A Salute to Big Families

In 2010 the average american has 2  kids, lives in suburbia, is either middle class, working class, or upper middle class and has high hopes for his/her family. They try to do everything right–in terms of rearing their children, sending them good schools, keeping them bathed, fed, and clothed, and so on. It’s really typical and so common that I don’t blink an eye when I meet families consisting of these(very broad and general qualities).  It is only when I meet those families consisting of 5 children and two parents, that I find myself quite intrigued.

I suppose the reason is that it isn’t the norm anymore. It’s just very rare to meet a couple within generation x(at least) that has had more than 3 to 4 children. It’s much more common to meet those that either stopped at 1 child, or stopped at 3.  I think another reason is that a bunch of questions begin to run through my head: how can you possibly afford that many children when so many of us are struggling to keep afloat? How are you still sane? What are family vacations or family “days” like?  Oh my gosh woman how the heck did you stay so slim after popping out so many babies?  Wow, did you do this on purpose? And finally: how do you and your “so” spend time together, raise that many kids, and still remain healthy and youthful?

I’m sure I’m not the only one that thinks these things when they meet larger families. I know that I can barely take one or two children at one given time, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have 5 or more children climbing on my heels day in and day out.  I can’t imagine how I would be able to afford to feed that many mouths? I can’t imagine how I wouldn’t go crazy.

And that is why I’m so very impressed when I meet you big families. You give me hope that child rearing isn’t as difficult, as expensive, or as insane as we all paint it out to be. You prove that weight loss is possible. You prove that having a family is often more important than gaining some of the more “surface” things that we strive for (iPods, keeping up with the jones, big houses, nice cars, etc). Most of all you prove that while being a parent isn’t an easy feat, it isn’t doom either. And when you stay married, and are happy in your marriage, and happy with your decision to have many children, I want to just give you a great big hug.

How you do it? I’m still not sure. How you afford it? I’d love to know. But nonetheless I find you inspiring. So here’s a salute to you.

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