Brave or Dependent

Our family is such an anomaly that when we go out we’re sitting ducks for all kinds of comments. Most are positive, a few not so much and a very few downright nasty. People ask us all kind of questions that I consider to be rude just because we had more than two children. I kid you not – the comments started way back when we added #3 to our family.

Two we find hilarious are “Are they all yours?” (No, it’s too easy to go shopping with one child so I rounded up some neighbourhood children to challenge myself) or “How old is the oldest?” (asked to find out if we’re having one every year. One day I will tell them my oldest is seven after I tell them I have eight children). The comment I can never understand though is – “You are so brave”.

How exactly am I brave? Brave to go through pregnancy, labour and birth eight times? Brave to face countless sleep interruptions? Brave to deal with potty training over and over? Brave to make forty pancakes only to see them disappear in ten minutes? Brave to face numerous teenagers? Brave to realize cookies only make sense in double or triple batches? Brave to have bags and bags of various-sized clothes stored up?

I truly don’t know exactly what they mean, but I have to admit to not feeling brave. I love motherhood from the moment I see that little pink line on the pregnancy test until – well, I’m still enjoying it and I now have two teenagers in the house (because my oldest is nearly 15 not 7). Yes, I face things in multiples that most mothers don’t, but I feel blessed beyond measure and dependant.

Dependant? you ask. Yes. When my eleven-year-old son is angry with my seven-year-old daughter how do I deal with that? I pray. I set them down on the couch together and leave them to think for a few minutes. Then we talk. When one of my teenagers seems upset but won’t tell me why, I pray. When my toddler is having a morning of continuous meltdowns, I pray. Then I pull him close, cuddle and maybe read a book or sing some silly songs – working to reconnect with him and help him calm down. When my first baby had croup and we had no idea what it was and we were rushing to the hospital, believe me, we prayed. When I’ve faced countless cuts (one needing stitches), scrapes and bruises, I’ve prayed. When a school lesson that seems so simple to me is causing more problems than I think it’s worth, I pray (and then I usually call my mom ☺). One way or another we get the lesson learned eventually.
Do you see the theme? Motherhood has taught me that I can’t do it on my own. My greatest help is the Lord. I’m not brave. I’m dependent on the Lord every day to make the right decisions. I still don’t always get it right, but that’s okay too because God’s grace covers all. Sometimes I have to apologize to my children. They know Mommy doesn’t always get it right or have it all together, but they do know that I love them. Sometimes I cry – on my own or with my children. Sometimes I laugh because I’d rather do that than cry. Occasionally I yell – refer back to my statement about apologizing.
Depending on the Lord is never a bad thing. In fact, when I do remember to pray I find my life is so much easier. I still try to do it on my own sometimes, but I’m learning. God is good all the time.
Have people said silly things to you about your family? How do you deal with whatever your children throw your way?
Linked to: Made By You Mondays, Cornerstone Confessions, Raising Homemakers, Wise Woman Linkup, Shine Blog Hop, A Group Look Linkup, Counting My Blessings, Dare to Share, Saturday Sparks

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer is the happily married wife of a pastor and the somewhat-tired-but-oh-so happy mum to eight beautiful children. She loves to try new healthy recipes, sew, read to her children, garden and play the piano.
Jennifer Schonhaar

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  1. Joy Daggett

    Thank you. I needed that today. I too need to realize that my dependency is on God, not my husband, money, things, or external sources. I love you and I’m so proud of you. <3

  2. Julie Geoffrion

    Good article and Pierre and I esp liked your answers to people like 8 kids under the age of 7. We say – keep those answers coming hahahaha πŸ˜‰
    How could I have done this move without my 5 kids to help. Sure, we had to care for them as babies but raising them RIGHT is now allowing us to have TONS of love and help without the rebellion that most parents face in their older children today! God is good all the time when we depend on Him!

    • Everyone wants to know if I have “help”. I’m always glad to say that my older children all help with the household chores, and they all love the little ones and help with them too.

  3. When people bothered me about my five kids, I would be aggressively cheerful. “You sure have a handful!” would get a response like, “Yes, isn’t it wonderful!” And so on, with huge smiles.

    As a back up I always had this response in my head, though I never used it, “Oh, I left the twins and the triplets at home.” It would keep me in good humor.

    And “Don’t you know what causes that?” really deserves, “Oh, yes; don’t you wish you had more of it?” LOL I did not use that one either, but it, too, kept me smiling.

    May God continue to bless you as you rely on him!
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    • JenSchon

      Those are great responses. When people ask our children’s ages my husband always says, “They’re all about two years apart. It’s called Family Planning.” Of course, the exact opposite of what “family planning” means to many people. πŸ™‚

  4. Love your message. We all need God’s help! I only have 2 girls and am one of those who used to be shocked to see families like yours, but I now realize how lovely it is and I really try to not make insensitive comments. Thanks for teaching us to more sensitive to large families and to God! ~gina p.s. I am your neighbor at the Wise Woman linkup!

    • JenSchon

      I looked at your post. I thought it was very similar to what mothers do. We teach our children to do all kinds of chores so that they can help out and even as the need arises take over.

    • JenSchon

      I wish I remembered to pray every time I needed to, but I’m glad God is faithful. I think prayer is a mother’s most important tool.

    • JenSchon

      I’m looking forward to when they’re all grown and bringing grandchildren home, and we go to a park for a family picnic. That will raise some eyebrows. πŸ™‚

  5. This is such an encouraging post. I get those comments too with my six children. Sometimes, I just want to get through the store or outing without hearing it. However, without prayer, we can’t do it alone. Thank you so much for sharing!
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    • JenSchon

      Awww. I’m glad you were encouraged. Sometimes I don’t feel like going out because of the looks, but God is good. And prayer is a huge consolation.

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