The Perfect Family

Welcome to the first Family Size Blog Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the Family Size Blog Carnival hosted by Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling and Patti at Jazzy Mama. Today our participants share their decisions on family size and whether or not to grow their families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Photo by Green Pin Chang

After the birth of our second child, my husband and I received a lot of comments about how we had the perfect family: one son and one daughter. The people who made such comments went on to say, in various degrees of subtlety, that we could now stop having children, having achieved that sought after one child of each gender. Only, we weren’t having children to fulfill some societal expectation.

There were some disapproving stares when we were expecting our third child. One older man even came up to me and asked me what I was doing, going on to point out that we already had a boy and girl. I explained that we liked having children and wanted another. He jokingly made some comment about us having to have another child to even things out. He wasn’t prepared for my comment that we might just have another child, or two.
The birth of our fourth child brought us back to perfect family status. Not only did we have two boys and two girls, but they were born in alternating order: boy, girl, boy, girl. The comments we had received after the birth of our first daughter were nothing compared to the comments we now receive.
The thing is, there is no such thing as a perfect family. Every family is a blend of many aspects. Whether one child or eight, one gender or a mix, every family is a unique blend that makes it right for them at that point in time. Every child is a person to be cherished for his or her individuality. To compare families with one another based on number of children, or the genders of those children, only serves to diminish the special qualities that family has in the eyes of others.
I don’t know whether we will have any more children or not. The idea is something my husband and I both struggle with. If we do have another child, it will not be because of someone else’s predetermined idea of what a perfect family is but because we feel that another child is what our family needs.
Our family may not be perfect, but the size of our family is what it needs to be for right now. If that changes in the future, then we will change the size of our family. We may just need to buy a bigger van.


Visit City Kids Homeschooling and Jazzy Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Family Size Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants below:

  • The Perfect Family The family at Living Peacefully With Children isn’t perfect, but the size is just right for them…at least for now.
  • Family Size Carnival Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses how she loves the extremes of being happily child-free for life to being a mom of several. And on knowing when her family is just the right size.
  • Is Adoption for Me? Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares why she would consider adoption as the socially responsible way to have a large family.
  • Getting Used to Having Kids Lauren at Hobo Mama went from “probably one, maybe two” to wanting a handful, but not without some major struggles and soul searching along the way.
  • Magic Number For a while, Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales has wondered what the magic number will be for their family, but now thinks she’s finally settled on an answer.
  • How Did You Get That Size Jorje explains how she “chose” her family size and why they aren’t planning to grow again on Momma
  • Family Size On A Per Kid Basis Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares how plans change as families grow.
  • More Babies: How, When, Why Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about when, how, and why she might get a sibling.
  • Family Size Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she has no idea what size her family will end up being; though she used to be sure, a few factors have recently come up to change everything.
  • Thy Will Be Done CatholicMommy hasn’t decided how many children she’ll have. And she never will. Because, you know, she’s Catholic.
  • Sanity and Health Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about sanity and health considerations when deciding on her family’s size.
  • Love Comes In All Sizes Melissa at White Noise and Mothers of Change shares her family’s journey to becoming a family of six!
  • Family Size Liz at Homeschooling in Buffalo discusses how this carnival occurs less than two weeks after “closing up shop” by way of vasectomy.
  • Family Size Blog Carnival Billy, a single mother by choice, writes about the size of her family at My Pathway to Motherhood.
  • Creating Your Perfect Family Size Dr. Alan Singer shares insights from his new book, Creating Your Perfect Family Size.
  • Our Family Size You might not be surprised to learn that Patti at Jazzy Mama can’t find any reasons NOT to have more babies.
  • Economics of Family Size Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling uses an economic cost-benefit analysis to determine her family’s optimal size.


pretty in pink…

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

Walk into any baby section of a clothing store and one will notice two distinct sections – the blue section, rift with sports themes, cars, and puppy dogs – and the pink section, with flowers. Companies have been marketing gender differences for years, although they’ve raised the bar. It doesn’t end with clothing anymore. Large ticket items are now included in this marketers’ dream. As a mother of four recently told me, she had difficulty finding a gender neutral infant only carseat for her last child.

While engendering everything is great from the company’s viewpoint (compelling parents to buy new when they have a second child of opposite gender rather than reusing an item), from a societal stance, it’s disturbing. No longer are babies free from genderism. Forget even buying gender neutral clothing for little ones. While one might luck out and find a few newborn items in yellow or green, after that the challenge is greater. When I recently went to purchase some new onsies for my new daughter, I was hard pressed to even find purple in the sea of pink.

When I was pregnant with our first child, I was bound and determined that our children would not fall prey to this forced genderization. We bought green and yellow clothing with a few blues (after all, I’m a girl and blue is my favorite color). When our son was born and then outgrew the 0-3 month sized clothes, we quickly realized how hard it was to find clothes without sports or trucks, or even dogs. We didn’t give up, though. He looked smashing in oranges and bright colors. When strangers would comment on how beautiful my daughter was, I would just nod and smile and accept it as a compliment (although I would prefer to avoid such compliments).

A couple of years later, we had our first daughter and were bombarded with pink outfits from relatives; she looked like a little pixie in them. I was beginning to embrace what I so strongly believed against. When I received a few compliments about my handsome new son, it bothered me. The fact that it bothered me shook me even more. Why was it easier to shrug off compliments when my son was referred to as a girl than when my daughter was referred to as a boy? I still eschewed the pink, but I found myself purchasing more feminine outfits in yellows, lavenders, and greens (the few I could find) for my little pixie more so than I would have imagined. Sometimes our psyches absorb more of what is pressed upon us than we realize.

I inwardly cringed when my daughter was a little older and went through a pink phase, although I reminded myself it was just a color. She really does look good in pink. However, I’ve made a point to make certain that my children know that colors shouldn’t be gendered, anyone can play dolls, trucks, or any other toy, dirt and worms are great fun for all, and you shouldn’t allow anyone to limit what you can do.