Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

I have noticed a transformation in strangers’ interest in our family, now that I’m very visibly 7 months pregnant with #5. When we had 3 under 3, I felt cut down by the “you have your hands full” comments. Yes, jerk, I sure do, why don’t you hold the door for us rather than reminding me how overwhelmed I am.

These days, though, people really want to talk about it when we’re out and about. It’s more like: “Wow, are they all yours?” Yes. “Almost 5?” Yep. “Wow. So how is it? I mean they look great. How is it?”

I don’t feel insulted, because the comments don’t seem intended that way. I actually think people are hoping to hear that it’s possible to do family planning the big family way and still thrive.

And the comments are at least as rewarding for my kids. My 7 year old daughter, who relishes attention and is quite the performer, has interpreted this ongoing dialogue with strangers in her own way:

“Mom, it’s true! We’re famous!! Everyone wants to look at us and interview you everywhere we go.”

My other kids have internalized this, so now when I’m stopped, they nudge each other, stand up a little straighter, and put on their best Academy Awards smiles and postures. No joke.

On a typical day last Saturday at Trader Joe’s, with all 4.8 kids in tow, we took it to a new level.

At the sample station, the sample lady counted our kids to distribute samples and lost count, so the kids got handed an entire bag of dried strawberries.

And at the checkout, when my kids used their best manners to ask for stickers, the checkout guy also lost count (it was a busy Saturday). He handed us the entire industrial size roll of Trader Joe’s seasonal stickers. More glorious than treasure, in my kids’ minds.

And as we walked out of the doors eating free dried strawberries from the bag and covering our shirts in Trader Joe’s Summertime stickers, my 7 year old daughter proclaimed:

“Oh mom, see, now we’re rich AND famous!”

  • Kellie “Red”

    Great post! My kids think we are famous too. I think it’s great. They now “count” the number of comments we get when we go to the food store, haha!

  • http://happilyeverjohnson.blogspot.com Queen B

    Oh, JM! This is just wonderful! I hope we get there someday ;) Just yesterday, while running a quick errand at the mall, I was holding hands with our older two with the baby on my back as we went down the escalator and a stranger said to me, “I’d say you have your hands full, but you look too organized for that.” I took it as the kindest kind of compliment. I love the light and interest that our families can bring to the world in the midst of our everyday routine. Wish more of the rich&famous were like you and your crew!

  • Bethany “B-mama”

    lol! I think my kids love the attention too–especially when people see the three big boys and hear that we have itty bitty girls arriving. Our oldest, M, just loved seeing people’s responses to hearing I was pregnant with a girl (both times!)
    I’ve had moments of pause where I’ve wondered what the effect will be of them growing up in a world that marvels at our large family. Will it make them ever-more aware of how different we are? Is that a bad thing? But then I stop myself and consider that its all about what mom and dad make of the comments–if we are light and joyful, they’ll consider it a grand thing! We’re famous, in fact. :)

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com Katrina

    I love your attitude, JM, and the fact that your children are proud to be noticed means that you’re doing something (lots of things!) right. We get lots of comments with just 3, so I can only imagine the comments with 5 :)

  • Elena

    Hilarious and encouraging post! And, I agree with Kat, you must be doing something right. :)

  • Brynne

    During my pregnancy with #3 I got mostly negative comments. Now with #4 on the way I can count the negative comments on one hand, everyone else we meet out and about seems to be fascinated.

    • Juris Mater

      Brynne, same thing here, starting when #4 was born there was a huge difference, suddenly we became a curiosity, and as long as I show that I’m happy with the whole thing people are really quick to congratulate us and say it’s awesome.

  • Melanie

    Best response to the “you have your hands full” comment?
    “YES, I do! And my heart is even fuller.”

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com Mary Alice

    As an introvert, I find this the most difficult part of having a large family — the constant feeling that we are a circus attraction! I know that it is important to respond cheerfully to inquiries, and most often the comments I get are positive, but at the same time I would just like to be able to move unnoticed through the world (or at least the grocery store). Yesterday someone asked, how many children do you have? And I just said “6″ and walked away. Getting “up” for those sorts of conversations is something that I really have to pray about.

    • Juris Mater

      MaryAlice, I’ve heard this a lot from introverted mothers of very large families. I, like my oldest daughter, love the attention and conversation with strangers, but not every mom is that way. You’ve said in the past that you can delegate the smiles and chatter to your more extroverted older kids, and I think that’s wonderful too! People want to know that BOTH mom and kids are thriving, and you always look great, so for someone to hear your oldest daughter speak proudly of the large brood that she belongs to says volumes.

  • MaryAlice

    You’re so right to bring her up, just last night she said that she is excited to have the baby because a big family is so cool and “7 kids is even cooler than 6!”

  • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

    Should we worry about math in this country if so many people can count to “almost five?”

    :)


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