7 Quick Takes: “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” Edition

Many mothers of big families are at a loss for words when strangers make personal comments about their family size.  Other women are able to use their conspicuous presence in public as a chance to witness to the joy of this lifestyle.   Still others see it as an opportunity to ditch one or two of the slower kids in the crowd.

No matter which description fits you, there will come a day when you are urging an unruly string of children down the narrow hall of the hospital, where you are late for an appointment to have the blood of several of them painfully tested for something you know perfectly well they don’t have.   Some of them will be licking the walls, one will be wailing about losing her vending machine puppy in the parking lot, and two will merely be going silently boneless.

It is at moments like these when some sweaty bozo in an AC/DC T-shirt will appear, plaster himself comically to the wall to let you pass, and remark, “Haw haw haw, looks like someone don’t have a TV!”

(photo source)

So the following guide is for you, mom.  If one of your damn wiener kids hasn’t shoved a fig newton into the printer, feel free to make a copy, laminate it, and keep it in your ludicrously enormous purse.  It will help you respond to people who see your presence as a challenge, when really all you want to do is mail a letter, buy some diapers and few pregnancy tests, or pay the librarian for the books you ruined this week, and go home.

7 Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions About Your Big Family


Boy, you’ve got your hands full, don’t you?

Congratulations!  As the ten billionth person to make this clever remark, you are a winner!  As your prize, please accept this delicious baby.


Don’t you know what causes that?

Yes, it’s brought on by being in the presence of morons.  Every time I leave the house, I feel the urge to rush home to my husband and, for the sake of future generations, try to outnumber people like you.  Whoopee!


Are those all your kids?

Quiet, you fool, my husband’s listening!


How many kids do you have, anyway?

I dunno.    [I don’t know if it qualifies as snappy, but it’s often true, and it shuts people up.]


You’re stopping now, right?

Of course!  Lots of people have eight kids.   Eight kids is nothing.  Of course, our van is longer than most people’s driveways.  We own two milch cows just to supplement breakfast.  And with the money from our Additional Child Tax Credit, we bought a Learjet.  That’s life with eight kids.

But to consider having nine kids?  That would be cuh-razy.


[This next one is for kids who are members of big families.  It’s a direct quote from lunch recess at Disnard Elementary School, and partially explains why no one liked me in sixth grade.]

Hey, huh huh huh, you have seven brothers and sisters?  Boy, huh huh huh, your parents must really like to dooo it!

Yeah, boy, I guess that proves they had sex eight times.  And you’re an only child, so I guess your parents just don’t love each other very much.  Ha ha!  Now, who wants to be my lunch buddy?


Don’t you have a TV?

If you think TV is better than sex, then you are doing it wrong.


So long until Monday, folks! Don’t forget to check out Conversion Diary for links to everyone else’s Seven Quick Takes.  And don’t forget the most basic rule of appearing in public with lots of children:  it’s everyone else’s job to get out of your way.


  1. I’m holding my side from laughing so much, and I made my mother endure listening to me read this post, punctuated by my breathless laughing. She also thought it was great, so that tells you how brilliant it is.

    I laugh because it’s true — I’ve heard all these things many times over. The one I always seem to get is “Maybe you need a hobby.” I guess it’s either that or a tv, right?

  2. Other snappy responses to “You know what causes that, right?” Yes, and we’re obviously better at it than you. Or: Yes, do you need some pointers?

    And my favorite response to “Boy, you have your hands full!” is from my dear friend Maggie: Better full than empty! That one usually brings understanding nods and sometimes tears, but it’s the absolute truth and I haven’t met a woman yet – or man – who denies it.

  3. I am actually sobbing right now…too funny!!! I’m preggo with my third, but I wish I had more just so I could use some of those. I just kept reading into the next blog entry where you apologize for the Jerk (who by the way is hysterical!!!!) saying that you will have a heart-warming post next!!! That’s where I really lost it!

  4. there is probably some truth in your reply to the boy at Disnard. I find (and my family is only half the size of yours) that the people with the least children are the ones who makes these remarks more often– and mean them. People with larger families usually say the same things, but prefaced with things like “I remember when”, or “it gets better”, and “soon your oldest will be helping you(she already does)”; I even appreciate “you won’t be insane forever (is that true?)”. I don’t know. I think families who do not willingly confine themselves end up walking around with a greater air of peace. End Up. NOT that they do right away. 🙂

  5. love this.
    as a mother of five, I’ve gotten these comments.

    and the “what were you thinking?!” as I was scrambling, fumbling, rushing. I usually replied I wasn’t thinking I was drinking. It’s so not me to talk like that so it ‘s especially snarky.

  6. Re: #7 – I was at an event at our Catholic school, pregnant with my (gasp!) 4th child, when Mr. Very Funny Dad of Perfect Family Boy & Girl looks at me and says, loudly – with a group of people around him – “Wow, you two really ought to get a big screen TV!” So, everyone kind of laughs. I turn to him and say, sweetly, “Don’t worry, Bob, I promise I won’t tell Susan that you prefer watching TV.” Big laughs from the crowd, red-faced Mr. Very Funny nervously chuckles, and I swing my huge belly around and push my stroller through the crowd with a very satisfied smile on my face. Man, that felt GOOOOOD!

    • I LOVE this story! So great. A lady asked me recently if we were done. I looked at her kind of mischeviously and just said, “Done doing what?”
      She thought about that for a minute and then started laughing and said, “You got me.”

  7. To the “Boy, do you have your hands full”, I love that I can usually reply, “I hope not, ’cause I have another one coming in _________ (whichever month the next is due).” My husband likes to answer, “So is my heart”. I have found that most people are actually very nice just not very original. I also try not to take the “are they all yours?” as a negative. Too many times, I’ve complimented a family without asking the question, and gotten an absolutely horrified response, as though they couldn’t believe I would think they had THAT many children. On the whole, I find that I get way more compliments than criticisms. Then again, maybe I just don’t get out much. 🙂

  8. Too funny! I’ve received all of those comments/questions. I love when people ask if we’ve figured out how “this” happens to which I respond, “Yeah, and we like it!” That usually shuts them up. Oh, and my husband wanted me to comment so he could see which little bacteria or flagellate I would be in your comment sidebar! Love those.

  9. Oh My HONK! LOVE all of these responses. Better write them down before I forget them. Now that I’ve had a half dozen kiddo’s myself, it’s hard to remember things, what with all those brain cells I’ve lost during childbirth.

  10. When I was pregnant with my fifth, I noticed a box in my front yard as I loaded the kids in the van for school. It was a year’s supply of birth control pills. We live on a corner lot so it’s entirely possible that it fell off of someone’s car as they made the turn. If not, it’s an expensive prank.

    • not necessarily — bc pills are pretty cheap and are on most of the $4 prescription lists.

      (yes, i’m on bc. no, i’m not catholic. it’s off-label for me because it calms down my obscenely awful pms that landed me in bed for a week before my doctor put me on it.)

  11. I just wrote a post about why people have such a hard time shutting their rude mouths when it comes to big families!

    I hope to have a large family someday so I KNOW I will get comments like this. But I’m that person who always thinks of witty comebacks after the whole situation is over! I’m going to have to memorize these!

    My father in law told me that his uncle made fun of his dad when he had 3 kids under the age of 3 saying, “Don’t you think you oughta slow down?” His dad said, “Well when you love doing something it’s hard to quit.” When I mentioned that I might have to use that someday my father in law was all, “Uh, uh… that was a different time… uh, you gotta be financially stable… uh….”

  12. “Don’t you know what causes that?”

    “Well, we THOUGHT we did, but if that were the case, we’d have thousands of them by now.”

  13. This is awesome! Having only three children, I’ve only gotten the “boy you have your hands full!” comment, and I would just LOVE to be able to use your comeback! LOL

  14. Love these. Love them. I would add them to my repertoire except where we do most of our hobnobbing is a small town where anyone who sees us coming knows us and just rolls their eyes. And one of our neighbors has 16 kids, so, well, what can they say about only 10? I so seldom get the pleasure of snappy comebacks any more.

  15. I’ve been wanting to write this post myself. As a 30 year old mom of three in a mostly childless city, I hear the “got your hands full” comment daily. Just three kids! What an oddity.

  16. My husband and I are laughing at these. I was just telling him how the next time someone asks me if I know how “this” happens I’m going to say, “Yeah, frequently hot sex!”

  17. These are pretty darn funny. However, on the flip side, I’ve been the recipient my entire life of many unkind remarks regarding the fact I’m an only child. Just as there are people who seem to have no propriety whatsoever in making statements/asking stupid questions about large, blessed families, it seems there are also people who scorn, pity and rudely comment on those of us who grew up in one child households.

  18. My family is huge but I have no kids of my own so I frequently shuttle off a few nieces/nephews/cousins for a day or two.

    So, I head out to the mall with 14 kids in tow which, aside from a baby and a 14 year old, were all between the ages of 5 and 10.

    At the food court: “Those all yours?” -please note that this would be physically impossible unless there were a bunch of multiples so of course I say yes.

    The one that drives my sister nuts:

    “Why would you bring them all with you?”

  19. These are hilarious. We’ve had our fair share of odd comments (and heartwarming remarks too). I know it’s only going to get worse when #7 arrives, and I go parading around town with my six living children (our fifth child was taken in his first week of life).

    We hear the “hands full” one all the time. It’s like a verbal tic people have when they don’t know what to say. Only the really rude ones say “You having more?” or “Do you know what causes that?” or the worst “Do they all have the same father?” Yes, I know one of my girls got my curly hair, and the other 2 got their paternal Gma’s straight blonde hair. But they all have the same 2 parents, thanks for asking that with them RIGHT HERE.

    The sweetest conversations I have had have been with people from my grandparents’ generation. They’ll often say stuff like “Reminds me of when all five/six of mine were small!” or “I’m one of five/six/seven kids myself!” I treasure those moments, and it makes all the snide “Better YOU than ME!” comments bearable.

  20. OH, HOW MUCH I WAS LAUGHING!!!! These are all fabulous comments. Wish I’d thought of at least seven of them when my 8 were young. The best I came up with was from a man who asked, “Is that number six?” I said, “Yep! I just can’t say know!” To which he replied, “Wow, I wish my wife would say that.”

    Then there’s the other one. A lady said, “What? Another one?” And I said, “Well, of course, you’ve seen how handsome my husband is.”

    Thanks for the thoughts.

  21. I am 86 now but still remember the time I FINALLY did respond to someone who asked “Are they all yours?” We were in a restaurant, something we did NOT get to do often, when they asked and I said, “Oh, no! We pick them up on street corners and take them out to eat!” It sure did feel good!!!

  22. I am 61. I had nine. The worst thing anyone ever said to me was “Why don’t you get yourself fixed so this doesn’t keep happening to you?” from a cashier in a grocery store. I think I only had 3 and was pregnant with the fourth at the time. I’d like to say I came up with a snappy response, but what I said was “But, but,…but…I WANT all my children.”

    Susan Peterson

  23. At a kids consignment sale with my sis (at the time, mom of 5 and preggo with twins) and a friend (mom of 5). Random mom working the sale goes on and on about the amount of kids they had. She said “So how do you all know each other.?” My sister’s reply: “Oh, I just googled “woman with a lot of kids.” ”


  24. We are having our 4th boy and our oldest is going to be 5 and when people see that and I say “Yep, and boy number 4 is on the way!” They say to me “Are you still going to try for a girl?” I say to them “Sure…why not! I like even numbers! Maybe we’ll have 4 girls in a row next!”

  25. My husband’s best answer when someone asked when he was going to stop having children????? He answered, “when we have an ugly one.”
    I cracked up.

  26. I have 7 kids, and back when I had only 4, an elderly gentleman asked me, “Don’t you know what causes that?” And I replied, “I was told if you find something you’re good at, keep doing it” He got VERY red in the face and I realized that although I meant motherhood, he thought I meant something else! So now when I get that question, that’s my standard answer with a wink and a little grin!

  27. These are fabulous, very funny. I feel very blessed with our six kids, four boys and two girls. Of course we also always get the comments. I always get the question are those kids all yours. I smile and tell them we’ve been doing the same thing everyone else has, we just have something to show for it!

    I didn’t make that up myself, I got it from a web site that has some funny comebacks for pregnancy and parenting.


  28. I am the youngest of 8 children (two girls & six boys) when someone asked my mom how many children she had she would answer “two and a half dozen” (two girls half a dozen boys) lol so one day when a guy was over looking at a car we had for sale, every few min another one of us would come out of the house, so when the man asked how many of us there were we answered (Naturally) two and a half dozen, the man took two steps backwards and stuttered “that’s like thirty six….. thirty eight….” lol

  29. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However
    I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS issues? Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  30. For an extra taste sensation in your salads, infuse it with garlic,
    pepper, rosemary or other herbs and spices, even truffle shaving.
    When you see these words on a label, DON’T EAT IT OR GIVE IT TO YOUR FAMILY. What they found was that older people and people with high blood pressure had the shortest telomeres.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s