Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Assumptions People Make

Hi everybody...Baby Martini and I are still here, in one piece, despite my best attempts to turn us into two pieces.  I would post a photo but I am definitely at the not-pretty-part-of-pregnancy and I don't want to scare anyone from having more babies :)

It's so fun to get people's reactions when I waddle out in public and they ask me when I'm due (it MUST be soon!), if it's a boy or girl (What?  you don't know?  I just HAD to know!), and if it's my first baby...which is when their replies get veeeeery interesting.

Is this your first?

No, my sixth.

Your WHAT?  

This is my sixth baby.

Mine only come one at a time.

And then come the assumptions....

1. You must be a saint.
(I'm so far from it, it's not even funny.)

2. You must have tons of patience.
(Nope, that's why God keeps giving me more opportunities to grow in that virtue.)

3. You must stay at home.
(I wish, but I work full-time.)

4. You must have lots of hand-on help.
(My husband does more than his share, but that's pretty much it.)

5. Your kids must all get along.
(No, my other job is referee.  I don't just wear stripes to be fashionable.)

6. You must have a big house to fit everyone.
(We have what we need, and are building an extra bedroom to accommodate them all.)

7. You must be saving for their college educations.
(Um, considering we just paid off our own student loans, that would be a no.)

8. Upon finding out we only have one girl:
You must be trying for another girl.
(Well, we would love to give Maggie a sister, but boys are awesome.)

9. You must love being pregnant.
(Nope, not at all.  But I love what comes at the end!)

10. You must be a good Catholic.
(I'm a practicing Catholic.  Emphasis on the practicing.)

Then the sweet ones start over-sharing with me, explaining that they would have loved a big family, BUT...

1. Kids are so expensive. 
(We're rich in love.)

2. My nerves couldn't handle it.
(Mine can't either, that's why I exercise.)

3. I have no family around.
(I do, but we are all busy raising our own families.)

4. I got bad morning sickness.
(Singing to the choir, sistah!)

5. I had a boy, then a girl, and they don't make any other kinds.
(This one kills me.  Spend one minute with any two of my boys and tell me they are not completely different.)

6. My husband/wife doesn't want any more.
(This one makes me so sad.)

7. We wanted to give our kids enough {time, love, attention, stuff}
(We try our best, and trust that siblings are the best gift.)

8. I wanted to get my body back.
(I'm relying on the promise of the perfect one in the next life, cuz this one's long gone.)

9.  I can barely handle my three children!
 (I could barely handle my three kids either!  It gets easier.)

10.  Our dogs are our babies.
(Blank stare.)

Here's the thing.  I don't think every married couple is called to have a big family, just as I don't think that everyone is called to have a small family.  What I really, really, believe is that we all need to let go our assumptions of the ins and outs of someone else's family choices.  It's between them and God.  

I hope that our choice to have a lot of kids isn't causing anyone else guilt or anger, because surprise! it's not about you.  Just as your family decisions aren't about me!  If there's one thing I've learned in this journey called life, it's that I'm so glad I'm not in charge because I would make a terrible god.  When we let Him change hearts and heal souls, then He can use all for good.  And hopefully we can be a willing and open part of His plan. 

 Until then, let's stop making donkeys of ourselves :)


  1. I think you are amazing! What beautiful gifts your children are :)

  2. I love this post! Thank you for sharing, and congrats on baby #6!

  3. Sing it, sister! What a great list! And, since you are on #6 and fully pregnant, I am sure you've heard.it.all. Assumptions are interesting, aren't they? And the BUTs, so true. It's funny how your list even prompts me to think a little bit more and rely on the God who does have a master plan. I've got to trust that He knows best for our family size and will grant me graces where needed. Which most days, is on a minute by minute basis cuz I definitely struggle with the patience. And you know what? I'm finding that exercise has become my go-to place to not only feel better, but exert energy so that I can grow in the virtue of patience/not be crazy mommy. :)

  4. I shared this on 'thefacebook' with the lead in line, 'one of my favorite blogs by one of my favorite bloggers'. This was great.

  5. Hah! I love the promise of having a perfect body... gah, I sure hope so.

  6. Ohhhh Lord, number 10. Vom.

    And mine's long gone too, haha. Here's to making a bodily investment in the next generation!

  7. A beautiful post, Colleen :) Here's to that little one almost here!

  8. OHHHHHH my goodness, I LOOOOOOVE this post!

    Especially #8 and #10.

    And the reflection at the end. I really need to stop thinking that other families should "have more kids" because you're right . . . it's not about what I think.

    Thank you for this!

  9. I'm a relatively new follower (must have found you through Conversion Diary's link-up? can't remember), and I LOVE THIS POST. Totally sending it to my friends who are expecting their 4th babies :)

  10. # 10 is the worst!

    This is a great post. Perhaps you could just carry copies of it with you and hand them out to all the donkeys!

    And I am quite certain you are NOT at the not-pretty part of pregnancy!

  11. I saw a bummer stick the other day that said, "Life is short, hug your dog". It drove away to fast for me to snap a pic. It should have said, "Life is short, hug your kid(s)"

  12. Great list!
    Praying Baby Martin makes a graceful exit and is 'kickin it' on the outside real soon!!

  13. I have heard all of those before also. The dog one irks me too. The my spouse didn't want anymore is sad. I always hear--I made my husband get fixed. When I had baby #6 was the worst for all the negativity for me. After that I avoided as many naysayers as possible.

    and for the record, I am not a saint, nor have any patience left, there is never a house big enough, and the you have to have help comment--I just nod and say ohhh yeah I have a lot of help (from GOD!) because if I told them I do all this myself they would have a heart attack right there. I also got "Ohhh you must live on peanut butter and jelly, you can't afford to feed that many kids!"--actually only 2 of them will even eat PBJ and the rest of us, we manage. Many people waste enough food for families twice their size every day.

  14. I have had the same conversations that you posted above countless times. I always respond differently too depending on my mood. I guess it is good that people want to discuss it, but I agree, usually they end up sounding ridiculous.

  15. Blank stare...too funny. People who consider animals on the page as people are just weird. but other people see us who love babies as weird also. They do. They just do not get it and I don't think they ever will. Thank you for being open to life, Colleen..you are so blessed and those siblings are just going to love love love this baby. lucky baby!

  16. GREAT post, Colleen. I think everyone has such outrageous things to say about babies because it really is such a difficult issue for everyone. All of my neighbors in our cul-de-sac have two kids, a boy and a girl, so they were all happy for us when they heard we were having a boy. One of my neighbors even said "You say you want a big family, but just wait. You'll be done after this one." It's so sad and yes, so rude, but I really feel badly for her. I don't know what her marriage is like or her family support is like. It seems so cut and dry when you're on the receiving end of rude comments but rude comments almost always come from a very complicated and very sad place.

  17. I love eveything about this post!!! Praying for you. :)


  18. I love everything about this post! Thank you for sharing. Praying for you. :)


  19. It's not about you.

    I've never thought about that before, Colleen. What a great thing to remember - and maybe even say in the right time and place.

  20. Greetings from Nicaragua! Hang in there "Mom", I am praying for you. I think that you are totally a Saint in the making <3 Love you and I can't wait to meet the new little one!!

  21. Love this, Colleen. We "only" have 4 so far, but I've gotten almost every question/comment on your list. I too need to stop thinking everyone should have all the babies though, because that's not Gods plan and it's not my business. :) But pleeeeeease post another pic before baby Martini makes an entrance.

  22. I agree with you on all these 100%! I always want to say to those people, but it would make such a long conversation, that we all give up our bodies and our lives to something or someone. I just happen to think giving my life and body for other people is the best thing I could do with it!

  23. We don't have dogs or cats. When asked why, I simply tell them I already have five pets...our kids are our pets ;)

  24. "I hope that our choice to have a lot of kids isn't causing anyone else guilt or anger, because surprise! it's not about you. Just as your family decisions aren't about me!"

    I totally, totally agree with this! "It's not about you." I think I need to make a sign that says that or something. I feel like whenever I tell people I do *anything* they come back with a list of reasons why they couldn't do that thing (ie. have more kids). It makes me want to scream sometimes.

  25. All I've got to say is "preach it, sister!"

  26. Personally my husband doesn't want anymore. Yes, it is sad. But then I feel sorry for the ppl that are on there 5th or 6th child and I know they don't have the means to raise them. I know ppl that can NOT have children who really want them and would be great parents and see the druggies keep poppin them out to stay on food stamps. Makes me mad and sad.

  27. I saw my hair stylist today who is close to having baby number one. She can't imagine ever doing 'this' again. I just laughed….
    What a joy and a blessing.
    Take care and rest up….you've got a lot going on.

  28. Well said! We have 4 and I'd love another. I can't stand it when people tell me, "don't you have enough!" Or "I don't know how you balance kids and work"

  29. Mmmm-HMMMMM!!! (All I ever feel like responding - and I only have 3 right now! - is "Are you trying to explain this to me or to YOU?!"

  30. Ha, love this :) And I just never understand why anyone should have to justify their family size! I always feel really badly for Catholic couples who feel the need to justify a small family (one that is small because of God, not because of man!) - there's just way too much judgey-judgey from both sides!

  31. I loved the blank stare one and the siblings as gifts one!!

    I still don't get it why people think it's OK to say things like this. If we turned it around, they would not like it at all.

    I have a cousin, that at Christmas, I told her how I was yearning for another. (she only has 2, grown now, girl and boy) She told me she wanted another so badly after her daughter was born, but they were not planning on more so they didn't have any more. (SO SAD) The soul knows...I don't think a lot of people think about it much, they have their 2 kids and then don't ever do the NFP question of "What if?" or "Should we have another?" (I'm generalizing, I know lots of people cannot have more children for medical reasons, or infertility, I'm talking about the people that can and don't)

  32. My grandmother always said "God gives you children who will test your patience, to teach you patience" We only have two kids and I can't imagine being opposed to more! I need to learn more patience here!

    Beautiful post by a wonderful mother! Your family is an inspiration!

  33. I love your "blank stare." I know a few single people who treat their pets like their babies, but better to love your pet than to love the wrong person.

  34. "You must love being pregnant" haha, yeah, that's it.

    The "my husband/wife doesn't want any more" makes me incredibly sad too.

    And the whole, "oh, I have three cats/dogs/any sort of animal pet," just makes me want to laugh because yes, having a dog is exactly like having a child.

    You're awesome. Can't wait for you to have this baby!

  35. Hooray for you. I can't wait to "meet" your baby. If it makes you feel any less under-attack -- I get a lot of the same and I didn't give birth to one of mine. My favorite is the people who give us the mean stare that I take to mean "How DARE you have a big family" when I am like the ultimate recycler! These are USED kids, people -- I never buy new. It doesn't matter, we still SHOULD NOT HAVE THEM.
    God bless you. Can you please teach me how to keep my house clean? Or just livable? Or just not close to being condemned?

  36. Very well written! VERY, very true.

    I could not comment on every single number because I LOVE THEM ALL. and yes we are rich in love and sibs are the best gifts!


  37. Oh my goodness, yes.

    We don't have any children yet, but I see tons of families (I work at a Camp that does Family Camps- and lots of 'em!) and I was horrified by one particular counselor (cuz unfortunately, some are in the process of learning to be sensitive while serving at Camp). She was counseling a family who had six children, two of whom were African American, the rest Caucasian. She said something that revealed that she assumed the two African American kids were the result of infidelity. They were adopted.

    "What I really, really, believe is that we all need to let go our assumptions of the ins and outs of someone else's family choices. It's between them and God. "



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