He sees fit, just as He has for us. We are firm, firm, believers through life experience that God gives only enough light for the step directly in front of us. We are not to the point of college yet, so we don’t have the light for that step.
12. Are you done now?
I get asked this I think almost as much as I get asked if I know where they come from. My answer is always the same: “I hope not.”
So far, this statement has proven to come to fruition, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with graciously accepting the blessings that God has bestowed upon us with eight amazing children!
Every time the stick turns pink, I am reminded of my heartfelt plea with God to bless me with as many children as He saw fit as I lay upon my bathroom floor weeping over the baby I miscarried in my early twenties.