I posted this on Facebook this morning, and it got 218 likes in 38 minutes. So I figured it was something people need to hear! From our trip to the beach yesterday:
Lady at the beach: “Are these ALLLLL your children?”Me: “No, actually, I have two more at home.”Her: “Two more! So how many in all?”Me: “I have nine children.”Her: “OH, GOD HAS BLESSED YOU! MOTHER MARY IS WITH YOU! YOU’RE DOING A BEAUTIFUL JOB!”Did not see that coming!
Several FB friends mentioned that they make a special effort to say friendly, encouraging things to parents with lots of kids. I guess because we live in small town New England, it’s pretty rare that I get nasty, sneering comments (although it’s fun to have snappy comebacks at the ready); but lots of big (and even “big”) families get nothing but scowls and horrified gasps when they set foot outside the door. So if you have something nice or encouraging to say, say it! Or at least give a big smile. Some moms really need to know there’s someone on their side.
Also, the nice lady at the beach told me that she “only has two kids,” and I was quick to tell her that there is no such thing as “only” two kids! People with smaller families often seem to feel like they need to apologize or explain their family size. No need, no need. My children are not a statement, and I remember all to well how difficult it was to have two children. We’re all fighting our own battles, and the last thing Catholics need is to get into fertility contests with each other.