I've decided that every now and then on a Monday, I am going to bust a myth. The number of myths "out there" about families, especially large families, is astounding.
Myth #1: All Mums of Many are Superwomen
Of course I can only speak from my own experience, and I am only just technically a Mum of Many (the government classes families with three or more children as 'large' families), but all my experience says - no, we aren't. It is strange to get comments like "Oh, I don't know where you get the energy!" and "You must be a saint, I struggle with two!". The thing is, I remember the milky tears of getting used to my firstborn, the panic of working out the logistics of bathing TWO children and getting them to bed for the first time, losing my temper with the older two children and sending them to their room before sobbing along with the youngest whose fingers just got jammed in the door (well, that was only a fortnight ago!). Today, I crashed out for twenty minutes in an arm chair again while the boys were asleep without clering the lunch dishes or tidying the bomb site that is my lounge - perhaps that's where I get my energy! The thing is, those times when I hit a wall are when I start thinking I SHOULD be supermum. When I start beating myself up about the dishes in the sink, when I am paralysed with the guilt of not being everything to everyone. And get this, I'm a good Mum! Really, I am. My kids are healthy, reasonably well adjusted, emotionally secure, bright individuals. They aren't perfect, but they're pretty good. I hug them every day, read to them every day, pray with them every day, feed them semi-decent food (healthy by many standards!) and clothe them in clean, comfortable clothes.
The thing is, I'm not a superwoman. None of the Mums I have met are. The fact that I'm not a supermum hasn't put me off having more children mostly because I have known some BRILLIANT mothers of large families who are also gloriously human. I wish all women could meet these Mums. The thing is, I have met some wonderful mothers who have told me that they would LOVE to have more children, but don't because they have bad days with the ones they have. I find this tragic. I think I have about the same number of bad days now as when I had just one. They happen! Paul wrote to the church of Corinth "he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." We need to stop pretending to be superwomen and give the glory to God. Perhaps then, women will stop being guilty for not being superwomen and draw on HIS strength. Perhaps then women won't be afraid to have more children if they so desire and plunge head first into the wonderful, amazing world of larger families.