Why do mothers of large families become highly defensive about their families when
people innocently make statements about their respective family size?
It depends on what people ask and how they say it. When my boys were younger and we were out, I was asked "Are they all yours?" And I proudly answered, "yes". I was never offended by that question. The only thing that would get on my nerves was when I'd get an occasional smart-arse ask me "Do you know what causes that?" While I realize people are just trying to be funny, it is probably the dumbest comment made to parents of large families ever..
I believe it is because mothers love their children dearly and would go to the ends of the earth to protect them. When someone comes up to a mother with a large family and implies she should not have had so many kids, it is the same as saying some of her kids should never have been born. I guarantee the mother find this insulting because she could not imagine her life without any of her kids. Each child has value and its own place in her heart.
Lord, it's more than that gmwilliams! Mothers can also turn against someone in the family who is writing about the family all the time, every little weird thing about that family, even that my mother had an affair with my brother's teacher. OMG, just take my own mother for example! She is a case. Read this and see: http://leslie-siegel.hubpages.com/hub/B … -CAROLTOWN YOU WILL SEE how MOTHER ruined me with my large family. She had 4 dead births, then us! So that would have been 8 kids all together. She is evil, and says I am. Read it you will see, and if you can't get to it from here, type in Google "A Private Novel Caroltown" and you will see. It's a great question, but I went a bit off post.
I do not have a large family but I know that many mothers of large families see statements about family size as a criticism. Depending on the comment, it can definitely come across as critical (especially if it relates to financial matters, e.g. if someone says "how can you afford all those kids" it can be extremely offensive). Of course, something as innocent as "wow, I'm impressed, that's wonderful that you have so many kids" can be wrongly interpreted, depending on the mother's personality. Also if in the past the mother has had to deal with critical comments on family size, then ANY comment on family size (even a positive one) can automatically make her defensive. I have found it is probably best not to mention family size except in a really positive way. If you know the person really well she may open up to you about what it's like to have a large family. But otherwise either say nothing about family size, or something really positive.
Because when people say things like...."Well, I sure hope you're gonna get your tubes tied after this one!" , how can you not be defensive. Mom of five and proud of it here!
I have four kids and I get defensve because the second I shared the news I was pregnant with #3 I have gotten nothing but crap about having "all those kids" and I went on to have one more after that. They are my greatest joy and I am raising them to be wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful people.
I don't think I have EVER gotten one positive comment about the size of my family, so experience has taught me that if you are commenting on the size of my family, you are probably saying something unkind or insulting.
Just to clarify, I have gotten lots of positive comments about my children, but not about the size of my family.
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