We just outgrew our Honda Odyssey.
Never thought I’d have kids either. Was too good for it. Too good to believe in God as well. Thought I should be the end of the whole line that had led up to me and the whole culture around me was there to reinforce how intelligent I was being by choosing those options.
My son just turned nine months old and my wife and I are discussing when to start trying for number two.
To quote Cormac McCarthy: If the child is not the word of God then God never spoke.
This is the most heartwarming article I have read in ages. Hugs to all of you.
The best times of my life, the most fulfilling, and the ones with deepest meaning are the ones I spent with my children. I started late and only had 2 although I would have loved to have had 3 or 4.
My son and daughter in law are expecting #3 and I am deeply glad about it. They are excellent parents and the world needs more children from excellent parents.
We were going to have condos all over the country. One for skiing, one at the beach for surfing, a hiking one. Instead, we have three kids and I have MS and mobility issues. I choose my current life and my family 100x over our planned jet setting childless life. It’s the folly of youth to think it’s all about you. It’s actually all about them. I absolutely loved this article.
What a beautiful uplifting story. Thank you Bethany.
People like you and your family still exist ? There's more like us? I've never had such a tsunami of relief to know that we are not a renegade group of aliens set on this earth that shames us for having large home-schooled families . Even more so now, than in the late 80s to early 2000s.
I grew up in a large but dysfunctional family. My husband and I wanted to create a nest of love, care and enjoyment of children as unique human beings with. Which included (for us) having more than two children . Announcing a new addition coming brought "You're pregnant again? Do you know what causes that? (No, I don't. Please explain it to me), the scowls as you walk through a grocery store with your little ones The disgust as you show up with all your children for the $1 movies (yes, they did exist back them) , the loathing as your family rides the metro in DC, the condescending looks and 'sophisticated' 'you're a bane to society' type of comments.
Then you tell them you're homeschooling all of them. After they recover from their horror, comes the 'you're not qualified', you're a quack, your kids will suffer, they'll won't fit into society (good), it's child abuse, you're sheltering them, and you'll scrape up roadkill for biology dissections. Blah, Blah, Blah. Nobody took us seriously.
Then comes Bethany Mandel who brings fresh and insightful understanding, wisdom, and affirmation to the table. You explain it as no other can. Thank you for such an outstanding article. I was uplifted and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
I've been driving a 15-passenger van since 2001. Parking garages are the worst. I've had a number of roof-scrapes and several panic attacks over the years. I'm convinced the roofs get lower as you go higher.
Best wishes to your family. "No lost limbs, no felony records!" is my motto.
Bless you and your family Bethany. I agree that giving birth is one of the most optimistic acts people can do and growing decent humans is the finest.
That was enjoyable, thanks. Here in Israel we didn't get strange looks with our eight kids. It's above average in our community, but only just.
You sound like very thoughtful parents. My approach was more Zen -- parenting is what happens while you're thinking about something else. Another word for it is "lazy". My wife, a woman of iron, was much more deliberate (and worked a lot harder), but she too never overestimated the good or harm any specific act of parenting would do.
Why am I going on about this? I guess you got me thinking about when our kids were younger. Today they range from 24 to 40 and we're watching them raise their own children.
All the best to you and your family in the new year. 𝘎𝘮𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘰𝘷.
This post made me smile. We have three kids, now 34,32, and 28. Expecting our first grandchild in the next four weeks.
I love the espirit de corps of your family. There is nothing sweeter to a parent than seeing their children care for one another and maintain close and caring relationships when they are adults.
I believe that is something that parents can certainly influence, and I'm sure you and your husband will reap that parental reward.
But don't be discourages by fierce inter-sibling adolescent conflict. Some of that is inevitable and it passes!
I am so thankful for a positive article on raising a larger family. I am the youngest of 7 and had 5 myself. My siblings are such a support to each other. We chose to homeschool and my two married daughters voluntarily come back weekly for family dinner with their spouses. It wasn’t all a bed of roses, I did cry about the amount of laundry, mess or fighting. But now that my youngest is 12, I get sad thinking about my childrearing years coming to an end. I’ll be so happy when the grandkids start coming!
I only have one child, born when I was your age, and I was homeless at the time.
My son is the greatest gift life ever gave me.
Because of him, my frozen heart thawed and I learned to love. His birth restored my connection to my fellow human beings and to God (still not formally religious, but I came to believe in a benevolent God because of my child's birth).
Loving parents are a gift to the world, and your family of six children is a genuine gift to society.
“But those arguing for protecting the Earth by not making babies are just existing on Earth, not living in it.”
This is so true on so many levels--many of those spouting proscriptions for everyone else have no idea how superficial and one-dimensional those kind of solutions are. It’s why I never joined any conservation groups--they sentimentalize “nature” to the point of treating it like the “nice” room at my grandma’s house--something to visit, use on occasion, but not really to live in. It’s why people in the WWF tasked with guarding national park forests in Africa think it’s okay to beat the indigenous people who’ve always lived there and burn down their settlements in order to “protect” the environment.
There seems to be a similar mode of thinking when it comes to kids. People I know and love who say they don’t want kids are the ones that need a change in perspective the most, the ones to whom I want to say “grow up and stop thinking of yourself all the time,” and the ones who are the most scared of solitude and self-reflection.
I don’t ever come out and tell them to have kids--it’s on them. And I don’t gush about how great having kids is, but wow. It really is.
What a wonderful article to wake up to! Thanks to Bethany for writing, and Bari for publishing. I needed this antidote today, in the shadow of “Armageddon.”
Congratulations Bethany, you are a better person than all those childless, self-indulgent women seeking fulfillment on the corporate ladder and with men who can’t commit. And bless your husband too.
You remind me of a time I was on an airplane and a mother boarded with seven well behaved young kids. Some had yamakas. Not a peep of whining the whole flight.
I can't like this article enough. I hang with a lot of devout Catholics with 6+ children but we normally don't hear about the upsides of large families. May God continually bless you and your family. What a beautiful article!
I love this! I did not have as many children as you but as life continues I realize that family is everything! And ‘a secret’ you won’t know for a while.......grandkids are the true reward and may you be blessed with many!