Wednesday, June 24, 2015

12 Things Every Mom of Many Wants You To Know

{I wrote this post before Magnolia was born and promptly forgot all about it. Sharing it today because, yeah, it's all true. If you're a mom of many and have anything to add, tell me in the comments!}

We are just a few weeks from welcoming our seventh baby into the family. Aside from the normal new baby preparations and management of nerves that, yes, I still get about labor and delivery, I've been thinking a lot about some common misconceptions about Moms of large families. Here's a list of things that a Mom of many might tell you if you took the time to ask.

1) We don't know how we "Do it." We just do the next thing. We certainly don't think we have everything figured out, that large families are superior or that we somehow win the mothering award because we have a lot of progeny. In a lot of ways, each baby we welcome feels like the very first one - just with a pile of other responsibilities and relationships to maintain at the same time. It's intense, there is no handbook, and we very frequently feel lost and ill equipped.

2) We get lonely. Our family life is an enormous part of our days and often there isn't much left over after seeing to the needs of our children and husbands. That doesn't mean that we don't crave connection with other adults, especially other women. We get lonely when no one understands where we come from because the lifestyle of a large family Mama is one that not one that many share.

3) We like order, too. We love a clean house. We don't thrive in chaos. The tangle of scooters and bikes in our garage makes us crazy, as does the truly endless laundry. These are things we put up with because we love having kids more. Some of us are great house keepers and some of us aren't, but all of us have the same 24 hours and have to make decisions about where that time goes.

4) We are more than the sum total of our large families. We have talents, gifts, interests, aspirations...we just also happen to have a lot of children. The only thing different, interesting and unique about us isn't that we managed to have a lot of kids. Moms with large broods make up some of the most interesting and talented people that I know. You just have to get beyond the kid thing and find out who they truly are.

5) We are proud of our families. We don't mind you coming up to us in the store or at the park and talking to us about our brood. We only get defensive when we feel like we are being treated like a punchline or a freak show. Believe it or not, we didn't go through pregnancy and birth or adoption just to give people a reason to point and laugh.

6) We care about our bodies. We aren't baby machines. We care about how we look. We don't always have a ton of time to maintain it, but we are women, too. We want to feel beautiful. The constant up and down of pregnancy weight gain can leave us feeling frumpy and self conscious, especially in a world that places such a high priority on physical appearance. We love to get dressed up and go out without peanut butter smeared on our skirts. It just doesn't happen very often.

7) We get overwhelmed. We feel stretched beyond our limits on a daily basis and we go to bed some nights wondering how we'll ever make it through these crazy years without going absolutely insane. We aren't always sure we can handle another pregnancy, another baby. But when that baby shows up, somehow it all works out and we can't imagine life without that amazing person.

8) We have unique relationships with each one of our children. Every one of our kids has a different personality and different needs. We know this and do our best not to fall into assembly-line parenting. This takes a lot of time and energy but also brings a lot of joy. Child #6 in our family is just as loved and valued as baby #1, and no one is ever "replaced" by someone else.

9) Our big kids aren't raising our little ones. So don't worry about that for a moment. Having a big kid fetch a diaper or push a toddler on the swing doesn't mean we are relegating the upbringing of our kids to their older siblings, or unnecessarily burdening the childhood of the older kids. We are fostering sibling relationships, working together as a team and teaching our kids about caring for others. This is a good thing!

10) We don't necessarily love pregnancy or all stages of childhood. One of my very good friends has twelve (yes, twelve) children and by her own admission hates being pregnant. There's an assumption that anyone who would voluntarily go through that twelve times must enjoy every moment is absolutely ludicrous. There are difficult aspects to every big decision we make in our lives. Just like a marathon runner may be over the whole deal by Mile 13 doesn't mean that crossing the finish line at the end isn't totally worth it.

11) We don't all have the same reasons for having a lot of kids. Some have deeply held religious convictions that extend to their childbearing. Some have blended families. Some foster, or adopt. Some simply can't find a good enough reason to stop! The reasons for having a large family are as unique as the families that have them. We are all different people.

12) Despite the intense work load, sky high grocery bills, Mount Everest laundry piles and simultaneous teen-and-toddler meltdowns, we actually do love our lives. Watching our children grow up together and love one another is an incredible gift that truly makes all of it worthwhile.

Hopefully this gave you some insight into the somewhat puzzling world of the large family Mama. Basically - we're just like you! Just with a lot of people to love and care for.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to future posts.  Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for stopping by! I love hearing from you! While you're here, don't forget to click "subscribe"!