I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Are you Catholic?

This post is dedicated to all of the annoying things that annoying people say to me when I'm pregnant. The ordinary questions (and my inevitable repeat answers) are acceptable - it's a nice way to make conversation.

But I'd really like to wear a maternity shirt that says:

This is my third child.
I'm due in August.
No, I don't know what I'm having.
I already have a boy and a girl. She is almost four and he is almost two.
Yes, I will have my hands full.
Thanks for caring!

This is only natural curiosity. Those types of questions aren't judgmental or invasive. Pregnancy only lasts so long until you're another Mom giving out the stats on your new baby. How long was labor? How old is your baby? How much did she/he weigh? (Or in the nosier cases: do you have any major injuries? Can you sit down yet?)

When I was pregnant with Ayla, I worked downtown and commuted by bus most of the time. A great place to meet the Pittsburgh crazies! Random women would touch my stomach and ask me all my parenting plans for the future. The best was a lady who waited until we got onto the bus, sat nearly 10 seats away from each other and she yelled across to me, "Are you going to breastfeed?"

Now expecting my third baby, the questions and comments sometimes get rude. Some idiot coworker of mine (who no longer is a coworker) made a HUGE deal about the fact I was going to have three kids. "Holy shit, I would never ever be able to deal with that many kids. NO way. That would be terrible!" Thanks dude! First of all, keep it to yourself. I worry enough all ready without having to hear from your incompetent ass.

And the "Are you Catholic?" stuff. All of a sudden, I must be uber-religious to even think about a family bigger than four people. Yes, we currently have that perfect, compact little economical family. But adding one more does not qualify us for a reality show. We know what birth control is and aren't afraid to use it.

I feel like standards have really changed for what is considered a "normal" number of children. You can make all of the arguments about how it just isn't affordable anymore to have a large family. I won't disagree with the cost of health insurance, braces, a bigger house, school, etc. But what has really gotten more expensive? All of the useless toys that parents purchase at Target - at full price? Buying each kid their own gaming system? Indulging their every whim and avoiding the Thrift Store like you are too good for it? People act like it's unacceptable to have more kids if you can't keep them all dressed in designer onesies.

Once you've made the necessary investments into your "baby stuff" with the car seats and cribs - the cost ratio really goes down with each child. Sure, I'll lose more income in my time off, but hell, I'm used to that by now.

So what is the big deal about having 3 kids? We are quickly outgrowing our three bedroom home - or are we? People have asked if we are going to move to a bigger house now. Uhhh, no. I like my mortgage the way it is. It is not a devastation or a parenting failure to have my kids share rooms. The plan is to have Jackson & Ayla bunk together in her (humongous!) room; the baby gets the nursery. They'll be fine. The idea actually makes them happy. I shared a room with my sister at some point during childhood. Most of my friends growing up had to share rooms as well.

But people act like it's an extreme choice. I truly don't understand. No, I'm not Catholic in any sense - I love my kids and love that they will have each other growing up. That is it. I'm not going to buy into the new mentality that anything bigger than the nuclear family is freakish.


  1. This is so wild to me! I have so many friends with multiple children (more than 2 or on their way there) on lower incomes. I don't know your income - but I have a better idea about some other friends' and I know ours'. I don't think I know any families in our church (not Catholic or anti birthcontrol) who are planning to stop at 2 kids. Anyway- y'all aren't weird in the least to me for having 3 or 4 or 5 kids. Our country needs bigger families or our workforce is going to be in shambles in 30 years and there are plenty of other good reasons. Wow- I didn't mean to rant. Just wanted to give you my support :)

  2. Whenever someone finds out my grandparents had 17 kids, they always say, "Where they Catholic?" As it turns out they were Catholic, but I'm not sure that played into the decision in any way. But I still have to answer "yes" to that question.

    As far as sharing rooms, my brother and I shared when we didn't even have to. He had a bed in his own room that he didn't use, as well as a bed in my room that he did. It was by choice.

    And by the way, my grandparents made 17 kids work on only one salary. You might even say 1/2 a salary, since my grandfather didn't always have a job...

  3. I'll rephrase the "can't keep them in designer onesies" to WON'T put them in designer onesies. I could have unlimited income and still not be able to do it... too sensible, I guess. I just think everyone goes too crazy with spending $$$ and more $$$ on the un-important things for their kids.