I don’t go to the big shopping centres often any more, and even less often do I go with all four kids in tow. But it is school holidays and we are meeting Dad at the cinema so the big kids can go see Ice Age 4. It only takes us about five minutes to wind our way from the car park, through the crowds, down two levels to the cinema, but in that time 5 different people have commented on my family.
“Are they all yours?”
“Don’t you know what causes it?”
“Don’t you have a TV?”
“You have too many children love!”
At least the last idiot called me ‘love’, you know… to soften the blow of a random stranger poking their nose into my business.
For the record…
Yes – they are all my children, all four of them.
We have a fairly good idea of what ’causes it’ and happen to think we are actually quite good at it.
And yes, we have a TV, two in fact, thanks for being so concerned about my media habits.
I don’t understand why people think it is ok to pass comment on a strangers family, sexual habits, or number of children.
It’s not like my kids were being badly behaved, taking up lots of space, or even being loud, they were walking quietly through the shopping centre minding their own business. If only the rest of the people there would mind their own business too, then I would have no issue.
But apart from that… since when is four kids such a HUGE family?
Since when did four kids become something so strange? Since when is four kids a ‘large family’?
I know plenty of families who have four or more kids, and plenty who have less, and plenty who have none. They are all valid choices, there is no one perfect family size. I don’t feel the need to pass comment on them, nor do I feel that our four kids somehow make us ‘out of the ordinary’.
Sure our house might be a little noisier, or crazier, or busier than if we’d stopped at two kids, but it’s not so very different from any other family, really it’s not. We don’t feel different, or special, or insane (well no more insane than I would have been with or without four kids).
Perhaps I am overly sensitive but I see people’s eyes widen a little when I say I have four kids. And then there are the comments like the ones above, or the slightly more polite versions such as…
“You’ve got your hands full” (not so much now they can all walk) or “Wow! That’s a lot of kids!” or “Tell me you aren’t having any more… ha ha”
It’s those comments that make me want to say “You think four is a lot?? We have 18 more at home….”
So tell me? Do I live in la la land? Does four kids really make ours a ‘large family’ and something out of the ordinary?
Oh and have you got any great come back lines for random nosy strangers?
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
It is amazing how many people feel free to comment on how many children you have….
I only have one, I had cancer when my son was 4 and didnt get a chance to have any more.
I get the opposite commments to you…
“you cant just stop at one, he will be so lonely”
“when are you going to have another one”
Its no-ones business how many kids you have 1 or 4 or 14. They all get love, they all get to grow up to be productive happy human beings :)
I used to get a lot of comments about my kids.. I have 3, one 13yo daughter and a set of 10yo boy/girl twins. I have been asked all of the invasive questions about the twin things, plus some silly ones.. And of course all of the ‘handful’ or ‘double trouble’ lines.. But the most outrageous question I ever had asked of me happened in the checkout line at a local Walmart ~ a lady asked if they all had the same dad?? I was shocked to say the least.. Not that it couldn’t happen; my sister-in-law has 3 children all by different guys and all of whom my brother raised.. but still to ask that question of a total stranger! Crazy..
Some days I would say 4 is a lot (because there are some days that I think 3 might have been a bit too much ;) ), but then again there are days when I think I would love to have another. On a positive note, though, I have had just as many experiences where total strangers walk up to me and tell me how well behaved my kids are. That always makes me feel good, I have to say.. The questions we get these days have to do with our choice to homeschool.
You have a beautiful family by the way :)
I don’t think four is that many. My partner and I plan for three, plus his son, but I know families with more and with less.
My partners mum, for example, is the oldest of eleven.
As for comebacks, I find a dirty look usually does pretty well, as well as one of your children saying something. Don’t know why that works better than you saying it, but there you go.
[email protected] says
Love this post !
I also have 4 kids. Where we live, it’s much more common to have 2 or 3 children. Anything more than that is considered a “large” family.
I get those same comments constantly, and am generally slightly annoyed with the strangers who feel the need to comment.
I have all boys, so I also have the added comments like “Oh, you must’ve been trying for a girl”, or “Wow, all boys, huh ?! You must be really busy.” (as if 4 girls would be a piece of cake?!)
Over the years, I have gotten used to the looks and comments, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t still bother me at times.
Some people just need to keep their mouths shut, unless they have something positive to say.
When my 6th child was less than 24 hours old and in ICU, with her survival by no means a certainty, I was asked by more than one nurse if we were going to have any more!
Strangers say the strangest things! I am one of four and we have five kids. Having more kids than you can fit in a car would be a large family I think – like if you had to drive a bus.
I always like to say that we have a few spares in case some of them don’t turn out very good… But actually they are all great. If I had started younger I might have had more! I guess it was my age that made us realise we had finished building our family.
I love the kids having friends over so we have more kids around and seating eleven at the table feels wonderful.
I have 1boy and one girl and we want 3or 4 and they are14mths apart … I get comments like u got ur hands full and ” you should be done now since you have a boy and girl” I think it is stupid that others think they need to put there opinion in. If I want 6 kids and can afford it I should b able to without being judged