What People Say vs. What I Hear: 10 Crazy Questions

Last weekend, Scott and I had the chance to enjoy a rare date night, for free! My mother-in-law was in town and she graciously put the crazy five to bed for us while we enjoyed a little time at Alamo Drafthouse.

On the way there, we started laughing about the crazy things people say to us. When you go places with five kids and one cooking it just happens. People start blabbing and decorum flies out the window. I mentioned to him that what they say isn’t exactly what I hear and we were cracking up. “You should blog about that,” he said. And there ya have it

I hope these make you giggle and, good gravy, I hope I don’t offend you in my responses! Let’s just call it some much-needed Thursday humor. And, yes, I’ve been asked all of these. In the last seven days. {true story}

I still think the very best thing you could ever say to another mom is this: You have such a beautiful family. Keep up the good work, momma.

They Say, I Hear


  1. Ellen Thrifty & Chic Mom on February 27, 2014 at 8:12 am

    HAHA I love this, the last is my favorite and sounds exactly like what I hear in my head me when people say that!

  2. Carla on February 27, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I raised six, four that I had by birth plus two of my brother’s. People will say amazing things, just remember you are the amazing one for living the life and doing the myriad tasks it takes to raise a family and leaving the legacy. The days are often very long but oh those years will just fly by. Keep up the good work, momma. You really do have an amazing family.

  3. Michelle on February 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Crack me up! I LOVED this post. Here’s another one…”You know, autism is way over-diagnosed.” OR “He is the highest functioning autistic person I’ve ever met.” OR “Did a specialist diagnose him, or are you just guessing/saying this about him yourself?” [Last two comments were actually said to me – out loud, in the light of day – by actual teachers] What I hear: “Sorry, lady. Your kid just isn’t quite (insert obnoxious, stereotyped adjective here…weird, flapping his hands, anti-social, non-verbal, etc.) enough to qualify as autistic or special needs. Perhaps you just need to brush up on your parenting a bit.” Yep. That $40K+ in therapies was a total waste. We should’ve just read Dr. Spock and gone for the vacation home instead.

    • Violet on February 27, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Loved reading the comments today and just have to add one more: walking with my four children – all inour bathing suits – by the lake in Texarkana, a couple of young women walked by and addressedme as “Ma Kettle”. Y’all are too young to recall her.

      • Kathryn on February 27, 2014 at 10:27 am

        No. No, they didn’t.

  4. Marianne on February 27, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Oh geez, tell me about it. After 8 kids, I still get, “Are you done yet?” I usually just say, “uhhh, we’ll see” or “I’m 41 now, but who knows?” But it’s such an inappropriate thing to ask!!!! I don’t mind the “hands full” comment at all for some reason, because by golly my hands are totally full and overflowing and it seems like just an observation, not a criticism.

  5. Michelle on February 27, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Our kids are 17, 15, 10, 7, so I often hear “Oh, quite a big break in between!”, which usually sounds to me like “Second marriage, huh?” Then I feel the need to say that it was due to secondary infertility (not divorce and remarriage), which let’s face it, is TMI.

    I have finally just learned to say, Yep and let it go.

    • Abby on February 27, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      So funny my soon to be four kids have the same age spread. We also suffered secondary infertility and I always feel like I have to explain that too. When we started telling people about number 4–we were over joyed by the people that were excited for us versus the people who ask if we understood how that happens. To each his own-but wow people are opinionated when you move into 4 (or more I’m guessing) kids!

  6. Dianne on February 27, 2014 at 10:43 am

    You have such a beautiful family! ( Really, you do). Keep up the good work, momma! (Actually, I think you’re doing an amaze-balls job). Looking forward to seeing you in a couple days!

  7. Jenna Parkins on February 27, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Yes! I hear this all the time. Our Lucy is super tiny – she’s my #4 baby that had IUGR but not as severe as Luke – but people don’t believe me when I tell them how tiny she was and was born at 37wks. I get the catholic and Morman thing a lot. All of these hit home and are So SO true and so funny because sometimes I don’t know how to respond to some of these myself. I think I just cock my head to one side and grin – things that make you go hmmmm – ha!

  8. Verdina on February 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

    As you know, my two kids are adopted; but my son and his wife have SEVEN! It’s a crazy household; but, since I live so close, I get to spend a lot of time with them. They get all those comments, too; however, in our St. Maria Goretti community that is not too rare… they fit right in. Their oldest will be 25 in August; the youngest will turn 5 on Sunday (the same day my daughter turns 49)!

    God bless!

  9. Sarah on February 27, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for sharing this! Glad to know I’m not the only one that “hears” other things in people’s questions about our family!

    This also makes me nervous for the rest of our unborn kids… We’re only on #2 and already get the “How old is your son again?” which I hear “Didn’t you just have a baby?”.

  10. Amy on February 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Kathryn, You truly DO have such a beautiful family. Keep up the good work, momma!!!
    God Bless you and I am praying the arrival of number 6 is a wonderful experience for all, and that he or she arrives right on time.

  11. Catholic Lawyer Mama on February 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Love, love, LOVE this post! My brain goes the same way, especially to 1, 4, and 10. Your reaction to 10 was, hands down, my fave. Catholicism is not super common where I live (and most people around me don’t even seem to be aware of the Catholic view on children and contraception), so I always think they are about to follow up with: “You know there is this great thing called birth control . . . let me show you. You sure you are a lawyer? Shouldn’t you be smart enough to know about this?” SIIIIIIGH!!! 🙂

  12. Bonnie on February 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Are you sure he was a preemie?

    That one makes me SO MAD! Oh my gosh! If only they understood the heartache of having a NICU baby they would never make light of it. (Or maybe that’s the only time you can make light of it, if you’ve walked in the same shoes.)

    • Kathryn on February 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      When I say he was a 3lb. 36-weeker, the usual reply is “oh, so he really wasn’t a preemie.” {bangs head against wall} Then, I pass out the blog address and say “start in May 2009” 🙂

  13. Amanda S on February 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    My husband is one of 11 kids. Marrying into his huge family (I think at last count there were 39 nieces/nephews and about that many greats…) was the best decision ever. Holidays are amazing and fun. I love to just sit back and take it all in. Coming from having only 1 sibling, I am envious of big families.

  14. Nicole on February 27, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Oh K, these made me laugh out loud. It’s been a very long day, so I could use the chuckle. I’ve heard SO many of the same things…however, THE WORST I may have ever heard was when we announced we were expecting #5… The very first person we told (when I was about 13 weeks along) said this, “Oh Brynne (holding our one month old at the time), you poor thing… You should just come live with us because they’ll never have time for you.” Really? No ‘congrats’ or ‘wow’ or ‘we’re so happy for you’. It broke my heart, and I do believe I was in tears before that night was over. Love the list – and your fun responses to what you hear. Keep up the good work! You guys are so blessed!

    • Kathryn on March 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Oh Nicole. I’ve been on that receiving end, too. I squeal with delight everytime we hear y’all are expecting a new life. I can’t imagine greater parents. Hugs to you from Texas!

  15. Catherine Boucher on February 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Oh, this post is simply the best! I am so looking forward to yucking it up with ya for the Edel Gathering! For the record, you do have a beautiful family, and you’re doing a great job!

  16. Debbie Shannon on February 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Jealous. They’re just jealous. At least, they WILL be, if they keep watching those delightful Whitaker kids grow up and see how amazing and talented and mature and virtuous they are going to be. I promise! Nowadays, all those comments seem so distant and quiet to me (heard them all while raising my six), because I hear more and more often…”You have the most amazing kids! I really admire you.” Kathryn and Scott, YOU ROCK!!!

  17. Christina on February 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Oh my stars! I love how you put what you “hear” in your head. I got that last line A LOT when I just had my sixth.
    My all time favorite question was when I had just the four boys and people would ask me if we were going to try for a girl. My husband LOVED to say, under his breath, YES! tonight!
    I made a list once of the crazy comments we heard when we had twins…. are they identical? (they were); do twins run in your family (they do now); are they natural (someone asked me this. for real. I couldn’t believe it. I answered yes… as my jaw was still on the floor)
    Once we DID have a girl and then I was pregnant again (again??!?!) we got most of the above questions/comments you mentioned.
    people… are just uncanny.

  18. 2014: A Year in Review - Team Whitaker on December 31, 2014 at 7:32 am

    […] What People Say vs. What I Hear: 10 Crazy Questions {these just may become a t-shirt} […]

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