But when Maile first got pregnant with Leo, our fifth child, and we told people who aren’t from around here, they gave us a funny look. As my friend Rob Stennett writes over at his blog The Perfect Father (regarding when his wife got pregnant with #4), people think you either:
1. Are Mormon or Catholic
2. Like to have sex but don’t know how to use birth control
3. Have plans to start your own farm and therefore need a cheap/free child labor force
(None of those apply to me, in case you were wondering.)
I’ve actually found living with five children to be very rewarding. I like the feel of a big family. I like making the rounds each night, tucking everyone in, saying prayers, reading stories. Below, I’ve listed five of the things I love about having five children (besides these five I also have some deeper philosophical thoughts about turning five children into world-changers, but it all sounds rather ambitious and most of the time I’m happy if they brush their teeth before bed and remember to wear their shoes when we leave the house).
Anyway, here they are. Five things I love about having five children:
1) I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore. When our oldest child was born, we were swamped by the tidal wave of public opinion. Cloth diapers or disposable? Cry-it-out or co-sleep? Optimal time to start feeding the baby solids? Demand-feeding or schedule-feeding?
Good Lord. Every single decision felt so crucial.
No longer. By the time Leo arrived, I really didn’t care anymore what you thought about how I was raising my child. Honestly. You can think whatever you want. We can still be friends. Besides, those kinds of dualistic ways of looking at the world are so extreme and unhelpful.
2) The oldest take care of the youngest. Our oldest daughter is better at putting Leo to sleep than I am. Cade is better at making Leo laugh than I am. It’s actually pretty wonderful, watching your kids take care of each other, even if this means they insist on kissing the baby when he’s asleep.
3) We fill up an entire pew at St. James. I don’t know why I like this, but I do. Probably because I’m antisocial and don’t like sitting with other people.
4) On November 1st, we have enough candy to start our own candy store. (Sometime I’ll tell you about the Halloween night our 4th child absolutely lost it because he was so crammed full of sugar, and as a result of his crazy, when we got home, Maile threw everyone’s candy in the trash…sometime I’ll tell you about that, but it’s still too close, and I may or may not have taken candy out of the trash for myself.)
5) You can pretty much always come up with an excuse for not going somewhere. I’m the kind of person who always feels bad saying no, who always wants to make everyone else happy. So having five children is great because there’s almost always at least one kid who’s sick, one kid who’s taking a nap, or one kid who has a lot of homework to do. Now I don’t have to let people down – I can blame it on one of my children!
So what do you think? Is five kids way too many? Just right? Or not enough (you Duggar, you)?