Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rant Against Rude Comments

I know I've probably ranted about this before and that many of you get way more comments than I do, having twice as many kids as I do, but I just can't help but rant today about this subject again. In the past week I have once again been reminded of how little this world cares for children and how crazy folks consider anyone who has more than the usual 2-kid quota.

Comments addressed to me from a few different folks:

"How many are you gonna have? You do have a stopping point right?" When I expressed that we would likely have four or five, she replied, "Good! I'm glad you are going to stop!" (As though I'm doing something bad, like littering or something.)

"Are you done?" From someone that hasn't seen me in years and hardly knows me. Upon replying that we'd probably have one more, this gal said, "That's a lot of kids" her tone implying that I'm crazy and that she's very glad that I have a stopping point.

Comments spoken about me when the person thought I was out of earshot but I wasn't, "That's her THIRD kid!!!"

Lots of folks eyeball me when I have all 3 little ones shopping with me. I think it's strange how so many people will give me adoring looks when I just have the baby with me. Grandmotherly types will come up and offer advice or coo at the baby with the assumption that it's my first. If I mention I have two others or if folks see me with all of the kids in the cart, they immediately put on their "Wow, that's a lot of kids!" face and treat me as though I'm crazy, even though just a generation ago many folks had 6 kids.

Now, it's one thing if my good friends ask me if I'm done or want to talk about the issues of mothering and reproduction. I'm totally open to that. But people I see once a year or less, who don't know me at all, some Christian, some not, seem to think that my reproduction is their business. The main view that comes across in many of these types of quick conversations is that they hope I'm done having children, and if not they want to know how many more until I'm done, all the while acting as though being totally done is the highest goal. I wonder what they would do if I said we aren't totally sure how many children we'll have or if I said that we would have as many as God gives? They'd immediately think I was a mental case!

I understand that in today's world, larger families are the exception to the rule and usually shock and amaze people, especially in our neck of the woods. A new doctor who moved to town started attending our church and he and his wife have 6 kids. I think it's awesome! It's funny how everyone in the congregation knew that fact about him and mentioned it, even though they didn't know his name or where he was working, but they were all shocked since it's rare to see a family that size in our town nowadays.

I understand that people may be surprised to see me with 3 in such a short time (with a little under 2 years between each of them). Yet, it's not like I'm having them every 10 months! And even if I was, would they have a right to make rude comments?

I don't go around asking folks that waited 5 or 6 years between kids or folks with only one or two, "Why did you wait and space them so far? Don't you think that's hard on the kids not being able to play as much with their sibling? Is your only child a spoiled brat? Did you have infertility struggles? Why won't you have more? You must not like children!" Yet, so many people seem to think that if you have a lot of kids and you don't space them exactly like the world expects or thinks is wise, they can ask personal or unbiblical questions, like, "Was he an accident?"

Instead of being rude back or telling folks to mind their own business, I try to mention that I love being a mom and my kids are wonderful blessings. They truly are! Of course there will always be rough days as a mom, whether we have one or six, and we can vent about and pray about those rough times with our close friends, while still affirming to a culture that doesn't value families, that kids are a gift from God! Whether God has blessed you with 10 little ones or only one, whether by conception or adoption, or whether you only have nieces and nephews right now I hope that you, too, will live out an appreciation for the blessing of children. If folks are concerned that we have too many kids to provide for, it opens a door for me to talk about God's amazing provision for our family! If folks don't understand how we can do it, it's an opportunity to talk about God's grace and strength and about biblical discipline and living frugally and simply.

So you the writing of this little rant post, I have reminded myself that people's rude questions can open doors to share the Gospel. John Piper would probably say, "Don't waste the rude comments people make to you!"


The Three 22nds said...

You need to move to my neck of the woods! I always get "oh, aren't they cute!" comments at the store, and my coworkers all think it is really neat that we have 3 kids and would love more!

And my cowokers and I LOVE to chat about reproductive issues. Maybe it is because we are all nurses :)

Jen Norman said...

I think that it is great that you have (and want to expand) the family that you love. Why not have more than one? or two? or five? People can be harsh and judge without thinking which stinks.

Deb said...

I don't know that I've ever left you a comment, but I check in on your blog every day. You haven't been around much since your last entry about lost. I hope everything is ok.

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