Then I guess you won’t mind me asking inappropriate, personal questions. Here are some of my “favorite questions,” and my answers, or how I wish I could answer them.
We’ll start with the all-time #1 question: “Are they all yours?” If I answered no, wouldn’t you think it was more odd that I was taking a random group of children with me to the grocery store? After we got this question for the millionth time the other day, LV asked why so many people ask us that question. “Is it because they don’t think we look alike?” No, it’s because people can’t imagine someone having 5 whole kids. Wait till I start carrying the baby around in a sling!
“Are you on welfare?” Would, “No. I’m a Republican” be an appropriate response? (That would probably only lead them directly into the religious comment below.) I’ve heard others answer something like, “Don’t worry. My kids will be funding your Social Security,” but hey, at least we’re doing our part to stimulate the economy. (Not to mention church growth.)
“Did you birth them all?” I’m wondering if I should carry around pictures so I can say, “Yup. Here is the first one coming out of my vagina. Here is the second, here’s the third…” One time I actually heard the question, “Did you birth them all vaginally?” Again, I’m not sure if the person would feel better with a yes or no answer.
“You do know what causes this, right?” Here, someone is trying to be clever. Now the very first time this question was ever uttered in history it might have been clever, but ever since that time, it is stupid. Just letting you know. MM would like to answer this question by saying, “Hot, steamy sex.” I’m not sure how appropriate an answer that is, however true it may be! The follow up to this question is always, “Don’t you have cable?” with the implication that somehow it would be better for us to watch other people have sex on TV than actually have it ourselves. I am concerned for these people, because I can assure you it is better to have it than to watch it. But whatever floats your boat, I guess.
“You’re stopping after this one, right?” Yes, because 6 kids is fine, but 7 is ridiculous! I can’t get over those people with 7 or more kids. What are they thinking? I wonder if they know what causes it?
Then there are the comments:
“Your hands are full.” I realize this is a relatively harmless comment, but one I hear with almost weekly frequency. My answer is “So is my heart” which I’m stealing from someone but I can’t remember who. If anyone has a more interesting remark to reply to this comment, let me know.
“You must be religious.” I’m not sure if they’re implying I’m Catholic. Or Muslim. Maybe Amish? In any case, the appropriate answer stolen from a friend (this time I remember who) is, “Why? Because God has blessed me so much?” Wouldn’t they be surprised to learn we do use birth control, however ineffectively.
“I would kill myself if I had so many kids.” This comment just makes me sad. But also angry that it is uttered in front of my children (or worse, in front of the person’s own children). I’ve only heard it maybe twice (unless you count references like “I would never want to be home with my kids all day” or “I hate summertime when my kids are home and I can’t wait till school starts again”), but all I can mutter is that I love being with my kids (mostly) and that I can’t imagine my life without all of them. Then when we get to the car, we pray for the family that made this comment. Because honestly, it is heartbreaking.
So as not to end on a downer, I’ll let you know that there are a few comments I appreciate:
“Your children are so well-behaved.” Thank you. For the most part, I agree. I would hate for you to come home and see my house, but yes, they were pretty good at the grocery store today.
“Children are a blessing.” Again, thank you. So many people don’t understand this. I love to know there are others who believe this along with me.
“I had 4 (or 6 or 7) children (or I had a large family) and raising my children were the best years of my life. God bless you.” Is it appropriate to hug a stranger and tell her “I love you.” Because that is what I feel like doing.