Saturday, November 11, 2006

What's A 'Big' Family?

I came across an article the other day that discussed whether or not Americans are having "large" families anymore. It had come to the conclusion that while some families still tend to be large (defined as three or more children) the majority of couples have one or two, with two being the average. That struck me as odd that now a family with three children is considered "large". I came from a family with three girls and it did not feel at all large to me. In fact as a kid I often got the strange feeling that someone was missing at the dinner table. And then I would do a mental head count and think, nope, everyone's here. But then I was a strange child.

My parents came from "average" size families for the time. My dad had four sisters, my mom had a sister and two brothers. I doubt back then people squawked when their parents said how many kids they had at home. It's much different today. We've been told by well-meaning folks(on more than one occasion) that we can be "all done" now that we have two kids, especially since we have one of each gender. Thank you for the report. I will notify my ovaries. I had told my hairdresser at my last appointment that we were having another baby and she said something along the lines of, "Three is okay, but anyone who has four is nuts." Huh??? I kept my comment to myself, because I was afraid she might ruin my hair.

If you look at magazines you see the perfect family size reflected there as well, with covers displaying a happy foursome, two glowing parents with their two, evenly spaced children, usually an older boy and younger girl. I've noticed this frequently- keep an eye out and you'll see what I mean. Vacation packages and prizes are usually only good for families of four.

And it's no surprise with all the reports about how "expensive" it is to have a child these days that people intentionally have smaller families. Us stay-at-homers are budgeting masters though, and know how frugally and inexpensively you can raise your kids. If we can do it, dual-incomers should find it no trouble at all.

So why would you suppose anyone might care how many children someone else has? Sure, everyone has an opinion, but there is a prevailing attitude in America that fewer children is somehow better, less of a "burden"- pardon the name pun. And while I see the number of smaller families growing, the amount of personal debt just seems to keep accruing- couples with the McMansions and their Hummers. We are overhoused, over"materialized", yet we look at children as an expense we cannot afford? I don't get it.

And don't misunderstand me- I'm not advocating the notion everyone should have a huge family. Clearly that's not a right fit for everyone. I would just like to have my children without people telling me I'm a nut. I'm a nut for other reasons, but not because I would like more than a couple kids.

Of course I will revisit this topic after I've had my third child and let you know what I really think a large family is. I am not afraid to eat my words.

<< Home


Post a Comment