When I entered the online community of large families, I was pregnant with baby number 5. At that time, most sites devoted to large families used that number as the criteria of entering the world of “big brood.” I could agree with that for the mostpart. However, personally I felt that I had crossed that line with baby #4. That was when people’s attitudes changed and I started getting the “when are you getting fixed” comments.
A year go, I wrote an article for lotsofkids about large families in the U.S. Families with 4 kids make up about 5.3% of the population of families, while families with 5 kids take a steep decline to 1.4%. Quite a jump from that 4 kid to 5 kid mark, and I can see where some in the large family community would feel that is the real definition of large. Still, you can find far more 3-kid homes than 4. In fact, 3 has now been called the new 2, so I personally feel that jump to 4 is the criteria for society, whereas the jump to 5 is really the emotional benchmark. Going on the statistic mentioned in that article, the numbers decrease to a point where 7-or-more-kid families are so small they can’t even give a statistical number.
When I entered the large family community, the term “mega” was also used. Not very often, except in reverance, because most people never got there. Mega meant you moved into that magic territory of the double digits. 10 or more kids. Wow. That *is* a big number. Even mega-moms will stop and think that from time to time, even though they are happy with their family makeup. I have to admit, because there is such a small number of 10-or-more-kids families, when I started our Mega-Mom forum at LOK (accompanied by this blog), I lowered the “mega” number to 8 simply to have more people posting! My thinking was if a 4 kid family is classified as big, then 8 kids would be equivalent to 2 large families. Thus Mega.
Okay, you’re asking where I am going with all of this, right? The other day I was reading about Angelina Jolie. I think you would have to live under a rock not to know that she’s not only a famous movie star, but the mother of 6 children. 3 biological, 3 adopted. I absolutely love Angelina because I think it is amazing to have a celebrity mom who is not afraid to admit to she loves children, whos says it’s okay to have more than 2 kids…and admitting that she wants more. Anyhow, as I was reading this article about her, I saw that Angie was referred to more than once as a “mega-mom.” That just struck me. Now, I don’t really expect the 2-kid-max media to be up to date on large family terminology. But I couldn’t help but laugh at the suggestion that 6 kids was considered “mega.” Part of the criteria for mega is not merely number, but the impact it has on your life. After a certain number of kids, you cannot buy standard vehicles. A mini-van or large SUV will not hold everyone. It’s the 12 and 15 passenger vans and mini-buses from there on! When you go to a restaurant, you almost always have gratuity immediately added to your bill. You are a crowd and you usually have to wait to get seated at the local eatery, or anywhere else. If you go to church, you take up a whole pew for your family. It usually take 2-3 “family-size” packs to feed your crew. Not to mention, usually 2 carts at the grocery store on shopping day.
I know I’m being nit-picky, but I remember wondering and dreaming if I would ever hit that “official” mega-mom number of 10. Even though I consider myself a mega-mom with 8, when 2 of my kids are gone for the weekend, the family feels downright small. I know that’s a matter of perspective, but still.
I think it is amazing that there was a Walmart ad a year or so ago featuring a mom with 3 kids, saying how challenging her “big” family was. I know many moms of 4 who feel their families are small–albeit big compared to their neighbors. Perhaps that is what the media is going on. 3 kids is big, 6 kids is mega. I’ll respectfully disagree. But that’s just me.
As I mentioned, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have announced they want more kids, and I love them for it. I hope they do, and I hope they will join the ranks of us mega-moms officially in the near future. I certainly don’t expect she’d come hang out at Lotsofkids mega-mom board, or even read this blog. But if she did, we’d be more than happy to have her.