You know what I find interesting lately?

What people assume.

I was taught that when you assume, you make an ass+u+me.

But, I was raised right. Not everyone learned that wisdom.

I find it humorous that people assume that because you have several children, you are overwhelmed and stressed.

I am neither.

(What I am at the moment is nauseated, but that will pass.)

That having several children is “hard”.

It’s not. At least, not for me.

That they must be accidents.

That you must not understand how the plumbing works. That you’re too ignorant to use birth control.

That a 7th child in the household couldn’t have been planned.

And they would be wrong.

Call me crazy, but I have this notion that children are a blessing.

The other day when an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in a few years met my husband and found out we had 6 children together and were expecting another, she exclaimed:

“I hope you have a good job!”

(My husband said the next time someone asked him that, he would reply, “No, I just have a really good wife!” Ain’t he sweet?)

When he assured her that he was a business owner and doing quite fine, her next question was:

Well what about health care!?”

Umm, impertinent much? I wonder if she would appreciate my asking if her husband was prepared for retirement just because he is in his 60′s?

I can’t imagine asking someone about their financial situation. I also can’t imagine making assumptions like this about people. I can’t imagine commenting on someone’s choice of family size, or birth control, or the mechanics of sex. I honestly don’t care what someone else decides to do with their life. Their choices don’t affect me.

But these are things people say to parents of large families.

The truth is, having several children makes you smarter about where your money goes. My husband and I budget carefully. Just last night we held a Couples Meeting where we discussed the budget, make adjustments, looked at our overall financial picture, and discussed our goals.

We’re doing fine. We have no credit card debt, we just paid cash for our vehicle, we recently took an 8 day vacation, we have savings on hand for emergencies and we earn more than enough to provide for our family. Considering these facts, I would say we are doing far better than many who are saddled with credit card debt and live paycheck to paycheck.

Why am I called upon to defend myself?

Do people who assume that mothers of many are unhappy and stressed simply feel threatened? Perhaps because they don’t enjoy motherhood? I never asked for the title, but several friends have dubbed me SuperMom. Would this cause another mom to feel inferior and make inappropriate comments to me?

More assumptions about large families, just for the fun of it:

  • That your home must be a mess all the time
  • That you live in chaos
  • That you never get a quiet moment to yourself
  • That you live off the government, or even better… child support (don’t make me laugh with that last one!)
  • That your house is always loud and crazy
  • That you don’t spent time with the children individually
  • That you and your spouse can’t get alone time
  • That the breadwinner works 70+ hours a week.

I suppose you can learn a lot about a person by what they assume.


My standard answer to these kinds of inappropriate questions from now on? I’m going to turn it around on the person and ask them how they’re doing in that particular area. People reflect onto your their own concerns. They reflect what’s in their heart.

Comment: “Another baby?! You guys need to get the snip!”

Reply: “Actually, we planned this child and are quite happy. Are you worried about your family planning?”

Comment: “How are you guys going to pay for all those kids?”

Reply: “We’re doing fine, thanks. Are you concerned about your finances?”

What do you think?

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6 Responses to Ass+U+Me

  1. Jessica says:

    I think your blog and podcast are really awesome. More mom’s like yourself need to come forward and share your story and your family’s tips on staying financially sound and providing for children. Our society is set up to make it near impossible to raise children, and at least 60% of that is attitude. Although I am a pro-choice feminist, I believe that if the choice to terminate is made because a mother cannot, or does not believe that she can raise her child due to finances or support is such a terrible tragedy. There needs to be more awareness of alternative ways to raise families without breaking the bank.

  2. susan says:

    Found you blog and love it. We too have 6 children. People started asking us strange questions when I was pregnant with our 4th who happened to be born with Down syndrome. We adopted #5, a darling baby boy with Down syndrome, and people thought we had lost our mind. Four years later when I was 49 and hubby 55 we adopted#6 and you guessed it ….another baby with Down syndrome. People finally shut up because they thought we had lost our minds! That was 14 years ago and we are all doing great. It is so much fun having a big family. Oh yes, hubby lost his job at 63 and we had some lean years but we did just fine. Congratulations on baby#7. What a joy that darling child will bring.

  3. Kate says:

    Hi, I found your blog via Miss Minimalist and love it! One thing though that you might not be considering when people are making these assumptions is what kind of children they have or have been around. Not all kids are created equal as far as temperament is concerned, and perhaps you’ve been blessed with more pleasant temperaments in your family. I parent my 2 boys the same way, yet they are polar opposites. one is an absolute darling and I’d gladly have 5 more kids if I knew that’s what all children were like. My other son is described as many things such as strong-willed, agressive/defiant, adhd, and no level of firm or loving parenting makes a difference, it is just who he is. He requires 24/7 supervision within arm’s reach or else people get hurt, and the thought of six more of the same to care for is just not humanly possible and is downright unsafe. six more of my other child would be absolutely heavenly.
    just something to consider; maybe their image of six children is different than who your six children are.

  4. Ashley says:

    I have six kids and I get the “you must be supermom” comment a lot. Surprisingly I have only gotten the negative birth control comments a handful of times, and most of those were when I only had four kids.

    My husband says it’s because I give people the evil eyebrow as soon as they comment on our family size.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for posting this! I am pregnant with my fifth and I am sooooo tired of the comments. We too believe that children are a blessing.

    I actually think that it’s easier now in a lot of ways than it was when we just had one or two kids. They entertain each other, for one thing. The older ones are able to be very helpful with housework and many hands make light work. If I need to toss in a load of laundry, there’s almost always someone around who can keep an eye on the youngest for a few minutes. The baby is a people watcher and his siblings love having an audience for their songs, plays and dances as much as he loves watching them.

  6. margot says:

    What might be underlying some of these questions is people’s negative opinions about your decision to have so many children and the resulting impact on our world. Though I love children and could imagine birthing many more, I would never consider birthing more than two, and I consider any decision to do so to be selfish at the expense of our larger environment and world. Over-population is such a huge problem, which contributed to environmental destruction. And any child raised in the US consumed infinitely more resources than children born in poorer countries no matter how frugal the family. I can’t imagine doing anymore than replacing myself and my husband in terms of the number of children we birth. Of course, adoption is an ethical way to have many more children.

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