I am a few months out from meeting my fourth child. My other three children are aged six and under. I am no stranger to meltdowns, tantrums, attitudes, or epic drama that only toddlers can seem to muster up the strength for. Like any mama, I often end the day a little shell shocked but glad that we all made it through in one piece. Chocolate is my friend and silence is golden (at least after bedtime).
Like any parent of more than two kids, I get plenty of comments along the lines of “Boy, you have your hands full!”
Yes, yes, I do. Obviously. Don’t rub it in unless you are reaching out a helping hand.
Something about “larger families” really gets to people these days. While I am far from having 15 children, the looks I get from people suggest that it’s pretty much the same thing. What could I possibly be thinking to put myself voluntarily through so much work?
But here’s the thing: those numbers don’t matter. Every parent has their hands full. Every parent is thrown into the reality that their life is no longer their own. Every action they make matters to someone else, for better or for worse.
There are still bottoms to wipe and mouths to feed. There are still children saying “no” and bullies and great teachers and not-so-great teachers. There are still throw-themselves-on-the-floor fits and hugs and “I love you”s. There are challenges and victories and days when you just want to throw your hands up and walk out the door.
Life with three, or four or 10 kids, is just as overwhelming and beautiful as it is with one. It’s all about perspective and where we are in that journey of letting go and being what that child (or children) needs.
Contrary to what our society suggests (2.1 kids . . .or has that average declined in recent years?), there is no RIGHT family size. No matter how many kids you have (or don’t have), all of us are in this together, getting through the best they can.
So, when you’re tempted to write off that mom with just one (“your life must be so easy”) or the mom of 10 (“are you crazy?”), don’t. Instead, nod, smile to her and maybe sneak in a high-five, too. “You’ve got this, and you’re not alone!”
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What Everyone Ought to Know About Family Size was written by Amelia Mayer exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.
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