Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Are You Done Yet?

I used to get that question a lot when all 6 of mine were little.  I think people were just a little awed/terrified/amused at seeing me in the store with the baby in a sling, toddler in the cart seat and two kids hanging on  each side of the cart.

 I still get that question from time to time.

My answer to, "Are you done yet/ do you want more?" has always been, "Yes, we'd love another baby, but you don't get babies just by wishing."  Meaning, I don't know if we'll be able to have another.  Which is true and it refocuses the discussion with the view that each child is not only valuable, but rare in the sense that you you may or may not be able to have even one. 

It also turns out to be a kind answer when the person asking isn't able to have kids.  About half the time the person who asked the question then shares that they weren't able to have children, and many others reveal that they couldn't have as many as they wanted.

And then we lost the 4 babies after our number 6, so I've been really glad that has been my answer!

I know there are a lot of more clever replies out there, and they're fun to read, but I'm not sure they really help anyone, especially since so many people asking are coming from a place of pain. 

I'll admit, my answer to, "Are they all yours?" was, "Just the cute, well behaved ones." Which, I (and the cashier who had asked) thought was funny.

And once, when quite harried at the grocery store, I was asked if I were babysitting and I told them that I was NOT crazy enough to take 6 EXTRA kids to the grocery store.

But I have never gotten a mean question about my kids, unlike many friends with large families, and my response to a rude comment would be different.  It amazes me how some moms get targeted in front of their children with mean/rude comments (like "don't you know what causes that/were any of them accidents/don't you have a TV?").  It's not a matter of bad kid behavior attracting those kinds of comments, either.  My friend that gets the most mean spirited comments has the best publicly behaved kids I know.

I think it's a matter of diffidence versus confidence.

I do not look like an easy target for mean people. Oh, I'm (hopefully) pleasant enough, but I don't look like a person who would be "too nice" to respond to a snarky comment. My friend looks (and really is) too nice to respond in kind.  I once did get a person who was about to make a rude remark, and I just looked at her, waiting.  She changed her mind and turned away.

But I did once get reported (anonymously, of course) as having an unlicensed daycare! :D


Queen of Carrots said...

Interesting thought. I also have never had hostile comments. (Though I get "You have your hands full!" or "You have lots of helpers!" a lot.) Of course, with only four and the youngest twins, I don't quite surpass the socially-acceptable number of pregnancies.

Wendy said...

I had always heard that people made rude comments, but I thought it was overstated until my friend that had the same number (which was 4 at the time) in the same age range started telling me what people said to her.

I have a hunch that you would not get rude comments in any case. :)

Sue Elvis said...


Unlicensed daycare? That's funny!

I am fortunate because no one has ever made an unkind comment about my family size. When anyone asks me if my kids are all mine, I just say, "Yes, aren't I lucky?"

Oh I have just remembered one solitary incident. When Gemma-Rose was a baby Andy and I took her to a cafe while we had some time out together. A man approached our table. He smiled at Gemma-Rose and said, "Is she your first?" (Didn't he notice how old I was? or perhaps he thought I was a career mum having children later in life!) I replied, "Oh no. She's our 8th child!" The man visibly recoiled and said, "Rather you than me." And I just smiled and later laughed with Andy over the whole incident. We knew the blessings of children and that poor man didn't. I felt sorry for him.