By contributing writer, Leigh Ellen.
Whenever I’m in public with all four of my small children, I’m almost certain that I’m going to encounter at least one stranger that is a little curious about our family. Are they all yours? What are their ages? Are they twins (my oldest girls are 14 months apart, so we get this question a lot)? Do you want more?
Do I want more? I understand why people ask this and I’m not saying it’s rude to be curious about someone’s family size, but it’s a hard one for me to answer. Most of the time my response is “we’ll see”, which usually shocks the person that asked the question to begin with.
Here’s the thing; my husband and I haven’t picked a number to reach when it comes to having children. It’s not our goal to out-number some other family or fulfill the typical homeschool family stereotype.
So, if I could take over the intercom at our local Wal-Mart, here is what I would tell all of the strangers that are blown away by how many little kids I have.
We enjoy our kids.
A nice guy at our church always offers to hold my youngest while I’m trying to round up my other children. While I appreciate his help, it’s just second nature for me to care for my other children with a baby on my side, and I don’t even think about it.
Being their parent is not always easy or enjoyable, but I’m so passionate about the role God has given me as their mother. Most of my days are spent encouraging siblings to get along and finding creative ways to get a point across. It requires lots of patience and prayer, but being with my children brings me joy.
They are not an accessory created to make me look good or to collect. They are here for my husband and I to train to be future leaders, missionaries, and God-seekers. This is a job we should take seriously, but one that we should also enjoy. My favorite days are the ones when we are doing fun things together.
We don’t think we are more Christian than you.
In our own experience, my husband and I have struggled with wanting to control our family size. We want to feel like we have the power to determine the size of our family because the thought of another baby overwhelms us. But we know that God’s plan always trumps ours and our faith should be in Him to provide. This is our personal story and yours may not be like this, and that’s okay.
Having lots of kids does not make our family more “Christian” than the family with 2 children (or no children). So many times I wish I could shout this from the mountain top. My husband and I know that not everyone is called to have a large family. Just because we continue to have children does not mean that we are fulfilling God’s plan better than you.
God has given each family their own plan and the ones with 1 or 2 kids are able to serve God in different ways. How many children you have should be based on prayer and seeking Christ together as a couple. Just because some large family on TV seems to have it all together does not mean that God wants you to keep having kids. You should never base your decisions on the large, Christian family next door or on the well-known television show.
Make your own wise choices through prayer and council.
We make it work.
At this time, we are grateful that my husband and I can both work from home. While I run my online shop and blog, my husband provides an income from his eBay business. When our oldest was a baby, my husband worked for a similar company and he was able to learn everything he needed to know to open his own shop from home.
Most parents have to get up and go to work everyday, which means leaving the children with a babysitter or daycare provider. Our unique situation allows us to save money and be together as a family all day, every day.
Is it overwhelming at times? Yes. Is our marriage and family perfect? No way. Do our children have the latest toys and closets full of boutique clothing? No.
But being together and working through the everyday struggles of life, encourages us to work as a team. I realize it may not always be this way but I really do enjoy this season (even though it’s hard at times).
I love that our children are able to see my husband and I work hard. They are able to “help” Daddy package items and take them to the post office. We consider this a huge blessing in our lives.
We understand that not everyone wants this life or is able but this is our situation and we make it work for us.
I don’t share about having my husband home to discourage you or to make you want the same for your family, but to remind you that God will provide if He has called you to have a large family.
Sure, I could think of many other things I wish people knew about our family, but these are probably the biggest points I’d like to make. The next time you see a big family, instead of asking the questions that they hear day after day, encourage them. Tell them they are blessed to have so many children!
Let us know in the comments, how many children do you have and what are their ages?
For more on this topic, head on over to Parenting With Humility and read the response I got when I told people I was pregnant with my fourth child.