On this Mother’s Day, I am celebrating big families.
In his new book, “Selfish Reasons to have More Kids,” economics professor and author Bryan Caplan uses a plethora of scientific research to support his claim that parents should have more children.
Caplan goes on to assert that parents should not only have more kids, they should relax more when it comes to raising their brood.
While I do not necessarily support everything Caplan says about parenting, I do love the support he offers for those “strange” people like myself who have more than 1.7 children.
My husband and I discussed having children once we knew we were going to get married.
I came from a family with four children and loved it, while he was an only child and did not have a good childhood experience. We both agreed we wanted a big family.
All I can say is, thank goodness neither one of us got out a pen, paper and calculator, otherwise my fairly logical mind may have squelched our plans.
Before we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary, we had two beautiful girls and two handsome boys.
Much of those early years are a blur. For the most part, it’s a good blur. Of course, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Our friends and family were supportive of our pregnancies and subsequent babies, but there were certainly whispers.
We got questions such as, “Do you realize you are going to have three in car seats at one time?” And, “How will you take care of them when Paul travels?”
The worst question was, “How will you afford it?”
These are those sorts of back-handed questions that aren’t really asking for an answer, they are just trying to scare the heck out of you.
Our pastor jokingly asked us if we knew what was causing the babies. That still makes me laugh.
Our main supporters were my friends who had a baby or two but wanted more children.
“Why can’t we keep having babies like the Robinson’s?” they asked their spouses.
We weren’t too popular with those spouses.
Having a big family, especially when your children are as close in age as ours, certainly offers challenges.
For one, you simply cannot spend as much one-on-one time with four children as couples who have one or two.
One of my good friends used to tell me about what great pains she and her husband went to when her two were little to make sure they spent exactly as much time with each child.
I was amazed that anybody even had time to think about that.
I was so busy keeping up with where mine were and what they were doing or not doing, scheduling alone time with them was simply not on my radar.
Frankly, I longed for a day when I had some alone time for me.
On the upside, children in big families often seem more grounded. For one, they are used to sharing pretty much from birth.
While all children have certain entitlement issues, those in big families tend to get early on that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
Both parents probably are not going to be at every sporting event, and that is OK.
Big families, at least in my experience, seem to discuss financial realities with their children in a more comfortable way.
Eating out, when I was growing up and also while raising our children, was always something special. Even a trip to McDonald’s was not taken for granted.
Yes, getting the Happy Meal toys was a big deal. Hopefully, they won’t ban that before I can take grandchildren there.
Going to the movies was nothing short of a major event. We only went to movies that we knew we would absolutely love.
Popcorn and candy? I don’t think so.
To their credit, our children rarely even asked. When they got a little older, they would sometimes use their own money. Although we noticed quickly how much tighter they all were with their “own” money.
Sure, there are certain downsides to having a big family.
We have never taken extravagant vacations and there are long lists of things I wish we could have afforded over the years. But isn’t that also a life lesson?
Despite our affluent area, we have tried to teach our children that while money is not evil, thinking it can buy you happiness is ridiculous.
In fact, it is a lie that, in my mind, is doing particular damage to our current culture. My core belief is that children really just want your time, attention and love.
“Stuff” is nice, but the newness of possessions and outings always wears off.
My husband always jokes that he knows for sure I married him for love since he had no money when we wed.
I definitely did marry him for love. And as far as I’m concerned, I am one of the richest mothers on Earth.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Adlen Robinson is the author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” Her e-mail address is email@example.com.