A Guest Contribution by Megan Krecsmar
I get noticed everywhere I go. People stare, some point. Is it because of my ravishing beauty? I mean, that probably has something to do with it, yes, but more than that I have 6 kids ages 9, 8, 5, 3, 2, and 8 months. Yeah, I’m not sure what i was thinking either.
I had a daughter followed by a son 17 months later. Since I had one of each everyone assumed I was done. I obviously wasn’t. The fun started when I was visibly pregnant with my 3rd. That’s when strangers felt comfortable asking if I knew where babies came from. They got more and more curious with each subsequent child. My favorite inquires were as we were leaving the hospital with our newest bundle and people would ask if the kids were all ours. Because everyone brings stray children to take their newborns home, no?
We have a normal minivan. I spent no less than 476 man hours researching vans so that I could have as many kids as I could and still drive a “normal” vehicle. It’s an 8 seater and there are 8 of us. Sure, we’re shoved in like sardines but we fit. In order to fit 2 of my 3 rear facing kids have to be in the third row (I spent 8372 man hours researching this one). That’s right. I climb in the hatch to put them in. As if getting 6 kids in and out wasn’t a show in and of itself I open that back hatch and I climb in to get them in and out. I have felt the eyes of passersby. I have seen them counting my offspring and scratching their chins wondering how this works. I have seen the worry in their eyes that I’m dumping my kids in the cargo space with the groceries before they get a closer look and see a sea of car seats. I have heard the gasps, the chuckles, the “Oh. My. Gosh!” I feel like we should charge a fee for fellow shoppers in the parking lot. We’re essentially a clown car. Oh, and those poor souls that unknowingly park next to my circus? Just when they think it’s safe to shimmy up to their driver door to get in and drive off, I climb out with another kid on my hip. Those eager beavers that think they can wait a few seconds and take my parking space? Bless their hearts, I just shake my head apologetically, tell them it will be a while, and climb on in the hatch with my kids.
We’ve always gone grocery shopping together as a family. It’s one of those habits that you don’t remember how it started and even though it’s a pain you stick with it because it’s just how it’s done. There are times that we are loading the kids in the van and we know *we know* it’s not going to go well but we just keep loading because that’s what we do.
Normal grocery stores don’t really cut it anymore so we mostly stick to warehouse stores. You know how the first time you see a bulk item, like a 6 gallon jug of ketchup or 10 lbs of pasta, and you’re all “Hahaha, that’s comically large!” We’ve been buying in bulk for so long that normal sized packaging is adorably small to me and makes me clap my hands and giggle in glee. Okay, I made the clapping and giggling up but they are so tiny and cute! I’ve seen other large families shopping in these store and they require two carts because they’re buying large boxes of diapers that take up one cart alone. Thankfully I decided to use cloth and have my diapers delivered right to my house with free shipping from Abby’s Lane. So I get to save that precious cart space for 12 packs of mac ‘n cheese and 48 yogurt tubes.
Eating out as a family is another grand adventure. When we tell the hostess there are 2 adults and 6 children you can see the look of resignation in her face. Oftentimes there are not tables large enough to accommodate our family so two, and sometimes three, are pushed together for us. Some fellow diners understandably look uneasy at our arrival. My husband and I have an ongoing joke that we say quietly to each other every time we sit down: “Sorry for ruining your dinner!”
As much as I joke about the not so amazing comments it is worth noting that not once has anyone said anything negative about the behavior of our children. We have, however, had numerous people come over and tell us what a beautiful well behaved family we have.
Having a larger family means changing your perception of normal. Gone are the days of sedans and neighborhood supermarkets. It means saying goodbye to quick, relaxing meals and accepting that you are a spectacle while you’re out and about. But it also means more love to go around, so much laughter, and that dull moments are a thing of the past. So, all in all, I’m livin’ large and lovin’ it.
How many kids do you have or plan to have? Share your adventures in parenting with us in the comments below.