Don't worry, I understand. And I'm not mad at you. Technically speaking, the average American household is only 2.61 people. When it comes to childbearing, 52% of Americans think it's ideal to have two kids. So my family of five children would certainly be considered above average.
So, I've put together a list of questions not to ask people with large families. Take note, and enjoy:
- "Don't you know how that happens?!" I'm not really sure what possesses people to actually ask this question. Most probably think it's funny. But any normal thinking person knows it's just plain awkward. Are you really asking me about my sex life? I hope not. But if you decide to ask this question anyway, I'll be sure to make you uncomfortable with my favorite response: "Yes! In fact, she can't keep her hands off me!"
- "Are you trying to be like the Duggars?". I'm not going to make fun of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. I've met them. They're really nice people that love Jesus. But let's check our math here. I have 5 kids. They have 19. Apparently that's pretty much the same thing.
- "How in the world can you afford to have so many kids?" This is an inherently flawed question. You're assuming that we live our lives like you do. We don't. Our lives are actually very different from yours, and that's okay with us. You see, we don't eat at restaurants as a family. Ever. We make cheap home-cooked meals. We also don't go on fancy vacations (unless someone else pays for it). Our lives are simple, and yet exceedingly happy. We honestly don't understand how you can afford to eat out so often, buy new cars and go on so many vacations. But we wouldn't ask you to explain.
- "Are they all yours?" No. We kidnapped two of them. But seriously, my wife was shocked to get this question frequently as she ran errands with our first three kids. Is she a nanny? Is she babysitting? No - those are our kids. All of them.
- "Is that your kid over there? He's about to fall off the slide!" Our kids love the playground, but we rarely enjoy the experience. Why? Hovering parents stare at us in disgust while we sit on a bench. They glare as they follow their kids onto ever piece of equipment. You may think we're neglecting our children, but we're not. While you're playing man-to-man defense, we're playing zone. Why? Because they outnumber us. Different strategy, same game. We just need a wider view if we're going to win.
- "Are you Catholic?" No, I'm not. But do you even know what you're asking? You see, this question is rooted in the Roman Catholic position that all forms of birth control are sinful. So you're basically asking me if my wife and I use birth control. Most well adjusted people would consider that topic off limits for casual conversation. Let's keep it that way.
- "Do you run a day care?" I know you're just trying to make conversation. But what are the odds that I run a day care full of kids that look so much alike? And so strikingly similar to me? Either I'm a racist day care provider that only accepts white kids that look alike, or they're mine.
- "This is the last one, right?" Through your leading question, you've made it blatantly clear that you think this should be my last child. How nice of you to insert yourself into my family's decision making! Perhaps you're worried about overpopulation. Or kids just make you nervous. As I've written before, we'll be consulting God about that decision, not you. But thanks anyway.
- "Wow. Another kid? Life must be really complicated for you." No, it's not. This is a common misconception. We're actually quite satisfied with our existence. Our kids don't need playdates, because they have each other. We also have enough people in our house to play virtually any game imaginable. And my oldest loves to help with the baby. Bottom line - I love all of my kids. They make life infinitely more enjoyable. In many ways, it's actually easier to have a large family.
It may be hard to believe, but we're not crazy. We actually meant to have five kids. And I can't think of one that I'd want to give back. How about you?