MegaMom Interviews: "I could never do that!"

Hope, a mother of eight, has once again been kind enough to answer questions about life with lots of children. Be sure to check out her blog Mothers of Many Saints for more insights, and you can see the rest of the MegaMom Interviews here.

I asked:

Q: What would you say to women who look at how many children you have and think, “I could never do that, it would be too (physically / mentally / financially) hard”?

She responded:

I hear this all the time. I hear this from people who say that they couldn’t do the mothering that a large family demands, and generally I just give an encouraging, “Sure you could!” Some just say it, because it’s something to say, with no real consideration or care about inviting a new life into their family. Sometimes, though, I hear it from ladies at Church, who perhaps are truly struggling with the question of adding another soul to their family.

Recently, a woman who is an acquaintance, approached me at a church function, and the first thing she said was, “Are there going to be any more?” I looked at her quizzically, wondering at first if she was referring to the on-stage music or the festival itself, as if she was asking if there would be more music or another festival, but I quickly realized she was asking if there would be anymore children. I said, “Sure, maybe, only God knows.” This about knocked the socks off this mother of three. I guess because I don’t have it all planned out. As we talked I could tell that mothering and the question of following Church teaching regarding marriage was a struggle for her.

The state of being open to life in your marriage does not mean that you start off with having it all together. I mean, we had two children before we even had an income. When we started our family we were young, poor, and still had a lot of learning to do. At the beginning we hardly would have thought we would be where we are today — with eight kids, and we certainly were not “ready” by the world’s standards. But God has blessed us with each baby. The babies come just one at time, and with each we have grown and learned in many ways. If we had stopped at two or three, I would still think I couldn’t do eight. Just like I hear about families with twelve plus children and I think, “Wow, there is no way I could do that!”

A question I would ask myself and anyone else who thinks they couldn’t do it is, “Why not?” Is it impatience? Pray for patience and find practical ways to learn patience. Is it finances? Maybe a better job can be found or better budgeting can be practiced. Is it health? Learn how to be healthy and develop good habits. Is it disorganization? Learn how to instill order in your life. Is it a struggling marriage or unruly children? Learn how to fortify these relationships. If you do these things, you will see blessings in your life, blessings that prepare you to open your heart and home to just one more.

The point would be to learn to be content in every circumstance, trust in God, and keep striving for holiness.

A big thanks to Hope for taking the time to put together such a beautiful response!

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4 Responses to “MegaMom Interviews: "I could never do that!"”
  1. La gallina says:

    What a great response. I’ve only got four, but as I’ve learned to organize them better it’s actually gotten easier than just having two.

    Now, does Hope have a good answer for mothers who wouldn’t mind adding a couple of new souls to the family, but husband says, “No way!”?

  2. Sarahndipity says:

    Now, does Hope have a good answer for mothers who wouldn’t mind adding a couple of new souls to the family, but husband says, “No way!”?

    Good question. I would like maybe four kids total (God willing – I have PCOS so that might be hard.) My husband often says he would like three, tops, and recently he’s been making noises about stopping at two. (We have just one right now). I guess we just have to see how things go and take it one kid at a time. I can certainly sympathize with his concerns – kids are an enormous amount of work. Our daughter is 3 and neither of us feels ready for another at the moment. (Though a lot of that is due to the fact that we both have to work full time and my husband is in grad school. Yet that doesn’t stop me from swooning over newborns). But at the same time I think my husband isn’t thinking long-term – the really hard part is relatively short compared to the entire time you’re raising the kid. It should get easier. (Right?!?)

    Before we were married, we thought we wanted between four and six kids. (Lesson learned: don’t decide how many kids you want when you have never had a kid and have only baby-sat 3 times in your life.)

    I admit, I cannot imagine having 7, 8 or more. My husband and I are just not cut out for that. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wonderful to have such a big family, and I really, really admire anyone who does, especially since I now know how hard it is. I just don’t think it’s for me. People who have that many kids are usually the type-A, super-outgoing, always-on-the-go type. My husband and I are not that type. I think maybe three to four kids would be enough to stretch us and keep us from getting too self-centered, but not so many that we would go completely insane. (Maybe just partially insane, heehee.)

    I don’t necessarily think the woman with 3 kids in the interview was not following church teaching. If she was using contraception, then yes, but it’s possible she was using NFP and had a good reason to stop at 3.

  3. MY NAME IS SIMCHA. says:

    People who have that many kids are usually the type-A, super-outgoing, always-on-the-go type.

    Sarah, I think it’s possible that having lots of kids forces you to be that way! Just try and be shy when you have a double stroller and a toddler and people NEED TO MOVE NOW so you can get to the bathroom in time. As for being “always on the go,” that’s also hard to avoid with a nice bunch of kids. I don’t know what type A means, however. But I suspect it, too, can be learned if necessary.

    It’s been one of the good side effects of having lots of kids: I just can’t afford to be the mopey, morose, fearful, procrastinator I was for 20+ years, and I’m much happier now, and more useful!

    And oh, do I enjoy the rare moments of leisure which used to make up my whole life.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I need more info! Hope mentioned finding practical ways to practice patience…..does anyone have any pointers or hints at how to do this?! Because I am completely lacking in that department. Any direction or advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Bridget