This morning, I awoke at seven a.m. to feed my hungry five-month-old, Clara. Soon after my husband left for work, her brothers Owen, three, and William, five, joined her on my bed and promptly began bickering – their most favorite pastime these days besides nurturing their ever-growing collection of Pokemon cards. A while later, my older two sons Jacob, eleven, and Isaac, nine, emerged bleary-eyed from their room, where they’d stayed up too late murmuring in the dark from their bunk bed.
Then my day really began: breakfast to make, diapers to change, dishes to clear, toys to step over, toys to step on. At one point I had spit-up in my hair and a mixture of sand (residue from yesterday’s trip to the beach) and Cheerios stuck to my feet. It’s noon, and I’m just now putting those sticky feet up to try to get a little work done to the tune of a foam sword fight. I won’t stop until I fall into bed tonight after the kids are asleep, sipping a glass of wine while I watch reruns of The Golden Girls.
Bumpaholism? Oh yes, it’s a real disorder. It’s my life, and while it can be exhausting and sometimes frustrating, I love it. I love the noise and the laughter. I love the friendships I see growing between my boys, and the way they dote on their baby sister. I always knew I’d like to have a big family, and though I’m pretty sure we’re done at five and I look forward to re-claiming some of my independence, there’s a bit of me that’ll be sad to move on from this stage of my life.
Apparently, that puts me in danger of being a “bumpaholic.”
Bumpaholism? Oh yes, it’s a real disorder. At least, according to a recent Women’s Health article and Today Show story, claiming that a large number of women want lots of kids for all the wrong reasons.
It’s just one more example of a recent media-driven onslaught against bigger-than-average families, fueled by freak-show-esque examples like OctoMom and Jon & Kate, and inspiring creative phrase-coining, like “competitive birthing” (Thanks, NPR!) and “compulsive motherhood” (Good one, ABCNews!).
“Having babies isn’t addictive in the way that alcohol and narcotics can be. But bumpaholics feel compelled to procreate for many of the same reasons that substance abusers turn to booze or drugs,” reads Women’s Health. In this article, experts speculate about the reason women have more than a couple of babies: to get attention. To get waited on hand and foot by our spouses (that, I’m told, is far from a universal experience). To avoid returning to work or having to figure out what to do with our lives next. To get unsolicited comments and belly rubs from strangers. (Oh yeah, ask any pregnant woman; we just LOVE that).