What's a common misconception about big families?

30  Answers

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Goodness, there are so many, it's hard to pick just one to answer!
I guess the one I hear the most is "you don't seem like you have nine kids, and you don't LOOK like you have nine kids!", as though when you have a big family you must certainly be old, haggard looking, overweight, out of shape, badly dressed, uneducated, uninformed, and a handful of other negative things. Honestly, having all of these kids has been an amazing motivation for me to take care of myself! If I'm not taking care of myself then how would it be possible to take care of them? I have come to realize that taking care of myself benefits not only myself, but my marriage and my children. To be honest, I let things go for a while, buying into the idea that every woman keeps weight from every pregnancy, that 20 (or more!) extra pounds really isn't that big of a deal, and that it really wouldn't make a difference to make an effort. I didn't worry about keeping up with much that was going on outside my home, or about learning new things and improving myself. But as I realized that my energy and attitude were dropping in relation to the effort I made to keep myself well, I realized I needed to make a change!
I am now a runner (and dabble in triathlon occasionally), in the best shape of my life, eating well, and am healthier than I've ever been. I make an effort to stay educated and informed on current events, politics and world issues and to continue learning about a variety of things. In turn these things have had an impact on my family; they are healthier, my kids and husband are very active and are setting goals themselves, we have discussions with our children about things going on in the world around them and are teaching them the importance of being an active part of our community. So many people seem to think that in a large family mom must just stay home and be "barefoot and pregnant" all the time, doing no more than cooking, cleaning, and popping out babies, and teaching her daughters to do the same (and her sons to expect the same from their wives eventually). I am teaching my children that there is great value in many things in life. I am teaching them that goals and self-improvement are important, that learning is a lifelong process. That one can be a good influence whatever their sphere may be. That a woman can be well educated and strong and a mother, and that her influence will affect generations, thus they owe it to themselves and the world to always strive for the best.

9
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That's great that you keep yourself informed about the world. Do you talk to your children about over population and how you are contributing to the problem by having more than your fair share?

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I am often asked how we afford so many kids. People assume you must be a doctor or something! In reality many large families just do more with less. We do not eat out often and vacations are not an every year event. We spend lots of time at home and swimming at the lake or spending summers with cousins and friends.
Clothes tend to pass down and rooms are shared by siblings. We don't have as much material possessions but we make up for it with everything else!

8
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Ha! There are so many. Unless you are a big family or spend significant time with a big family you really can have no clue. TV gives such a stupid picture of big families and few of us are really anything like that. I enlisted my family at dinner one night and this is what they came up with.

~ We do not know the Duggars.
~ We are not like the Maxwells.
~ While we do have a strong faith, we are not religious. Not all large families have a strong faith in God. Not all large families choose to have a large family because of their religious beliefs. Allen and I made that decision before we even knew God.
~We live a very peaceful life. In fact, I have been in many homes with just one child that was far more chaotic on a good day than our home on a bad day.
~You are only as busy as you choose to be. We have friends with just one or two children who choose to be far busier than we are.
~Our children are individuals. We are not running an orphanage or a herding animals. We strive to bring out our children's individual strengths and interests.
~We strive to know each of our children individually and intimately.
~All our children are expected to contribute to the household and to the family and we try to encourage all our children to invest in each other but they do not raise each other.
~We are not poor. We aren't rich either. The Lord provides for our needs and we attempt to be good stewards of what he gives us. And we even find a little extra for fun once in a while.
~Our children are not raised in a convent or a monastery. Yes, we have very carefully taught our children from the word and we trust them to make wise decisions as to how they will spend their time and what friendships they will invest in.
~We are not homesteaders. We have a square foot garden and a cat and that is the extent of our farming expertise.
~I am not tired all the time. I teach my children early and well how to help out with their own needs and the work for the home. As our work load increases so do the hands to do the work.

I am sure we could go on forever. But the idea we live a rich and full life with our family. We do not sacrifice any joy or experience because we have chosen to have a large family. Instead we enjoy many more special moments along the way because we have more view points to look at and more personalities to enrich our days.

6
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Apparently, the biggest misconception is that the parents of large families are ignorant of basic Biology! I'm basing that on the most common comments of, "Don't you know what causes that?" and "Don't you know there is a fix for that problem?"

These comments are sad, because it shows what the prevalent attitude is towards children in our culture. They are considered to be expendable, too costly, a burden, and a huge inconvenience. Having children is considered to be an optional appendage to a marriage, and one that is often considered to be too great of a sacrifice to a woman's body and her career.

Another common misconception is that large families are a burden on society, draining precious resources from our "over-populated" world. Actually, well brought up children are a blessing to society in a variety of ways! And in a purely economic sense, they stimulate the economy, provide jobs, and pay for people's Social Security! Without sufficient children being born, our western civilization as we know it is gradually dying and our economy will crumble.

There is also a misconception that there is not enough love to go around in a large family, but I think the Duggars have helped to dispel that myth! Love just multiplies in a large, happy family!





5
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I so agree! We have 5 and have been asked so many times "why?" With materialism and self-indulgence at an all time high, our society sees children as a hindrance. While I did have to put a few of my hobbies on hold, I am being more fulfilled through my children and teaching them daily. One a funny note my husband wanted 0 kids and i wanted 10 when we got married. He is now pushing for #6. :)

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I think the biggest misconception about having lots of children is that the parents can't possibly have enough time to spend with each child. Although it may be true that there is less individual time spent with each child, at least for myself and other big families that I am acqainted with, there is more actual time spent together as a family.
In my humble opinion, and at least for me, the addition of 1 or 2 children allows life to continue as before. However, having 7 children has made us focus our attention on the children. There really isn't much time for anything else. But when the children (and family) are the priority, there is plenty of time to spent with the children.

4
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That we are all stay at home mothers that only live to clean poop coach and clean!

3
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That we mothers have a lot of patience! I do not have lots of patience. As a matter of fact, when someone tells me that, I always say, "If the Lord wanted me to have a lot of patience, he would have made me a doctor!"

I do however, strive daily to increase my patience and it is, after all, a virtue.

3
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This is so true. I am a mother of four three girls and a two year old boy. And one on the way! Pheeewwww my kids test my patience all the time! I totally understand where you are coming from.

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That the house has to be a mess all the time. I work hard to keep the house in order. It is not perfect but it is decorated and orderly (most of the time).

3
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That it's hard work. In fact, the older children take care of the younger ones and it's much easier than having an only child.

3
644 68

I have 3 of my own and 3 who are here from the time they get up to bed time (so it's like having 6) I tell you what today I only have the youngest one and he's SOOOO bored.

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#1 "Large Families Don't Believe in Birth Control" Now, while I do not believe that all forms of birth control are good, we have several children that came despite our efforts to "plan" a little better. We were thrilled, but not every one of our children was specifically "planned" for that time.

#2 "Life is always Loud and Out-of-Control" While we can get loud (just the shear volume of all of our voices trying to be heard) . . . and we do have a lot of loud, crazy, fun . . . life is NOT very often out-of-control at our house. When I have friends over, they often comment, "I can't believe there are actually _____ children here. You didn't tie them up and gag them, did you?"

#3 "The Older Children Must Raise the Younger Children" In some families, this is certainly the case. In our family, I am definitely the mom, always have been always will be. All of our kids pitch in for family "chores". We all play our part on the team. We all work hard to keep the family running like a well-oiled machine. However, we have worked hard to not put too much responsibility on our older children.

3
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That there isn't enough time to spend with the kids. My husband and I make a habit of taking one child out at a time with us while we run errands. We are intentional about getting to know each one of our children.

2
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That we are overpopulating the planet.

2
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You are!

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I think people think people with big families are irresponsible. I don't think that is true! There is a lot of love to give. I had fertility issues and it was heartbreaking. Now that i know what was wrong, I am happy with all four and would not trade them for the world!

2
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That the mom is patient! I get that all the time from strangers. I'm working on being more patient, but it is not natural for me. And I certainly didn't decide to have a big family because I'm good at it!

2
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I sometimes forget that our "normal" is a "novelty" to others, and there are families with way more children than us. We recently went to an amusement park to celebrate one of our children's birthdays. At lunchtime I ordered 8 hot dogs, along with a few other items. I shocked the concession stand worker so bad that he was speechless. I would say that a common misconception about big families is that they are not able to do as much because of the expense. While I will admit that it is more expensive when we go places, we manage to make it work. We look for deals like kids eat free and opting to go to the drive-in instead of the movie theater. There are also places that offer a family deal and those are more cost effective. It just takes a little extra planning and researching, but it is possible.

1
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One common misconception about large families is that they are something from the past, and now they are out of date. People think that families used to have a lot of children because they were useful on the farm, and that children are not valuable in and of themselves.

1
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That the joy, love happiness isn't worth the hard work and expense of parenting a large family.

The reality is that the hard work pales in comparison to the rewards. They are unimaginable!

1
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I think people assume parents of large families can't "love" their children the same, or spend enough time with them, as opposed to smaller families. I know I thought this when I was a mother of two. But nothing could be farther from the truth. I am convinced that once the Lord changed my heart about children, my capacity to love them grew ten-fold. Each one of them is unique and wonderful, not just "another number", like some may think, and I just can't get enough of their individual personalities!

1
10 6

We must not have a tv. ;) Many think we didn't want a big family. I am constantly told how full my hands are - as if this is a burden instead of a blessing. At some point, we must have started to look intentional, because the comments are different since we had our sixth.

1
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A common misconception about big families is that it's a horrible life for a woman. This is so, so very false! The Bible says that God makes the barren woman the happy mother of children, and I think more women would be much happier if they had more children. We tell women to seek fulfillment, yet we scare them off from the most fulfilling job they could ever experience!

If we are bound to work and pour our lives out for 50 years or so, why not do it for our own families and children? Besides the emotional and psychological benefits, there are also physical rewards--pregnancy and childbirth are not "unnatural" to a woman's body, and there are numerous documented health benefits associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding, which we almost never hear about from the media and medical communities.

My husband, David and I will be celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary this September 2013.

We have recently written a book entitled, "Homeschool Sanity: a Practical Guide to Redemptive Home Educating," which is available on Amazon.com which shares much about our Biblical worldview and family journey.

1
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Oh, there are so many....
That we've never heard of birth control,
That we are uneducated,
That we don't have cable.

1
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That we have nothing better to do than procreate - lol! Or that we don't have cable. I can assure you, we're plenty busy, we're just REALLY fertile. Ha!

0
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Misconception Number One:

This many children is always an accident.

That anyone would willingly choose to have a large family...the only real reason anyone has this number of kids is that it either took a while to figure out what was causing it or the parents of such a tribe are totally clueless about basic biology (!!)

Misconception Number Two:

Any woman who has given birth to such a multitude must look like a wreck.

When this notion is pursued for a further definition I am told "you don't look like you have had 9 kids" (great) then I ask "okay...how is someone with 9 kids supposed to look?" The answer… “tired, fat and grumpy” (!!)..WOW!

Misconception Three:

No one can afford more than two children.

Two children can actually be more expensive than 3 or 4 especially if the two kids are a boy and a girl (for example cannot pass clothes down). What is affordable? Who determines this? People out there just imagine the costs of raising two kids and multiply exponentially arriving at an overwhelming amount of resources supposedly required for a larger tribe.

Yes, there are some additional expenses but then what a large family values is often different to what a smaller family considers must-haves. Where there is a will there is usually a way.

I could go on…(!!)

0
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I think the biggest misconception is that it is harder than managing a smaller one. There are differences... it's louder and messier, there's more laundry, and I haven't seen a leftover in years... but these are really harder. It's just different. And there are many benefits. There are more hugs and kisses and 'I love you's'; there is more laughter; there are more hands to help and more arms to hold babies. Plus I get to experience nearly all the ages all at the same time. I can enjoy my nearly grown children while at the same time savoring the sweetness that small children bring to a family.

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That the kids were "accidents". I come from a family with 5 kids, and when I was growing up, when I would tell people that I have 4 siblings they would be shocked and usually make a joke about us being accidents. I didn't take offense, but it was funny because it wasn't true at all. My mom said that she had to try to each of us, keeping track of her ovulation and all that.

0
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Truly blessed to have the family God has gifted us. I came from a family of 3 children and my husband has 6 children in his family. I grew up next to a family that had 6 children and going to their house for dinner was always an experience . I knew at young age that I really wanted a big family. Raising my own children has been a great challenge, they have taught me more than they will ever know. They all cheer each other on at sporting events, dance recitals, cheer competitions, speeches at school and everyday challenges good or bad they always are there for each other. Just to be clear about myself , I was very happy when I had 1 child and all the way trough till 5children.

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That there are older children so they must be able to help with the younger children so I don't have to take care of them!
My goodness I did not have the younger children so I could have the older children raise them! Yes they are asked to babysit a sibling once in awhile maybe a couple times a year for a few hours. But I take care of them the rest of the time! There my children, not the older siblings children!
Also the same insult all the time!
Don't you know how this happens or what birth control is!
Really do you think I'm that uneducated?
We have children with disabilities this would include the oldest and youngest!
People day things like why did you not get rid of them after birth when you found out?
Really would you kill or give away one of your children?
So I there is no way the oldest can help take care of the younger siblings he needs more specialized care then the others and the youngest is a terminally ill child so we all just love him and treat him with respect and love for as long as we have him

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families with 4 or more children usually 2/4 get lost in the shuffle. There is always jealousy among siblings.

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That when my husband and I are alone we only procreate. We do other things, too! :-)

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That the children do not get one on one attention. Its helps because we homeschool, but we have great one on one relationships with each child. We make time for each of them during the day, and we also plan once or twice a month where we spend time doing a project or watching a movie or playing a game.

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