Tag Archives: Large Families

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Children are a heritage.
Children are a heritage.

I am a wife and a mother of 8. Altogether, we make ten.

When we go out, people stare. Some stare in wondrous awe, joyful smiles painted across their faces. Those are the ones who approach us with comments like, "Your family is so beautiful," or "What a blessing," or "Christmas must be so wonderful at your house."

And then there are others. Others who stare in sheer disgust. They whisper to one another. Under their hot and hateful breaths, they most likely curse me for being "irresponsible" or "leaving too large of a footprint on the earth." When I am in the store with my children and my husband is not with us, the glares are hard to miss. Those glares suggest they unjustly accuse me of being a welfare recipient with no husband and multiple baby daddies.

Some of them are bold enough to approach and comment, nastily saying, "You ARE done, right?" One woman went so far as to order me NOT to have anymore children.

My family is constantly and consistently subjected to prejudice and discrimination. I don't like it, but the gawking has become a part of our norm. I've learned to ignore the incriminating glances and to deflect the intrusive comments. But, if I am to be completely honest, there are times, here and there, when it gets the best of me. Days when I walk into a store with my guard up and guns blazin', ready to blast the first simpleton who dare bring ignorance my way. Sometimes this wall causes confusion...mistaken identity...and I become curt with the friendly ones...the ones who feel joy and love when they see my supersized brood. I catch myself when I do this. I offer a warm smile and tear down my wall as quickly as possible because that's the only way to receive the love that's being offered. I never wish to miss out on that. And I certainly never want to subject another to unfair judgment because of the actions of the mean ones. That would be hypocritical.

We get the prejudgment when we're in restaurants, too.

When judgmental patrons dining near us are finished with their meals, they make it a point to come over and applaud our well-mannered children. They tell us what a joy it was dining next to such disciplined kids. They give us their stamp of approval after they already assumed our crew was going to destroy their dining experience.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate their willingness to adjust their initial thoughts regarding our family. And I certainly appreciate the compliments. But what I don't understand is why people aren't more willing to give the benefit of the doubt or a stamp of approval...first.

Professors often say, "Everyone has an A; now, its up to each individual to keep it." Isn't that how we should all treat one another? Isn't is far more peaceful to extend kindness, love and trust with no judgment and only pull it back when the person(s) proves unworthy of said tokens?

I know what you're thinking:

Donloyn, if you're accustomed to this, then why are you bringing it up now? Has something happened?

Why, yes, something has happened.

When we sold our home last year, my husband and I decided we would rent for a short while (1 or 2 years) until we decide upon a home to purchase.

The end of the first year of renting is fast upon us, and we decided to rent a different home, in a new location...the neighborhood we wanted. Our plan was to rent there for one year and then purchase a new home.

It was an almost 3000 sqft, 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with an enormous bonus room and 2 formals. It was wonderful. Spacious, lovely neighborhood, close to the kids schools...perfect.

Last week, we completed the application process and satisfactorily met all rental requirements: credit, criminal background, income, rental history.

The manager of the property management company told me everything was great...except one thing. She would have to check with the homeowner regarding our family's size.

(Insert needle on record here)

I was caught off guard. "Oh, but I am sure it will not be a problem," she assured me. And so I let it roll off my shoulder.

The following day, she phoned. "I'm sorry, but the homeowner said she does not wish to approve your application based on your family's size," she said, sounding just as shocked as I felt.

My stomach dropped, my throat tightened and the tears welled in my eyes.

"Do you think she would be willing to speak with us," I said desperately as my voice quivered.

She agreed to contact the homeowner to request a conference call on our behalf. Minutes later she called back and said, "She refused the conference call. She's adamant about not renting to you." I thanked her for her efforts and hung up the phone in utter disbelief.

There are property rental laws that protect against unlawful discrimination based on familial status. But that doesn't stop it from happening.

Similarly, there are moral standards that discourage the act of discrimination, but people continue to be on the receiving end of harsh gavels pounding in judgment against them. Some deal with racial discrimination. Some gender discrimination. Some because of their religion or sexual orientation. In our case, it's because closed-minded individuals impose their thinking upon us and accuse us of having too many children.

Psalm 127: 3-5 says that my husband and I are blessed.

People try to make us feel shame for creating our beautiful family. A weaker person may be inclined to falsify the next rental application...but not me.

You know, Christmases around here are pretty wonderful. They are filled with joy, love and laughter. And I wouldn't change that for all of the almost 3000 sqft homes in the world.

I am a wife and a mother of 8. Altogether, we make ten. I am not ashamed. We roll ten deep. We are a force. Our love is far more powerful than the hate of discrimination.

Behold...The Power of Ten!

Behold...The Power of Ten!
Behold...The Power of Ten!

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With life in a big family, it seems we're always balancing the budget, comparatively shopping, weighing the costs.

How much is that gallon of orange juice? How much was that? We can get it cheaper at Walmart. If you buy a dozen, it's less than if you buy two of the 6-packs. How much gas did you put in your tank? How much time does it take? How much longer will you be? How much money is left in the account?

We're constantly trying to get more for less...always trying to squeeze in extra...always on this never-ending quest to save time and money. Heck, even I cashed in on the "BOGO" special with two of my pregnancies. Twins...twice! Talk about a time saver!

But are we really weighing ALL of the costs? Is life really cheaper when we squeeze all we can out of it without putting anything extra into it? Does life really come in bulk?

Recently, our world has turned into a real-life depiction of Cheaper By The DozenYou remember that movie. You know, the 2003 remake starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff and Tom Welling?

A little eye candy for the mamas! All right, that's enough!
A little eye candy for the mamas! All right, that's enough!

Ahem! Hello? Um...Hellooo??? I lost you at Tom Welling, didn't I? Dang, girl! FOCUS!

Anyway, in that movie, husband and wife duo, Tom Baker (Martin) and Kate Baker (Hunt), parents of 12 children, are both offered wonderful opportunities that could potentially take their careers to all-time highs. After a move to the big city, Kate and Tom forge full-steam ahead with their career goals only to discover they are on two separate paths. Drastic changes and a bulk-sized order of life prove to be too much for the family. Tom and Kate's inability to accurately weigh the costs shows what happens when we try to buy more out of life than we can afford.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering how life in my crazy household resembles that of The Baker's. Let me break it down for you:

  • We don't have 12 kids, but 8 is damn sure close enough...believe that!
  • Aastan is not a big time college football coach, but he is the Systems Architect for his company's IT team, which essentially means he plays a large role in "designing the plays" that will be carried out by his teammates.
  • I, like Kate, am a writer and the manager of this family's chaos.
  • Like The Bakers, we JUST moved.
  • Much like Tom and Kate, Aastan and I, both, have been making positive strides career-wise that unfortunately require extra time, effort and commitment on our parts.
  • Oh yeah, and our frog escaped, too! I'll tell you all about that in a minute!

With new and exciting things happening on the job front, Aastan has been away a lot. This has been challenging on the entire family. He's tired...the kids don't see him as much...I don't see or talk to him as much...we're a little grumpy...a little stressed...the whole nine!

But let's keep it real, for a moment. It's challenging on everyone, but it really presents me (the wife, the mom, the ringmaster of this circus) with a heavier load. And this heavier load comes at a time when several awesome career opportunities have presented themselves for me, as well.

I'm on the cast of Listen To Your Mother: Charleston; I'm about to submit my children's book manuscript to an agent; I just signed a contract to be a contributing writer on a major women's website; I've been asked to be a speaker at two events coming up in the fall; and I'm hammering out a few ideas designed specifically with women and young girls in mind!

But...timing is everything.

All of these wonderful things are happening for my husband and me...I am happy for him and proud of his achievements, AND I'm happy for and proud of myself, too. But of course, we have to think of our kids...they need us...BOTH of us!

I don't know that we've truly weighed the costs. Our family has been set on fast-forward recently, and it's become a wild ride. Awesome things are happening, but at what price? Our family's happiness, our family's laughter, our family's love?

Life in a family of ten is hard enough. Add in everyone's stuff and there are days when it's beyond difficult.

All of this has me wondering...Is life really cheaper by the dozen? Does a big box of happy and fulfilled life even come in bulk-sizing? And if it does, can we even afford it right now?

How do you deal with this type of balance? How do you weigh the costs of all of life's options? Please share in the comments below! These are discussions that all families--large and SMALL--can benefit from having.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot! The Great Frog Escape! Our albino African-clawed frog got out of his tank...TWICE! We had to hunt him down! His name has been legally changed to Froggie Went A Courtin'. The scene looked something like the following...pretty much!