9 June 2017

"A boy and a girl, how perfect" ...

Is it perfect to have a son and a daughter?  I read on a family members birth announcement - on Facebook - a congratulations from someone who actually typed:

"congratulations, now you have the perfect family. One of each".

No pressure then.  The poster apparently had a boy and a girl and I felt glad that she considered her own family perfect - is that reality? I bet she has had moments of fucking hating her perfect life ... explosive nappy, screaming toddler, sore nipples, trying to breast feed whilst the toddler needs you to get the potty, giving up breast feeding and then mentally hating yourself for turning to bottles ..... life with ANY children is NEVER perfection.

I remember feeling very tearful when our daughter was born (number 2) and a visitor said "that's your family complete then". I felt affronted that someone decided I'd done my bloody bit, so I went on to have 2 more .... not just to spite them but their words ring in my ears 13 years on.

When I was pregnant with number 3 and number 4,  I was asked many questions by strangers, such as:

"Are you trying for a boy or a girl?" To which I replied "neither, we have one of each" I was then asked "why?" and, my particular favourite "Do they all have the same Father?" - High Street Fashion chain sales assistant!

Don't get me wrong, I don't think we have the perfect family, but I enjoy our crazy life and know that it wouldn't be everyone's choice.  People with less than 4 children always justify their choice to me. Why? I don't justify my choices to them.  I get comments like "we like our holidays", who doesn't? "We like them to do 3 extra curricular clubs each", good for you - I hated sitting in a swimming pool sauna watching the eldest learn to swim.  So much so, we taught the other three ourselves .... imagine the cash we saved towards our holiday that we are never going to go on because there are six of us!

We are lucky to have friends and family we can stay with regularly, if we need to escape home. However, unless it's an all expenses trip to Disney Land, Florida (or a full week at Centre Parcs) I just cannot be bothered to pack for 6! The logistics of sleeping arrangements at a friend's recently reminded me of a conversation with an acquaintance who wanted a third child but daren't broach the subject with her Husband because he had, more or less, cut off some other friends with 3 children by saying "don't invite them over, there's too many of them"!

I love large families and am particularly drawn to them, especially as every Saturday is party night and someone is always up for a conversation - not just a taxi out with their mates, once old enough.

Yes we are loud and take up a lot of space but we aren't animals!

I need to point out though that my babes may as well be from a smaller family because they are neither independent or self-sufficient (another large family stereotype).

Every day is a hard struggle with laundry, homework etc. but it's not, not perfect, it's just the life we have chosen and I don't judge.

Therein lies the answer: don't judge, just enjoy. Or as my Gran would have said "you've made your bed, now lie in it"!

Written by Claire Goodall – @clairelgoodtimes – once equals habit


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