November 26, 2014

Family Size: Whose Business Is It, Anyway?

Family Size:  Whose Business Is It, Anyway? | TheMarathonMom.com

Recently, I made a quick comment reflecting my opinion that four children in America today does not in my mind, represent what I would call a “large” family.  After a couple of comments, I knew I had irritated more than a few readers.  I posted the question on Facebook, inquiring why my opinion is offensive, to which I got widely varying responses.  I thought and thought about all this as many of you so kindly took the time to respond with your thoughts on this topic, and I think I learned a few things.  Having pondered it, I wanted to apologize if I offended anyone at all, and to bring it up one last time.

I will say that I know my opinion is largely formed by the fact that I  live in a bustling household with nine males on a daily basis.  In the original post, I mentioned “large family bloggers”, and no one probably realized I was making a connection there, that I was actually really saying I disagreed with bloggers with 4 children calling themselves “large family bloggers” giving advice when they knew where there other black flip-flop was.  I usually can’t find my other black flip-flop…..  See my point?

Here’s where I am now, thanks to many of you.

Family Size:  Whose Business Is It, Anyway?

1.  It’s nobody’s business but your own.  It’s between your husband, you, and ultimately, God.

2.  Everyone’s situation is different.  Three kids for one single mom is a huge (albeit wonderful) load to manage on her own.  Two kids might be a lot for a military family.  Ten kids may be another mother and father’s dream.

3.  It’s all relative, and what’s a lot for one family may not be for another.  Although historically a dozen or more children might have been the norm, it’s not today, and that’s not where we live.  We have different, very active, busy schedules.  Juggling the events and work and school and play of even two kids, let alone four, six, or eight can be an enormous job for two able-bodied parents.

4.  It’s best not to discuss what your opinion is at all on what constitutes “large”  or “small” or whatever, because everyone’s interpretation of this is personal, based on historical data or not.  People get defensive if they think you’re judging them or labeling them or discrediting them (even if you’re doing none of those things.)

5.  Family is family.  Family is beautiful.  It doesn’t matter if you have one or two or ten or twenty.  Maybe four is big for you.  Maybe it isn’t.  You be you.  Be the best mama you can be.  Who cares if you’re labeled small, cute, average, or in my case, crazy?  Your family size is perfect for you.  And whose business is it, anyway?

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Comments

  1. Andrea Madison says:

    I still don’t understand why that comment is offensive…People need to not be so sensitive to others thoughts and opinions. Although some are best to be kept to themselves, I don’t see why this is one of them. Thanks for your follow up. You have a beautiful family and I’m a little bit envious since having a large family is probably not in the cards for me. (I’m praying for twins-seriously)

    • Brandy Ferguson says:

      Thanks, Andrea. Blessings to you. ;)

      • I so agree with Andrea, just b/c some people didn’t agree with you is no reason to be so defensive, you, like them,are entitled to your opinion, on your blog :). There are much bigger things in life to pay attention to, get defensive about or whatever. We are all different, thank goodness, I would hate it if everyone were just like me :) And I know, that everyone doesn’t have to agree with me or see things my way. You are ‘brave’ in a way Brandy to put your opinions ‘out there’….keep doing what you do, people can use what they need and move on. Love your blog!!

  2. Katena D says:

    I get the comment and you probably as well were you trying for a girl. We are parents of 6 boys. We suffered from infertility and are so blessed to be parents to these boys.i agree that the ultimate decision is yours. Thank you for the follow up.

  3. What makes me mad is companies stipulating what a “family” consists of. We wanted to get a “family” ski pass at our local mountain and a family consisted of two adults and two children…What right do they have to that.

    • Brandy Ferguson says:

      I think it shows you how engrained this is in our culture – what’s “normal” or appropriate. Because after all, who in their right mind would have more than the specified number on a family pack, right? ;)

  4. I wasn’t offended and I haven’t responded until now, but I do think that 4 kids (sometimes even 3!) in today’s society seems like a large family. Most people do not understand why anyone would have more than 2 or 3. It’s really sad that kids aren’t treasured more in our society. Obviously, not all people think like this, but it has been our experience so far.

    • Brandy Ferguson says:

      That’s the heart of this issue for me, Lauren. Three or four kids in today’s society is a LOT of kids because….things get a little tricky past that. We are out of our comfort zone past that. We might miss a TV show or have to (gasp) drive a minivan past that…. I hear ya! :)

  5. As a blogger, and soon to be mother of 4, I want you to know I was not offended. Some days I feel like there are more than 4 and we have a huge family, that is mostly days when I am grocery shopping, buying clothes, or when I do laundry. There are also days when I am so in love with my family and thankful for what God has blessed me with and hope He will bless me with more :) Thank you for your encouraging blog!

  6. I come from a family of 8 kids, and my husband is one of 11. So, comparatively, I don’t feel our family of 4 kids is a large family. It’s all perspective.

    • Brandy Ferguson says:

      I was the middle of three girls, so I felt totally “regular” growing up. Everyone I knew had about three kids. My husband came from of family with five children, so for me, too… Four never seemed “large”. You’re right, it’s all perspective and how we view children (and our lives and priorities, in general.)

  7. chantel says:

    It’s funny but I never really think of my 6 kids constituting a huge size family until others refer to us in that sense. Yes, I always have to triple the size of regular recipes, on average have 12+ loads of laundry a week, and try to keep the volume in our house to a dim roar but love that my children always have a sibling to play with. My husband and I never would have imagined that we would be parents to six children but feel so incredibly blessed with this family. I think that my six “fit” into our family but the “fit” for others may be 1, 2 or maybe no children. If God decides to bless us with more children, we would welcome them with open arms. I wasn’t offended by your comment in the least but maybe that is because having six kids excluded me from that comment. Blessing to your mega sized family.

  8. I totally understand where you are coming from in regard to the “large family bloggers.” It is true there was a big adjustment for us when we transitioned from three children to four children in terms of how we could do everyday things in America- what cars we could drive, finding a table at a restaurant, getting a hotel room without breaking fire code, getting “kids eat free” deals, all of those things changed. However, home management was pretty much the same.
    I was hoping your announcement had something to do with Big Family Food, because as a mom of six, the typical recipes on “large family of 4 kids” blogs do not work for us anymore. I want leftovers!! Sometimes, I just want enough for dinner! I get so tired of reading how I can keep my large family grocery budget under a certain amount by getting four meals out of one chicken, or being told I can make a pot roast in my crock pot and have leftovers for lunch the next day. Or to save time by making a double recipe, when that really just entails making the recipe twice anyway since I do not have an oven large enough to accommodate a “double recipe” because “double” really means “quadruple” recipe. Don’t even get me started on shoe storage!! The difference is huge! I can’t imagine having twice this number of children, yet have many friends that do.
    It just makes me think of that scene from the “Cheaper By the Dozen” movie when the family is having a singalong in the car, and Mr. Gilbreth says “Oh, what fun! How do piddly families of just five or six children have this much fun!”

  9. Hi I am not offended by your comment, but I would have to say that in todays day and age I think large starts at 4 children. I have 4 children and I feel like we have a large family I think once you get to 9-10 kids you get into what I would call an extra large family. I am one of 6 and my mom is of 7 and I think that was more of the norm. Today 2 kids seem to be the “norm” and once you hit 3 you start getting crazy look and getting asked why especially if you have one of each and than everyone after that you just become closer to the looney bin in a lot of peoples eyes. So had I had 4 kids 30+ years ago Id say I had an average family but today I would say I have a large family.But like others have said its all perspective. Your family is beautiful and I couldn’t imagine 8 boys. I have 5 brothers and 3 of my 4 are male and they are the weirdest species!! LOL

  10. Being one of the ones who commented on the post, I hope it was implied that I was simply trying to point out that, like you noted, what you deem as a big family can be very relative to your situation :)

    • Brandy Ferguson says:

      Oh, Sarah, I totally knew what you were saying. I knew I had irritated some people, though. (Which I never meant to do.)

  11. well said. we are a family of 6, but lately I feel we are a small family, -my eldest is 21 working, 18 studying, 14 high school and 7, my home feels empty, think the age difference is the reason :-)

  12. I saw your original post but possibly before those that were offended. I’m in a unique situation. I come from a family of 5, my dad was one of 10 and many of my relatives have large families. However, in my generation, it is fewer and fewer. We just had our fourth. I don’t think of it as large when placed in context of my extended family. However, last year we moved to Scotland and here 4 is not only large it is HUGE. We are constantly talked to like we come from another planet for having four. It’s been a whole new experience. We are a pedestrian family but we even find it difficult to find a vehicle large enough to rent. It’s possible, obviously, but not as common!

  13. I’ve got 4 kids, and one on the way and only consider our family “large” because it’s what society does. When I’m having one of those blissful type days where everyone is being sweet and getting along and my heart is overflowing with love, you’ll often see my FB status say something like, “I just LOVE my little (big) family!!” To me, it’s little. :)

    • Brandy Ferguson says:

      I think it started to feel ‘large” to me at five, too, Jenn! :) I know you can’t wait to meet your new bundle!

  14. christin says:

    I get this all the time. As a mother of four with number five on the way I am sure I have heard everyone’s opinion on it we have come across. Our oldest is a girl and then we have three special needs boys. Our little due in 9.5wks is a little girl. I have heard were you trying for another girl, you do know what causes this right?, why would you try again with those odds (referring to my three special needs boys), man you must have your hands full. NO I really don’t and all that, sorry I just nod and walk away, sorry people, my life not yours. The your braver then me and the are they all yours when I go to the store with my four very obviously pregnant, are the two that drive me mad, yeah like I just took someone else’s four kids to go grocery shopping with when overly tired at 30wks pregnant, just to hear them whine and bicker in the store since they don’t want to be there any more then me, just for fun!

  15. Marcia Gilbert says:

    When my husband and I were married in 1969, we had talked about having 4 children, 2 of our own, and 2 adopted. We are each the youngest of 4, and I guess we thought that was the ideal size. Well, reality intruded. We didn’t realize with our first child that he was hyperactive. We’d joke about how active he got when he was tired. Then the second child came along. He was SO hyper, he was like 3 little boys rolled into one. It was so strong, that he was on meds for it at the age of 3. He also had developmental delays and had many years of speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Both sons are extremely intelligent, but this second one struggled in school due to his ADHD. Now, at almost age 40, he is struggling through college and is getting financial assistance (currently at 100%) from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services because he is considered handicapped. We were a military family, thankfully, so we didn’t end up with huge medical bills for the meds and the therapy. Turns out that for us (as we jokingly like to say–with no offense meant to our second son), one wasn’t enough and two was too many. BTW, the younger son married a woman who is ADHD and both their son and daughter are ADHD. Very mild with my granddaughter (as it is with my older son), and the grandson is as hyper as his daddy was, maybe more so, but without the physical delays.

  16. A family of four isn’t large compared to your family. You have every right to state your opinion. Everyone’s situation is unique and every mom’s perspective is different. I am going tO HAVE THREE and a lot of people think three is a lot of kids these days. Honestly I don’t care what people think. I’m not asking them to feed and raise my children! :)

  17. Congrats on your new baby on the way!!!! I am from a large family, 8 brothers and sisters, 9 including me. That is large. 4 is not large!!!! When I was a kid growing up and my friends only had 3 siblings I was bored at theie house!!!!

    You are right,

  18. Oh 5 girls and 4 boys. I am no 7,

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