Having a larger-than-average sized family generates a lot of questions from curious onlookers. Because I’ve been fielding the same handful of questions over and over as we travel the globe, I can probably guess what you’re wondering. So here are my answers to your questions about our family before you even ask me.
Are they ALL yours?
No, some are ours. The rest just follow us around and call us Mom and Dad. Seriously, though . . . yes, they are all the biological offspring both of my husband and me. We are not a blended family and none of them are adopted. Those can both be beautiful ways to form and grow a family, but that doesn’t happen to be our story
Are any of them twins?
No, but I’ve always wanted to have twins. God knows best, and apparently, He thinks I’d be in over my head with twins. After our youngest two were born only 15 months apart, I decided that was close enough to twins for me. Somehow, 8 children just felt like a whole lot more than 7.
Are you Catholic or Mormon?
Neither. We are your generic, garden-variety Protestants who move around too much to claim allegiance to any one particular denomination. We are followers of Jesus, not a particular flavor of doctrine. We do not have a large family out of religious obligation, but because we wanted to. We believe God speaks truth and He calls children blessings, not burdens.Children are blessings, not burdens. Click To Tweet
Did you come from a large family?
No. I have 1 sister and my husband has 1 brother. Even our families thought we were weird at first too, but now they couldn’t imagine life any other way. We have boldly launched into new territory with very few examples to see how to make it work.
Did you know you wanted to have a big family when you got married?
No. He wanted 2 children. I wanted 4. We compromised by multiplying! Actually, with each new child, God taught us something new and stretched us a little more, and we kept thinking, “Tiny people are so fun and amazing! How could we ever stop welcoming them into our family?”
Are you done?
The short answer is usually, “That’s not really any of your business.” though I don’t ever have the courage to tell the questioners that to their face. I certainly don’t mind discussing family matters with my mom-friends, but I am amazed at how many people are comfortable asking me questions about my fertility before they’ve even asked my name. Please don’t be rude. If you don’t know a person well enough to discuss your own reproduction with her, then don’t expect her to fill you in on all the details about what’s going on in her body. Typically, our answer is, “We will take them as the Lord gives them.”
Do you homeschool?
I guess homeschool and big families go hand in hand. In this case, we generally fit the stereotype. We pray earnestly about each individual child, for each particular school year, in each unique place God sends us via the Air Force. Each of our children has gone to public school for at least one year, some a little more. But mostly, we homeschool. I enjoy learning alongside my children and getting to see their “aha!” moments.
Really? But you look so good for having so many children!
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a question. It’s a compliment with a qualifier. It’s like saying, “You run fast . . . for a girl.” Or “That’s not too bad . . . for a beginner.” I think people are genuinely trying to be complimentary; however, the unspoken assumption in this statement is that having children takes a toll on one’s appearance. There are few things in this world more beautiful than motherhood. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You can read how motherhood has impacted my body here.There are few things in this world more beautiful than motherhood. Click To Tweet
Don’t you know where they come from?
This is one of my favs! The person asking this question usually has an air of being very clever, as if he is the first person to ever think to ask me that. Interestingly, I get this question only from men. I have only had one woman ever ask me this. I guess women give me credit for being somewhat intelligent. There are so many interesting and fun ways to answer this question. I choose from a variety of responses depending on the person, the context, and whether or not I’m in the mood to have a little fun. Here is a sampling of the good times you can have answering this little gem:
Out of curiosity, What would your response be? Tell me in the comments below.Children are a gift from God. Click To Tweet
How do you do that? I can’t even handle the two I’ve got.
If this is you, don’t panic. While God gives us plenty of grace to handle what He’s called us to do, He doesn’t typically equip us to do what He hasn’t asked us to do. No matter how many children you have, God has entrusted their care to you and now you must trust Him to equip you to be the parent you are meant to be. Truly, the task of raising even one human being is a monumental responsibility. As parents, we are caretakers and nurturers of at least one person who possesses an eternal soul. We all need God’s grace by the bucketfuls to raise each one of these precious treasures entrusted to our care. We can’t do it without Him. He never intended for us to.
So, there you have it . . . the answers to the Top Ten questions people ask me when we meet. Now we can move on to other important personal questions like, “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?”
Elizabeth is a military spouse, veteran, and mother of eight. Above and beyond caring for her family, her mission is to offer words that sustain the weary and equip people to live a life of faith filled with purpose.
Learn more at elizmeyers.com.