Sunday, January 17, 2016

You Must Be...

Having ten children does not qualify one as an expert in parenting, merely experienced.   Sometimes, it takes to the fifth or sixth child for me to realize, you know, that thing I've been doing as a Mom for the past five's not working.  Time to try something new.  

But people hear the number (or see it as we're climbing out of the car), and there's an automatic presumption of extreme competency projected on the form of..."You Must Be..."  For example:

"You must be very organized."  Usually, the fits of laughter from my offspring so prolonged as to make onlookers wonder if they need medical attention, dispels this illusion.  But if I'm alone when someone learns we have ten, I just smile and say, "I try."

"You must love kids."   It's a nice thought.  I'll say I love MY children.  I like other people's kids just fine, but then I like most people. I'm a people person.  My kids will tell you, I talk to strangers at Jiffy Lube while we're watching the boring rehash of the news.   But the statement, "you must love kids" implies I sought this and planned it out.   Not so.  It's never been, I love kids so let's have double digit progeny.  I mean, I like dogs.  I wouldn't own ten.  

"How do you manage? You must be rich."  Here's where I struggle not to start laughing hard.

Answering this "You must be" is tricky. It depends upon the context in which this is said, because I'm always of two minds when someone says this one:

Response #1) "No, not rich.  Weren't you listening? I have ten kids."  Used only if I feel I'm being patted on the head and dismissed.
Response #2)  "Yes I am."  and presume the person was speaking in a spiritual sense.  

"You must be Catholic."  
This one is meant because of the number of children.  The presumption (correct in our case) is about not using birth control.  But I know many couples who hold to the teachings of the church who don't have the numbers we have, and to me, their faith is just as evident, if not more.  

You hope if one day you're accused of being Catholic (as O'Connor wrote), there's enough evidence to convict.  I don't know that having a large family necessarily reveals anything more than fecundity.  I don't want to have my Catholic bonifieds only established by family size.  

"You must be tired."
I appreciated the honesty of this one.

The answer is, "Tired yes, but never bored."

1 comment:

Laura @ Mothering Spirit said...

Love this! What a great (and I'll say it, WISE) perspective you have.

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