children, Pacific Islander families in New Zealand, parenting, samoa, writing

Be Fruitful and Multiply

“FIVE children?! Ohmigosh really? FIVE children?!” Since moving to New Zealand, I hear this a lot. Apparently, most people with any sense, have A child. Or two. Or at an extreme, three. But five? And over? That is cause for amazement/horror/consternation/bemusement. Closely followed by, “You don’t look like you have five children. You’re too young/beautiful/thin/smart to have that many children.” (tell me more!)

It can be flattering to have people tell you that “ohmigosh you look way too young to be the mother of five children!” But people exclaiming over my abundant fertility can also put me on edge. Because sometimes my paranoia radar tells me that people are really thinking, “ohmigosh you islanders and your teen pregnancy, no-family planning, dole bludging, over populating rabbit habits!”

And then I want to shout – Yes I have five children but no, I was not betrothed when I was 7, exchanged for ten cows when I was 12, and then popping out little coconut savages when I was 14. And NO, I did not have five children because I’m on a social welfare benefit and can get more money that way. Are u nuts? An extra fifty bucks a week in no way makes up for patiently loving that @$#%@&*% brat who keeps eating his goobies, giving other kids black eyes at school and eating more food than I do. And NO, I didn’t end up with these brats darlings because Im dumb and dont know anything about birth control. I actually WANTED to have them.And actually, if pregnancy wasn’t a matter of life and death for me – I would have ten children. ( Insanity expresses itself in many different ways) Yeah, I’ve crazy/dumb enough to want lots of children – SO WHAT!?

The truth is, I never dreamed of being a mother when I was a kid. And I don’t actually like children very much either. (Just my own.) But I’m thankful that my parents were crazy/dumb enough to have six children because I liked growing up with a motely crue of siblings. And I do feel blessed that I can now be the mum of five fabulous people. Lots of children means I will probably never be rich. Or have a moments peace.But I do enjoy the breathless joys and unpredictable nuttiness that goes with running after them all. So I guess i need to lose the defensive aggressive attitude the next time somebody gives me their gut reaction when they count the fruits that HRH and I have.

How about you? Did you grow up in a family of many? Or one of few? Pros, cons? Do you think I’m imagining the negative thoughts when people in NZ meet another P.I family with a flurry of children?

8 thoughts on “Be Fruitful and Multiply”

  1. Someone give that girl birth control…LOL! I think it's great that you have 5 kids. And you actually wanted them…bonus! I personally don't think you would come across as the having-children-to-get-more-bingo-money type of PI. It'll be more "She's too hawt to have had 5 kids!" or "Somebody's obviously getting some" LOL! ;)As the eldest of 7, I had always wanted a big family of my own. I'm well on my way…with one…lol. Hubby last night told me the worst news – according to his financial forecast and planning etc, I won't be able to stay home to be a full time mum for a long while yet. Why didn't I marry for money like I originally planned???!!

  2. Bina – You want SEVEN?! dayyumm! You defn have a lot of being busy to get there from one. ( smile) thank you I think I much prefer that thought.."shes so hot and obviously getting some" Haha. It is a blessing to be able to a fulltime mother. I dont always appreciate it the way that I should, so Im grateful for the reminders that i need to treasure the opportunity ( and not whinge so much about it. But if i stopped complaining – what would i blog about??!)

  3. Hi Lani. I often read your blog whenever I'm on the web and I think it's fantastic. really. i never leave without a smile, so thank so you know, u probably have a lot more readers than you think, so keep it up.cheers

  4. Pity I can only 'like' once, because I want to say 'like, like, like, laughing laughing laughing'!!! So – I am one of those people who also said "FIVE? REALLY?!" and I think I may have also said "Man, you must really like babies" LOL. I was one of 4, and now I have 2. I have 2 because neither my body nor my budget can afford any more, altho now having had two (when I originally wanted none) I also would like 3 or 4. Fortunately, bearing children is not life or death for me, but it does involve a lot of physical pain and seriously endangers my mental health, and so I need to stop at 2. MY particular brand of OHMYGOSH … 5?!! really? 5?!! involves the knowledge of how much work a simple pair take. How much patience, how much budgeting, how much attention, how much energy, how much food (!), how much mediating, how difficult it is to find time for yourself, how difficult it is to find time to spend with your partner, how hard it is to remember who you are as a person, how much house-cleaning, how much the groceries cost. All that is running thru my head as I stare open-mouthed but speechless, as I'm mentally multiplying all that effort by 5 (ok – whatever you have to multiply two by to get the result of 5 kids). But I know it's a lot. And then my thoughts start going "far out, I'm in the presence of a saint!" an then I think "how do you DO all that, Lani??" and then I think "hang on, can't really ask that, it's too broad a question" and then I think "I've been standing here really rudely with my mouth open while I thought all that and she's probably thinking that I think she was a teenage bride and doesn't know how to stop having nooky when that's not what I'm thinking at all." So then I close my mouth, but all train of thought has been and gone, so all I can say is "wow" again. Confirming that I am, after all, an idiot.Anna.

  5. Anon – Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. I love hearing from blog readers. Anna – You get the prize for the funniest, bestest commenter LOL. Your writing always makes me laugh, I am not going to stop harassing you until you START WRITING IN YOUR BLOG MORE REGULARLY about your parent adventures! And anyone who takes care of any kids ( without locking them in a cupboard or giving them to the Dementors) is a Saint! …and a witch…depends on the time of day ay? LOL

  6. Love this post : ) I am the middle child of five. Five kids seemed to be the norm back in those days. It was quite unusual to see families with only one child or even just 2 or 3. I have three little ones of my own now and the worst question I was asked when I was pregnant with my now four month old baby was, "Is this a planned pregnancy?" And now that baby is out and about the question is, "Did you plan to have this baby?" What do they want me to say? "Oh no, he was a mistake." How rude! I've also had the comment, "Three children? Oh, surely you don't want anymore?" I just say, "Oh,actually we're hoping to have another 5 kids because we just love having babies!". Shuts them up every time lol. I never imagined myself having any kids when I was growing up. I liked babies but was always glad to hand them back to the parents so I didn't think I had any maternal feelings until I had my first child. You are right on the money about attitudes to big families in NZ. What you need to keep in mind (what I also have to remember) is that people will make judgements based on their own experiences, value systems and their own ability (or lack of ability) to raise children. You rock Lani with your Fab five!

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