Last weekend I had my art table set up at a craft event. After getting up and being awake for 5 hours with no food or coffee due to me running late, my husband text me to tell me he was on his way with the kids. When they arrived, the kids all ran to me, hugged me and started looking around at other tables. My husband handed over the 2 year old and the baby and took off. For about 15 minutes the kids asked all kinda of questions and told me about their day and when my husband came back, he had a coffee and a pretzel for me; God bless that man. They left soon after and I inhaled my pretzel and coffee.
Behind me, there were two women selling jewelry. They started asking me questions about my kids ages and a little about life at home with 6 kids. Then one asked me “how do you have time to draw?” I laughed a little and held up my coffee and I responded with “prayer and coffee”.
Fast forward a couple days to when I retold that same story to another mom. Her reaction to it was “how rude could she be”? I was confused for a minute. What had that jewelry crafter said? Later, I realized what it was. That friend of mine has 4 kids and I can recall a few of her stories about encounters with strangers asking her questions about the number of kids she has and why. I know that bothers her, like it bothers most people with large families and the questions are almost always the same:
Do you know what causes that? (Um, what?!)
Do you plan on having a baseball team?
Do you have hobbies?
Do you not have a TV?
I could go on and on but you know what I’m saying. The point is, a lot of parents with lots of kids seem to get bothered by these questions and once upon a I did too. But over time I’ve learned to take it a different way.
When that fellow entrepreneur asked me “how do I have time to draw” she wasn’t being rude or even intrusive. She was asking because her own life is busy with jewelry crafting, having a family and who knows what else she does with her time. She was asking because she was thinking about her own time being filled up during the day and tried to fathom how my day could have a spare minute in it. This woman smiled from the beginning to end of our conversation and she was a delight to talk to. So instead of taking offense in her innocent question, I chose to take it for what it was, a general inquiry about my life.
I like to believe that most of the time when most people ask questions like that, they are just curious, if not slightly amazed, at someone so willing to raise a lot of kids. It’s most definitely a full time job and requires a lot of time, energy, and, at full disclosure, a strong stomach (kids can be really gross). So when some of those questions are being asked it is formed from a different life perspective and in words that they think are an appropriate way to ask.
Now, there are just plain rude people out there that will just state their opinion on my current method of living. In one such instance I was asked “don’t you think you should stop having kids and start taking birth control?” (again, um what?!) These questions are of course met with sarcasm. In case you’re wondering what I said to that person, it was “I keep having kids for the tax break.” Secretly, I get a little proud of myself with the responses I can come up with in these situations!
So, if you have a lot of kids and are sick of being asked the typical questions that go with having a big family, just try and evaluate the person asking them. They could be, for the most part, harmless and just someone’s extent of trying to connect with you and your life based on their zero knowledge on the subject. So take it with grace and use it as an opportunity to teach your kids how to be proud your family and most importantly, grateful.
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I’ve updated my avatar and recorded the process on my YouTube