Monday, May 21, 2012

Being 'IN' the World and Not 'OF' It - Family


So the hot gossip that has ensued after the publishing of Time's eye catching article on attachment parenting has really cropped up many debates.  In my opinion, the article has done nothing more than fuel the 'mommy wars' and has further solidified sides of those who choose to raise their kids one way vs. those moms who choose another.  As always it got me thinking about the changes and choices our family has made over the last several years.  So here's a bit of history into the inner workings of our Brood! . . .

I can hear the question like it was yesterday after having C-Funk (2nd child) . . . "Are you going to have any more?"
My response . . . . "NOPE - I'm done!  I've got one girl, one boy and I'm all set!"

My Bigs. . . . and blessings! - Spillz & C-Funk

Then baby #3 came along approx. 5-ish years later.  Again, I hear the question. . . "Are you going to have any more?"
My response. . . . "NOPE, three's a good uneven number.  Besides, this one is a handful so I'm all set!"

My Fiesty Little Angel - Wookeese

Then one year after Wookeese was born (3rd child), I graduated from college and went back to work in a job that was related to my area of study. . . and for the record - a job that I really liked!  Life was good.  I had a 'good' size family, a 'good' job, was a college graduate, 'good' house, had 'good' friends (still do *wink*), etc.  So life seemed pretty 'good' according to the norms I saw around me.  But I felt anxious, wondering why I was still feeling empty or like I was missing something? 

My heart was slowly being transformed by God and I was beginning to see things differently.  Suddenly being successful at work didn't seem so important.  Having a decent size house?  I could take or leave it.  My children?  I was beginning to feel more convicted on the parent I currently was and what type of parent I should actually be to my children.  I missed them terribly, wanted to be more involved with them, pining to be home when they got off the bus, no longer feeling comfortable sending my youngest to daycare.  I wanted to be/give more to them than I was currently doing.  So I put in my notice at work. . . .

Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

Then several months later we were expecting baby #4.  AGAIN, I hear. . . . . "Are you done now?", almost in a condescending way by some (not by all since some people actually DO like children, lol).  My own mother's tone was anything other than joyful at the announcement - more worried on how I would handle everything.  Reality set in that not everyone will agree with the choices we were beginning to make for our family.

But we stood firm on our convictions regarding family.  My revised response when asked if we were done having more kids. . . . "I don't know.  I kept saying I was done after all the others but my heart changed and here we are." 

Sleepy Nattie Bear

My husband and I had honestly taken a hard look at our family during those months after I left my job and after having Miss Nattie Bear.  The family values we wanted to instill, the emotional/spiritual climate we wanted to embrace were now more pressing topics of concern . . . . . but most importantly we were searching the question: What was God's plan for our family??  Then we both decided to just pray, give it up to God and whatever happened would happen.  We were ready for this, right!?  Well, four months after giving birth to Nattie Bear (4th child), S-Money$ and I found out we were expecting baby #5!   I never expected God to answer our prayers so quickly!
 **LESSON - when you earnestly pray, be open and prepared for when God DOES answer it!**

Upon hearing the news, our oldest child was not so enthused.  Worries about our family being 'too big'. . . . 'what about the age gap?' (13 yrs between her and #5) and 'what would people think?' began to plague her heart.  I would be lying if I said those thoughts never crossed my mind at first too.  Were we ready for this?  Of course we were, otherwise God would not have blessed us like this.

I have seen other blog posts from large families, heard of other questions/comments some families get such as these:
  • "Wow, 5 kids!  You're crazy!"
  • "So you've gotta be done NOW, right?!?!"
  • "I don't know how you do it.  I can't handle/stand/deal with the X-amount of kids I have!" (usually said person has less than 5 kids)
  • "So, when is your husband getting fixed?" OR "So, do you plan on getting your tubes tied after this?"
  • Some type of reference comparing the mom-to-be as 'Octo-Mom' or making a derogatory comment about the Duggars and making comparisons.
  • "Are you done YET??"

Though I must add that I have not been privy to much 'large family judgements/backlash'.   But for any momma out there who has had to deal with rude comments about their choice in family size, here are some witty comebacks you might be interested in!  ;)
And to be honest, I'm sure not all of the above statements are malevolent and said to purposely criticize.  Many people are just curious when you are out with several kids in toe.  But regardless,  these types of comments do reveal a stark reality on how many people in our society view children and the stereotype of how a family is 'supposed' to look.  It also reveals why my daughter had the doubts/worries that she did. . . and myself. 

For example, if you have more than 1-2 kids, if all your kids are the same gender, if you have adopted and your kids aren't the same nationality as you, if you have any kids with disabilities or differences, kids with behavioral issues, if you breastfeed your kids past a certain age, if you co-sleep with your children, if your kids don't like/play sports, dress a certain way, eat a certain way, blah blah blah, etc. - then what? 

In relation to family, when you live 'IN' the world and are not so focused being a part 'OF' it because you are focused on God's design/plan for your family, your brood may not take on the 'normal' societal shape.  There shouldn't be a need to judge others if you are focused on your own family and what shape you want your brood to take.  ;)

But fear of man & what others think, fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of losing the 'luxuries' you enjoy, fear of being able to 'handle it all', fear of having enough $$ will ALWAYS cause one to second guess the blessing of adding more children.  Would I reject any other type of blessing God gave me?  No!  I don't want to be afraid and reject/turn away from what He has to offer me and our family anymore.  This pregnancy with baby #5 has truly been a journey of acceptance. . . . a journey of submitting to God. . . . . and a journey of living outside of the box with our family.  And for me. . . . I can honestly say that I'M TOTALLY OK WITH THAT!  :)

Psalm 127: 3-5
Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him. 

Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

Christmas 2011

***Linked to:  Raising Arrows  and The Better Mom


  1. Anonymous5/21/2012

    Fab-u-lous! I just couldn't like this post more. you have spoken to my heart--even the comment about them not meaning harm...but you just are a different family than what people are used to seeing now. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Jaime. As you are working to expand your family as well, it's good to hear from another family loving mama!
      Yes, we are different and unlike how society coins it - different does not = bad. :)

  2. You have a lovely family. And it does amaze me how many well-meaning people ask those personal questions that are really none of their business! :) Like a friend paraphrased for me, hold your head high when you go out with those children! Enjoy your blessings!

    1. Thanks Theresa! Holding the head high is a must. . . . especially when I need to look /around and do head counts, LOL! ;)

  3. Are you done yet? I never get that! ;) Well said Momma!

    1. Oh you don't get those comments?! *wink*

      Yes, it can be frustrating I'm sure. When I get the more benevolent comments I try to remember that many of those comments come from THEIR own internal feelings of inadequacy - not necessarily on judging what I can/can't handle.

      The majority of judgements on others is based on our own internal frame of reference that we tend to project on others. ;)