I’m astounded my post “Things I Would Never Say to a Parent with Two Kids” caused so much hubbub. To date, I’ve had over 23,000 hits and a lot of great comments.
I learned a few lessons with that post.
1. Everyone hears rude comments. I was unaware that insensitive comments really are made to women with 1 or 2 children, to women with none, to women who wait to start their family, single women, etc. I was blessed readers would share their hurts and their stories to enlighten others (especially me) with grace.
2. People are amazing. I heard a lot of great ideas of how to answer the insensitive questions people ask. The comments had me laughing for the past few days and also renewed my desire to be gracious in speech.
Today’s post is in honor of all my commenters who took the time to share their stories. I chose some of the best comments and listed them under the common questions women hear. I ended the post with some great wisdom and encouragement from my readers.
Thank you all for reading and for commenting.
Janet’s husband ~ “We keep trying for an ugly one.”
Shaylene ~ “I smile and say, ‘Yes, and do you know what? When I was 13 I wrote in my journal I wanted 3 girls and 2 boys, and can you believe it, my dream came true?’ I say it with pride and enthusiasm. After that comment, they’re are all happy for me.”
Janet ~ “And once, when a store clerk asked me if they were ALL mine, I told her, “Do you seriously think I would round up a bunch of other people’s kids to keep me company while I attempt to try on clothing?”
Lynnaire ~ “When my oldest son was around 10 , if we were walking around town, he would walk at the front of us all and try and read people’s faces. If he saw a strange or disapproving look we would hear him say “yes they are all ours!” . . He got so tired of that same comment that he took it upon himself to inform before they could ask lol.”
Nic ~ “No. They are all God’s, but He loaned them to us for about 20 years.”
Kendra ~ “Yes, and I like it.”
Family of Blessings ~ “No! But maybe you could explain it to me in detail and maybe draw me some pictures so I understand?” White.As.Ghosts. They walked away, not another word. . I was charitable in my tone of voice, but done with their questions. We need to build one another up and not question the actions of everyone.”
jk2b2g ~ “…but next time I might say “I got an A in college biology 101, so yes, I do understand how that all works.”
Jim ~ “You know, we’re still not exactly sure what causes all these kids, but we’re pretty close to figuring it out. We’ve narrowed it down to two or three things. We’ll keep working on it and let you know.”
Paula ~ “I’d grin and say, “Well, I guess we’ve figured it out pretty well, don’t you think?”
Hollye ~ “I never want my kids to think they are a burden or hindrance. My reply is always, ‘Oh yes! Full of love.’ “
Jennifer ~ “Why yes I do! I am so blessed!.. I have always wanted a large family and my heart aches that I can’t have more children while at the same time It is almost bursting with joy that I have my 4 sweet babies, and people have the nerve to tell me in a negative way that I have my hands full!!!! Your right, I do, I am sooo blessed, it is a true MIRACLE that they aren’t empty…….”
JoDeen ~ “I look them straight in the eye, smile a big, genuine smile, sometimes giggle and in my kindest voice say, “and a full heart, too. My kids love when I am accosted. They walk away from those situations knowing I think they are the bomb.com! Love multiplies, it doesn’t divide.”
Kathi ~ One cashier at the grocery store said…”My you must really like kids” to which I replied…”Nope it is just the sex I like.” That shut her up. (Forgive me Lord)
Momza ~ “I love having a large family! There is always something going on and we enjoy our time together. We are down to the last three at home, and although I am an active Latter-Day Saint mom, I bet I could raise these last ones as a drunk. lol”
Renee ~ “I was at a wedding when pregnant with my 7th child, the man seated across from us – a stranger- said “WOW!! Don’t you guys have a television?!” It had already been established that he and his wife only had 2 children, so I calmly replied, “Yes, but we don’t watch it much. You on the other hand must have a big one and watch it quite often…” He and his wife wen rather red, and he had the grace to stutter back in reply, “Yes…actually we do” We are now friends “
Carla ~ “I came from a moderately large family (five kids) and my dad was always saying things like this about US. (I remember him telling someone that our large family was caused by my mother being hard of hearing. At bedtime, he’d say, “Do you want to go to sleep or what?” to which she’d reply, “What?”)
Carlie ~ “I had someone ask me if they were all planned and I told them no, only one was planned, but we just had so much fun that the birth control just couldn’t keep up with the swimmers……sure made them blush fast.”
Jackie ~ “When I look at large families, I think how wonderfully blessed they are and God formed each one of those children. It’s awesome to see large families, especially in this culture.”
Kathi ~ “When people would express their sympathy for how many kids I had I would just say that I thought of myself as lucky.”
Carean ~ “He rights the desire of our hearts…and there is no greater place to be than in His will…as the bible says…children are a gift from God…blessed is he who has his quiver full…he will not be put to shame when he meets his enemy at the gates!”
Dawn ~ “I would not change one minute of my crazy, loud life.”
Cindy ~ “I would not trade them for the world.”
mithriluna ~ “It’s definitely an opportunity to share about how wonderful it is to have a large family.”
Jennifer ~ “ I have fulfilled my biggest dream in life and am working on my life’s purpose, I have become a Mother.”
Jennifer ~ “I think a great all-around small talk comment anyone can make to anyone else about their family size is, “”What a beautiful family you have. You must feel so blessed.”
Sonja ~ “The main thing is we need to be gracious to each other, forgiving and accepting. And trying to remember to think about our words before we speak “
Barb ~ “For me, the point is acceptance that every one is doing the best they can, with what they have for tools at that time in their life. As humans, we do have a lot to learn about grace, acceptance and humanity. Love to all….”
AshMac ~ “But I have found the secret to dealing with such comments: Understand that people, ALL PEOPLE, including you and me, are sometimes insensitive and rude. Practice grace, be grateful for your blessings, and let the joy of the Lord be your strength. “
ndev2Niki~ “We humans sure need a lot of grace to live with one another, don’t we?”
Shirley ~ “Basically we can commiserate with each other on how annoying/intrusive/hurtful these kinds of prying questions are but if we don’t inform the people doing the asking that they’re being inappropriate or hurtful in a firm but gentle way then we just perpetuate the cycle and nothing ever even has a chance to change.”
Family of Blessings ~ Answer the asker graciously or have a little fun. But know that we can never stand in the shoes of another. Not everyone CAN have children. Not everyone WANTS to have children. Not everyone WILL have children and many are combinations of those. Every life is a blessing and a gift from God Himself.”
abreininger ~ Hopefully your blog post can help people realize that every family is different and that they should keep their judgments and comments to themselves.”
Mandi ~ I wonder why people seem to feel like they should judge one another instead of loving one another.”
Oh PS. I’m following you. Keep at it 😉
Lol, awesome post. My bother and I look like twins so we get tons of weird comments like:
Woman: Are your kids twins?
Me and my bro: …. uh
Mom: No, they’re two years apart.
Absolutely laughed out loud over this. My wife and I have 7 kids with one on the way. She says this is her career and people have no idea what to do with that…. I have two comments: 1) when people ask if we are going to have any more, I say “We had an agreement to have two when we got married. I’ve lost the argument 6 times now. I don’t hold out much hope of winning anymore.” and 2) when people ask if we know what causes it – this is similar to one above. ” We have it narrowed down to two things, and if it’s what we think it is, we aren’t stopping!” Thanks for sharing.
Kelly J. says
When Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey wrote their biography of their family back in 1948, they called it CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN after their father’s favorite response when people asked him why he had so many kids (made into a movie in 1950; the 2003 “remake” only uses the name, not the original book). The book covers the years prior to their father’s death in 1924.
And then there’s the 1968 movie WITH SIX YOU GET EGGROLL which was one parent’s response to the question about why there were so many kids in their family.
So people have been saying stupid stuff and parents have been coming back with witty responses for a long LONG time!
I really enjoyed reading this and the original post. My husband and I have 8 children, and we get people staring, pointing,counting, everywhere we go. Of course we also get questioned about them. I even had a shirt made that says “No they’re not all mine. I like to gather up the neighborhood children, and then go shopping.”
I think my favorite answers when people ask “You know what causes that, right?” are 1) “Yep, and obviously I’m really good at it!” and 2) Oh, do you need me to explain it to you?”. Both of them work quite well. haha
I always get a lot of “You must be a saint” or something similar, and I always feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. Maybe because I don’t feel like I’m doing anything extraordinary. I’m definitely not a saint, and my kids could attest to that. I just take it one minute at a time, and do the best I can. I always wanted a large family, so I’m just living the life I always wanted.
Rika Ashton says
I come from a big family, so my parents had heard a lot of these comments as well.
My favourite reply from this post was the first one, “Yes, we keep trying for an ugly one.” 🙂 (Kids are so damn cute!)
Momma Mindy says
That was a new one for me. I had NEVER heard or used that one so its given me a lot of laughs, too. I still look at my kids in amazement at how adorable they are!
I have two unique issues: I have seven children, and several of them have Autism spectrum disorders. I am often given the “Wow! You must be a saint!” line. I have to laugh, if only they knew. “Not at all, but I do a lot of praying!” or “Are you kidding? I’m not a saint. I take it one day at a time and ask God to get me through.”
Momma Mindy says
Great response. That is encouraging for ALL mothers, because that is exactly how we all should be getting through each day. Thank you for the encouragement.
Coming late to the conversation. I only have three but since they are close in age I also get the don’t you know what causes that comment. I usually tell them that I do but that I can’t seem to convince my husband to give it up.
Momma Mindy says
OOOHH, good one! I am so glad you shared that response. Adds to the fun and our giggles about laughing away inappropriate comments.
You are so right. People just seem to like to make comments. I got tons of comments when I was pregnant with my twins, and you should hear the ones I get now.
Example: Lady: Oh, are they twins.
Me: Yes they are.
Lady: How sweet. A girl and a boy.
Me: Actually, they are both girls.
Lady: But one is wearing blue.
Me: Yeah…but it’s a dress ;-p
Mostly I just laugh it off since for every silly or ignorant comment I get, I also get a sweet or touching comment about how sweet the girls are, what a good brother my son is, or how nice a family I have. So in the end, it all works out 🙂
Momma Mindy says
Your comment is hilarious, thank you for sharing! I had someone insist my son was a girl, even though he was in a baseball uniform. And yes, we hang on to those delightful compliments and encouragements that others offer.
I think with kids whether it’s a big family like you or three under three with me, finding the humour in things is an essential survival mechanism. 🙂
Ann Kilter says
I have two children with autism, and one with other special needs. They are adults now. One of my friends asked me, after she had given piano lessons to my kids, “How can you stand it?” This was in regard to the constant talking. I answered, “One day at a time. That is how I do it.” There have been many times that people have said astoundingly insensitive things to me in front of my kids (who can hear by the way). It was at those times that I have been wonderfully blessed by speechlessness. I was sometimes mad later. But sometimes the most stupid things pop out of our mouths. I suffer from foot in mouth disease too.
Momma Mindy says
Ann, you are so right. We all hear things that are insensitive, sometimes we say them. This blog conversation has been an encouraging reminder for us to all be more supportive to all moms. Thanks for sharing!
Coming in late on the conversation, I loved the original post. So glad you quoted some of the comments here as I just don’t have time to read them all 🙂 The thing is to know that children are a blessing and that God is sovereign. A lot of people are dealing with the circumstances God has put them in. Many children, few children, no children. We all have challenges and need encouragement.
“But Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Momma Mindy says
Ruby, I loved your encouragement to be content. We all go into our adult lives with dreams and desires, but not all come true. To trust in the Lord through all these things brings us the greatest peace and the greatest ability to serve where/how He has called us.
I almost wish I were brave enough to repeat some of those answers! Lol, I am 25 with my 3rd almost here and have already had lots of comments and questions about it, but if Jesus will give me more I will gladly take them. Nothing in the world is more valuable (or work, lol) then children 🙂 thanks for the fun post!
Momma Mindy says
Alyssa, congratulations on #3! I loved having a bunch of little ones around. It was a precious time. Yes, you are so right, lotsa’ work and lotsa’ value in children.
I needed a good giggle today. This one did it!
Mindy Peltier says
Me, too. I’ve been laughing in my office since Monday! Glad I could give you some good medicine today.
I have a small family, but these responses are so good i wish I had a chance to use them!
Mindy Peltier says
Didn’t people come up with some great laughs and some great encouragement? Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
I loved this and laughed at many comments. Thanks for sharing!!
Mindy Peltier says
Hope you came up with a few answers you can use. Of course, I’m sure you’ve been asked a few times if you’re “trying” for a boy with four precious little girls! Have a blessed weekend, Tandis.
My friend with six children would calmly reply to those who made a comment about the size of her family with this…”and which ones do you think I should send back?” THAT at least made them think about what they said!