Are They All Yours?

People often stare at me. And I get a lot of comments when I’m out shopping. So. Many. Comments. But I’m not getting comments or stares for anything enviable by the general public, though there’s also no horrible, negative reason for the attention. I just have a big family. 

When we got married, my husband and I said that we wanted to have four or five children, which may already seem crazy to some of you. I come from a family of nine kids, and my husband has just one sibling, and while he always wished he had more, I knew I could never handle nine of my own. So a compromise seemed like the way to go. Five years after our fifth (and presumed final) baby was born, we were surprised by a sixth. So here we are, with six kids born in 13 years. Not exactly the normal American picture. 

I can’t grocery shop without people asking if I feed an army or run a daycare center. When we eat at a restaurant, travel, or do pretty much anything in public, people notice and sometimes make comments. And you know, it doesn’t bother me at all. 

You’ve probably seen the posts, articles, and listicles that detail things like “12 Comments Never to Make to a Mom with Many Kids,” or something like that. And I’ve gotta tell you that when I read those, I roll my eyes. Nearly everything in those lists I’ve heard at one time or another, and I don’t know why they seem so upsetting to some. 

“Are they all yours?” Yep!

“You do know what causes that, right?” I do, and it’s pretty awesome, right?

“Do you own a TV?” How else would we watch football all fall long?

“How can you FEED them all?” One meal at a time. 

“You sure have your hands full!” Agreed. I’m so, so outnumbered. 

“Why would you have so many kids??” No real reason, we just like them. 

These are genuine questions from genuinely curious people, who sometimes make funny, light-hearted conversation. I’m approachable and have retained my sense of humor. To be automatically offended would be to forget that I’m doing something different. Our family is fairly counter-cultural, considering that the average American woman has a total fertility rate of less than two children. I chose to have a bigger-than-average family, and I know most people don’t or can’t make that choice. 

I can think of only one time when I received a comment about our family size that was so negative, so blatantly rude, that it caught me off guard. But the rest of the time? I just answer the questions. I’m also clear that I’m not an advocate for everyone having a big family. This is us, and we like it. You be you!

Sadly, it’s not as common for me to be out with my whole family anymore, since my oldest is an adult and the teens with busy social lives outnumber us now. I hear fewer comments when I only have three or four kids with me, but I’m still fine with all of it. Thick skin and an extroverted personality help, to be sure, and I hope that I’ll always welcome queries into the way my life works. Someday, I’d better be fielding questions about why in the world I have so many grandkids. 

Kristen S
Kristen grew up all over the world as an Air Force brat, with amazing parents and eight siblings. She met husband Dave at college in Chicago, and, in addition to the Windy City, they lived in San Antonio and Northern Virginia before settling in Fort Worth in 2010. Along the way they managed to have six children: Molly (98), Warren (01), Henry (02), Carrie (04), Liam (06), and Donovan (11). Most of her time is spent homeschooling her brood, but Kristen is also a lover of Notre Dame and Seahawks football, IPAs, and winter. She believes in teasing her children mercilessly to keep them well-adjusted.



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