Let’s Stop Shaming Family Size

How often are people commenting on the number of children you have (or lack thereof)? My family attracts a lot of attention everywhere we go. I wish I could say it was always positive attention.

Being a mother of five strong young girls — and currently pregnant with baby number six — I am used to the looks we get. Many comments we receive, even in passing, can be hurtful. “You’re pregnant again?!?” “Is this your last one?” “Another one!” The list goes on and on.  

It seems we are quick to accept the large families we see in the media on shows like “The Kardashians” (six children), “Fixer Upper” (Joanna Gaines has five children), or “Outdaughtered” (six daughters). But I recently began to wonder if we are truly accepting of them, or are we simply watching and passing judgment from the outside? Society has moved from larger families to smaller families for a variety of reasons, both personal and financial.

Why can’t we just embrace and accept all the beautiful families around us? It’s as though we feel we need to add our unfiltered input to others’ family-size decisions.

In my experience, being a larger Latin American family, our family size often comes with assumptions of financial need. Some of the comments I have received while grocery shopping from random strangers have truly broken my heart and shocked me. “Did you have them for the tax break?” “I bet you get a lot of food stamps.” “Do all they have different fathers?” 

We often talk about kindness and acceptance to our children, but we are quick to forget that as adults we should be emulating this same behavior. Children tend to listen attentively, even when it may appear as though they aren’t. So my daughters’ little ears have heard all the negative comments we receive.

My family is larger than most, and we love it. It’s our identity at this point, and we couldn’t be happier. We are teaching our daughters to embrace one another always and to know that they are growing up in a very special way.

Nancy is a mom of five girls ages 10 to 1 and a zoo wrangler to two rescue pups, a black lab named Duke and a chihuahua named Pancho. She loves black coffee, hot weather, a bargain, and all things guacamole. Being a mom to five strong little women is no small task. Her bilingual home is filled with all the wonders and joys that chaos brings. On days where she finds a tiny bit of time to herself she writes at www.Motheringinchaos.com. As a graduate of Bowdoin College, Nancy has gone from classroom teaching to focusing mainly on the nonprofit education sector. She has had the privilege of working with organizations like Summer Search and Posse, and she has served as a community organizer. Before motherhood, she lived in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom to her five amazing girls and has been happily married to her best friend for the past 18 years (he’s clearly outnumbered). They are excited to raise their first-generation American daughters together while keeping them close to their Guatemalan roots. Nancy is thrilled to find herself contributing to Boston Moms, especially coming from a fear of writing. It’s a testament that it’s never too late to keep dreaming and growing! 

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