Am I Done Yet?

Ok, imagine I saw a young married couple without any kids and I went up, slapped the husband on the back and said, “No kids? Have you tried fertility treatments?”

Imagine I came across a childless older couple and I walked by with a somewhat disgusted look on my face and said, “You don’t have any kids at all?! What’s the matter? Are you selfish or just sterile?”

In both scenarios I would be horribly rude, inappropriate, judgmental and crass, right? Right. Exactly.

So what the hell gives people the impression that it’s appropriate to make similar comments to people who have kids? I can’t tell you how many times we’ve told someone we’re having twins and they’ve come back with something along the lines of ” So you’re done now, right?” Really? I have no idea who you are and you feel comfortable insinuating to me that you believe I’ve reached my parenting limit? “Am I done yet”? What am I — a baked lasagna?

Yesterday my wife, when asked, told a woman she was carrying twins and here was the response from, keep in mind, a complete stranger: “Twins? Wow, that’s great. So I guess you’re getting your tubes tied now, right?” No, lady, but why don’t you get your vocal chords tied. This doesn’t just indicate that so many people are socially inept ignoramuses, it also betrays a certain cultural attitude that I find pretty disturbing. Are we really at the point where TWO kids have become the maximum? Not that it’s anyone’s business, but we are planning on having more down the line. Am I crazy for wanting more than 1.3 children, or is everyone else insane for thinking it radical to at least reproduce slightly above the replacement rate?

Maybe you can tell — this is a sore subject. I come from a big family (by modern standards). And unless you have several kids, or grew up with several siblings some time in the not too distant past, you have no idea what kinds of things people will feel welcome and obliged to say to large families. Everything from asking if all the kids are from the same father, to questioning about birth control methods, to asking how the parents can afford it, to making hilarious jokes about how much they must enjoy sex, to asking if any of the kids were an accident, to demanding to know if the parents are “done now”. You know what, maybe you CAN imagine people saying these things because you have, in fact, said them yourself. If that’s the case: Stop. I don’t know how big your family is but it’s obvious your parents never took the time to teach you manners.

My favorites are always the people who sit off in another booth at the restaurant, gawking at you with your big family at a big table, while giving you dirty looks and whispering to each other. What the hell is that? You see a big, happy, loving family with well behaved children and you’re pissed off about it? Is it because you only have one child and he’s clearly got more brat in him than all six of those kids from that family combined? Or do you just hate happiness?

Everyone will make their own decisions and have families that suit them. I think that’s fine and I make no judgments. But there are many people who are openly hostile and derogatory towards large families, and that’s something you just don’t see in the reverse.

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9 Responses to Am I Done Yet?

  1. john meagher says:

    Matt – you are totally self-absorbed. I’m unblogging you.

    • cyberguy64 says:

      Says the guy who takes the time to let you know that you’ve offended him instead of just unblogging.

  2. Denise says:

    This blog should be titled (a previous blog title you have used)…….
    “Finally, in the Everyone Has to Be Outraged About Something department”
    You are turning so aggressive like you are the one to pick what does offend AND what other people shouldn’t be offended by. I don’t think comments people make to you are of malice, but if they are, that is their problem, not yours. Since when do you care so much about people think?
    AND you pick the music that is socially acceptable to hear out of someone else’s car.
    I enjoy your thoughtful blogs about they system we live in and some strong commentary and well thought out opinions so I can learn from you which is usually (lately been bitter and cynical) solid stuff. Not whining and crying and bitching. It’s all good, they can’t get in your head like that. Get back up to your level – don’t come down to theirs. We want to fix it and whining doesn’t do that.

  3. Judy says:

    People can be rude, but honestly I don’t think most of it is intentional. They are surprised and want to say something, but they don’t know what. Parents of larger families are making a counter-cultural choice–maybe that’s the thing that’s broken that you are really getting at here. Having more than two children shouldn’t be counter-cultural. In any case, it can be an opportunity to witness to the joy of a big family.

    Once, in The Dalles, Oregon, we did actually have the opposite happen to us. Near the end of a long driving trip, we were in a restaurant with five of our kids. When it came time to pay the bill, our waitress told us that another patron had paid for us. The person told her that they had enjoyed seeing our family having a good time together and wanted to do something nice for us. I have always wanted to thank that person for his or her encouragement. It had been a really long trip and we were grateful for the reminder that yes, indeed, we were having a good time together.

  4. KC says:

    Thank you!!! I am the oldest of 11. As a child, I had people come up and ask the most inappropriate questions. “Do they all have the same dad? Do your parents use birth control? Are your parents going to have anymore? Your parents are like rabbits!” Um, thanks. Every 11 year old wants to be musing on their parent’s sexual activity with strangers. Now I have 5 of my own. The last two are 8 month old twins and the oldest is 6. So yeah, it’s miserable. Preach it.

  5. KC says:

    Thank you!!! I am the oldest of 11. As a child, I had people come up and ask the most inappropriate questions. “Do they all have the same dad? Do your parents use birth control? Are your parents going to have anymore? Your parents are like rabbits!” Um, thanks. Every 11 year old wants to be musing on their parent’s sexual activity with strangers. Now I have 5 of my own. The last two are 8 month old twins and the oldest is 6. So yeah, it’s miserable dealing with people who think they don’t have to filter their questions because I’m a public oddity. Preach it.

  6. Glen says:

    Absolutely, breeding like rutting rabbits is doing the planet no end of good!

    Two kids? Why not three? Why not six? Birth control? No thanks I’d rather hump without it like a primate.

  7. Rachel Peterson says:

    As the oldest of six I actually loved having a large family. We lived in San Diego, CA for some time though and everyone thought we were nuts. Looking back on it I’m so glad I wasn’t given a brand new luxury vehicle to drive to school and had to ride a bike and spent a summer tending a baby and always shared a room because it was so much more meaningful. Love this post – a big family shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.

  8. Kari says:

    We just had our 7th sweet baby. We are happily married. We are young ish and healthy. My husband works hard to support us and to allow me to be at home to teach and nurture our precious children. They are kind and well mannered {most of the time :)}. Above all, we love them and our home is filled with love and laughter. We get so many rude and OUT OF LINE comments right in front of our little children. “Are they all both of yours?!” Is my most favorite. I cannot understand why my little birds would be offensive to so many.

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