Surprises Of Having A Big Family


Surprises Of Having A Big Family

I didn’t grow up in a large family. My nuclear family was the “perfect” American family of four: mom, dad, me, my 2 ½-years younger sister, and a dog. The number of people vacation packages are made for, hotel rooms accommodate, and sedans will hold. 

Many of my friends who have three, four, or more kids come from bigger families; my husband and I each just had one sibling. Perhaps that’s why we’ve been so surprised by the everyday facts of having a family of six. We’ve found some of the clichés are true, and some parts of having a very full home are awesome. 

Little Things Are Expensive

Yes, raising kids can be pricey. Recently, we went to a matinee with our three older kids. Even after refusing to buy snacks, we paid $50 to see a mediocre animated movie. This is why we usually wait until movies come to Redbox or Netflix and pop popcorn on the stovetop. Taking all the kids to the movies, a sporting event, or even a restaurant is more of a special occasion thing than a weekly occurrence for us. 

They Are Really, Really Loud

I’m a quiet, introvert of a person. I grew up in a fairly quiet home, too. On days when I’m surrounded by kids fighting, yelling, singing, and just generally making a ruckus, I sometimes wonder how I ended up there. As someone with severe noise sensitivity, I have to enforce certain rules about noises just to keep myself sane.

There can only be one thing making noise at a time, for instance (the TV, a tablet, the piano, music, etc.). And the recorder must be practiced in a bedroom or outside! Any toys involving a battery are pretty much banned from the house.

And They Fight. So Much.

I guess this is normal of most siblings, but somehow it’s exacerbated when there are so many of them. They can gang up on each other, blame it on someone else, or have all-out wars all in the course of an afternoon. The fighting also adds to the noise level. See above.

Someone Always Wants to Do Something

Getting antsy on a Saturday afternoon? You can always find someone in our house who wants to play a game, read a book together, or go shopping or on an outing. When I feel the urge to be a “good mom” and do a craft project or bake with a child, someone will always be willing to participate. 

…Which Makes Schedules a Headache

Even with our “one extracurricular activity per child” rule, as they’ve grown, so have the activities for our kids. Currently we’re juggling 3x a week theater rehearsals, 2x a week boys’ choir rehearsals, 2x a week taekwondo…and schedules for two different schools, plus homework and church activities. My youngest would like to do gymnastics or ballet, but I literally don’t know where to squeeze it in!

They Eat SO Much

Even Costco-sized packages are not always a match for four kids. They go through string cheese, yogurt, and pretzels like they’re going out of style. And if I make something they like, I have at least one child who will try to eat it ALL before their siblings can take their “fair share.”

I’ve heard from numerous parents that their kids with siblings will try to hide food in their rooms, especially the good snacks. Sharing is hard.

Every Child Is Different

When I had my second child, I realized how different he was from our first baby. I didn’t know whether it was because they were girl/boy, older/younger, or just had polar opposite personalities.

Now I’ve found that every kid just has his or her own likes, dislikes, quirks, habits, and more. It certainly keeps me on my parenting toes. No matter how many kids you have, you have to parent them each individually.

Photos by Savannah Massey Photography

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I am a stay-at-home mom to four kids (ages 14, 12, 10, and 6) - as well as a freelance writer and editor. We live on campus at Baylor School, where my husband teaches. After living in Ohio, Indiana, and Virginia, Tennessee is home and has been for 18+ years. After years of having babies and preschoolers at home, I sent my youngest to kindergarten this year, and now spend my time working part-time for an online entrepreneur ... and picking up sick kids from school.


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