Catholic Sistas » perspective from the neck

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Eleventy billion quips you’ll hear about your large family

{please read ONLY if you have a sense of humor kthxbai}

 

 

Ok, so maybe not eleventy BILLION quips, but it’ll sure feel that way after a while. I don’t know why but, for some odd reason, I don’t have much experience with negative comments from strangers. I can’t figure out if it’s because of my winning smile – I exude a “can do” attitude when I leave the house {are you laughing at me???} – or if it’s because my laser beam stare {i.e. death glare} comes out when I suspect someone is going to let something incredibly rude or crass roll off their tongue. I hope it’s the former…it’s likely the latter.

Over the years in my online community, we have had many-a-discussion about the comments received from strangers about family size. I’ve never really considered my family size to warrant the comments some of these women have received, but in the event that someone makes one of those comments to me, I am now ready and able to identify the comment, the tone, whether it was genuine or baiting and assess how to respond…if at all. A smile kills the snarky intent of some folks.

So you can imagine when I announced our newest addition recently in our group {boosting us into the family-of-eight category – I posted “I may or may not be pregnant. That is all.”}, one of the gals decided to do her own spinoff thread of the anticipated responses I would be sure to hear and the following quips ensued.

**disclaimer: Catholic Sistas cannot be held responsible for loss of any liquid  that comes out of any orifice. Read at your own discretion. The end.**

 

She posted – What Martina is going to hear from strangers and “friends” in the next few weeks and years? Go. I’ll start. 

 Haven’t you figured out what causes that yet?

You are going to have your hands full! ::said with patronizing expression::

Are you NUTS?! 

Get a hobby…

…*another* hobby… 

Are you trying to keep up with the Duggars?? 

Can’t {husband’s name} leave you alone for two seconds? 

What, are you going for a football team? 

You need to stop having babies. There is no way you can have that many children and give them all enough love and attention! 

Breeders. 

Let me guess…you must be Mormon…or CATHOLIC!!! 

Now that you have a half dozen kids, are you going for a full dozen? 

Ever heard of cable t.v.? Satellite? Netflix? Hulu? 

Clearly {husband’s name} and the Catholic Church are oppressing you. 

You and others like you are the reason this world is overpopulated! 

You can sleep when you retire…

…just not with {husband’s name} 

This is your last one, right? 

You look great!! For a woman with 6 kids. 

Don’t you know what causes that?

You know, for the cost of raising that baby, you could feed fifteen starving children in {pick any impoverished country}

Well, {husband’s name} can’t leave you now…divorce will be too expensive!

I bet your uterus is just about falling out of you by now!

Y’all don’t get out much do you?

Good Lord, how old are you? Do you think this is safe at your age?

I bet this one will just fall out of you during delivery.

At least you have older kids…they will raise this one for you anyway!

HA – as if this is actually going to be a difficult pregnancy!…don’t they just WALK out at this point??

I’ll pray for you. You’re gonna need it.

It’s a uterus, not a clown car. 

See, I told you NFP doesn’t work…

Remind me not to let you in my car in 8 months!*

*Sigh*…if I had that kind of money I’d be a baby-making machine, too.

I bet your house is HUGE!!!!!

You’ll never be a supermodel now!

Better you than me!

I can’t imagine your grocery bill. Wow!

You’re so LUCKY you can stay at home with them.

You should get your own show. I mean, who in their right mind has SIX kids???

Tell me they aren’t all yours!!

You know you can do more than just make babies, right? Or does your husband not let you?

Have you had a recent head trauma?!?

You might need a walker the last month…**

Texas is in a drought and you want to add MORE kids that require water?? You must not care about Texas!!!***

Don’t you know you’re supposed to keep your toothbrushes on OPPOSITE sides of the sink??

I suppose you’ll be buying one of those 12 passenger vans, now. 

I’d go with the 15 passenger so you never need to upgrade again…of course, you’ll be killing the environment driving it, though.

Are they all from you?

You’re SO socially irresponsible!

Was this one on accident?

I know what you’ve been doing!

You know, they’ve figured out what causes that now…

Absolutely NO self control…tsk, tsk…

Are you getting your tubes tied/husband getting the big V after this one?

How many are your husband’s???

How many times HAVE you been married?

Are you sure they’re all yours? I didn’t know Mexicans could have blue-eyed babies.****

Are you done, YET?!?!

Way to kill the earth. 

 

As we all joked about these and had a good laugh, I realized that most people {with the exception of some who are just all drama} say these things with all sincerity. They genuinely feel like these comments are wanted, appreciated or that it will spur on a fruitful discussion. I’m actually not sure why private issues like fertility have become such common place topics to bring up with strangers. Why some feel the need to comment on others’ fertility or offer their own story as an example {validation, perhaps?} I’ll never understand, but I find that each of these comments represents an opportunity for us to be an example of Christian charity and a beacon of the Faith to shed light where there may be none.

The times that questions have come up for our family, I have usually made light of the situation. Typically if we are at a place where we pay for a service, I will casually say, “Oh, so-and-so, don’t you know we are just helping you out! We’re bringing you more business!” For future situations, I do hope that I will be able to avoid the temptation to respond in snarkines, or just offer it up when someone is baiting or blatantly unkind. I know those days will come. And I hope that I can make Jesus proud of me, whether it’s through example, word, or deed. So, friends, when all the world is pushing for people to check children off the commodity list, two and one of each, please, know that your example of being open to life is well-received whether you hear it from someone directly or not. This is one of the ways that we can be a visual example to the secular world of our desire to be counter-cultural.

Embrace it. Own it. Love it. Share it. Don’t be afraid. Kill ’em with kindness.

Share with me how you’ve responded charitably to comments you’ve received from strangers about your family size in the combox.

 

 

* #4 was born in the car after a less than one hour labor. Um, yeah.

** I am officially AMA {advanced maternal age – 35} now. Booooo…

*** Just to connect dots…I live in Texas. And we’re in a drought. Still.

**** When you have my lazy Mexican DNA that meets with bossy German DNA, you have re-donk-ulous potential to have kiddos who are EXTREMELY white…it makes for some interesting conversations with people…until they see my other kiddos who actually look more like me.

 

About Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to seven kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-1/17. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.

  • Shiela - LOL, Martina! You are probably the only woman who gets asked, “are you *sure* they are all yours?” I am proud to say that I am the one who started that silly thread that turned us all into a room full of giddy junior high girls for an afternoon. We were just so excited for you and joy and laughter go hand in hand. As for me, I’ve heard quite a few of those comments. When I arrive, anywhere, my van looks like a clown car as one by one the kids keep climbing out. It makes for some uncomfortable moments when I am holding up a parking space for someone. I am happy to report that I get more smiles than I do looks of impatience and disgust, though. I am so excited to be a witness to your unfolding journey! God bless you, my fertile sista!October 27, 2011 – 7:49 amReplyCancel

  • Anna - I say you go for the baker’s dozen.October 27, 2011 – 8:08 amReplyCancel

  • Julia Muravez - One time being a little late for mass we had to sit farther back in the the church than usual. The only pew left that had room for ten had one lone man at the opposite end, so we all filed in.

    The man was so impressed with how well my kids behaved in church, that he handed my second oldest child a bill and said, ” You and your brothers did so well during Mass, have your parents take you out for ice cream. ” Alex said thank you as the man tried to walk quickly away.

    Alex then noticed he was holding a 100$ bill. He ran after the man and said , “Sir!, Did you realize how much you gave me?”

    ” Yes , I did son.” he replied. Leaving Alex standing there with his mouth gaping open.

    That was the most random compliment and act of kindness we have ever gotten. We were very grateful for it.October 27, 2011 – 8:18 amReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Hoekstra - My parents had 9, but my dad’s favorite time was when they had 7 and he would tell people he had one and a half dozen children. They would be horrified that he had EIGHTEEN children *gasp*, until he explained that, no, he had one. And a half dozen. Suddenly seven didn’t seem like such a big number by comparison.October 27, 2011 – 8:20 amReplyCancel

  • Julia Muravez - oops. I didn’t read your instructions on the comments.

    All comments I get that are rude and hurtful I tend to raise my eyebrows, open my eyes wide, and try to put on that ” Did you really mean to say that? ” look on my face. Then I say “UUMMMMmmm…”, and then I change the subject or walk away.October 27, 2011 – 8:25 amReplyCancel

  • Melanie - I have gotten “do they all have the same father?” question more than once–and, yes, they do. My bossy German DNA and his crazy native american/english, Irish, Scottish/African American DNA have met in a number of interesting ways.October 27, 2011 – 8:36 amReplyCancel

  • clare - Um…yeah. I have heard about 80% of those! Thanks for the laugh Martina!!! <3October 27, 2011 – 8:43 amReplyCancel

  • Ellen - Tee hee. You said “lazy Mexican”(DNA). You racist!!

    Anyhoo! I’ve finally learned to stop gritting my teeth and fight the urge to try to “justify” my family size, and just say “yes, I’m very blessed”, no matter what the comment. I’m also completely honest now and say, we’ll probably have at least one more, when asked if we’re “done”. When that leaves them with mouth agape, I say “what’s one more?” I’m 40-almost 41, it’s a given with some folks that I’m going to die in childbirth or have a serverly disabled child. I won’t even go there with people like that.October 27, 2011 – 9:33 amReplyCancel

  • KarenM - I don’t have a large family yet, as I at 24 just have my one daughter. I’ve had the negative/surprised comments that I started a family SO YOUNG (which is funny since I know people who started WAY younger than me). And I’ve gotten, mostly from my family of origin, comments about my desires to have another child soon. I’ve been told my daughter will actually suffer emotional harm if I conceive a child before she’s at least a year old. I’ve explained why I don’t agree with this person’s statement repeatedly, and over time, with gentle explanations and not losing my cool, I think I’ve won them over–or at least they are pleasant and don’t bring up that opinion.

    I agree…it’s strange that people feel the need to comment on others’ family sizes and decisions.October 27, 2011 – 9:52 amReplyCancel

  • Allen Hebert - I love it, I have heard almost all of those (but not the Mexican ones :^). The comments get less as you have more kids. After 7 or so, people just shake their head and avoid talking to you just in case what you have is contagious.

    I suppose some also figure that you might actually want to have a large family and there probably isn’t anything they could say to convince you otherwise. At six, there is still hope?

    What really gets me is when people make these comments in front of your children (or theirs). Can you imagine how that makes young kids feel? I always have to say something charitable (if I can) when there are children present, lest those little ones feel that they are a burden and not wanted or appreciated. They are all such blessings, but people only see the suffering that goes along with raising them to be adults.October 27, 2011 – 10:43 amReplyCancel

  • Martina - To be fair, I said *MY* lazy Mexican DNA…I’m not commenting on anyone else’s lazy, racial DNA. 😉October 27, 2011 – 1:08 pmReplyCancel

  • MIchelle - I’ll have to disagree with Albert! While people pretty much assume after a certain point that you’ll keep having kids I am still hearing all of these during this pregnancy with #10! LOL It always cracks me up when people ask if I had them all with the same dad (I did) because who in their right mind would ask something like that outloud?!

    Congratulations Martina! I am voting for you to have at *least* a half dozen more. Afterall, just look at those kids you and your crazy concoction of DNA makes! Gorgeous!October 27, 2011 – 1:43 pmReplyCancel

  • John Waukechon - Very funny stuff, Martina. I hope that all the comments you hear are the polite kind. Some of the things people said to my wife 18 years ago when she was expecting our 3rd child 16 months after our second was born were cruel and stupid. May your ears close if anyone says things like that to you.!October 27, 2011 – 5:00 pmReplyCancel

  • John Waukechon - One more comment and I will go away! Many people in this culture are shocked to find any hint that families live their lives accoding to any religious tradition. My youngest child was premature by 10 weeks, and the comment that drove my wife craziest was, “What is the child’s last name?” To be fair, she was at a large public hospital and many of the mothers to be in ICU were young teenagers who were not married yet. But it still surprised her that the nurses just assumed there would be a difference in the mother’s and baby’s last name.October 27, 2011 – 5:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Haha… I actually DID need a cane for the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy with #2… only #2, but then, I was 37 years old, positively ancient!
    (it was a freak thing with my hip/back, got better right away once DD was out.)October 28, 2011 – 1:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Dolores - Martina, my sister shared your site with me, thinking I could relate. Yep, she was right. With only the three youngest (of 9) at home, we don’t hear those crazy comments anymore. Who would of thought I would miss them. LOL Thanks for the memories.October 28, 2011 – 9:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Dolores - Oh, and for those blue eye mexicans…we have a few of those too. I long ago stop giving a DNA lesson & when ask where they got them from,I would just say, “Their father”.October 28, 2011 – 9:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Ruby Oliva - I usually read, but don’t comment, but I just had to on this one. Just like you and your husband, we are a family of 8. Our oldest son is 10 and our youngest daughter is 11 months. I’ve gotten so many comments about having so many kids and it was difficult at first to stay calm or come up with a good answer. Although I wish I can come up with a very unique and mind blowing answer, whenever I get a comment as the ones you listed, I just smile and say we are open to life and that we don’t know what God has planned for us (as far as having more children). And somehow if we are at a party, we end up being the subject of conversation 🙂 God bless all of you beautiful moms and big families!October 29, 2011 – 11:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Amelia - I LOVE this! You rock, Martina. I have heard quite a few of these and I only have four kids. For the record, I am a dark-eyed, dark-haired, olive-skinned, Puerto Rican married to someone of German descent and his bossy German DNA has overridden mine in three out of the four kids. I even have a blondie! LOL Congrats on the new baby. God bless you!November 25, 2011 – 5:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Wendy - I always tell people how much fun we have. We don’t attend parties — we ARE the party! We’re a package deal. We’re never alone and we’re never lonely. Christmas at our house is a blast! Summer vacation is NEVER boring! There’s always someone to play with. There’s always someone to help you. Your car/house/boat won’t love or take care of you in years to come. Somebody’s gotta keep making beautiful, brilliant kids, right? Finally, when someone says, “You’ve got your hands full!” I say, “Yeah, well, you should see my heart!”February 6, 2013 – 4:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Mindy Peltier - Wow, you did come up with a bajillion more than I remembered. I forgot all the horrible comments against my hubby.

    But, love the way you kill ’em with kindness. Since we love having big families how we answer their questions proves it.

    Blessings to your family!June 12, 2013 – 9:03 amReplyCancel

    • Martina - It’s amazing how casual people treat discussions of fertility with total strangers…one of these times I’m going to respond in a dead serious tone, “did you really just invite yourself into my bedroom??”June 12, 2013 – 6:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Angela - I am one of six kids also. I know that my parents had some issues with a few people commenting on how many kids they had, but I didn’t really notice it all that much. (We were homeschooled, too, starting in 1993. Mom told me this weekend that the cops were watching our house for awhile! She just told us to smile and wave if we saw them and eventually they left.)
    The flip side of the issue is that you have some people, such as me, who struggle with fertility issues. My husband and I have been married for two years. He has an 8-year-old daughter from his first marriage (he received a declaration of nullity for that marriage). We have been trying to conceive for some time now, and we believe that I recently suffered a miscarriage 🙁 I always figure, it’s nobody’s business how many kids an individual family has, as long as the kids look happy and well-cared for, and they’re well-behaved. Mom used to get lots of compliments on how well we behaved, and many of us have won academic and community service awards.June 17, 2013 – 8:38 pmReplyCancel

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