When my hubby and I roll up anywhere with our whole herd, all of the bodies add up to equal a party of six. It’s messy, it’s tiring, and above all else, it is so barbarically loud. But it’s good, they are my heart’s home, and I wouldn’t give up my big family for the entire world.
But I’m human. Therefore, I’m not going to lie and say this family of six doesn’t come with it’s long list of struggles, because it really does. I’m stretched thin just as much as every other mother out there, my house chores are often neglected, there’s handprints on my walls, and sometimes it feels like all of me is hanging on by a mere thread on the verge of snapping.
I openly talk about these hurdles in casual conversation when asked, and I often write about them in attempts to pull down the veil that seemingly segregates one struggling mother from another. But I’ve come to realize that some of the people in this world are downright vicious to moms of many children.
And I know I shouldn’t worry about what others think. For the most part, I try not to. And I suppose it’s not really a worry as much as it is an annoyance, but I’m over the judgment.
I’m tired of not being able to finish my sentences without being interrupted by snide questions such as: “Did you think it’d get any easier after the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd kid?” Or, “Well, why did you keep having more?”
Yes, my husband and I have four kids — all of whom are four and under. It was our decision to have them, nobody else’s. We take full responsibility for all of this awesomeness rolled up into the four people we have created, thank you very much.
But guess what? We are allowed to have a struggle or two (or a million, no shame) along the way, and voice those obstacles, without facing judgment from others just because our family size doesn’t fit someone else’s norm or expectation bubble.
When I hear or see comments such as the example above, all I can do is laugh. I chuckle because they know nothing, and it’s interesting to see that some might believe my life is so simple from what they portray.
To lay it all out on the line, we actually have five children, but most don’t know that unless they personally know us. You see, I usually don’t start most conversations or articles off by saying, “Hi, my name is Caila. I have a ginormous and loud zoo of a family, but we are missing one because our middle child passed away from SIDS.”
Excuse me for being so forward, but that’s how it would go in some instances if I were to explain my family’s predicament to every single person I came in contact with or every article I wrote. And that’s too hard.
As for the two toddlers and two preschoolers I’m constantly lugging around, well, my ovaries were having a flash “two eggs for the price of one” sale. They are two sets of twins, but most people don’t know that unless I fully explain it to them either.
I’m not spelling all of this out as a means to justify some long-overdue explanation, but rather, to hopefully help others gain the perspective that nobody lives the simple life. We are all complicated in some way, and everyone has a past story we’ve never read.
I’m not sure why another mom chose to only have one kid while I desired so many, but maybe she suffers with infertility issues and tried for years for the only one she has. Maybe to bring it up would be to add salt into an already-gaping wound. Maybe she really only wanted one child, and that’s what makes her and her family happy in this world.
Or maybe, just maybe, another family’s life story is none of my damn business anyhow.
It doesn’t matter if my family’s outcome was not what it actually is today. It doesn’t matter if I had two sets of twins and that’s why I have four kids under four, or if I was pregnant for almost four years straight while bringing them into this world. It doesn’t matter, because every mother’s hardships should be relevant.
But in the parenting world of today, it seems like society has branded a “no mercy” label on moms of many. As if we should suck it up, inwardly hoard our valid struggles until they are stacked high, and brave through whatever life throws at us without any complaints…. because, after all, “it was our choice to have so many kids.“
But why the tough love? Moms of many need mercy, grace and positivity just as much as every other onesie-twosie mom out there.
This is an unwarranted type of hate which I can’t seem to wrap my mind around, and it needs to end now. When you scoff at our struggles, it seriously feels like you find us comparable to a child who complains about tripping over a toy they were asked to clean up a million times. But we are grown adults, and having a big family that’s not perfect isn’t a “well, you shouldn’t have gotten knocked up again” type of situation.
Big families aren’t the issue. We aren’t so desperate for space in this world that we should be made to feel like a burden. Everyone else’s lack of compassion for big families is where the problem lies, and I’m over it. I will not apologize for the one thing I love most in this world. But also, I will not be made to feel like my voice is small or irrelevant because I took it upon myself to create a big family.
I’m a proud mom of many, and my struggles are relevant too.