Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Favorite Responses to Comments on my Family Size

I usually feel about as inconspicuous as a parade float when I go out in public with my family of 7. 
If the kids are headbutting each other and screeching like fisher cats, the attention is less than thrilling. But if everyone is behaving and getting along, I kind of like the chance to challenge the common assumption that Big Families = Miserable Parents and Feral Kids. 

"Are they all yours?" "Are you going to have more?" "You're crazy!" If you have a lot of kids you get these comment on a daily (if not hourly) basis. Do you know what to say?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I don't get as many rude comments from strangers on the number of children in my family as I expected, but it does happen. And unfortunately, if you ambush me in the produce aisle with a snide suggestion to tie my tubes I'm guaranteed to be speechless until after you've already walked away.

So if you're like me, don't despair because I've written here for you my favorite responses to odd remarks and impolite inquiries about the size of my family. 

Have them at the ready, and you'll never need to kick yourself again for thinking of the perfect reply 15 minutes too late.


Are they ALL yours?


Out-loud response:
  • Yes, and I feel very lucky to have each and every one of them.
  • Well, they're God's but He loaned them to us.
In-your-head response:
  • No, I just fed them once and now they all follow me around.
  • What?! How long have all these kids been behind me?

Are you going to have more?


Out-loud response:
  • Not today!
  • We'll be happy with whatever number of children God wants us to have.
In-your-head response:
  • Yes, I'm just trying to make the world a more beautiful place.
  • Let me ask God real quick... kay, He says it's none of your business.

You're crazy!


Out-loud response:
  • Actually, I've always thought of myself as lucky. 
  • Um, thanks?
In-your-head response:
  • Wow, that's quite an assessment for never having met me before.
  • And you're rude! [Okay, you can say this one out loud if you really want to.]

    Was s/he planned?


    Out-loud response:
    • Oh yes, God always has a plan.
    • That's not really a polite get-to-know-you question, but yes.
    In-your-head response:
    • Well, we were having sex, so...
    • Yes, but enough about my family planning. Tell me all about yours!

    Don't you have a TV?


    Out-loud response:
    • Are you offering to buy us one?
    • No, there's too much sex on TV.
    In-your-head response:
    • If you think watching TV is more fun, I'm pretty sure you're doing it wrong.

      I'd kill myself if I were you! 

      Out-loud response:
      • Oh, I couldn't imagine my life without any of these guys. They're great kids.
      In-your-head response:
      • I don't blame you. It's horrible to be surrounded all day by people I love. And they even love me back, yuck!
      • That is hands-down the most dysfunctional thing I've heard all day.


      You know what causes those, don't you?


      Out-loud response:
      (I usually try to keep it positive, but here I included even the sassy answers as out-loud; anyone who asks this is just trying to embarrass you)
      • Why, yes I do  have you been looking for someone to explain it to you?
      • Yes, and I'm obviously really good at it!
      • No, could you please explain it to me, slowly and in great detail? I want to take notes.
      • Of course, that's how we knew what to do when we wanted another one!

      With the exception of maybe the last question (which I've never gotten personally but known others who have,) I try to be gracious and tactful. With my out-loud answers, anyway. 

      I try to see comments from strangers, even rude ones or weird ones, as opportunities to share something about the joys of loving many children. The general opinion that children aren't worth the effort, even among people who are parents themselves, is so sad to me.

      Something I hear a lot when I'm out with my kids goes something like "I can't even handle my two, I don't know how you do it."

      I've responded different ways to this, but I often like to paraphrase Christina over at Hands Full and Loving It: "The same way as you  one day at a time and the best I can."

      Raising children is difficult work sometimes, and all of us parents need to lift each other up at every opportunity. Rock on, moms and dads. You're doing an important job.

      Click to Share:
      Unremarkable Files

      9 comments:

      1. You have the perfect answers, Jenny! Your kids are awesome and they are blessed to have you for a mom.

        ReplyDelete
      2. AuntSue
        You are doing a wonderful job and raising loving, responsible people. And you have good answers to rude questions!

        ReplyDelete
      3. I love that you wrote all of these, because even though we're just getting started as far as big families go, I think about these things all the time.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Well, I hope you get a good chance to use them!

          Delete
      4. GENDER!! You forgot to mention gender! I have 5 kids and when people hear I have just one boy and four girls, I get that typical: "Oh, now I know - you were tryin' for a boy!" or: "Boy is the last one, right?"
        Me (out-loud): "Wrong!! He's in the middle!"
        Me (in-my-head response): "Get out of my sight, please!"

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Of course! When my friend who had 3 girls was pregnant with #4 she would constantly get asked "Are you trying for a boy?" When she answered that no, they didn't care what it was, people were always speechless.

          Maybe she could've answered "No, we're trying for a redhead" or something equally ridiculous.

          Delete
        2. I have 4 boys and when people are informed about that, they ALWAYS ask, "so (when) are you going to try for a girl?"

          Delete
      5. I didn't invent this one, I heard it somewhere -- but's it's my favorite. Just get kind of a sultry look in your eyes, lick your lips, raise one eyebrow and say, "Well my husband is SMOKIN' HOT..." If they get the joke it's great. If they don't, it's even better. ;)

        ReplyDelete