“I have a very difficult time developing and maintaining friendships with
people who have found the one and only way to do something
. No, we cannot
be friends.”This, 100%. As I found out while parenting, I
don’t have the time or energy to entertain the thoughts and judgments of
people who can’t be supportive and try to tell you how to parent. If they
want to parent so badly, they can get pregnant and have their own. It’s
outrageous, honestly, when they pass of this advice so cavalierly; it’s
like someone whose never served in the military acting like they are a veteran
when they clearly have no clue what the experience and the commitment
entails.“Those who say raising pets is less worthy than
raising children are very prideful
..Motherhood is much broader than caring
for ones own brood."What a neat perspective you have! I had a
favorite cat, he was 11 when my daughter was born, and I raised them almost like
siblings (she even called him her “Big Budder”). Love cats. I
think--as long as there are no obstacles like severe allergies—that
raising kids with pets is really good for them and teaches them responsibility
Mom of one here. Good article; you and your kids look great, btw. What you
said about strangers playing armchair parent really resonates with me. When I had my daughter I was young, inexperienced, and learning how to
do this with very little guidance. I fielded a lot of judgment from people on
everything from letting her climb stairs to bottle feeding vs. nursing. One of
the more egregious-an extended family member-actually took the child aside and
told her I was a bad parent several times. I think it's
important that every parent's work is validated and supported. It's
easy to preach and judge, but we should all remember that they (and often they
alone) are the ones changing thousands of diapers, taking the kid to Dr.'s
appointments, enrolling them for school, and putting in the long hours of worry
and on the job training. It's the most all-encompassing, and the most
rewarding, thing I've ever done.
One more thought for those who want more than 2-3 children. There are a LOT of
children who need homes but don't have them. Adopting those children, and
giving them good ad loving homes, is a win-win situation -- the children get the
homes they need and the woman is relieved of the need to over-stress her body
(and risk her life) in pregnancy and childbirth. Please consider it -- everyone
will benefit as a result.
Actually, not having children can mean a more spiritual life as children take
away time from prayer and scripture study and service. There was a reason Jesus
had no children in this life, so he could devote full time to God. Some people
need to pass the test of parenthood in this life while others have passed that
trial of mortality. Not that parenthood is bad, just that parents will be held
accountable for that experience. There is more to mess up. Whereas those chosen
to be parents in the next life must have already proven their vallience. Those who say raising pets is less worthy than raising children are very
prideful. Of course, any fool can love their own offspring but the challenge is
to love others children and other species as our own. Christ's atonement
covered not only humans but animals and the earth too. So, Christ loves them
well enough to sacrifice himself. Hardly the attitude 'it's just a
cat!". And we recall Eve's title given before human children were
born. Motherhood is much broader than caring for ones own brood. It is a spirit
of love without boundaries and irrespective of quantity.
I have five "children", but only raised four of them. That worked for me
because I was too flighty, fickle and fanciful when the first one was born.
Fortunately he was raised by a mom who couldn't produce her own, and he was
right for her. That said, I admire moms who do well with whatever number of
children they have. Right now I have a son and daughter-in-law who are maxed out
with four. Several years ago they were maxed out when they only had two
four-pounds little girls who needed to be fed every two hours. They all love
each other and work hard to make it work. Parenting is a huge job and I admire
everyone who works hard at it, and is tolerant of those around them who have an
entirely different approach. I will say that an approach that leaves the
parenting to others, or the financial support to others, I do not admire.
Parents, cherish the moments your children are young and home to keep you
occupied. I'm still occupied, but I miss those times.
My wife and I just had our 4th child, and I couldn't agree more with this
article. Being the youngest of 8 I was completely caught off guard by how hard
our first baby was. It was so hard that my wife and I almost stopped there. But
I am very glad we continued, and things do get easier, eventually.
@Vermonter:I find that interesting. The thought that somebody can be
repentent, pay their tithing, learn and teach the gospel, and live a just life
yet still be judged for choosing not to have children. On the other hand, the
gospel as written is up for interpretation. "...If any man shall take of the
abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of
my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his
eyes in hell, being in torment” (D&C 104:17–18). This does
not tell us to all be fruitful and multiply, but to determine our portion of the
Earth and utilize it as God intended. Some have determined that their portion is
@Utefan4Lyf.Once again, I appreciate your point of view. I don't
know any faithful Mormons that have told me that they intend to never have
children. But, maybe my circle of faithful Mormon friends is limited.
Following the counsel of church leaders about having children (or any
commandment) is not about religion dictating your joy. All are free to choose
to follow the commandments or not. The church never forces anyone to do
anything they don't want to do. Church leaders are merely inviting and
yes, attempting to persuade us to obey the commandments, and promising that when
we do our best to be obedient, we will achieve our greatest happiness in this
life and the life to come.
@Utefan4Lyf.There is a phrase used in recent General Conferences. It went
something like, "God’s commandment for His children to multiply and
replenish the earth remains in force," or "God has not revoked or
changed the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth." Am I
misinterpreting these statements by Mormon apostles? Is it now ok for faithful
Mormons to choose a large house, vacations overseas multiple times a year, 2, or
better yet, 4 new cars in the garage, golf every weekend, and dinner weekly at
the club over the "hassle" of bringing a child into the world? I
don't want to be argumentative. But, I'm not seeing that it ok for
faithful Latter-day Saints to skip having kids if they are capable of being
parents. And, I believe that a husband and wife are ultimately less happy and
fulfilled in this life if they choose not to have children. Hence, the
commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.
@Vermonter: So am I. I know a few very active, committed Mormons who have chosen
not to have children. That is their decision and what is best for them. No
religion should dictate your joy. That is between you and God. I'm not sure
exactly why you would think choosing not to have children makes you less of a
My five kids are all grown and married with their own families now, and this
cute mom says it in a nutshell. The organized moms who always seemed so put
together with their perfectly coiffed hair, well, ok. But, this is the mom that
gets it and has her priorities in the right place. Let's all bend together
and just enjoy the ride, and if everything doesn't go as planned, well,
alright then. If you can raise good children with kind hearts, you've done
a tremendous job.
@Utefan4Lyf.Point well taken. But, I was talking about active committed
Mormons. If an active committed Mormon couple really thinks zero is the best
number of children to have, despite the fact that they are capable of having and
taking care of children, they should probably re-visit their commitment to the
LDS Church, and decide if they really want to follow its teachings or not.
Those not actively committed to the LDS faith can pursue their happiness however
they believe they can find it.
The real question should be "why" do you do it, not how.
Vermonter: Actually, for those who do not want children having zero children IS
the right thing to do. As most have mentioned on this article there is no
"right" number for everybody. So if somebody believes that number is
zero then that is the right number. What you find "pure joy," does not
necessarily translate to others.
Thanks U of U Fan.All great comments. Just one small point here.
For those who understand and have committed to follow the teachings of the LDS
Church, and for those who are physically, mentally and financially capable of
taking care of children, zero children is probably not a good option. There is
a whole lot of essential learning and experience and pure joy that you miss out
on if a couple make a decision to have zero children. And no, choosing to have
a dog or a cat does not in any way come close to replacing the experience of
raising a child. When you get down to the basics of our existence, having a
child or children is really what makes life rich, full and rewarding. Having said this, my heart goes out to those who want to have children, but
cannot. In my opinion,they have the much harder path to travel. But, a loving
God can and does bless them with the experience they need in this life and
wonderful opportunities to serve when they are open to them.
From the Church Handbook of Instructions:"The decision as to how
many chldren to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and
should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge
one another in this matter."
Actually President Monson has 3 children.
I remember feeling very overwhelmed when I had one child and I asked my sister,
who had two, how she managed. Her answer was simple, "One takes all your
time, two takes all your time. You make it work." I guess five also
"takes all your time". You make it work.
actually, it's 10 now... the last was a surprise. talk about being
"maxed out"! loli totally agree with joe5 (and others)it does get easier and the blessings just seem to multiply! it is
an individual choice, but counsel with Heavenly Father. "let Him
help"!!! works for me.this last surprise has been one of the greatest
blessings of my life! though i moaned for the entire pregnancy. (turning 50
didn't help :>) the only thing i have found to be more
difficult is putting my husband first when i have so many children to manage.
How do you do it? Sometimes very well, sometimes poorly, but enough to get by.
I have seen both. Not everyone is mentally equipped to handle 1
kid, let alone 8. And I am sure that some could handle 20.How do
you keep them safe? Sometimes, its just luck. I have heard numerous stories of
kids getting left behind, only to be discovered missing an hour or two later.The bottom line is this. It is possible for you to have MORE kids than
you can handle. Assess your strengths and make your own decision. How many
kids your mom had, or you sister, or your neighbor, should not be a factor in
your decision.It's not a competition. Just because you CAN
have more kids, doesn't mean that you should.
For those LDS members who feel "judged" for not having more children
just remember that President Monson "only" has 2 kids. It is unfortunate
that there are Mormons who feel the need to place their own interpretations of
how the Gospel works on others but the truth is, who cares what they think! Zero
kids to twenty kids, it's between you and your spouse and God, that's
I agree with Brave Sir Robin.I can't tell you how many times my
wife and I have been questioned and judged in church for choosing to have
'only' two. There is no right or correct way. Some people
would be miserable and regretful if they had 5. Others would be that way if they
had 2. We need people (this author especially) to stop looking down on others
and respect everyone for doing what they think is best for them. Some people don't want kids. Others want 2 or 8. We shouldn't judge
them or make them feel bad for their choices.
It's actually easier with more kids (I have nine now). They bounce off of
each other.Just lower your standards.Have fun.And
when people ask, "Are all of those yours?" make your eyes wide and say,
"Whoa. Where'd they come from?"And if someone asks,
"Don't you know where all of those babies come from?" look them in
the eye and say, with all sincerity. "I really don't. Could you please
explain it to me? With pictures?"
I'm not a mom but I hope you won't ignore me just because of that.
I'm a Dad of 6 children and I've discussed this with my wife, my
daughters who are moms, and even with my daughters-in-law.When you
have 1 child, he demands all of your time. But when you have six, they spend a
lot of time playing, talking, working with each other. I think we actually found
more time for ourselves as our children grew older and developed friendships
with one another.- Chores are spread across more hands making
everybody's life a little easier.- Activities with more people tend
to be a lot more fun (would you rather go to a party with 3 people or with 8
people?).- Shared joys are multiplied among more people and shared sorrows
are divided among more people.- I believe there was more laughter in our
family because it was bigger.- Politics and other topics garnered a much
broader range of opinions which benefitted all of us so we could understand how
others might think and feel.A bigger family was a blessing to us in
The best part is when people question your gospel commitment because you
"only" have 2 kids.
As a mom of a lot of children, I hear this question all of the time. Now as a
full time working mother, I hear it even more so. Some people with large
families have easier children than other families with just a few. I think the
mantra should be have as many as you can handle, financially, physically,
spiritually, and judge not. Everyone handles their life just a little
differently. Some people with only one or two children are blessed to only have
one or two. Instead of asking the why's and how's of having large
families, we should just celebrate those who take the task on at all these days.
I always wondered what kind of cerebral inferiority belonged to those who would
ask me in public settings, "Are these ALL yours?" I wanted to say,
"NO, I just go around rounding up multiple random neighborhood children to
take with me to the mall/grocery store/doctor's office. It's much more
relaxing that way." Being a mom of little people is hard. It is taxing. It
is draining. I remember fantasizing about naps, a clean house, and a trip to the
supermarket ALL BY MYSELF. But all that sacrifice is so worth it. Now that I
have nearly four teenagers, it's beginning to get hard again, but I love
it. I love my kids. I love our friendships and the growth we experience learning
to relate to one another. Moms of young kids, keep on keeping on! You are doing
great things, even if you feel you are only in survival mode. Those of us who
have been in your shoes salute you!
I guess I should have my mom blog about having 15 kids to those mothers with
Thanks for the article. I have a sister who currently has two toddlers. She is
definitely maxed out all the time. It's been priceless for me, her younger
and still single brother, to watch her and her husband figure "it" out.
It's fun to see complete stress turn into pure joy as starts singing songs
with the kids about little fish, moma fish, papa fish, and great big whales.
She also has a creative clean up song that somehow magically works to get the
kids to clean. Moms everywhere definitely do deserve appreciation, admiration,
It is the best to be a Mom to anyone. Love your kids and all will turn out well
in the end! Mom of 4 good kids!!!!
Thank God that people like you exist.
As another mom of 5 who has had that same question asked of me I wholeheartedly
agree with this article. I would tell moms of one or two that any number of
kids that includes a baby or toddler is overwhelming, even and most especially
one. With your first, even if it's your only, it is completely
overwhelming. Every mom deserves a medal regardless of number!And I
agree, there is no one right way to do "it". My husband and I
don't believe in watching a lot of tv, but every one of my 18 month olds
watched Dumbo once daily for over a year while they sucked on their bottles. It
was one of the few times during the day I could count on to get things done.
To all women, men, couples or whatever everywhere: Demand the expectation of not
being judged no matter how many or even if you have any children. It's not
anybody elses' business. You're doing us all a favour by not having
kids you don't want.