Big Families are not Status Symbols

Katherine - posted on 03/07/2011 ( 22 moms have responded )

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re-posted Cafemom



Another piece is rolling around the web about those wealthy Manhattan mamas who keep on having more and more children to serve as status symbols of their opulence. Even Tina Fey referenced the trend in her awesome piece on motherhood in The New Yorker, where she shared her suspicion that moms with large broods were really trying to boast about how big their apartments were.



I can't pretend to understand a woman who wants to give birth repeatedly. I had miserable pregnancies, and two unwanted c-sections despite of my natural-leanings. Honestly, if I could have figured out any way to have more kids that didn't involve my uterus -- I would have done it. So it's probably presumptuous of me to say that I really don't believe these women with a mini-van full of kids are doing it to show how wealthy they are.



Being wealthy may indeed, be a precursor to extra large families (although in some cases, it's obviously not). But as one of the interviewees points out, if there's a woman out there having multiple kids to increase her status -- she must be a sociopath. I would totally agree. So to call this a trend, would mean there are a lot of sociopaths in New York City getting pregnant for crazy reasons. I don't really buy it.



I do, however, think that pregnancy and babies have become a super trend over the past decade. Now more than ever you can dress your pregnant belly, not to mention your kids, in super cute clothes that don't scream "maternity" or "loss of identity." There are a zillion print and online publications (like this one) that celebrate parenthood, as well as dissect. Mom bloggers are dominating the Internet, and any halfway controversial book that comes out about parenting will get major play in all mediums. Moms are hot. Whether you have one or four kids -- it's kind of a big deal.



Maybe women who have four or more children are showing off a little bit. I mean, I'm impressed. But to imply their status is more important than their love for their children is way off base. Even those of us who know we're done having children -- seriously, the idea of even one more is exhausting -- have moments when we look at our children and think how amazing it would be to have another one. If money, pain, or space weren't an issue, who says we wouldn't all have a house full?



Do you think women with four or more kids are doing it to show off?







Image via Bravo





I somewhat agree with this piece. It's almost become a competition. Look at Nadia Suleman, TTC again.

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Jodi - posted on 03/07/2011

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"if you can afford a place big enough for 6 humans in Manhattan"

Imagine what they could have afforded if they DIDN'T have 4 kids, LOL.

Isobel - posted on 03/07/2011

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my bil and sil have 4 boys under 7 in a Manhattan apartment...and I can kinda see how THERE, it could be seen as a status symbol...cause if you can afford a place big enough for 6 humans in Manhattan...you're doin alright.

Becky - posted on 03/07/2011

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Nadia Suleyman is TTC again??? Ugh, that woman should have her friggen uterus removed!
Based on my own personal experiences with pregnancy, I think a woman would have to be insane to keep having children just to show off how wealthy she was. I would imagine that most women with large families have them because they want them. Or they're just too stupid to figure out how birth control works!

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Becky - posted on 03/08/2011

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Well, if I had a huge family, I'd be showing off, but it wouldn't be "look at what I can afford!" It'd go something like this,
"Yep, those are all my kids. How many? 22. The oldest is 14 and the youngest is 5 days old. Yes, I gave birth to all of them. All vaginally and without an epidural. Yes, they are very well behaved, thank you. My name? Oh, you can just call me (whipping out cape) Incredi-Mommy!!"
LOL!
Totally just being silly there. I don't actually think that people who have large families are doing it to show off, although I'm sure there are some who do. For us personally, sure, finances and resources have something to do with it. I'd love a big family - although not 22, yikes! But we're not wealthy and we want to be able to provide for our kids, so we're stopping at 3. For us - well, for my husband anyways - that's the limit of what we can provide well for. If we had more money, we'd have more kids, but it wouldn't be to show off that we could afford a lot of kids, it would just be because we wanted more kids.

Jaclyn - posted on 03/08/2011

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people have kids for all sorts of reasons but to say the more you have is just to show off is crazy. i know lots of people who have just one kid and only had them for a show. i have 4 kids i am no where near wealthy and to be honest i was done after 2. i had twins at the end and they were a complete suprise. i wouldnt change having all 4 but i didnt really plan on them. i would never have had just one kid, my opinion is they would have no one if both parents passed on. i understand having only having one you can give them more, but i think in the end the kids with siblings get more then the ones without. the siblings teach each other how to repect, share, and take care of others. i know moms will tell me thats our job but you have to admit it is a bit easier to do when there are other kids around.

Krissy - posted on 03/08/2011

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As a status symbol?? doing it JUST to show off??? I guess there's people out there that do everything in life for those reasons.



For me, (I'm pregnant now with possible number 4... I say possible cuz doc thinks it's a sure miscarry..just waiting it out right now)



Anyway, for me, we aren't rich, but our kids have the food they need and clothes and a smackelling of toys. Re: the concept that you can't "contain" children in small spaces and that 5 acres barely contains the posters 3 kids.... I think it's terrific if you can offer acres of land for your kids to explore, but growing up in a city isn't bad just because it's different.



Kids don't NEEEEED their own room and play room and huge back yard with trampoline, pool, and play gym... those things are a blessing...not an entitlement.



I like having lots of kids... do I like to brag once in a while?? shoot yeah... don't you brag about your job too? your role in life?? dont' you want a pat on the back once in a while to tell you that you are doing well??? do I get pregnant FOR that??? NO, cuz I know that there are WAY more times when it's just you surrounded by your kids than there are times of bragging rights....



As for birth and pregnancy... God no, I don't like the labor itself, but I love being pregnant and having babies. I also love having my children, not just the babies....



oh and tax dollars??? really??? there's a reason my kids single (no kids) aunt can run the continent all the time... she's been to vegas, disney, colorado ski trips, white water rafting trips, out to visit friends in other states, and to a wedding in another state... all in the past year or two....

Desiree - posted on 03/08/2011

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Any person who thinks that a woman is showing off with 3 or more kids is a fool. They can show off even with 1 or 2 children. Personally I would have loved to have more kids, but hubby and I agreed 2 max. For me its about the children I love having them and growing up with them. (I always said I would have all my kids by the time I was 30 mission accomplished) I have 2 that at least I have time for, with all their school things and my music and thier fathers things we barely have time to sit together. Here in South Africa children are a staus symbol in African culture A man will pay more labolla (dowery) for his wife if she has had a child before marriage and is educated. The more educated the future wife the more the idiot pays. The more children a man has and wives the richer he is and that goes with the big belly and how may cows you own. but the way Labolla is paid in land and livestock. And you should feel very sorry for this fool because if thier are no males in the family he is marrying into he takes full responsibility for the entire family. education and so forth and this also happens if the males die out the last one standing takes it all on.



In this day and age the only families in the european culture that have so many kids are because of religious reasoning for example Orthodox Religions.



I don't believe ever that you should have children for showing off, or for saving a marriage. Just like there are some types of women and men out there who should not have kids.



Erica we do not get any rebates for children, or for school so there is no real financial reason in South Africa to have that many children. The age of the "Waltons" have come and gone. People can no longer live like that.

Erica - posted on 03/08/2011

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....I don't know if I'm the only one that thinks this ...but...when I look at large families, I only think about the dollar signs during tax season... I'm not saying that they are having kids just for the taxes, but thats what I think about :P

Mel - posted on 03/08/2011

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I do notice some people with 4 kids or more like to throw it out there and show off that they have so many, but that definately wouldnt be my reasons for having a big family Im just someone who always wanted alot of kids. It wont be about anyone else when I have more it will be about us

Jodi - posted on 03/07/2011

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"Look at Nadia Suleman, TTC again"

Really? I didn't see that. WTF is wrong with that woman? And WTF is wrong with any doctor who lets her do it? Anyway, different debate I guess.....

Isobel - posted on 03/07/2011

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I'm not saying that's WHY THEY had their kids...they happened to have 2 boys first, then when they decided to try for the girl they got two more boys lol.

I don't think anybody decides to have a big family to show off...I just think people who live in big cities where large living spaces are rare get jealous of people who have enough space to have more than one or two children.

Katherine - posted on 03/07/2011

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I wanted a big family too. I only have 2 kids. @ Tara geez I hope I didn't offend you. I was just talking about Nadia and MAYBE the Duggers and MAYBE the other family that has 18 kids.
For God's sake they have 4 washing and drying machines!!!!!

Ok yes awesome to have a big family. I wanted 2 boys and 2 girls. I thought that would be nice. Unfortunately someone else didn't want it that way.

I hope no one was totally offended, I just thought this was really interesting :|

Krista - posted on 03/07/2011

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Having kids is just a hell of a lot easier if you're rich! You can even give birth in a birthing suite that looks like a ritzy hotel, and of course opt for a C-section so you don't have to experience labor. Then you take your baby home for your nanny to raise. Of course, not every wealthy mom is like that, but money sure makes it easy if you want it to!

Bonnie - posted on 03/07/2011

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Some people just love kids and the whole experience that comes along with it, from pregnancy to growing up.

Sharon - posted on 03/07/2011

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Can't you just throw a party a couple of times a year and show off how big your place is? Hell, play hide & go seek in it with your guests.

Sharon - posted on 03/07/2011

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Spare me.

But it freaks me out that someone (multiple someones!!!!) is trying to raise 4+ kids in an APARTMENT!! lmao. We've got 5 acres that don't keep our 3 contained!

Rosie - posted on 03/07/2011

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um, no i don't think it's a way for them to show their status. if i didn't think i'd go crazy with more kids, and was richer, i'd contemplate having more. more money means you can have more kids-if you want them. meh, maybe a few of them think it's trendy, but i dont' doubt that they love their kids.

[deleted account]

Lol I've always wanted a big family, hubby and I plan on 3 and then getting fixed so I guess I'm crazy for thinking three is a big family. My ex was the oldest of 7 and I gotta say unless you're weathly it just doesn't make sense. His mom was a single working mom with 7 kids, sounds glamourous and puts her on a pedestal. She raised the first 2 and then the older ones started raising the younger ones because she was never home. In a situation like that I gotta say it's stupid, don't have kids just for the bragging rights of oh well I have this many kids which is what she did frequently I mean its one thing if you want a big family and love raising kids so much and can manage it without the kids suffering. What pissed me off so much was that she would lecture anyone and everyone on their parenting because she viewed herself as some sort of expert I mean after seven you would be right? No, considering her kids all turned into screw ups it got to me quite a bit. I commend women with large families its difficult and has amazing benefits so long as its done right and for the right reasons. But in the previously mentioned situation I think she was an idiot for having 7 kids that all turned into druggies drunks and criminals because at the end of the day you know what each of their excuse was, mom wasn't home, she wasn't home because it cost so damn much and it costed so much because she had so many kids. I'm not knocking working moms but theres a difference between seeing your kids maybe a couple hours out of the week because you are ALWAYS doing overtime and working a steady 9-5 to provide for your family. I personally would rather raise a healthy happy family with just my two kids than add that third when I know we're going to struggle. Now if I could do and afford more I might consider having more than three kids but people really need to be reasonable and for my family thats our limit any more would make things too difficult. There are situations where these women didn't plan on so many kids or plan to do it on their own and I think they are strong women for doing so much but when you know for a fact you can not add another person without making the rest of the family suffer I think thats so wrong. Just my opinion hope I didn't offend anyone.

Tara - posted on 03/07/2011

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Me too Lisa, that's why when I found out about my little man Riley at age 35, having thought I was done having babies (my ex husband had a vas before we split) I was so excited about being able to do it all over again. Although being my sixth, the pregnancy wasn't as good, lost of puking lol

But the birthing part is what I love. I'm also a birth junkie.

:)

edited to add: and a breastfeeding lover too.

Minnie - posted on 03/07/2011

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I love birth. I would have more children just to give birth. I'm a birth junkie, lol. And I love breastfeeding.

But I'm not going to do it, just because I'm a fanatic about birth :P.

Tara - posted on 03/07/2011

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LOL, well if it's a status symbol to have four or more kids, where do I go to cash in on the status benefits?
Most people think I'm crazy or Catholic (the strict kind where birth control is prohibited) lol or they think I'm brave.
I'm none of those things. (I think some people think I'm stupid too but that's a whole other post.)
I just love my kids, I was lucky enough to have 6 natural relatively easy pregnancies and deliveries, the last three at home. So for me it wasn't status, it was love.
:)

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