Says the Hummer in the land of the Hybrid

P1011624
In two-months (I can't BELIEVE the babies are two months old) I have ventured out with all four kids a total of three times. And not once was I alone. I warned my mom when we first climbed into the minivan on our way to do a quick shop slash frozen yogurt run with the kids that people were not typically jazzed to see a "spawntourage" (and yes I totally bought spawntourage.com. It was available so how could I not?) of children marching down the street, especially during lunch-hour. She told me I was paranoid and insane. I told her that during the eight-months I spent pregnant, I needed a shield to ward off the judgmental comments every time I ventured out with two kids plus my pregnant body. (My favorite was the time the dude behind me in line at Trader Joes straight-up called me a "breeder" to my face. Okay so it was the BACK of my face and he was on the phone with his buddy but DUDE! I can HEAR YOU.)

Truth be told, he wasn't wrong. I had two kids with me and three boxes of Joes O's ALREADY in my cart. What was I thinking carrying a third (and a fourth, little did he know) child on my person? Didn't I know that the maximum capacity for the local city-dwelling parents is TWO CHILDREN? Even the rich and charitable get shit for having more than two kids in this town. What's a mother of four to do? Or better yet, how's a mother of four expected to step out with all of her children and feel accepted in her neighborhood?

Moments after stepping out of the minivan and onto the strip, I proved my mother right. As it were, I was not even slightly paranoid. People were straight-up mean. Doors slamming in our faces mean. "They're all yours?" mean. "Excuse me. Your people are in my space" mean. "Damn. I feel sorry for you!" mean. I could go on. Even my mom confessed she felt she needed a stiff drink after our little sojourn.

"What is with these people?"

That was when I had an epiphany. "We're a Hummer in the land of the Hybrid! " And that was exactly it. Stepping out with four children in a place where two kids is sort of an unwritten "maximum capacity" seems to be a crude, selfish act. Like driving a big car or throwing up on a stranger.



The thing is, after six years writing a "parenting blog" and being judged almost daily in the comments, one would think I would just stop caring what people think. And, sure, in a way I do. I'm a confident woman and parent and am totally fine with people not liking me. Sometimes I think I suck as well. But blogging in the dead of night and erranding in the light of day are two very different beasts. I respect the opinions of those who actually "get" me. Of those who have taken the time to get to know me and my family by reading this blog, who have decided for whatever reason that I'm eye-roll worthy... totally cool. But the chick in line at Starbucks rolling her eyes with her BFFs makes me feel sad. Not because she thinks I'm a "breeder" or a "Hummer" or the Ari to my Drama, Vince, E and Turtle. But because she doesn't know me. She doesn't know my story. She doesn't know my kids. She doesn't know how hard we rock out during our Friday night Palladia dance parties. She just read somewhere in a book or saw somewhere in a movie or believes based on false assumptions that I am something. When I'm actually someone.
P1011626
Of course, not one week later, while shopping for a postpartum style segment (coming soon), I ran into a family with seven kids and felt myself immediately recoil, terrified. I might have even made a face!

And there you have it. I'm just as guilty as the next person.

Because I judge, you judge, we all judge for judge-judge. Because we're humans and don't know any better but to want people to be more like us. To believe what we do. To parent like we do. To LOOK like we do... Because everything else is strange and scary and weird and doesn't make sense in our unique and custom-made worlds. Because trying to park a large car in a compact parking spot may seem like a totally dick move, but sometimes, It's the only parking spot available. (I now know this to be true.) Because from the outside, of COURSE we look a little crazy for having four children in Los Angeles. But from the inside? I know we'd be crazier not to.
P1011641

GGC

***

P.S. The above momversation is a new format we're experimenting with. Dig? Or not so much.

181 comments:

Kathryn | 12:19 PM

I just want to start what I am sure will be a chorus of reassurances that your family is seriously dope. I struggle daily to raise my (single) kid with just a fraction of the humour, style and wisdom you raise your four with. Regardless of how many kids I end up having, you are totally my parenting role model.

Kate | 12:24 PM

Like that momversation format.

As for the family size, these opinions are somewhat universal, but CLEARLY heightened in L.A. I mean, the guy in line at TJ's scoffing b/c you had two kids and (as far as he knew) one on the way? C'mon, dude. Gimme a break.

It's all a matter of perspective I guess. I think I read too many mormon mommy blogs b/c now the internet has made larger families seem commonplace to me, even though if I look around my daily life, they're not.

I've got 3 biological kids now and haven't ruled out the idea of trying to adopt a fourth. We'll see if I "come to my senses" or not. : )

Be strong - your family rocks.

Julie | 12:26 PM

Aw. Thanks for the reminder to put myself in someone else's shoes before judging (or, at least, outwardly judging). We live sort of in the same 'hood, and I promise if I ever see you and the kiddos out at Starbucks, I'll be too busy obsessing over their cuteness to judge.

Maura | 12:30 PM

How obnoxious! I'm the oldest of four and even back when my mom was having kids ('79 to '87) we got comments like that, too. But I LOVE my big family. We're loud; we're weird; we're awesome. And what's pretty cool is that my sister married into a family of three kids, my brother married into a family of five kids and I'm dating a guy who is one of four, too. (The youngest in my family is single). It's big families all around and it's wonderful.

Dranrab | 12:31 PM

I would so not recoil from seeing your entire fam in a small aisle of Trader Joe's. Hugs! That's what would be going down. Hugs!

I like this version of Momversation better than the solo style. I really like when the segments of the columnists are added together though.

Those pics are so cute. Reverie looks so chillaxed and loved! Bo looks cute even when she's upset!

Lots of love!

Nicole

Stephanie | 12:33 PM

I really want to give you a hug. Or maybe a high five.

Two of the most amazing women I know in real life have more children than the "appropriate" two. And you know what? I am super glad that they are super good at breeding! Why? Because they are awesome women who I know are raising awesome people and I can't wait to see what the kids will become as adults.

From what I know about you through this blog I think the same: Awesome mom + awesome kids = awesome future adults.

At the same time, I work for a publication that is very aware of our over population issues and in the bay area many of the looks we breeders get are partially because of the "how could you do this to the ENVIRONMENT?!" way of thinking. Well, our staff is a bunch of population exploding breeders too, because you know what? As hard as parenting is, as much as it might not make logical sense (financial, social, environmental, mental), it is frigging awesome.

Then again, when we knew we were going to have a kid we moved to a town (in the middle of the bay, but considered a suburb) that is more kid and family friendly to make our lives easier and more kid-centric. We love it for many reasons, one of which is our baby is welcomed with smiles instead of cringes. It helps that my giant tattooed husband wears him which everyone things is ADORABLE. I'm sure people would be totally down to see your brood come down the street - you know since you need to move anyway. :)

PS: how many times can I say "awesome?" A lot it seems...awesome.

McConnels | 12:41 PM

In our part of the country, where at least 50% of the pop. is Mormon, big families are the norm. In fact you kind of feel pressured to have more kids. But it's certainly sad that anyone would judge you on the size of your family... however if I saw the Duggars and their 19-plus-one-on-the-way I don't know that I could keep a look off my face.

Backwards Amber | 12:43 PM

i think it's amazing that you have a large family. I wish I had the energy for it. I'm due with my 2nd and I'm pretty sure this is the last time I ever ever ever want to be pregnant. I do secretly wish I could manage more, because a large family seems like so much fun for the kids once they're all of playing age :-)

Lyz | 12:49 PM

As a member of an 8-child family I remember stepping out and getting judged by strangers. One woman even told my mom, "You can stop having kids you know."

I think the WORST thing to judge a person on is the number of children they have and honestly. Now that I live in the midwest, I don't think people do that here so much. I have a friend with four kids and she says she's never felt judged. So, I think you should move to Iowa and be my neighbor. No one will judge your fabulous brood. Houses are cheaper here...seriously, it will make you cry. On the downside. There is no Trader Joes and no one to hear you scream.

Christina Rosalie | 12:51 PM

Oh girl, you and your beautiful brood need a place in VERMONT :) You are such a graceful mother. I don't judge, I stand in awe.

Amanda | 12:56 PM

When I was pregnant with our third, friends of ours said, "With that one you enter cult territory." It's strange how people think that their personal threshold is a universal barometer.

Love on with your beautiful family!

Lori W. | 12:56 PM

You'd totally fit in out here on the east coast. DC suburbia is overrun with breeders. However, we must endure other flavors of mean. It's just human nature to be mean and judgmental. And that's sad. Let this be a reminder for us all to rise above and be better people.

Chin up. You and your mega family rock!

Steph(anie) | 12:57 PM

I dunno, but I sort of want to hold Bo right now. Can I come over? Does that make me sound like a stalker?

Spawntourage is fricking brilliant.

Lori | 12:57 PM

You'd totally fit in out here on the east coast. DC suburbia is overrun with breeders. However, we must endure other flavors of mean. It's just human nature to be mean and judgmental. And that's sad. Let this be a reminder for us all to rise above and be better people.

Chin up. You and your mega family rock!

Christina @ busybmommy | 1:00 PM

I come from a lovely, happy family of two parents (married a hundred years) who raised us in suburbia and paid through the ass to send us to private school for 18 years. I am a college graduate. I am smart, funny, creative and a good friend, fantastic mommy, etc. etc. I am also the never wed mother of two children from two different fathers. I judged women like me before I was a woman like me. It's easy to form an opinion about something you think you know. We all do it. As for me, I praise the high heavenly universe for you and your gorgeous family. Because we have totally different lives but you speak the language of my heart, and I read me when I read you. I'm not a hummer in hybrid world...more like a stripper with a heart of gold (no I've never stripped but you get it right???) xxxxx's to you and your always.

Kammy | 1:01 PM

Move back down to North County. 4 is the new 2 around here. I'm one of those people that has 'only' 3 kids. haha!
A friend of mine has 4 kids age 5 and under. Her comment when people say, "Boy, you have your hands full" is, "Well, it's better than having them empty." ;)

EmilyG | 1:02 PM

Wow, in Utah I am judged for "only" having 2 kids. What I wimp I am! I regularly see moms in Target with 5 kids under 5dangling off of the cart. :) To each his own...

Katherine | 1:02 PM

Great post. I can totally relate and a lot of it comes from friends reactions which is even sadder. I announced my second pregnancy recently to a friend (I have a 2 yr old) and her reaction was "holy shit fucker. what the fuck??" so there you have it!

bwsf | 1:04 PM

I do have a tendency to judge large families, but I'm talking like 10+ kids. My mom was one of 5, my dad was one of 7, my huz was one of 6, I was one of 5, families the size of yours are more the norm than a lot of this new Childless Therefore Better Than You crowd realizes. My new attitude as a mom: If you have the resources to take care of your children (financial AND emotional), then have them babies. Just know that it's unlikely that you can be fully emotionally available to more than like 7 or 8 kids. I mean, that's just reality.

Sheelah | 1:09 PM

Your four kids are freakin' adorable! Those other people are just rude for not keeping their mouths shut.

As for the new Momversation format, I did kind of like the change, but mostly I'm against it - NOT JUDGING! :) I just think the solo way from the computer made everyone seem more accessible. The group way makes it seem like you're all friends anyway who live near each other and we're all listening to your advice. The solo/web cam way makes it seem like anyone could be a panelist, no matter where you live or who you know.

The whole Momversation comment is coming out way more bitchy than I mean. Sorry I can't quite find the words to make it sounder nicer/less whiny.

I <3 Momversation! :)

K├Ąthe | 1:10 PM

Thank you for having FOUR kids. You are an amazing woman.

Or maybe that should read: You are an amazing woman. Thank you for having FOUR kids.

Tashina | 1:19 PM

I was raised by mom and her side of the family, which includes 11 aunts and uncles and over 60 first cousins. I have two younger brothers, and even with an older sister who had been adopted by another family, at 4 kids we're one of the smaller sized families. And no, we are not religious people. We're not a cult. It's just who we are, it's part of our culture.
I remember talking with an ex about a possible future together and he asked me how many kids I wanted and I said "I dunno. Maybe four." And he was all "FOUR!??? I was thinking maybe two." Here I thought I was being practical with just four kids.
You, and all FOUR(!???) of your children (hubby too), you rock. Let the haters hate. They don't know what they're missing out on. And your kids? They all come with best friends built right into their family. Which was the best part for me growing up.

Lacey Jane | 1:23 PM

Okay. I WANT and PLAN on having 4 kids. My reasoning is strictly based on how I grew up. I have one full brother, two half-sisters and two-half brothers. Four of these kids (my full brother & 1 half-sister, one half-brother) are my mom's kids, and we all grew up in the same house together. I cannot imagine only having one sibling. I treasure my sibling-relationships so much, and I want my kids to have brothers and sisters instead of a brother or a sister. My husband has one sister, and they love each other very much, but only see each other at family gatherings. My siblings and I are FRIENDS. We call and hang out and go on trips and adventures together. We are ages 21-30 and have such great relationships with each other. I love that if I am sick of my sister I have two brothers to hang with, and that when I cannot handle my brother anymore, my other brother and sister are there for me to "pick" from to hang out with haha! My family is so so close, and I love it so much. I realize that not all 4-kid-scenarios will play out this well, but we are going to give it our best shot. I <3 big families!

Jody | 1:24 PM

I have 3 kids and am in the midst of adopting 3 more (siblings). As a person on the receiving end, completely desperate to get my new kids home, I can say without reservation that I do not judge, I am envious. I suppose if someone were quite old as my acquaintance on her 8th kid is I'd perhaps wonder about her sanity. Our area has quite a few families with 8 or more each so it's possibly a lot more 'normal' here than L.A.

I can say I'd never actually say anything to a person with a lot of kids. I had a woman at the grocery store just a few days ago say that my 3 kids were a nice number as her daughter has 4 and that is way too much. I knew her teeny brain couldn't handle my mouth opening to spout about my future brood so I just shook my head and walked away.

Attempt to ignore it and do your own thing. Definitely don't hesitate to go outside anywhere you want.

Anonymous | 1:26 PM

People always judge: either you're too young a mum, too old, too fat, too thin, too hardworking, too lazy, too loud, too quiet, too few kids, too many...it never ends.
Some people just need to mind their business.
In the meantime, keep calm and carry on.

Amy Lagerquist | 1:28 PM

In my younger, more naive days, I might have judged. But as an adult, nearly-38-year-old infertile who lost twins in August during my second trimester, I would personally look at you and smile, thinking, "Wow, SHE is so blessed."

Mutt | 1:30 PM

I like the format.

I think you do what is right/best for you. One kid is right for one and 20 is right for another. I see moms with more kids and think "maybe I could do it if they can, maybe we should have more"

When I see large families I think "when does she sleep? how does she do it?" I can hardly deal with my two some days. I am in awe of mothers with more.

Your family is adorable.

KateFitz | 1:40 PM

being called breeder is the worst...it's so demeaning to what the actual job is. Oh you know that thing you pour your heart, soul, bank acct and body into...they are giving off every cue that the think it and you suck. Do they call their mothers breeders?

LA sounds so intimidating...I'm not really a style conscience person but that level of scrutiny would constantly bum me out. You keep your chin up and don't let the eye rolls get you down.

Susan | 1:41 PM

Hey Rebecca,

Delurking, because I am probably representative of one of those girls in line staring agape. I loved reading about your journey and am very happy for you and your family. However, I've probably been that girl in the grocery store looking at large families like a circus. There are a couple reasons.

First, I'm in awe of people being able to DO that! I don't have kids yet, but I am totally in awe of every person that manages to raise even ONE kid. So when I see a lot of small children, I'm all looking for signs of super human strength. So, if I'm the asshole being like "WHOA!" it's probably not meant in a bad, judgey way, it's probably the same reaction I'd be giving to some super athlete or something.

But when I see relatively young women with lots of children, I immediately think religion, which you mention. While plenty of women who practice religions that encourage childbearing CHOOSE to do so (and that is great), I've encountered many more who have been pressured into it. And quite frankly, that makes me sad, because having the agency to determine my own life is one of the greatest blessings I have. That emotion probably reads on my face in public, though I would never say something cavalierly to a stranger.

You obviously can't walk around with a sign reading "I CHOSE TO HAVE THIS FAMILY" on your back in public, but by sharing your story here, you've definitely made me more aware of what I'm projecting to larger families I encounter. I can't imagine people actually being such dickwads to you, but maybe I've been doing the same shit without even noticing??

Anyway, rock on. I love reading stories about your spawntourage and hope that I'll be 1/6th the kick-ass mom that you are.

Magdalena Edwards | 1:42 PM

Thank you for this post, Rebecca. I understand what you mean, though I don't think I have experienced this quite as often or as strongly as you (and I don't have four children! but this can happen even with one child in tow). It's considered an imposition, a burden, an invasion of the public domain, by some people. But I wonder what those people would say if you asked them: who will pay taxes in 20 years, in 30 and 40 years from now? who will fund assistance programs for the elderly, through government funds based on taxes or through charitable donations? who will take on the stewardship of our communities, cities, world? What would those people say if you asked them: do you want to end up like Europe (where the government essentially pays families to have children in many countries, either through subsidies or outright stipends, and still faces population imbalances that are worrisome)? Do you want to end up like Japan where no one knows how the aged population will possibly be cared for by the comparatively small, and shrinking, work-age population? Families with children do a service to society when they raise their children to be active citizens who participate and contribute through work and through community involvement. Clearly you and Hal are raising your children in this way. Perhaps it's time to start carrying around a little pamphlet titled "How Raising My Children Benefits YOU in the Medium to Long Run" - to hand out to the rude and misinformed, or simply unthinking, people out there.

elb | 1:43 PM

One interesting thing I notice is that a lot of these comments deal with the "personal threshold" of two children and frustration that it's thrust on the rest of the world. It's not a personal threshold if it is so commonly held.
That being said, if I saw you and your family out and about AND your kids were well-behaved, put together, and it was clear that you were holding it together, there would be less judgement. However, I know I judge families with even one child because of what I recognize as being my own values in regard to having children. Regardless, they are my values and they are the lens through which I see the world. Aside from knowing I'm too selfish and lacking patience to want kids of my own, I do generally come at it with the approach of the environmental/overpopulation issue. It's definitely something to consider...

Cindy | 1:48 PM

I loved that. Come to Utah, you'll fit right in. No don't come to Utah. It will suck the life out of you. Sometimes, anyway.

I felt the opposite of this when I was thinking of having my third. So much pressure to have a large family here. Now I have three and I'll never have anymore and a part of me loves being a little bit of a rebel. I actually see people in my community with only two kids and I think how brave they are. I think it's probably the same for those with a large family in Los Angeles. You're doing what is right for you and that takes courage to do sometimes.

Now I know why when I was on vacation in California awhile back people were complimenting me in restaurants on how well behaved my kids were. They saw a family of five come sit next to them and they were certain it would ruin their meal. Fooled them when my kids were quite (still giggling, but quietly) and well behaved.

emily | 2:00 PM

Come to Dublin! They still have loads of kids here! Kids everywhere, in fact. I've never seen so many strollers (all Orbit, in fact) in my life!

My husband is one of five - totally normal here. But what seems to be more common here now is that moms have a couple kids, then wait 8 years or so, then have a couple more.

I hope it gets easier for you! A bit sad for you that it's tough - don't become a hermit because of it!

Rebecca | 2:02 PM

Dig. Also, you're my momspiration. Still working on the kid thing, and even though I'm a few (3) years old than you are, I totally hope to be as awesome as you are when I'm a mom. You love your family, and you treat your kids like real people (and with a ton of respect). That's important stuff, lady. You're good at what you do. I'd rather see a good parent have lots of kids than a bad parent have even one.

Mama D | 2:03 PM

You know, I've been thinking about this subject lately. We're preparing for #3.
Most of my friends have 3 or more kids (it truly does average to 4 apiece among the 10 people in our Mommies-drinking-and-gossiping-while-the-daddies-babysit group), so I know that having one (or more) in addition to my two won't be a big issue to my "peers." We're in Pittsburgh and, like others in varying regions have said, it's a geographic acceptance, I guess.
But I DREAD telling my family that we're having another. My MOTHER thinks of me as a breeder, and I only have 2 (I was one of 3!). It's so sad. I honestly know that those who should be the most supportive to us will be disappointed in me.
So, I'm saying that I get it, it sucks, and I'm not in therapy for nothin'.
I've learned to smile and reply to the comments with, "Well, some of us are just superior parents...."

Rebecca | 2:03 PM

*er

{sigh}

Kristy | 2:06 PM

Rock your 4 kiddies! You are blessed! And here in Staten Island, it is the norm to have 4.

Unknown | 2:15 PM

Ok here goes! I've read your amazing blog for 3+ years now and I have even your book...yet I have never commented.

You are by far my favorite blogger! You are real, funny, and most of all a person a admire. Oh and you have an incredible eye for designing and I love your style. After seeing your finished nursery the other week I immediately called my husband and told him that we were redecorating the kids rooms.

I can only hope that more people like you populate our world. You are a fantastic mom.

Amy B | 2:17 PM

Not enough time to read all the comments, so apologies if this comment is redundant...

My husband is one of 11 kids. He is the 10th of those 11. So I get kind of sensitive when it comes to this subject.

You see, I totally get the reasons why people choose to only have 1 or 2 kids. I get the concerns about the earth's limited resources. I get why a person might even want/hope other people to feel the same convictions.

But when you start getting judgey towards families with more than 2 kids, you are now disapproving of the existence of ACTUAL PEOPLE. It has left the realm of theoretical, and you are in effect saying to a child "YOU RIGHT THERE, I DON'T THINK YOU SHOULD EXIST." Well, that is appalling and disturbing to me.

Judging is always foolish, because rarely do we know the whole story.

(Love your blog, thanks for writing this!)

Kristin | 2:21 PM

Ugh. L.A. There are so many things you're supposed to be in L.A. Even if you're just visiting. Screw it all. You have so much love! Like an endless supply.

You've got wealth that doesn't dry up. You know all that, I know. Considering what is really important and happy-making for a lifetime makes cell phone breeder accusers seems like even bigger douche bags. But I suppose even they need love too...although I'm not volunteering for the task.

Cindy | 2:24 PM

I've chosen not to have kids. My choice. I think of it as "I've decided not to have kids so you can have a couple of more" way of thinking.

I know I've judged large families. It's not right and it's not really the size of the family that bothers me (seeing un-involved parents bristles me). My reasons are complicated and it doesn't justify being judgmental.

You guys are good parents. If I were you I'd look those people in the eye and proudly say "Yes, they are all mine and each one is a blessing". And then when they roll their eyes tell them "roll your eyes, I'll roll your head" and shake your fist at them.

Or don't. Did I mention I don't have kids. This is probably one of the reasons.

Pearmama | 2:27 PM

Heh, welcome to my life. As a mom of six, I've had manymanymany moments where I've wanted to punch someone in the face for being rude and discriminatory over the fact that I have a large family. My family is awesome. Then again, there have been many moments where I've wanted to punch myself in the face to put me out of my misery for HAVING a large family. Dood, can a sister just run into Trader Joe's for a bag of roasted corn without taking EVERYONE inside with me?? Either way, now that my children are older and I am more comfortable in my mom skin, I like to burst people's comfort bubbles with my large family. Yup, there are alot of us, we're loud, we like to eat, we take up space. DEAL WITH IT. Or not. Just don't be rude because I have been known to serve ppl their asses on a plate with a smile on my face, of course.

Shelley Senai | 2:27 PM

Grooooan. I can't believe people said that to you. WTF. Seriously. I'm so sorry.

I'm so sick of all these people who think they have the authority to judge people for how large their families are. The Duggars are the perfect example. My feeling is, let them do what they want to do! If they have the desire and the means to bring these children into the world and provide them with wonderful, loving lives - why the hell not? Children are wonderful, and besides, we were born to multiply. Those childless by choice people freak me out but to them I say, you have the right not to have kids, just like everyone has the right to have kids.

I come from an only child family and always envied larger families and wanted that for myself.

And beyond that, as someone who has wanted to have kids and been trying to have kids for a while now, I don't think anyone should be restricted or feel judged for how large they want their families to be. Let the people be!

Jaime | 2:28 PM

I have one kid who is almost 3 and I'm pregnant with my second and people say things like, "You're pregnant AGAIN?!"

You're right that we are all judgmental, what differentiates people is how they choose to share their judgements.

jenmanuele | 2:30 PM

So, i don't truly know you. You're just some radical family that I like to read about. But what I have been fortunate enough to learn thanks to your openness and honestly is what amazing people you are and what amazing children you produce. And for that i say breed away. This crazy fucked up world needs more citizens like your kids are sure to be. Angelinos will understand in time.

Kate | 2:33 PM

I'm not a huge commenter, but I need to vote in that I LOVED the format of this Momversation. I don't feel compelled to watch the more recent format of "by myself chatting to the mirror" Momversations. As a working mother in the field of online media, I get how much easier the newer format must be from a production standpoint, but I just don't like it as much. I used to get to work and wish it was M/W so I could expect a new Momversation video. With the newer, "by myself" format, I don't find myself as compelled. I like the conversation between women, responding to each other. The solitary diatribe is highly available elsewhere on the internet. It is the dynamics of female conversation that made Momversation better than the rest. Go for the video dialogue! Rebecca, I so enjoy your contributions to the Internet. I wish you and all four of your children all the blessings we can compel from the universe.
Thanks,
Kate

Erin | 2:42 PM

Dude. Move to the Midwest. Four kids is like average here, I swear. Of my college roommates and I, 2 of us had 4-kid families, one had a 5-kid family, and one had a 6-kid family. I honestly thought you were kidding when I started reading this post. Maybe I need to go check out some other parts of the country for a while. I'm obviously living in some sort of baby-having, non-judgmental bubble here in Nebraska. Haha.

Laura Chavous | 3:07 PM

I think your family rocks!!!
There are large families and then there are tribes. Like the Duggars who are expecting their 20th.

Dari | 3:28 PM

I loved the momversation with all of you together, it was great!

You have a beautiful family and one that is the perfect for you guys. The funny thing is that where I am from 4 is a totally normal number of children to have. Here is where the stereotype comes in... I live in Utah and am LDS(Mormon) wah wah. My mom comes from a family of 10 and my dad from a family of 6. I was raised with 4 other siblings and my next door neighbor had 12 kids ha ha! This does not mean that everyone here has a million kids but a lot of people like having children and are encouraged to do so in our religion, if it is their desire, and it isn't looked down on. (Thanks heavens because I want 4 kids as well and am half-way there)

I must say that when I see people with 4+ kids, the first thing that comes to mind is, "Wow, she is brave. I could never handle that many kids." If they are running crazy and mis-behaving then I may have a little bit of a different raction. But we all know kids can be crazy at inopportune times. I understand that people have their own opinions on the matter but I think they need to be respectful because in the end- it is none of their damn business!! The end. ;)

SoMo | 3:33 PM

At least you aren't stuck in the middle. When you have 3 kids people with 2 kids look at you like, "Show off" and people with more than 3 kids look at you like "Slacker". Really there is no winning when you are stuck in the middle. ;)

Anonymous | 3:36 PM

I am the youngest of 5. Someone once told my mother that when we showed up to Church it looked like people piling out of a clown car. Pretty hurtful, not to mention the car was three different colors. I think you might be able to appreciate the cost of raising that many kids, it wasn't easy.

When I see large families I feel happy for them. Your children will know each other for the rest of their lives and no other relationship will compare. My sisters and brothers are still the people who know me best. :)

Because we live in LA, the judgement of outward appearance is actually encouraged by the masses. It is often cruel and shows the amount of selfishness most people indulge in on a daily basis. I think this highlights the true need to actively love others, even strangers, on a daily basis and that includes those that may even be judging our choices.

Shabbat shalom

ann marie | 3:44 PM

I think this is one of those things that is based on where people live. I'm a mother of four and where I come from four is the new two. Not kidding either. Big families are the norm here. I have friends with 8 and a couple with 7 and 6. I never thought having a big family was a big deal. I feel like a big country bumpkin now:) And I kind of am. I live in a pretty rural area. Maybe it's more of a urban/ rural difference. Kids are a true blessing. I admit, I find it kind of repulsive that someone wouldn't think like me, so yes, I judge too. You and your family are gorgeous. Wow, can you imagine not having them all?

Liz | 3:56 PM

I used to be judgmental like that. Not to the point of saying anything outloud, but I can't say I wouldn't walk to the other side of a store if I saw a woman and 3+ kids. ESPECIALLY in a restaurant.

But now? We've got one on the way and I'm starting to think I'll want more than 2 as well. A house full of so much love and yes, chaos, just seems so...wonderful.

Avara (aka IThrowTP) | 3:59 PM

You are such a beautiful soul. If anyone should have four children, it's you.

Stef | 4:11 PM

You and Hal make beautiful babies and you raise them with thoughtfully love and respect. Too bad not everyone knows this. Too bad all they see is "breeder." The world is so weird now, because we have mostly lost our sense of community. Instead of getting to know you, people are all, "you and your brood are encroaching on my space!" Everyone has different views and ways and are often afraid of having to endure contact with those which are different from their own. But doing so is a part of the process of being out in the world with others. As long as your children are more or less behaving, they've a right to be in any space. The haters'll just have to get over it, or stay in.

Stef | 4:13 PM

P.S. I like this Momv format, which allowed you to say that quick line to Jessica about her judging, which totally cracked me up!

Constance Blizzard | 4:13 PM

It' so head-scratchingly bizarre (to the point of rubbing yourself raw) that a woman's right to choose her reproductive outcome is so often only looked at from one side of the coin. I mean, this is a sort-of left turn at your problem, but something I see a lot. It's LA and Trader Joe's, so I'm stereotyping, but I'll bet if you were to ask your oglers if they were pro-choice, they'd say yes. Then if you were to point out that your family size was your choice, they'd get confused and their heads would fill with helium and float into space.

I've chosen not to have kids, maybe yet, maybe ever, and live in a community where I'm judged for that. But it's just me and I can take it-- you must be raising a hell of a brood to be able to take it as well. Good luck...

lonek8 | 4:32 PM

ever since I read on Mom-101 that some woman commented she should have less kids (and she only has two!) I have been trying to think of an appropriate retort to shut up this sort of person. Unfortunately, I am still coming up empty.

basically what the issue comes down to isn't even a matter of family size and what you think is normal or appropriate - it comes down to common courtesy. KEEP YOUR FAT MOUTH SHUT. Since when do people think their opinions are not only the only the ones that matter, but also absolutely crucial for everyone else to hear? Rude is rude, no matter what the subject matter.

I think 4 is fine - of course, I'm set to have four myself.

Bethany | 4:33 PM

You have contributed FOUR incredibly lovely little souls to the world. I consider your "breeding" (ick!) to be a public service!

fromaggi | 4:33 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
fromaggi | 4:35 PM

Can't really win on the being judged thing. We all get it and give it at some point. That spawntourage reading stories on the bed is simply delish.

Can't wait for the postpartum Gone Style!

Mommy Lisa | 4:39 PM

Next book to be read by Hal - "Interrupting Chicken" look into it.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0763641685/?tag=mh0b-20&hvadid=721027048&ref=pd_sl_j6klio28u_e

Anonymous | 4:42 PM

Ok so we have 2 kids a 3 year old and almost 2 year old...and people dont give us crap so much about the quantity of kids but they constantly ask my husband and I if the kids are ours...like all the time...one time we were in barnes and noble and he was holding our oldest who was just an infant and he was crying while I went to the restroom and a lady had the nerve to ask him repeatedly "is that your baby?...are you sure thats your baby? Another time we were at a checkout together in a store and the cashier asked me if those were my babies and if they were both his? where she did this head bob at my husband...If I go out alone with both kids I get dirty looks and people make comments about kids having kids and they hope they are my little brothers...Now why do they ask and say these things? Well my husband has tattoos on his forearms and neck and has sholder length hair...and despite being 30 I look like a teenager...the last time I took my oldest out the cashier said I got along so well with my little brother I said he isnt my brother and she made this sour face and said it was ok to have a baby when your young if you actually take care of them like I seemed too...that my son and I would grow up together. So I dont think people just judge based on the size of your family they judge you on everything how you look how many kids you have how your kids act...The world is just judgemental period...

Dana | 4:47 PM

I've been getting the same comments and looks for years now. The worst was the old guy who yelled at the car window, as he tried to bum rush my four kids and me in the crosswalk, "You have too many kids anyway!" As if, it was ok that excused him taking one of us out?
I don't know.
Anyway, my children (7,5,5,3) now look so much alike and are within the same height range that people have started asking me whether I run a daycare service.
Hang in there.

Penny | 5:01 PM

Oh honey! No worries! Your family is perfect for YOU. I have three and I get stares cause they are all so close together. Whatever. Roll with it.

I see this anger and judginess also with the latest Duggar family. Yeah, they are having their 20th kid. But you know what? They take care of all their kids, don't have any freakin debt at all, have happy healthy kids, so why can't we just let them be? 20 kids. Fine with me if that's how you roll. But everyone judges them. They didn't ask YOU to have the 20, so why is everyone so bothered?

Ok, off my soapbox and back to being a lurker. Great post.

quidam5 | 5:03 PM

I think that your children are uber lucky to have such a wonderful family....as you are all (WWW et al) lucky to have them! They are living rich lives and no one could judge you if they had insight to the love and thought that you put into everything you do for and with them. When I was pregnant with my third child, I remember someone having the audacity of asking me what I intended to do about my newly announced pregnancy! DO?!? Who says that?! Perhaps he was related to the Trader Joe's guy! Ignore them, GGC....the world is a better place because of moms like you and children who are loved and nurtured.

www.witnessandthewhale.com | 5:09 PM

"its in the enlightened person's self interest to have more kids" paraphrasing from the book "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids."Read it and feel good (okay just a teeny bit smug) about having four kids. You're doing your part to benefit all of us!!

... | 5:26 PM

Dude. I feel the same shit on a daily basis with my ONE kid. I know it's because I *look* younger than I am- even though I WAS only 24 when I had her... and people wait til their mid-thirties to START having their children now annnd the fact is MOST people in this generation won't even have kids... therefore apparently making this the least child-friendly generation on record. But whatever.

Look, you're rocking this whole family thing out, lady. Try not to don't worry about it.. You do you. It's what you do best. ; )

Tricia | 5:44 PM

personally i am ok with whatever size family one choses to have. IMHO you should be able to support said children on your own though. when you are on wic and/or public assistance you should not have any more children until you are back on your own. i know people will think that i am wrong to feel this way but i don;t want to support other people's children. i have 3, planned on 2 but had twins the second time around and we sometimes have to sacrifice but we pay our own way totally. you guys have a beautiful family. just ignore the ignorant people. i do.

Kristin | 5:47 PM

Yeah, I second the comment about the Midwest. Everybody here has tons of kids and no one gives a crap, that I've ever noticed. Almost everyone I know is from a large family. In fact, I'm an only child and that really freaks people out here.

SmartBear | 5:47 PM

I envy those with larger families. I have several friends with 3 and 4 kids and I often don't know how they do it. I will say that I feel like the judgement can go the other way...I get the cruelest comments on deciding to stop with "just one" child. Seriously. It's amazing.
For what it's worth, you guys sound like an amazing family.
Best,
Tina

Unknown | 6:01 PM

Awwww, I've never commented but I just love those pics of all the little ones getting read to at bedtime. SO sweet. I have four kids half the time (my SO has two of his, we have one together and I have one on my own) and just two of the kids all the time. We don't get so many comments (the three oldest are 11.5,11 and 10 and have so many activities that we are rarely together as a sixsome) but we have had issues with aquaintance-friends who either have one baby or no kids and who frankly don't want our brood at their dinner parties. Luckily, I don't want to bring four kids to a dinner party so it usually works out! :)

We live in SF and it's not a huge child friendly place. Most people move once they have kids because they can't afford a house etc.

I haven't run into a bunch of negativity due to our family size, unless it's someone who doesn't like children and is looking for an excuse to slam kids and the person who gave birth to aforementioned kid. I rarely court conflict, but if someone makes some comment about my kids making too much noise in their personal space, I will GO OFF. There is something about this country which has given people the right to believe that they should be allowed total silence in restaurants, at the post office, at the coffee shop etc. Sure, I make sure my kids are reasonably well behaved, but I'm not going to leave a Starbucks if my kid walks up to you and taps your coat. We have children in this world, and seniors, and people who are slower than the 20-50 year olds, and louder and don't do things exactly in the way others would like. Deal with it people!

tiffany | 6:13 PM

Truthfully when you said you were pregnant with twins my heart was filled with joy for your family because I have ALWAYS wanted twins (they run in my family on both sides and no one has had them this generation).

That being said I have two daughters and that pining for twins has me scared to death that we will go one more round and I will have twin girls and then I will have 4 hormonal girls in 10-ish years and 4 weddings in 20-ish years.

I think you are amazing for having children. It is a brave thing to do, no matter how big your family ends up being. Hooray for you and Hal for having the guts to love, give, nurture, financially support and all those other parenting requirements your children.

I believe in families and people's right to have them without headcount limits.

menieresmommy | 7:26 PM

I judge totally. For me it completely has to do with the behavior of the children. If they are all well behaved, I think lots of kids are sweet. If they are brats, I think the parents obviously don't know what they are doing and have no business having more than one.
I have 3 and have never received anything but compliments on how well behaved they are.
Yes, I am proud of my parenting skills.

Samantha | 7:57 PM

Thanks Rebecca. Well said.

oh, jenny mae | 7:57 PM

i, too, have heard it all. one the 4 kid tip & the twin tip. rude comments, galore.

"you've got your hands full," is the one i hear most often.

indeed, bitches, but my heart is full too.

dna | 8:00 PM

Bull shit. People should never be so disrespectful. What nerve?! Your family is beautiful, your children are fan-frikin-tastic, and I say the more the merrier... though you probably don't!

tam | 8:02 PM

Just today I saw a woman with five kids and asked her if they were all hers. The mom said yes and quickly turned away. One of her older daughters was still looking at me and I said "you have the luckiest mamma ever!"
I really didn't mean to offend. If I could have five children I absolutely would, and I feel like I would be in heaven. Busy heaven. But really, maybe not everyone who makes a comment means to offend, but maybe I should keep my trap shut, too.

CallieAnnie | 8:59 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
CallieAnnie | 9:11 PM

I'm seven months pregnant and people's reactions to pregnancy in general are somewhat shocking. I understood it more when I was six months pregnant at 22. Someone walked up to me in a grocery store checkout line and explained that my baby was a parasite that I should get rid of as soon as possible to be able to move on with my life. That seemed horrible and judgment-filled at the time, but I knew it was based on age and was from a total stranger. However, it's five years later, I'm visibly older and have a great career. Now I hear "You must feel miserable," "Feelin' fat?" "This is your last one, right?" "You could die, you know," and "Oh, it's another a boy? What a shame you didn't get a little girl," etc. from colleagues. Seriously? I'm pretty happy with the idea of having a healthy child at all. My first baby was a stillbirth and my now four-year-old son was born very early follwed by a long stay in the NICU; I'm happy to consider better odds this time. People just take it for granted that everyone gets pregnant easily with a healthy baby. I couldn't be happier at being pregnant, but I do not understand the negative feelings people bring up. I get "misery loves company," - style empathy, but what if I'm not miserable? It's like you're supposed to hate this stage of life.

Whitney | 10:04 PM

I think your family is beautiful! All 6 of you! I live in Oklahoma where big families are not uncommon but discovered that people still have their opinions and are not afraid to express them. I have 3 month old twins and I have people tell me all the time "well, now that you have two you are done! At least you got them both out of the way in one pregnancy!" we'll thanks for making that decision for me, but even though I come from a family of 2 kids and my hubby is an only child we honestly would live a big family! I think 4 would be perfect! You and Hal are amazing parents with beautiful children, I think your family is perfect!

P.S. I am looking forward to postpartum gone style! I need some help dressing my postpartum body until I can get back in shape. :)

robin | 10:29 PM

Man, I'm sorry people are like that, and say things and give looks and are JERKS! Having said that, YES, I totally judge! We all do, right? Or maybe I just tell myself that to feel better that I do. I just read on the MSN page that the Duggar family is pregnant with their 20th kid. TWENTIETH! Holy Shpizoli! That's craziness. Oh, yes do I judge, and I think they are wacko and all thier (TWENTY!!!) kids will be totally messed up! I don't judge people with 4, or 5, or even 6 kids though. Um, unless they're on welfare and their kids have runny noses and crusty eyes and dirty diapers and run barefoot in the street. If I see a family with more than two (and less than, say, 8) kids, and they are all clean and loved and taken care of, I may do a double take, but I'm usually thinking, "how does she DO it??" about the mom, and feeling slightly in awe, because half the time I'm falling apart at the seams with my 3. And speaking of my 3...I have more than 2 (I live in Portland, not LA, but I think 2 is expected here, too), and I do get glares at the grocery store, and am slightly embarrassed to claim them all as mine, because how DARE I?? But My baby is 9 months now, and every day is a little easier. I hope it gets easier for you, too, because all 4 of your babies are beautiful!
(sorry for the rant!)

jessie | 10:39 PM

You would think with all the celebrities who have more than two kids, no one in Hollywood would bat an eye. What do those people say about the Jolie-Pitt family? Tori Spelling wants to have more. etc. etc. It's practically a trend.

Anna | 11:57 PM

I've actually heard another LA parent refer to this as hipster judgment (and he only has one child). Depends on the local cultural I think. People will judge, but they shouldn't say anything, it’s not their damn business. I especially find that horrifying that someone would make a comment with children around who are clearly older and understand what you are saying! They shouldn’t be made to feel embarrassed by their family.
I always smile at kids, and especially would at your well behaved, clean, and beautiful family!

Anonymous | 1:39 AM

In my neck of the woods (San Diego), harsh, mean-spirited comments about "large" families are directed, for the most part, toward people who appear to be "immigrants/foreigners". It sickens me that one's ethnicity makes such a huge difference to people.
The number of children people choose to have shouldn't be an issue. It's way more important to me whether people actually take care of their children. I know plenty of parents who have one child, and those children are a mess due to poor parenting skills. You and your husband are doing a fabulous job!

Kath | 2:02 AM

Complete stranger once told me I was selfish for only having one child and that she would have a terrible lonely life... Judgey-judgey people. Anyway, you just tell people that one of those gorgeous, well-loved, incredible kidlings of yours is one of my allocated two. Yes, some strange woman in Australia...

Julie | 3:13 AM

1. Re: format. I dig.

2. I have 1 child. One. One awesome three year old force of nature who kicks my ass loudly and publicly on a minute-by-minute basis. I would love to have more, but haven't felt at all ready. When I see a family with 2, 3, 4, ... kids buzzing along during the day, I am straight-up jealous that the parents can orchestrate that amazing chaos without imploding. Good on you. You're not a hummer, you're a kickass vintage woody.

(...Heh heh - hummer. ....Heh heh - woody. )

candace | 3:36 AM

Big families get a little more slack in the middle of the country but I think it is hard every where. I think as a society we have realized that having a big family isn't necessary (you know the whole farm thing is kind of over) but that does not mean people shouldn't do it.

I love your big family and my friend's big family and my little family!

I'm sure LA is better than NYC (you guys actually have some space there). Here 1 kid is considered too much. Nothing is kid friendly here and anyone pushing a stroller is just wrong. There are a handful of places that we feel comfortable taking our kids to but for the most part we just stick to the kid zone.

There is a little relief here in Brooklyn (where people move to have kids) but we have maxed out our welcome in many places with my huge 2 kid family. I do hate being a burden but at the same time I LOVE sicking my tots on the hipster population!

Rock your big family with pride, they are beautiful and wonderful, and someday those non-breedy bitches are going to be parents and will finally get it (i know i was one of them (fo shame))!

Erin | 4:40 AM

After my daughter was born and I truly realized what this was all about, I feel like I lost a lot of my judgements of other mothers. Instead of shaking my head when I see a toddler turning all shades of red in the supermarket, I just smile because this time its not mine!! Rock on with your brood!!

lamina @ do a bit | 4:53 AM

I think it is just a totally normal reaction when you are a youngster to roll your eye at things you have no concept of :) I certainly did when I was that age... and now I look at youngsters and roll my eyes at them thikinng - you have no idea what is in stalled for you... ha ha ha!! I don't mean to sound sinister!

Anonymous | 5:03 AM

you need to change to
girlsgonechildren!
:)

athriftstore | 5:37 AM

When I was growing up, my mom was driving 5 kids around (three of her's and two of our friends) and I remember some dude stopped her and congratulated her on doing the right thing and having a lot of kids. She was PISSED. Personally, my mom and I both believe in zero population growth, but I think she was really pissed because of what you said here: that dude didn't know her. Mom always says "personal comments are odious." People can believe what they want about this personal stuff, but forcing those beliefs on others is heinous.

CherryLaneDiaries | 6:28 AM

This is random, but I love the color of your walls. I have the same color in my bedroom. (Like I said, random.)

Lu Purcell
CherryLaneDiaries

Caitlin | 6:29 AM

People can't help but judge. i look on with personal fear and amusement at my friends who are parents of one, and parents of three. That's me, but I would never go out of my way to publicly comment, because those comments can hurt. i love to see OTHER PEOPLE'S kids. and i love your blog. knowing you via blog, i never once questioned your and Hal's decision to get pregnant again. lots of people are choosing to not have kids, which is fine and good for them. That just makes room for you to have four, so what? Humm on.

Anonymous | 7:24 AM

You think you're working class? OMG.

Anonymous | 8:19 AM

You and Hal and the kids are wonderful and adorable. With four, I am in awe and also envy. But what is it about Trader Joe's and super mean people? I was in one in LA with my happy, smiling three month old and this guy gave me a look like I'd brought in a rabid hynena without a leash. Haven't had anyone bug me about my two, but there is always a first time...

Anne | 8:27 AM

I think it's amazing you live in a city with 4 kids!!!! If you had succumbed to suburbia, then I'd be scoffing, typical! You have a cool life. Albeit hectic, still very cool.

tinyparticlesoflight | 8:31 AM

GOODNESS GRACIOUS. It makes me MAD and sad that we as people do this to each other. Our twin boys were our "first" kids and you can imagine the comments from strangers on just about everything because you heard them all too. In my last trimester I didn't even want to leave the house to hear how HUGE I was. And even now that our boys are 2.5 yrs old we always get a "I'm glad it's you and not me!" Ai yai yai. What a lesson in graciousness this has become for me but I don't always pass the test.

I love reading about you and your beautiful family and I dig the momversation too. ;)

xo
cortnie

Anonymous | 8:48 AM

Your family is weird. As in, not normal. That's just the way it is.

I grew up as 1 of 6 kids. It was not so weird then, where we lived. But it was a lot. I knew that. The other day I ran into a family with 6 kids and I was SHOCKED. That was us? It seemed INSANE. And not that they weren't great kids. They seemed like great kids. But, 6 kids these days just seems like people are taking up a lot of room in the world.

Who knows, in 50 years, after the pandemic, 10 kids will be the norm. The duty of a woman on earth.

Anonymous | 9:01 AM

I enjoy your blog and reading about your now four kids and if you decide to change your mind and have another, that is your right and no one else's business. Of course that doesn't stop one from feeling hurt when another is unkind. In our culture today people ofen have too few filters say whatever they think, which is acutally pretty uncool. If you do a good job loving and raising any amount of children, you rock! The main thing is to ignore what anyone else says and not inhibit yourself in any way because of what others might be thinking. That is easier said than done.

Jen Kline | 9:11 AM

I don't think of myself as naive but damn, my mouth was wide open while reading your blog! Seriously, people are that mean to you in public?! I have 2 kids (7 and 4) and when I see a gal out with 3, 4, even 5 kids, I'm jealous. I'm like, damn! Look at that girl go! I'm jealous because somehow she's able to raise/deal with that many kids and here I am, sometimes feeling "sorry for myself" when I'm having a hard time dealing with my 2 kids. I get jealous because I'm the type of gal who knows her patience level (i.e. "2 kid mom") but looks at a mom like that with envy because I think of all the fun times they will share, especially when the kids get older, coming home for Christmas etc., and their house will be filled to the roof with love and happiness. My point in all of this? These people are just jealous and in awe of how you manage 4 kids. Keep doing what you're doing! These mean/lonely/jealous/isolated people can go fuck themselves :)

Stacey D. | 9:13 AM

I think it's awesome you have 4 children. I grew up with a brother who is 12 years older than me so I always felt like an only child. I was so envious of kids in my school who had many brothers and sisters. So my point is, that people can judge and stare all they want... but your children are always going to feel loved and have a bond that's unbreakable. That's more awesome than anything else in the world.
Most of the friends I'm surrounded by have large families. My boyfriend is from Ireland and he's one of four which is very common here. In fact, I don't think I've ever met a friend of his who is an only child before.
So there you have it! You've got a beautiful family!

Anonymous | 9:32 AM

Why do people feel like they are entitled to JUDGE families? I get judged ALL THE TIME for choosing to have one child. Think it hurts to hear comments from strangers? It hurts 10 times worse when the comments come from your OWN family and friends. Have 4 kids, 10 kids, 1 child...as long as your family is healthy & happy - - that's ALL that matters.

Erin | 9:42 AM

I guess I'm a little envious of large families. I'm one of 6, but I only have 1 child and may not have anymore. I can have more but may decide to stop here. It just causes me too much anxiety. Lots of kids sounds awesome, but I'd probably jump off a bridge.

Laura Negus | 9:56 AM

I adore and respect your big family, Rebecca. Your story is amazing and it is sad that people judge without knowing your story first. People have no idea what a blessing children are.

jessica | 10:06 AM

I have 3 kids and my friend has 3 kids and we still laugh about the time the bathroom was locked in the park and we had to go to 7/11 to ask to use the bathroom. It felt like a parade! We walked in the door and asked if we could use the bathroom and the man said yes but then we kept walking in the door, more and more of us and everyone's faces were like huh?? It was so funny because it was just 2 moms out with their kids and we became some sort of carnival show. So I can say that I know what you mean.

as for momversation i do like this new format for a few reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that it's nice to see the moms (especially you) actually sitting and relating to other people. it makes you more personable and seem more real- if that makes sense.

Erin | 11:04 AM

I loved this post. I have 2 y.o. twins in NYC and long for more children. People's reactions are most often that I am crazy, or selfish. I don't think you're paranoid. People in urban centers are often ignorant, and therefore hostile, toward people with kids. Fortunately the other parents are usually kind. Your family is beautiful BTW and I have loved reading about your adventures in family expansion. Best to you all.

Alice | 11:52 AM

I think we're all always going to be judged... with just none, you're a selfish Peter Pan yuppie. With one, you're evil for denying your child a sibling. With two, you're the cookie cutter suburban status quo soccer mom, and with more, you're overpopulating the planet.

Teresa | 11:54 AM

When I was pregnant with my first and thus far only, child, someone at a dinner party said something like, "well, we all know what the root of our social problems is" and looked pointedly at my belly. Ouch.

I love your blog and think your family is lovely, but I'm not going to jump on the "well it's my choice and I have good genes so I'm doing the world a great service" boat either.

We can't just write off overpopulation as an issue because we love kids. Two kids is not a "personal threshold." It's called "replacement." It's biology. Yes, it's our choice as women to have none, to have few, to have many, to adopt, to abort, and whatever else. And these people making breeder comments to your/my/our faces about children who already EXIST, who are beloved people in the world, are obviously jerks. But those comments are not coming from nowhere, and those of us who have kids, especially, can't afford to write off our environmental crisis--because our kids are going to inherit it.

And with all due respect, on the basis of the price tags on your dresser knobs alone, you're not working class. And that's fine. You're allowed to be comfortable. So why dissimulate?

I know I sound like a bitch, at least compared to the rest of the commentors, but I really do wish you, and your four, all the best.

Lulu | 12:18 PM

Two words: Luxury Problems.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 12:34 PM

Oy vey. Re: "working class"... I meant a working "middle class" LA family. Words get minced in video sometimes. Especially when you make them on little sleep. Although, if you watched the whole video you will see that I made the distinction that YES, we do well, but we're in no means "wealthy." (To Jessica's point that parents with many kids in the city usually are.) I AM AWARE and not in any way trying to hide our "comfort" as evidenced with my transparency in what I spend on knobs.

Teresa | 12:47 PM

fair enough. i did watch the whole video--on very little sleep.

Anonymous | 1:09 PM

I don't see why people feel the need to point out that in their opinion you're not "working class"....more judging...you shouldn't have to justify that kind of thing.

IMO, if you work for your living (and I understand you and your husband do), then you're working class. Comfortable, OK, but working class...

S | 1:46 PM

I totally agree with Constance Blizzard. So much for choice for women. I think one of the things that really surprised me about being an adult woman was to see, after hearing so much about how wonderful the pill/birth control was for the liberation of women and giving them control over their lives, how women are still pressured to conform to a societal ideal where their reproductive choices are concerned. Have no kids, and you must be cold/unnatural not to want them. Have one, and you're depriving him of a normal childhood. Two is perfect; three is understandable if your first two are the same sex. More than that and you're setting women's lib back 100 years and have no ambition and are a baby making machine. (Just to clarify: I'm not knocking birth control! I'm grateful for it.)

I'm also shaking my head a little at the idea that 2 kids is normal and not crazy, while just one more makes for a handful or a large family. Or that 3 or 4 kids makes a "big" family. I think that's still in small family territory. From about 5 to maybe 8, it's a medium-sized family; 9 or 10 is where you start getting into large family status. JMO, of course. It seems odd that there is no longer any middle ground.

We have 5 kids and are expecting #6. Not too weird where I am. Most of the families I grew up with had 2 kids in their family, a few had 3, and just a couple had more than that. But our neighbours are having #5 and we just met a family around the corner who are also having #5. I still get surprised reactions when people ask me how many other kids I have, and I tell them this will be #6. But I rarely get negative reactions, and certainly nothing like what was described here. I think I might turn into a hermit if that's what it were like here.

S | 1:47 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kacey Haffner-Bruce | 2:15 PM

well written..
and people are just plain old assholes..

Cally | 2:42 PM

It's horrible people are so mean to you. I don't even *have* children and I'm still forced to defend my (tentative) plan to have only one child. I don't even mention anymore that I might like to not have any children...

koo' | 3:53 PM

Becca, I'm so sad that people make you feel shitty! the way I see it, it is all of our responsibility to make the world a better place for children (and their parents!). It's terrible where people get judged for taking care of little people... or when people frown on kids in public place. I'm not a parent but the way I see it, we all have responsible for the next generation. We all need to pitch in, help out, and most of all support kids and people taking care of kids. (i guess me writing this comment doesn't help much... but please know not everyone judges you!)

No Drama Mama | 5:40 PM

I'm probably in the minority here, but I think...it's ok to judge. Judging is how we determine what is right for us, and what isn't. Now, rude or mean comments stemming from an unfounded opinion? I'm not ok with that.

Anonymous | 6:26 PM

I love your blog and I love your family! And I am also kind of a judger about this. I do feel strongly we have a way overpopulated planet, and every kid over the first one is honestly a kid that our kids won't be able to have. So I do think we have to think about these things, and Americans hate thinking about these things. But every kid in a developed country uses 25x more resources than a person in an undeveloped country. So there is definitely a huge part of me that reacts to a large family as an unthinking thing. That said, though, I do think you are incredible parents and your kids are amazing--I'd never feel this way against a child who is already here, of course! But I do think this is a big issue people hate to think about, and really get angry if anyone brings it up.

The Beckster | 6:50 PM

Love!

Nicole | 7:50 PM

Your family rocks. I hope you still feel able to be in public because not everyone thinks four kids is too many.

Mar | 7:59 PM

I am an only child and i would have LOVED to come from a big family...your children are truly blessed, as are you! Everyone always has opinions, being mean is never acceptable but no matter what, you and your family are amazing!

Jessie May | 9:04 PM

Well, I'm a country girl so I'd say that the city dynamic in terms of norms/judgements/etc is automatically going to be different from what my family might experience in our small town. I'm one of soon-to-be-seven kids (not old enough to have my own yet, but whatevs I'm going to "join the momversation" anyway) and even though we're not all biologically from the same two parents, we do function together as a loving, tight-knit family unit, and I would have to say I have never noticed any kind of judgement remotely like anything that's been said to you or implied in a disapproving look. But I think large families are a lot more commonplace out of inner city areas, so we really are just a happy, harmless part of our community. That said, I would actually be curious to talk to my stepmum about her experiences and if she ever feels judged by strangers when she's out with a gaggle of kids and a pregnant belly. By the way, I think your family absolutely 100% rocks :)

armdsol | 9:28 PM

so late in the line in comments, but just wanted to say screw all the people with their faces and comments, who the heck asked them??!! i only have one kid but i would love to have more and if im lucky to have 3 at least i will be grateful, i love big families, who else is gonna have your back! i only have my sister and we are as close as we can be because we know is us againts the world!! so your kids are gonna be an army of 4! better for them and for you! great holidays are coming your way!! many congrats on your beautiful family!!!

Rebecca | 9:51 PM

I am child three of four and I wouldn't have traded our giant family for anything!

But I remember my mom telling a cousin one time that no one will invite you anywhere once you hit kid four, but we had some awesome times growing up without being invited anywhere! (Although we were!)

I wouldn't trade my big family for anything. We may not all always like each other, but there is always someone there for you!

bridgetstraub.com | 10:05 PM

Your family is awesome and so are you. Don't allow anyone to make you feel otherwise.

Patriotmom2boys | 10:05 PM

Thank you for this post!!! I only have two, but have been telling my husband for months now that I get dirty looks all the time here in LA! I have a wide space between my kids. Oldest is 12 and the youngest just turned 2. We first lived in Santa Clarita and people were friendly and would chat with and smile at my kids if we were out, then we moved down to LA and that's when I started noticing the glares for possibly taking too long to pick out a bag of apples or whatever it may be because I would be talking to my youngest. Same thing as with your mom, I told her my frustration and she said I was paranoid then went out with me and saw what I was talking about. The absolute worst was at the Vegas airport waiting to board my flight back to LA. People were just giving me blatant dirty looks because they just KNEW my child would be a monster because he was running around a bit (we had come off a 4 hour flight). Needless to say I was very happy to probe them to all be a**holes because my 2 year old didnt make a peep the entire flight! Ugh!!! The people here just aggravate me.

I say good for you for having four kids! They are blessings and from what I know from reading your blog seem like great kids! You hit the nail on the head with your hummer in a hybrid town comment. Love it! So anyone rock on and ignore the nastiness. I know I'm gonna try to...makes me feel better knowin I'm not the only paranoid one in LA!

Patriotmom2boys | 10:20 PM

Geez! All of my typos in my original comments! Freaking iPhone!

I forgot to mention I like that new format! Also can't believe people are commenting on knob prices. Really!? Stick to the subject at hand! A person can spend whatever they want on knobs or sheets or whatever. No ones business!

Becky | 10:26 PM

Majorly awesome that you wrote about this today. I just read this today, too and it completely lines up with your sentiments:

"Fear of public opinion, like every other form of fear, is oppressive and stunts growth. It is difficult to achieve any kind of greatness while a fear of this kind remains strong, and it is impossible to acquire that freedom of spirit in which true happiness consists, for it is essential to happiness that our way of living should spring from our own deep impulses and not from the accidental tastes and desires of those who happen to be our neighbours, or even our relations.” - Bertrand Russell

Amara | 12:12 AM

True, the planet is jam-packed full of people. But I hate when people want to argue in hindsight; why would you take a negative attitude over something - someONE - that's already happened?

Often the foot-shuffling, mumbly answer boils down to our need to tell people how to do stuff better, more efficiently.

I'm the 3rd of 3 children, but my mother had six siblings, while my father had NINE. They were raised in another country, but their parents still enforced highest education, morals, and hard-working ethic, and my aunts, uncles, and parents turned out well-adjusted & responsible folks (if crazily stubborn). The only downside is that we've given up learning all our relatives' names, as there are literally well over 100 of us (and my grandma's 109, so clearly having 10 kids didn't ruin her life!).

Megan | 12:37 AM

A woman I came across with 8 kids used to get lots of the negative comments about having a large family, and whenever people said, "When are you going to stop?" she'd reply, "We're going to keep going until we get one we like." I love that.

I want to hang out with you guys for bedtime stories, Hal looks like the master storyteller.

Elise | 3:57 AM

Don't like the new format, too gossipy and not genuine enough if that makes sense.

I'm surprised that LA is like that, I assumed it was the place where anything goes. Especially with twins, I'm surprised you aren't inundated with the "awe, how cute" comments. When we went out with our infant triplets, people would literally point and come rushing over to look from across a shopping concourse. I got so tired of the "I could never manage triplets, how do you do it?" questions that my stock answer became "Really? We're just living our wonderful lives." People are so clueless.

Catherine | 5:35 AM

I don't think I've actually thought too hard about my feelings when I've seen large families out and about. I mean, yeah, I have opinions on those who are aiming for a "Quiverfull", and, of course, I judge all the time about random stuff. But, as a mother on the verge of her third (and not absolutely closed to the option of a 4th someday - even though I'm old-ish), I like the idea of a large, loving family. You are obviously caring for your children, and it's obvious. That's the most important thing, other people can suck it if they have problems with it. And, by the way, I do get the looks with my two in the hand and one in the belly when we go out. Lots of "wow, YOU'RE going to be busy, etc". Yeah yeah yeah - whatever.

Kate | 6:21 AM

What is wrong with people out there in LA? Who says things like that to anyone?

There are tons of families up in the Northeast that a)have four kids and b) are NOT Orthodox. Having four kids is considered weird out on the left coast? I know so many 4-kid families that I can't quite fathom that. Or the personal comments to strangers. A good stare and some icy Yankee reserve would put those people in their place. I will channel some to you for future outings.

Anonymous | 8:07 AM

I am surprised on a regular basis to see how women, mothers, can be so catty and judgmental towards other women and to other mothers. These women should be ashamed of themselves.

Joanna | 8:27 AM

1. You can totally park a minivan in a compact space when needed. It's not like it's a huge pick up truck.

2. I have a blended family of 4 kids and I find myself always quickly explaining that I made 2 of them and my partner helped make 2 of them, before the "Oh my God, I can't believe you reproduced 4 people!" stare starts. Maybe it's a West Coast thing as I'm in Oregon.

When we do travel as a horde, I find it somewhat hilarious. We took all 4 kids (4, 6, 8, 12) for flu vaccinations, meeting the babysitter at the clinic. Once we all piled into the room, there were 8 of us with the nurse. :)

anni s. | 8:38 AM

Both of our families completely ignore our two kids. My sister is one of the worst. i reminded her not long ago that she will need to be the one to look after our parents in the coming years. Hee hee, that quieted her down a little. After the way they have all behaved for the past nine years they can kiss my ass!

Anonymous | 10:00 AM

I don't actually understand why people would judge you for having 4 kids. I personally don't want ANY children, but if someone wants 1 or 3 or 8 kids, then so be it! I have a friend who has said she wants a "football team" for a family, and I think that's great, for her! My grandmother had 4 children, and wanted 6, but got divorced before that could happen. Having a large family is great, and I don't see why its anyone's business.

Salt Chunk Mary | 10:12 AM

Long time reader- first time responder. I would say this scenario is all the more reason why you should bring 4 more individuals into the world, 4 more individuals who will understand kindness.

I'm in NYC and it's not that usual to see a brood of 4 kids. Let's face it, where could you put 4 kids in the typical tiny 2 bedroom apartment? I have a hard enough time schlepping my 2 kids (ages 2 and 4) out to a tiny restaurant. And I'm one of the unusual parents to do that.

You can be a model for how to do it. I know you won't hole up at home. The best way to confront judgment is to show that there is a place for big families at a restaurant, at the grocery store with 5 boxes of Joe's Os, etc. Everywhere! We learn from what we experience. Prove them wrong.

And, hey, why not reach out to a few Orthodox moms--what might they know about brood management?

One thing I've learned is that motherhood brings community and support from unlikely sources. As much as there are haters, there are also the "lovers." Find them.

At the end of the day what matters is that you are happy with your family.

You are a mother of 4 rockstar.

leah | 10:21 AM

That's so mean of people.

My grandparents had 12 children, and when my Grandfather interviewed or started a new job (librarian) he would always claim less children (a more acceptable 3 or 4 back in the 50s/60s) and then slowly he would let slip about the others.

Nikki | 10:46 AM

Before I had kids, I used to judge people who had more than one. Once I had our daughter, I thought people with two were nuts. Then we had our son and I thought that two was sane, but people with three or more kids were crazy. I think we're done, but sometimes I'm not sure and I think about what I would be missing if I didn't have my kids - if these two amazing people weren't part of my life and part of this world. And I wonder what I'm missing by not meeting this potential baby #3. So now I get why people have bigger families.

I think there are some unspoken assumptions about women who choose to have more than two children... that they don't have a life, that they don't have an identity other than "mother", that they're uneducated and most likely have a very traditional "little wife/mom" role in their home.

Thanks so much for shining a light on this one... I think it's an area where some people feel that it's socially acceptable to be nasty and judgmental. And you're setting a great example of what it looks like to be an independent, assertive, INTERESTING person who happens to have four beautiful and amazing children. Thank you.

Anonymous | 11:20 AM

Growing up in a small town where there was more than one family with OVER 12 kids (!), I'd say your four are a lovely number. I can't believe the meanness of strangers sometimes. Maybe they're just jealous that you're living so large and they're stuffing themselves into a teeny tiny back seat. ;)

Beverly | 11:26 AM

"She just read somewhere in a book or saw somewhere in a movie or believes based on false assumptions that I am something. When I'm actually someone."

Love this line so much.

Expat Mom | 11:42 AM

This is one of the things I like about living in Guatemala . . . big families are the norm! We could have five or six kids and most people would just not care (except my mother-in-law, who thinks we should never have had kids in the first place). They would stare, but everyone stares when you have half-breed munchkins, so I don't care about that. Now that we are seriously considering four, I'm SO glad we aren't in my homeland of Canada, where people would be reacting the same way!

Enjoy your family, try to shut the morons out and maybe get yourself a shirt with something like, "Yes, they're all mine, Yes, we know what causes this and Yes, we're THRILLED to be a family of six!"

Shay | 11:53 AM

I like the new format.

I only have 2 children. I get judged because apparently if you have 2 kids in this area - you aren't as good of a mom as those who have more. I hurt someone's feelings because I didn't think her kids and my kids could fit in my tiny house so I suggested a park and I got the "People judge big families". Really you want to come and be packed in like a clown car? Kids like space to run.

Others will outright ask why I had another child with my first having special needs. These aren't life threatening special needs or ones that will cause him great physical pain or anything. Never never should you want another child if they may not be perfect. Who is promised perfect babies anyway?

I am secretly wanting a big family and I think I look wistfully at them in the store.

13 double u's | 2:07 PM

Dude! I totally agree with Kathryn and couldn't have said it any better, There's one the thing I need to add, I would just have to say that you are just that awesome and amazing of a human being. So, keep being you!

Maternity Clothes | 2:25 PM

Everyone has their own opinions about everything. Yes sometimes I look at moms out with 4, 5 kids or more with a weird eye but mainly because I'm wondering how she does it and I'm secretly wanting to walk up to her and ask her for some advice just so I can better handle my kids. For me, if they can handle all the kids and take care of them properly then good for her for being a strong woman and mother.

Floressence Flowers | 3:04 PM

That crazy reality show about the people who have almost 20 kids (of course I don't know the name - sorry) had a real impact those who chose to have large families... What about "9 by design" - another tv reference - you'd never guess we cancelled the cable 3 yes ago!
The truth is no one else knows you story like you do so the whole judgement thing is really sad... So much for uniting as people and seeing ourselves in one another... Just do your thing & don't let it phase you - that's also energetically the best example you can set for your kids:)

Jessie May | 3:48 PM

Ooh, I forgot to mention- I used to nanny for a family a similar position to you, as in they had a two older children (girls aged 5 and 3) and one-year-old twin boys. I definitely got a few looks walking down the street and if I had a dollar for every time someone told me I had my hands full I could've paid for all of their schooling! Also, I totally understand why you've only been out with all four of your babies three times- it takes sooooo long to get organised to even get out the door, let alone give everyone enough attention whilst also trying to do whatever it is you left the house to do. It's exhausting! Power to you for juggling the beautiful chaos day after day!

Fiona | 4:00 PM

Isn't saying, 'you're fabulous and I agree with what you say/do' a judgement??

tacpwife | 4:16 PM

Been there. HAVE I BEEN THERE. But I decided the best way of handling these people/situations/some other third rude thing:
Stranger: "Are they ALL YOURS/do they have the same father?!"
Me: "Well, we're still waiting on the DNA results, plus there was time I was a whore in Bangladesh, so it's really anyone's guess."

Stranger: "How do you feed FOUR KIDS? OMG."
Me: "I feed two of them every other day."

And so on, and so forth. I can't help it. I guess four is normal for me, since I have four, but I don't gawk at you if you have more. Or less. Or none.

My husband told a bitchy old staring-at-us lady once "A couple more and we'll have our own reality show on TLC! Nice, huh?"

People need to STFU and try smiling and saying "hello" instead. Just saying! ;)

Alex | 5:24 PM

I'm the oldest of 8 & my family was often judged because of our size. People would see us coming in to a place & immediately make comments or stare. But I think the best reward for my parents & even me the older I got was the "Wow! They're are so well behaved!" when we would leave.

I really hate the judgmental attitude against ppl with large families (Duggars).Big families don't hurt you.

Prasti | 5:53 PM

i want to hug you! i'm so sorry that you have to deal with people like that :(.

sometimes i think that people don't value children enough. they are people too, and they are the future generation. there's nothing wrong with having a large family (neither is it wrong to have a small family).

i have 4 kids, and i would never trade it for anything. i LOVE the fact that are house is full and busy and wonderful.

and i love your statements about judging others. it is so true! i know that i am often quick to point the finger before doing a little self-examination first.

Anonymous | 10:49 PM

I have twins plus one and when the twins were babies I'd call it the walking freak show every time we'd go out. (Or people would just assume I was the nanny and either speak to me in bad Spanish or totally ignore me.) Not only are there the "haven't you heard of birth control" comments, but also the people who want to know how your twins were conceived. "Are your twins natural?" or "Are they real?" is common. Instead of telling them to f off I'd just politely say "yes, they're natural with no plastic parts" and move on. A friend would reply "No, cybernetics has come a long way!"

But really gets me are the people that look at you and your children with an expression of horror and say things like "OMG, how do you do it! I couldn't do it, I can barely handle one! Double trouble!" etc. Since my kids are standing there noticing the commentor's expression and hearing the implication that their existence was an awful thing to have happen, I try to take the high ground and respond with something positive. To the "double trouble" comments it's "we prefer to think of it as double the love." To the "I could never handle twins" I've responded "what choice do I have but to just handle it, other than decide which one of them to give away?" That always gets 'em to shut up.

Anyway, hang in there. I noticed the comments started to die off once my twins were no longer babies. You've got a big beautiful family and I love your blog!

Anonymous | 2:03 AM

My great grandmother used to say "Is that person looking at you going to buy you a new dress?" As in, that asswipe might care enough to stare at you, but is he going to do anything for you? No. Hold your head high and keep marching with your fabulous spawntorage!!!

TJ boy...... that's not cool. People with three heads who waddle in pay your freaking check.

Anonymous | 6:26 AM

I left LA because I didn't think I could one day raise a family there. Just couldn't see it. I love LA and love that you are raising a family there. You did what I couldn't envision and I'm so proud of you for doing it. Funny thing is that I now have three sweet daughters and even living in Vermont, we get some of the same looks and reactions from people. There all yours?! Yep. They sure are and I'm so damn grateful. Keep on keeping on, Hummer:).

lola birdsong | 6:27 AM

I want to say thanks for reminding me to tone down the judge-a-nator that lives in my brain. Because I am a parent of two kids, and it's really hard. I can't handle thinking of myself with four. But I really need to let you know that I appreciate YOU doing it! I always loved large families, being an only child myself. It was a childhood dream...course I didn't actually want to BEAR or ADOPT those kids. I just wanted to be adopted by the large family! I too feel judged by those-who-are-not breeding. I live in a college town and whoa. Family outings= we are totally invisible and do not exist for the youngish people in this town. Keep on truckin'....

Liz | 6:53 AM

Move to the South! People here purely LOVE big families because that means that you can train more people to love Jesus and scorn The Gays. You can put a sticker family on the back of your car! Of course, the trade off is that people will judge you for other life choices that are clearly NONE of there fucking business.

writermom | 7:39 AM

I agree that your parenting style is an inspiration...and if any family should have multiple children, then it is yours. Are you guys set on living in L.A.? Are you open to living in other parts of the country? Not that such attitudes should run you out of town, I'm just curious. Of course, you wouldn't want to live too far from that wonderful mother of yours! Keep truckin....

Anonymous | 11:04 AM

I just can't believe ppl have the balls to make such rude comments to your face (or back of the head!). I am the person in line that would have said something to that person in defense of you! I think large families are awesome. To each their own. I'd have 6 kids if I could afford it and if I didn't have 2 auto-immune diseases.

Anonymous | 12:06 PM

People have no right to make you feel bad about having more than 2 kids. 2 kids needs to be the AVERAGE if the population is to be replaced. Obviously, not everyone wants/is able to have kids so...you do the math. I live in Germany, where the population is shrinking at an alarming rate. Barely anyone is having more than 2 kids. What people don't appreciate is that it's not going to be as simple as inviting the 5th, 6th and 7th kid from families in overpopulated countries to fill in the gap. Do these "breeder-hater" types really think that once they die, their society deserves to collapse? Quite narcissistic, if you ask me.

If you can handle that many kids and you raise them to be decent people, you are doing everyone a favor, period. I find this whole discussion to be so ironic because you didn't even mean to have 4 kids! But now you do- and you're going to kill it!!

texmimi | 1:56 PM

you are so right, what works for your family is right. what works for my family is not right for you and vice versa, you are also right to say we ALL judge, and that is just sad, but oh so true!!!! I think you are super mom!!! it is hard to do outing for me sometimes, and I have one kid!!!
don't let the haters get you down!

Christiana Thomas | 2:02 PM

There's a family in my community with 10 kids. Some are clearly adopted and/or fostered. At least one is special-needs. I have no idea how this woman manages her brood, as they are all impossibly well-behaved. I occasionally see them in stores or at the farm stand, and always try to give a friendly smile. She is a good reminder to me, on days when I can barely handle having my two, that we are capable of much more.

Anonymous | 2:24 PM

I'm clearly late to this post, but I've been waiting for it and I'm glad you called yourself out on this. It wasn't too long ago that you were talking about your thoughts on having a 3rd child (heh) and how you found yourself struggling b/c YOU thought it was environmentally irresponsible (lately you've sort of pawned this thought off as various family members think it, but I remember you saying that you were one of them and did think having more than 2 is environmentally irresponsible).

I hate when people say they believe this or believe that, except when they want it, then it's okay. I've been waiting for you to become this. Or admit this. You admittedly used to judge people who had more than 2 kids, but since you wanted more, and now that you have more, it's all fine and dandy...as long as you don't have more than 4, right? You haven't really tipped the scale in that extreme, but You don't really call yourself quite the hypocrite you have been.

Saying we all judge is very general. I judge we judge everybody judgy-judge, is kind of a cop out. Saying Yes I judged, but I wanted more kids so egg on my face for all those judgements, is more specific. You haven't really gone there yet, either.

Anyway, good luck with the fam. I think you have a gorgeous brood and hope you find endless happiness with them.

Ramblings of a Redhead | 3:13 PM

Well, I live in UT where the MINIMUM for kids seems to be 4. So I hear all the time "you're only having 3? really?" It's just all perspective but the bottom line is every family is different. Every family has a different number of little souls waiting to join it. Let your Hummer HUM!!!!! Be proud of your family and know you have an online family that loves you too just for being YOU.

mfelenyuk | 7:22 PM

I'll be honest, I do judge. But I judge because I assume that the woman has just become a mom. She has stopped working and left her career to take care of children. And that makes me sad. My mom had two kids but she had an amazing career. She was a great role model of a working woman who could balance family, work and look great while doing it. I could not imagine her ever staying at home.

And now that I myself am an almost 30 year old working woman, and I can't imagine leaving my career that I studied for so hard to stay at home with my future children. My mom would not approve!

It saddens me when I'm an only woman in meeting with clients. It's almost impossible to see a woman over the age of 40 working in a higher position. Women are dropping out in hordes of the work force and ladies – I need your help in those meetings!

♥hind♥ | 1:53 AM

Youre so blessed Rebecca, your whole family is. Never let this comments get you down. Ur an amazing Mom.

Jaci | 5:46 AM

We get it here in New England too. When I'm out & about with all four (2 singles+twins), I hear it constantly....Are they ALL yours? (scowl). I especially love the college-kid eyeroll!

Somewhat sucks that my kids are now old enough to understand the vibe. I just constantly remind them how lucky I feel to have a big family & talk about all the perks of having a van load of sibs.

Shannon | 10:27 AM

So true about L.A. I was done at 2. not because that is the way it is there but because I suck at pregnancy. We left and moved North to a very Christian conservative area and 3 or 4 is the normal here. People think we are weird for not having more. I love living somewhere that the kids are welcomed everywhere.

meredyth | 11:39 AM

My parents had four kids, and like you, the last child was a surprise (not because of twins, just accidents.) And thank god for her. We're four kids and five years, and a lot of people think that's crazy, or even impossible. But I'm grateful for how close in age we are because it made us closer as siblings too.

I know my mom got looks sometimes, and I know I judge some large families (hello Duggers, you can stop already). I'm sorry for your family because it's not cool, and they don't know you. I think you guys are awesome though. And, one last note: I've been hearing so much lately about how so much of the population is aging and there aren't enough people reproducing that I'm feeling less guilty about my own desire to have three kids. So actually, you're helping!

Rita Arens | 2:26 PM

Lady, you spread that DNA as far and wide as you can, because it is The Awesome.

devon | 3:42 PM

Hey. Probs a bunch of these 180 people have already said this, so, sorry. I think you dealt well here with one part of this issue, and I think you are entitled (until laws change) to make as many babies as you like. I am even a little jealous of your healthy and beautiful baby wealth. You are doing it cuz you love it and you rock it and there is nothing wrong with that. Except, you seem to be looking completely away from the fact that a hummer is not just inconvenient in a city of small parking spots, it is actually burning way more gas. It is emitting more nasty. I do read your blog, and I think you are a smart sassy lady who is down with her kids, so even though you're not really a hippy, I am still surprised that you can make the hummer illusion without owning up to the fact that all the cute stuff you bought for your nursery and all the super cute stuff that everyone and their mother is sending for your cute babies doesn't come from nowhere. The difference between your four kids and the average Indian woman's four kids is huge, in terms of used up resources. And that's the thing about natural resources. We are actually using them up. And, even harder to deal with, they belong to all of us. We share them. So we do make a sort of pact, some of us, to only have two. Even though I would like five. I think I would love five. But I want my kid to be able to have one, or maybe two! And I would love it if there was enough open - unpaved - space on this planet for her kid to have a hybrid family as well. But the simple fact, as things currently stand, is that the more hummers we drive now, the less likely it is that there will anything left later. Especially if we take having children as an opportunity to use even more resources. On the other hand, I think you are right on when you say - I am a person! And those beautiful babies aren't taking up anyone else's space on purpose. I don't judge the humans, just the stuff.

Krystle | 4:33 PM

I hate that people make you feel guilty or bad or give you cause to pause before you leave your house with your family! Do you ever find yourself thinking, "maybe I'll just take (for example) Fable and Bo this time" to cut down on the stares? If so, that sucks too.
I think I come from the mindset that you can bring an entire classroom worth of kids with you anywhere as long as the majority of them are behaving themselves. That's where my judgmental side comes out. If your kids are behaving in a respectful kids-will-be-kids kind of way I'm cool, but if you've only got one kid with you and that kid is being a total nightmare and you are doing nothing as a parent then I start the internal judgement monologue. Otherwise, I'm thinking of how precious all of your children are and silently giving you mad props for raising them to be well-behaved and respectful kids.
BTW, did you say anything to the "breeder" comment?!

amybeth | 9:35 AM

wow, you seriously need to move out of LA. Judging people for having a bog family is the most douche-y thing I've ever heard of. And totally doesn't happen in most of the rest of the country.

bodegabliss | 9:38 AM

First of all, I am appalled that people actually say those things to your face. I can't imagine what that must be like, and I'm ashamed for those that are capable of that.

I'd like to comment on something that I'm surprised no one else has mentioned here. I admit, I am one of those people who make a face when I see a family with babies and small children, or a pregnant woman with or without other children...but it's not for any of the reasons yet spoken about. In the last two years, I've lost four pregnancies and am now having to face the possibility of never having my own children. Now when I see other women that have what I've dreamed about my whole life, it crushes me. Intellectually, I realize that I don't know their story, that they could have lost a baby themselves or struggled themselves to get there...but my gut reaction is immediate pain for what I have lost and what I may never have. It's impossible for me to not show that on my face because the grief is still so strong. Of course afterward I feel horrible because they don't deserve that. And you're a perfect example of why. I've been reading your blog since before Fable and it is so apparent how much you love your family and adore your children. You never take them for granted, and seem like such an amazing mother. In fact, during the past two years, I've stopped reading other bloggers who have become pregnant because it's been too difficult for me. Except I've been able to keep reading you because of all the reasons I just said above. You appreciate with all of your heart what you have been given. But if you were a stranger and I didn't know your story, my heart would hurt when I saw you. I wish I could control the faces I make, but I know that for a while longer, it's still going to be difficult to see women daily living my dream that has been repeatedly and cruelly crushed.

As for those that are judging for having a family they wouldn't ever want, that I can't understand. It's an individual choice, and no one should be judged for how they wanted their family to look like. I'm sorry you've had to endure so many hurtful comments and I apologize for the looks I've given to so many women like you.

Deb | 7:59 PM

I think I love you. "crazier not too" is my exact feeling. Everyone should have what they have and can handle. I have 5. Can't imagine life without each and everyone one.

aPearantly sew | 12:14 PM

This post (and some of the comments) are so interesting to me. I live in a small town on the East Coast, and big families are not that uncommon here, and certainly not frowned upon. We currently *only* have two children, but will definitely have a third, and I wold love to have a fourth.
With all the buzz of late about the Duggars having their 20th child, I have wondered when people came up with the notion that it was their place to judge another family for how many children they have. If the children are loved and cared for, then what difference does it make to me how many children someone wants? I applaud you for having a "big" family in a place where that is not the norm.
This statement from one of the commenters..."I judge because I assume that the woman has just become a mom. She has stopped working and left her career to take care of children. And that makes me sad." is so very confusing to me. I suppose it doesn't occur to people that some of us Moms have CHOSEN to leave our careers. We didn't do it out of necessity. Quite the opposite, in fact. I have a degree in Nursing. And while it would be nice to have that extra income, I wanted to be a stay at home Mom, and the sacrifices we make to allow that are more than worth it to me. There is absolutely no need for anyone to feel sad for a mother who has chosen to leave her career to raise her children. It's a much better job anyway :)

lovemanytrustfew | 2:52 PM

A bit late, but nevertheless - I'm feeling ya! I'm a fostercarer with a mini UN clan and the looks, the rude questions, the comments - they mostly bounce right off these days, but every now and then they get to me.
When someone says - oohh, they're very close in age - how did you do that? I just say 'magic' and smile enigmatically. Well as enigmatically as a crazy mama with a band of banshees can.

Anonymous | 7:54 AM

Reading this made me glad I live in the middle of the country. Around here, people don't care how many kids you have.

Smart people, like you, should have as many kids as you want. Intelligent people need to pass on their genes, but usually it's the other way around.

Olivia Mawhinney | 6:16 PM

Don't you worry about people's looks...they just don't know about the little perfect moments that come from having more than 2 kids.
Believe me, I am one of 12.
:)