Big Families Are Boring

Apparently there’s a TV new show about a big family.  The Slate reviewer wasn’t thrilled: 

[T]hey have everything you have, only bigger, better, and cooler. If you shelled out for one hipster pageboy cap, Bob has two, in wool and velour, plus a straw fedora and a ski cap he wears indoors. If your wife is still cute after birthing three kids, Cortney is a knockout, even at nine months pregnant. If you have a couple of French doors, they have a couple of … French garage doors. Not really, but you get the picture.

Oh brother, I thought.  Yet another permutation of the Big Family Freak Show genre.  This time, it’s the ultra-rich, hip and creative big family.  First we had the Jon and Kate Plus Eight debacle, then Octomom (does she have a TV show yet?), and the Duggars.  

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I know, I know:  the Duggars are not freaks.  I just mean that they’re not a typical family, of course; but they’re also not a typical big family, either.  They wouldn’t be interesting to America if they weren’t so preternaturally functional.  People will gather to see a train wreck, and they will also gather to see an exquisitely functioning train, if it’s the biggest one in the world.

 So apparently America is fascinated with big families (or at least TV producers are trying to convince America that we are).  But we have yet to see a TV show that portrays a typical big family.  I know a lot of families with more than 8 kids, and none of them has heard a peep from any talent scouts.

 You know why?  Because big families are boring.  Despite what strangers on the playground constantly try and get me to admit, we don’t have some kind of unusual quirk, talent, or secret that makes us function.  We do more laundry, cook more, and take longer — oh mother of pearl, you have no idea how much longer — to get in and out of the car. 

But I’m sorry, ab-tastic mom-of-one who spotted us in the produce aisle, I’m not a “saint.”  I don’t have unlimited patience, and sometimes my kids act like screaming monsters, just like your little Connor-Here-Was-Enough-For-Me.  It’s not because we’re dirty; it’s not because we’re clean.  It’s just because I kissed a boy behind a magazine.  Then I married him, and there was some fuss of some kind, and then there we were with eight young kids.

Other than that, our life is kind of like . . . life, except with more birthday parties.  I guess there are a few things that might interest the public:  I can change a baby on my lap without putting my beer down, for instance.  People seem to like that.  But other than that?  We just do stuff, like you do stuff.

Well, let’s be honest.  There is a difference.  Of course there’s a difference between people who choose to have a small family and people who have a very big family — otherwise, there would certainly be more big families.  But the differences aren’t in the way we do things, mostly.  The differences are hidden, interior.  They’re not all edifying, either.  And they certainly wouldn’t make good entertainment. 

Our life makes sense to us.  We function.  You can hear someone laughing any time you step into our house. 

But even I wouldn’t watch us on TV!




  • Simcha Fisher

    Simcha Fisher is a cradle Hebrew Catholic, freelance writer, and mother of eight young kids. She received her BA in literature from Thomas More College in New Hampshire. She contributes to Crisis Magazine and Faith & Family Live!, and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She is sort of writing a book.

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