What NOT to say to a mom with 3 or more kids...

I know there are a few of these blog posts floating around cyber ville, but I cannot resist writing from my own experience in the hopes that maybe I can convince just one "unruly inquisitor" to chill with their sometimes too personal inquisitions. Setting the stage: You begin making your grandmothers cookies and realize you're out of butter. You've already thrown other ingredients into the bowl so you're now committed to making these cookies. "Crap! (You think to yourself) Kids, get your shoes on, we have to go get some butter." [insert a bit of whining because you interrupted your sons hot wheels track building project and the pretend shopping trip your daughters were taking.]

You get to the store, and you're already exhausted. But you catch a second wind and begin strategically loading and directing where each child goes in and around the buggy. You've already given "the talk" to the older ones (you know the one where they hear you will not be buying anything that isn't butter). And so you get it together and you enter the store. Cue various stares and sympathetic smiles. Cue looks from other moms out on a solo trip to the store. [We all know those moms....and that look....the look of "I'm so sad for you to be shopping with kids right now...for butter...just measly old butter."]

Now enter the first curious bystander that also needs butter or something 'butter-cousin-like' as they shop in the same vacinity. They open their mouth and you know one of the following questions will follow..."don't they know I'm in a hurry?" (I think to myself) "I'm just here for butter, not a game of 20 questions!" "I wanted to be in and out...in and out!...the cookies!...they're waiting!"

First let's start with "The Big One": are they all yours?

I want to giggle every time this question comes out of someone's mouth because what I want to say and what I end up saying ("yes, they are!") couldn't be more opposite. Here are some responses my clever, witty brain thinks up but my mouth won't let me say: "No, I usually go door to door in my neighborhood before I head to the store to make sure any other SAHMs get a break in and I kindly gather their extra offspring." "Why? Are they not supposed to be?" "Nah, I make sure I take as many kids as possible to make my shopping trip more interesting and also as a profitable exercise for increasing my patience."

Comment nΓΊmero dos is as follows: "are you going to have any more?"

Let's just break down the awkwardness that is this question...you, a stranger, a store clerk checker outer person, just asked me if I was going to continue to hang out with my husband in ways that may render yet another tangible reward of our love. That. Is. Personal. I honestly don't feel that the asker means any harm in the question, nor do they consider the personal weight of their question prior to the asking, but honestly, don't ask. What's it to you, really? You already think I'm crazy, your eyes say it all, and saying "why, of course we want more!" will just make your eyes bigger and your mouth wider and you may drool some and your head just may shake a bit. I'd really rather not see that. Now we big family-lovin, full quiver peeps may take this opportunity to speak life and love of children at this point but I, personally, have to be in the mood to respond this way. And honestly, with little hands touching items in the check out, my ability to answer longer than a "yes" is dicey, at best.

The third comment we all love: "how do you afford them?/you must have a lot of money"

Again: this is personal and you are a stranger. But not only does the occasional stranger ask such a personal inquiry, but fellow family members may be dying to know what kind of plan you have to afford a big family. It's funny because I could easily ask the inquirer the same question: "how do you afford your life? Your kids? Your brand new car? Your designer clothes? Your 4th trip to the beach this year?" We all live different lifestyles and to some, vacations, nice new things, a big house, and school tuitions take the priority. None of those things are important to us and we sacrifice new things for lots of used things, we don't vacation [if ever], and we homeschool. Still, are needs are met with more than enough of absolutely everything. The key to our lifestyle is God (relationship, witness, tithing, giving), family (immediate then extended), and everything else. Being rich in those things, to me, is beyond this life....it's all eternal.

Inquiry 4: "do your kids share a room?" (while this question is neither personal nor rude to ask, sometimes the way in which it is asked is rude: a sense that having children share a room in today's world is just cruel and unfair).

Yes, and for forever and always they shall. Amen. In my opinion, sharing a room is always a good character builder and practice for the future. You gotta share a room in college, then you may share a room after college with a roommate, and marriage...well that's a whole lotta sharing going on there...so why not as a child? Besides, they're aren't a lot of 6-10 bedroom houses hanging out waiting for a big family to purchase out there. So, yes, they/we share.:)

Question five: "how do you do it? The two kids I have are a lot of work"

You just do! You do it with your two and I do it with my kids because that's what we've been entrusted with. Is it easy? NO way! But with each new child, you adjust to one more and then having that many kids isn't hard anymore. When I had one, I was scared about having two. When I had my second and got used to that, I felt comfortable and it was just normal. Then 3, then 4, and so on. Do I know how to parent 5? No. But when the time comes and number 5,6,7, etc. comes if God allows, that will feel normal eventually. Just like one or two is normal, but still hard, for you!

Bonus question: "don't you know how that happens?"

Ah! Back to the inappropriate, extremely personal questions. And to answer you kindly, 'O Curious One', yes. Yes we do! And we enjoy it. We certainly do. As a couple that's been together as long as we have and are still very young at the age of 30....we love each other very much. And we have given the world much proof of that, with maybe more to come. You're welcome.:)

-Alicia