February 7, 2009

NY Times take on Large Families

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofkids @ 2:48 pm

And the magnifying glass on large families continues. This time a New York Times article which features interviews with me and my blogging-mate here at Mega-Moms, Kim/kmomof12.

The article also features a picture of my family. And, I have to say, it’s kinda irritating that after 45 minutes of picture shooting and literally dozens of pictures taken, they chose the one that shows the torn wallpaper in our living room (courtesy of my severely autistic son, Raif–not the fact I have a large family) and some religious pictures in the back. I really feel this was an attempt to portray the dirt-poor, religious-fanatic, white-trash that have large families. Though, I should note, Jim and I worried about that wallpaper, and even considered some quick fix before they came. But, the bottom line is we are who we are. We’re not ashamed of it, and if the world wants to think that of us, fine. Thankfully, the people who really matter don’t jump to such quick conclusions and judge us on who we are, not if we have a *gasp* religious picture on the wall.

I have to just shake my head at the “freak show” comments. Granted, even though a lot of the large family shows do have that element, there are some really good portrayals too. The “Kids by the Dozen” series was a prime example of how you can focus on the hardships and the positive. Anyhow, although the article tried to sound neutral, I don’t believe it was very positive.

Kmom did an awesome job speaking for the large-family community. Even though I talked to the reporter for a half an hour, they didn’t use a lot of what I said. But I could kinda see that since the reporter I talked to really wanted to focus on the “nasty comments” and such, and I wanted to talk about other more positive stuff. She was actually on the phone with me, reading the message board on LOK, laughing at the comments other large-family moms were making. *sigh*

The article had a lot of good stuff, and I think Meagan Francis did a nice job defending LFs as well. Though, there was enough to irk me, particularly this: “But as families have shrunk, and parents helicopter over broods tinier yet more precious, a vanload of children has taken on more of a freak show factor.”

Smaller families are more precious. It’s really sad to see it articulated, and even sadder to realize that for most of the world, that’s how they truly feel. Oddly enough, most large families I know are very open to the idea that families of all size should be cherished. A large family isn’t for everyone, just like a small family is not where everyone want to be.

Either way, my kids had a blast at the photoshoot, even Raif–though at the end he had more than enough and walked up to the woman and said, “goodbye” and gestured to the door! I’m going to write more about that now at the Special Needs blog if any of you are interested.

Oh, and the photographer did some kind of fish-lense thing, I presume to get my house into the shot. Jim looks way tall, and he’s not. And our scale is off. But…oh well.

Here’s the link: And Baby Makes How Many?

Oh, and if anyone is interested to read how my autistic son did at the shoot, you can check out my post at the Lots of Kids and Special Needs blog: HERE.



  1. I would be with Raif, ROFL, and hand the woman her coat. Craig probably wouldn’t have let her take it off in the first place. 😀 I think all of you did an amazing & admirable job representing us this week! It was a joy to watch you pull off yet another feat for the LF cause.

    Comment by nine-arrows — February 7, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

  2. I think the piece turned out quite well, and your family is adorable. I was especially interested in the stats from 2006: “28 percent of women ages 40 to 44 had three or more children, 4 percent had five or more and just 0.5 percent had seven or more.”

    I knew large families were fairly scarce, but to read that just .5 percent have as many or more kids than I? No wonder people stare at us and make comments!

    Comment by Christina — February 8, 2009 @ 5:10 am

  3. I was so excited to see that you were in the piece as well (and great photo of your family!) I was cringing a bit when I saw that freak-show quote, and my comment about medical anomalies didn’t come across quite as I meant it to…My point, and I think the reporter’s point, was that the fact that you only see big families in reality shows these days rather than sitcoms (remember the Cosby’s and Eight is Enough? Are there any sitcoms or non-reality shows featuring bigger families nowadays?)

    And I think that the “more precious” thing wasn’t necessarily the reporter’s take that smaller families are actually more precious, just that having fewer kids allows a kind of hovering that isn’t really possible in a bigger family. Personally, I don’t think hovering is a good thing, so I took it as a compliment!

    Either way though I thought the story was very positive overall. The photo thing totally threw us for a loop!

    Comment by Meagan Francis — February 8, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

    • Well, I did soften a bit after I wrote this. I think I was kinda turned off because I was expecting something a little different, but that’s how these things often turn out. I still feel the tone was more negative than positive, but I understand that was what the article was going for. They wanted to show what large families are up against.

      Anyhow, I’ll admit to be self-conscious. I mean, the stereotype is that large families live in run-down homes, yada-yada. I didn’t want to perpetuate that.

      It was nice to see your family in there too and I enjoyed reading about your photoshoot on!

      Comment by lotsofkids — February 8, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

  4. We have a large “blended” family and yes we sometimes think of ourselves as freaks and crazy..but I wouldn’t have it anyother way. We have dirty floors, the place isn’t always the cleanest but we are a family and that’s what matters!

    Comment by lwayswright — February 8, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

  5. The sensational/freak stuff is what sells the ad space. Too bad they couldnt or wouldn’t focus on
    all the wonderful fun and love in larger families.
    Some of the most ill mannered, over induldged children we know come from very small families —
    raised as though the world revolves around them.
    I truely feel sorry for all they are missing.
    (and oddly they love to come to our house to play!!?? hmmmmm)
    I’m glad my kids have the opportunity to have many siblings — its an opportunity to be other focused — opportunity of a lifetime — one that can’t be bought nor learned at the most expensive school.

    thank you for your websites — they are a great resource and encouragement.

    Jill, 13 kiddos this week

    Comment by Jill — February 20, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

  6. I feel sorry for people in large families. Girls in large families tend to get pregnant sooner e.g. my two aunts and my two cousins from large families. They did not receive affection at home so they searched for it elsewhere. People from large families do not attend college and become middle class, they are regulated to crappy jobs. Large families are so dysfunctional e.g. look at the Jacksons, Duggars, Gosselins, etc.

    Small families are more correct and intelligent. Studies show and it cannot be disputed that people from smaller families i.e. one to two children in a family are more achievement oriented, more affluent, more appreciative of the finer things in life, and more psychological stable than people from larger families. Get real, if I had my way, people would have one to two children and people with large families would be penalized through paying higher taxes for their litter.

    Comment by grace m. williams — January 4, 2010 @ 9:07 am

    • There have been studies that show that children in large families do just as well as those in small families. As for dysfunctionality, there are a fair share of dysfunctional small families. Sadly, the families featured on television are often deliberately showcased in a manner that is not flattering. This is coming from several families I personally know who have been featured on such shows and comment on the selective editing of producers. Large families are such a small minority in the country that most people never know one personally and get their only exposure to them through television and slanted news articles. Not exactly an accurate picture, considering large families are very similar to small families in most ways. Unfortunately, if producers showed how normal these families are, there wouldn’t be the high ratings.

      As for not going to college, etc., again, that is simply not true. A good majority of those children attend college, and due to limited family finances (in some cases), they often have to pay for a portion on their own. Children from large families do just as well. Thing is, unless someone is wearing a sign on their head stating they came from a large family, you wouldn’t know the difference seeing them in society. Children from large families go on to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, as well as manual laborers. Given the percentages of the general population, I am sure that the numbers would be on par.

      I’m sorry for your aunts and cousins, but one family example does not prove anything for the majority. I know many small families that were so focused on material things that the parents were very unattentive to their children and similar things happened. People make this an issue of family size when it is really an issue of parenting. Some people can parent 10 children fine, while there are some parents who struggle parenting 2 children.

      One thing I will totally dispute you on is the “fact” that smaller families are more appreciative of the “finer things in life”. Since children in smaller families tend to be indulged more, I see a lack of appreciation. There is more of a feeling of entitlement. When they are hit with hard financial times and their wants are not fed, they can become bitter and resentful. Children in larger families are more aware of the difference between needs and wants, and thus there is deeper appreciation for the “extras” since there is understanding that they are special, but not mandatory.

      Comment by lotsofkids — January 4, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

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