You know that kind of rage you feel when your ears get hot! That’s the rage that overtook me the other day and only my good breeding and the fact that my parents raised me to be polite and respectful are the only reasons I held my tongue.
That and the fact that talking to a wall would have had a more receptive reaction.
I was talking to a mom I have NEVER met before despite our daughters being in the same class at school for over two years. We were ‘sharing’, getting to know each other and she said she had four children which I was surprised about because I only knew of the three who were all in the pre-school/primary school. She explained that her older child was in the high school. She saw the surprise on my face, and when I asked if she was planning on having any more she said “Yes, maybe another four.” My reply: “My goodness, you are very brave.”
When it came time for me to divulge how many children I had, I pointed to my two and replied: “Those are my two. Two hands, two kids. I won’t cope with more.”
Her reply: “You are lazy. You should have more.” And walked off!
I was shocked! And then came the rage.
I couldn’t believe she said that. How dare she?! Not only did she call me lazy, she was judging me to be of a lower standing than her.
Now let’s be honest, everyone judges everyone else a little bit, but what you think and what you say are two different things. Even though you think something, if you respect the other person’s choice, then don’t verbalise your judgement.
Here was a stranger, judging me for ‘only’ having two children and not continuing to breed. She doesn’t know me at all. There are many many reasons why I might ‘only’ have two children, such as:
- Financial responsibility – including school fees, medical expenses, being able to provide the absolute best we can.
- Fertility – what if I wasn’t able to have more, she doesn’t know. That’s not the case, but it could be.
- Support structure – do I have help with my kids, are there grannys and aunties and family around to help care (No, I have none of that)
- My choice!
Now, if I were to be a bitchy cow and put my ‘judging hat’ on, here’s how a reply might go:
- I have NEVER seen you before, lady – you are clearly extremely busy with the four children you currently have and therefore are not able to do school drop off or pick up ever – not once in two years; or even attend even ONE parent’s evening. No, I don’t want a medal, but I am grateful that I am able to do all that for my two children, I’m giving the two of them all I have and sometimes I feel like I’m spreading myself too thin as it is.
- You spent two minutes watching your 3rd child play in a tournament where she played four games, the rest of the time you were NOT there. In fact, no one was there to watch her. I assume you were trying to watch all four of your children’s games – I’m not sure.
- You are clearly far better off financially than I am, good for you. Either that or you are over committing yourself and I would be interested to know if your potential eight children will all get to go to university one day. (Yes, I’m being bitchy, but I’m still p’d off). At least with ‘only‘ two the chances of us being able to financially provide a high standard (and costly) education to our girls and help them have a good debt free start in their lives is far more achievable than if we were to have 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 kids!
- Do you not care about your own health? Are you just a baby making machine who plans to spend 20+ years just breeding. At the age of about 35 (I’m guessing considering she has a teenage child) and giving each child a 2 year creation/pregnancy/birth recovery/feeding period, four more will take you into your mid 40s. Isn’t that high risk to mom and baby, especially after so many children? *I’m not a doctor.
Now I’ve got that off my chest, I will remove the ‘judging hat’ and behave like the adult I actually am.
I applaud people who want to have big families, I am happy for you, you are very brave and clearly far more adept at this parenting business than I am. Parenting is hard, much harder than I ever expected. You have your reasons for having a large family, and ultimately, it is your choice. It is your family.
If you want to have one child, I’m happy for you. You have your reasons. It’s your choice. It’s your family.
If you want to have no children, I’m happy for you. You have your reasons. It’s your choice. It’s your family.
But please don’t tell me I’m ‘lazy’ for choosing to ‘only‘ have two children. It is MY choice. I have MY reasons. It’s MY family.
Why are people still judging each other in this day and age?