Mama OWL Blog: Actually yes, I do have a TV.

Actually yes, I do have a TV.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A discussion thread on Netmums about large families got me thinking.

What is it exactly that people (in general, not all) find so unacceptable about large families? If the children are looked after, fed, clean, loved and provided & cared for, what exactly is the problem, and more importantly, what has it got to do with anyone else? I assume that one bone of contention is "the benefits issue" which I don't want to debate as everyone has their own opinion on the matter and there are several shades of grey to consider on that subject, but for those of us who do not and have not relied wholly on benefits, why are we made to feel guilty for having more than 2 or 3 children?

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard "don't you two have a tv?", "do you know what condoms are?", "you must have your hands full", "haven't you done your bit for the population?", "don't you know what causes that yet?" amongst other things. None are funny (particularly not after the 1746395th time) and actually most of them are offensive.
Hands down, the worst remark is "have they all got the same dad?"... Well, why wouldn't they have? Does having more than three children require further partners to prevent wear and tear on the old boy? No? Just being rude then? Thought so...

My husband has worked ever since he left school. When he is ill, when he is tired, when it is cold & horrible outside, he still gets up and he goes to work to make sure that we are provided for. He pays our rent, our council tax, our bills, our groceries. He pays taxes like any other working citizen. So, until we are holding our hands out asking for someone else to pay for our family, then any "smart" (term used loosely) remarks are best left unsaid.

Years ago, having a large family was 'the norm'. I myself come from a large family and have four sisters and two brothers. My parents have now been married for almost forty years, they run their own business and have worked hard for everything we had. I had a wonderful childhood, we never went without, we were always clean & tidy and looked after, and I look back on those years when I was growing up and feel very lucky because so many children - no matter the size of their families - don't have that sort of upbringing.

I didn't plan on having five children, but I am so happy that I have them and feel so blessed for what I have been given. Christmases with everyone taking their turn to open a present & sharing in the excitement, Friday movie night with everyone jostling for a place on the sofa or the bean bag, bonfire night with a little row of gloved hands excitedly waving their sparklers, their smiles lit up. Coming home from a family walk, with a little row of muddy wellington boots lined up by the back door. It will never matter 'how full my hands are' because my heart is full too and that is what matters most to me.

There are 'burdens' of having a large family, but those burdens are not the children themselves. I might be tired, I might go without to make sure that my children never have to, I might have little time to myself, but when I kiss their little foreheads goodnight and tuck them in at bedtime, I know that it is worth every single minute, every single penny, every single second of missed sleep I have endured since their births.

My kids don't ever go without. They have a home, clothes, food. We go on family holidays, they go on their school trips, we have day trips out together, nights out, they have toys and gadgets. Their meals are all homemade and healthy, with fresh ingredients. They even get homemade desserts, cakes and treats occasionally. They have the same opportunities as any other child, and they just so happen to have four siblings to share it with.

And probably the most important thing for me personally, is that when the time comes for me to go, I know that they will never be alone in this world. There are four other people there for them who shared their home, their life, their memories, and their love. The five of them will have each other and they will always be there for one another, especially when their dad and I have passed on.

So. If I have five kids, six kids, eight kids, ten kids... Then that is my prerogative as an adult, and unless I ask for your opinion or your money then I expect the same respect for my personal decisions as I give you for yours. There is no right or wrong, everyone is different, but this is what is right for US.

And actually as it happens, I do have a TV. There is just not a whole lot worth watching. I'd rather raise my family.


  1. OMG you are soo good with words :) I love this post! Brilliantly put as usual Julie xxxx

  2. Indeed. I think these shows like "Kate Plus 8" and "19 and Counting" set a bad example on how people cope with large families. Everyone lives their life the way they see fit, but I guess it's easier to judge others than their own lives. There are pros and cons to every decision.


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