The size of my family is none of your business

the size of my family is none of your business

To my surprise, I’m a mum of five. It still feels odd saying that. With five children, I’m a prime target for comments about the size of my family. Often I’m asked, ‘you’re done now?’ or ‘the shop is shut, right?’.

Once you have one child, you’re asked when you’re having a second. If you have two sons, people ask if you’ll try for a girl. When you have a pigeon pair, people don’t understand why you’d want a third child. If you have five kids, people assume that you’re done having kids. Because, more than five is crazy, right?

When I told my [female, childless, barrister] boss I was pregnant with twins she said ‘Jesus Christ Claire. Only the freaky families way out in Western Sydney have five kids’. Such a beautiful way with words. At that point I was still coming to terms with the whole twin thing. It was not the response I needed.

For a while I thought we’d be a family of five. Although my heart was telling me we’d have four children. Four and we’d be done. Never five. Five was way too many kids! Then, the fourth pregnancy was twins and that made five kids. Now, here I am, 6 months in to life with five kids. It doesn’t feel overwhelming. Yes, my hands are full. Overflowing, even. Yes, we’re busy. That’s an understatement. But am I ‘done’? Maybe.

Five and out

I suppose it’s an understandable assumption that with five kids, we’d be finished having children. But the reality is, the size of my family should only matter to Mr Wallace and I. Mr Wallace is well and truly ready to ‘shut up shop’. And that’s no doubt a wise decision. Meanwhile, I’m a bit ‘Hi, my name is Claire and I’m addicted to kids.’

For now I respond to the ‘you’re not having any more kids, right’ comments with ‘never say never’. But really, I’m scratching my head about why the size of my family is so important to others. Maybe I ought to say ‘mind your own womb’. Or is that too forthright?

What unwelcome or inappropriate comments have you received about the size of your family?

Linking up with Kylie for #IBOT

19 thoughts on “The size of my family is none of your business

  1. When I was pregnant with my fourth, we suspected this one was twins as we had lost twins previously and things were looking the same. (LOL it was only 1) When I use to say I had 4 kids (when they were little) I was often told – Oh catholic are you? Now they are older, I have found it emotionally harder than ever trying to keep 4 different sets of emotions, personalities, teenage stuff all together BUT I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    1. I’m sorry for your loss Natalie. I do wonder if life will ever really get easier or just ‘different’.

  2. Beautiful photo of a lovely family.
    My two eldest girls were 10 and 8 when baby number 3 came along, Planned!
    We’ve had people assume my husband of 13 years is my new husband, and the older 2 aren’t his children!
    Also the comments oh you went back for a boy, no we went back for a baby! Just as well as she was our 3rd girl!

  3. As someone without kids and who doesn’t want them, it’s the same but different questions. I just don’t understand why anyone thinks it matters to anyone but you & your partner how many kids you have and/or want.
    There are 5 years between my sister and I, so based on my life experience, hearing of kids closer together than that makes me go “Huh, weird” but then I go on with my life and don’t question why or how soon or how many. Because it doesn’t matter.

  4. Love this family portrait. I had thought 2 was what I could handle, but I ended up with 3 and sometimes I think I could have handled 4, but I can’t have a fourth because I sorted things out after baby number 3. All I know is, you are right, only you know how many kids you want and can handle and it’s not up to me to judge. No one should judge, but people will often say inappropriate things simply because they are thinking about their life situation. You have a beautiful family and you may be busy, but gosh, I bet your household is full of love too. Families with a lot of children usually are. x

  5. We are one and done, yet 4.5 years later and I still field regular queries as to the possibility of a second child. Even more irritating when it’s from people who know damn well the existing kid was IVF so it’s not like it wasn’t a bit of effort to begin with!

  6. My sis used to get it all the time after she had her daughter – “when are you having another?” It used to really upset her because they struggled with infertility and she was so lucky and grateful to even have the one (she was told she would never have kids) – but these thoughtless questions kept reminding her of her pain.

  7. I have 5 children ( all grown up now) and a grand mother of 12
    Many people would ask if they all had the same father (which they did if it’s important) was the last one a mistake!!! Surely you have finished and you must be a Catholic.. oh and I lost twin boys after my first child…so seven all up.
    I am the second of 7 and my siblings and I all get on well and love it when we can get together… I always felt I was the lucky one to come from a large happy family and my 5 all get on well and do many things together…blessed

    1. Oh wow, what an amazing family you must have! I truly hope that my children remain close as they grow and choose to spend time together as adults.

  8. Completely agree!! How many times do you think I have heard ‘pigeon pair’ or your so ‘Lucky’ to get one of each, in last 9 days!!! Or even ‘just because she is a girl she doesn’t have to wear pink!’ We wanted another healthy baby, not a particular gender!!! 😶

  9. Congratulations on this wonderful photo encapsulating all that is about YOUR family. I agree ‘it’s none of anyone’s business’ but yet some people are compelled to make a remark or ask questions. Me, I try to be incredibly sensitive as no-one knows another’s story until that person may wish to tell it. I had 2 kids. The first, a girl, came along VERY quickly with me aged 21. When we ‘thought’ it time for another go, some 2-3 years later “nothing happened” and there came one of the saddest times of my life. I had GPs and specialists (we lived in the bush as young teachers back then) blame my so called in fertility on my weight (it has increased significantly) and I sadly accepted there would be no more kids. I had tests (1970s here!) that were painful and horrid and still no baby. When we moved to Sydney and I had some gynaecological issues my mum said ‘see my specialist’. So, I did. He found large cysts on my ovaries and when he operated found my insides were covered in “whatever” would have stopped me from ovulation. He said,. afterwards, I have left little cuts in ovaries and let’s see what happens. By the 2nd month post surgery I was delighted to be pregnant. The OB/GYN thought it was very soon after surgery but I had a trouble free pregnancy and have birth to our son with a 7.5 year age gap between the kids. I recall my Aunt’s words on a card “you have your pigeon pair now” and I wondered what that meant but of course, girl and a boy = that’s what everyone wants. Yet she was not trying to offend. I was 29 when I had our son and my hub got very ill the following year and was unwell for another 4. I was in some ways still wondering about another child (it’s the pull of the mothering cord!) but at 35 we decided no more. In those days, the early 1980s it was considered that 35 was the limit for a regular and trouble-free pregnancy. Never regretted our choice. But get this, our kids have gone on to have 4 each!! We have 6 granddaughters and 2 grandsons. Life, hey!! Denyse #teamIBOT xx

  10. I’m an only child and I always got the questions about whether I was lonely. So, I imagine my mum had the usual comments too. Now I have my own little boy (4 mths) and I’m in my late 30s I think we will go for a second, but YES it is nobody’s business but your own.
    PS what a gorgeous family you have!

    1. Thank you! I suspect parents with one child get more than their fair share of comments. Sometimes people can be so insensitive.

  11. I have three girls and I always get “Where’s the boy?” “Surely, you’re going back for a boy?” To me, it seems an awfully stupid thing to say. I have three healthy, curious, kind, fun and loving girls. I am so very blessed. You’re right, it definitely is nobody else’s business. But I sometimes wonder if people are just saying it mindlessly… as though it’s an expression or funny thing to say. Which of course it’s not, but I’m guessing til the situation is reversed they may not understand. Love your family photo by the way! It’s beautiful xx

  12. Gorgeous pic Claire! People always say stuff, just the way it goes sadly I just reckon you need a cheeky comeback line. Like to an oldie, if they ask if you’re done I’d say…I dunno, I find it very hard to keep my hands off Mr Wallace (then wink) That’ll make their draw drop and shit up! Or just agree you make adorable children, why stop?? haha!!

    1. I love it Jo! I’m just waiting for a ‘don’t you have a TV’ comment. I’m tempted to reply ‘yes, but sex is much more fun’!

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