When Strangers Count Our Kids and Ask If We’re Done

When Strangers Count Our Kids & Ask If We're Done | One large family's answer to the probing questions of curious bystanders.

Large families are a magnet for probing questions. Natural curiosity compels complete strangers who count our kids to ask if we’re done –or to blurt out all manner of other deeply personal inquiries. Many people can’t seem to hold back when they meet a couple with a lot of kids. It’s open season as soon as anybody with more than the average number of children shows up in public:

  • Are they all yours?
  • From the same husband?
  • Don’t you know what causes that?
  • Did you have them naturally?
  • Were they all planned?
  • Do I need to buy you a TV?
  • Are you going to have any more?

People don’t wait until you have a full dozen to start asking, either. Sometimes a third or fourth baby is all it takes to put you in the hot seat concerning your reproductive gameplan.

Big Family Comments

I usually don’t mind such questions — they’re great conversation starters — nor do I normally take offense when people want to know more about what makes our family tick.

But when a reporter recently asked me, “Are you done?”, I think it triggered a more visceral response than he was expecting:

Which begs another question: Is it really crazy to want a lot of children?

That’s what I’ve been hearing for my last ten pregnancies. There’s nothing like having a random stranger pronounce you insane based entirely upon your family size!

In our heart of hearts, we can’t see anything crazy about wanting a bunch of kids. In fact, we can rattle off a lengthy list of benefits to having a big family — not the least of which is postponing our empty nest for a few extra years!

But the world calls us crazy, so we’ve learned to embrace that label. And in one sense, it fits: We are crazy in love, and we don’t care who knows it.

We love each other. We love the Lord. And we love all the wonderful children He has entrusted to our care.

Are you “crazy” about children, too? What’s the weirdest question you’ve been asked about your brood? Share in the comments below, along with your standard answer.

Do you know another “crazy” mom who might be encouraged by this post? Please share it by clicking on one of the social media buttons below. And thanks for helping spread the word that it’s okay to want kids. 🙂


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  1. I wouldn’t call this a “crazy” question so much as tone deaf. My husband and I had twins for our first pregnancy. People have asked me many times if we used IVF to conceive since twins are common with IVF. It’s a frustrating question because I was 21 at the time and trying to finish up college (I had to drop out). My husband and I were also barely staying afloat financially as newlyweds.

    Unplanned pregnancies can be scary to begin with, and all of the emotions were amped up due to the “extra” baby. Asking if we used IVF feels like a slap in the face given how stressful and frightening everything was, and even if we did use IVF it’s nobody’s business!

    Now that our girls are older, we don’t get as much attention in public and avoid a lot of unwanted questions and comments, but I’ve learned that plainly telling people the truth when asked about IVF helps them realize what a ridiculously nosy question it is. I just smile and say that I was a college student at the time and had to drop out. This has always ended the conversation or caused a change in subject.

    My husband and I are expecting number three any day now (our girls are five) and feel like we’ve been called to have a big family. Your blog is such a source of encouragement, and I hope I can find a way to answer the inevitable questions with grace and joy.

    1. It’s strange that onlookers would spot twins and immediately assume IVF. I would’ve been more likely to ask whether twins run in your family. (They do in mine, but I never had any myself.)

  2. Submission= Under the Mission/Authority
    Since my husband is Submissive to our Lord, I am gladly Under the Mission/Authority of my husband and therefore under our Lord’s Mission/Authority!

    You have submitted to our Lord’s command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and subdue it! Thank you!

    God bless you and your quiver! 🙂

    1. I love that definition of submission, Annie. What a beautiful and accurate word picture! Thanks for your encouraging words. The Lord has already blessed us beyond measure, and we are so thankful for every single child He has entrusted to our care.

  3. I just wanted to say Great Job honoring the Lord on that America Tonight interview. I was looking up online what quiver meant biblically and it lead me to quiverfull and then ultimately to your video.
    Pay no mind to the naysayers – that is the worldly point of view.
    May the Lord bless you and provide you wisdom as a follower of Christ!
    Thanks for representing 🙂

  4. I love you, Jennifer!! I’m #6 out of 8 kids and really miss big families. Growing up, everyone in the neighborhood had big families, and the one with only 3 kids, we felt sorry for them! You are a tremendous witness of God’s original plan – thank you!

  5. I don’t have any kids yet but I am the oldest of eight. The funniest thing that happens all the time is when strangers assume that my seven younger siblings are my children. I always have a good giggle when explaining.

    1. My oldest daughter was only 11 the first time she was mistaken for my toddler’s mother. She was very tall for her age, but the adult who made the mistake realized it as soon as Bethany turned around and showed her (still very) youthful face.

      1. I’m the middle of three girls, and my younger sister was born when I was thirteen. Mom stepped away from our cart for a moment at the store and left me alone with my six month old sister, and an older woman saw me and told me I ought to keep my legs closed. Mom and I both thought this was funny at the time, but looking back as an adult I cannot imagine saying something like that to a young lady I don’t know…

  6. Oh Jennifer! I am 45 with 10 children, my youngest is 2, and tears come to my eyes when I think that we might not be blessed with any more. I LOVE the idea of an empty nest list, the trouble is, I can’t imagine what kinds of things to put on it! Mind sharing? Blessings to you! April

    1. Hi, April. I posted the answer to your question in my “Monday Mailbag” column, as I suspect others may be curious about the same thing. You can read it by following this link. Thanks for asking!

  7. I have four kids. The one thing people have wonder is why we have a big space between our oldest to our second oldest. I tell people its because our oldest is adopted. I then get a funny look.I get told I have my hands full. I laugh be because my one friend has 10. I just say if you think my hands are full you should see my heart. Full of love.

    1. Oh, Yvonne! I simply ADORE that precious response — and it’s so TRUE! “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.” I’m sure it’s filled to bursting with love, as is mine.

  8. I saw a T-shirt 10 yrs ago that said “Before you ask, 1.Yes, they are all ours, it’s not a daycare, 2. Yes, we know how this happens, and we enjoyed every minute of it,…” and another website: Yes, they’re all ours. Yes, we have our hands full. No, there are no twins. Yes, we know what causes it. No, we’re not done, unless God says so.
    God’s many continued blessings,
    Annie 🙂

    1. Those sound great! We are often asked, “Are these ALL your kids?!!” when we are out and about with only seven or eight of them these days, so we usually have to qualify our answer: “Yes, all of these children are ours, but no, these are not all of our children. We have (however many) more who aren’t with us tonight!”

  9. When I had three children people started telling me I had my hands full. The only thing was most of the time it was in a very negative way. A friend of mine told me to make a list of all the most common comments and then learn your responses ahead of time, because I felt I was never good at on the spot thinking while watching the children and doing what ever it was we were doing. This greatly helped me to prepare and joyfully share our true heart on children.

    The worst one was at a check out and we are all together as a family (five children & prego) and the clerk ask us if we really “wanted them all or were some of them accidents?”

    The worst thing I said to the comment of my hands being full was a hurried “better than empty” and then she added that she was never able to have children & that I was truly blessed. I was horrified at my ignorance & have never said that again.
    We now have seven children and I’m so thankful for what the Lord has given us and I hope to not be done. I love your thoughts on being crazy in love.☺

    Thank you, Jennifer, for your wonderful family blog. Your book, Love Your Husband, is wonderful. I tell everyone about it.

    1. I’ve made similar, unintentionally hurtful replies, Danielle. We live and learn, don’t we? You just never know what the person making the comment might be dealing with. Experience has taught me that it is always better to give them the benefit of the doubt, assume they don’t mean to be rude, and answer as gently and joyfully as possible. 🙂

  10. I love your Family, we were told we would not be able to have children.
    Then God gave us a daughter. Sonja is now going to be 19 years old in March 2016.

    Thank you for sharing your newsletter


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