What? Having a Big Family Actually Makes Life Easier??
When people find out that I have seven children, they make assumptions (I am supermom, I must have soooo much patience, I am a saint, I don’t mind listening to screaming and whining, my kids are extra-well-behaved, etc.). Unfortunately, these assumptions are mostly wrong. I’m just like everyone else – as are my kids – and I can get every bit as annoyed, impatient, frustrated, and overwhelmed as the next person.
I look like this a lot.
So what’s my secret? How could a “normal” person stand being at home with so many kids?
The secret is that having MORE kids actually makes life easier in many of the most important ways.
Don’t believe me? It’s okay. I know it sounds hard to believe. But keep reading, and I think you’ll see what I mean.
Here’s a list of just a few of the benefits of having a big family:
1. You are never bored.
2. You are never lonely. Nothing is worse than being bored and lonely. Not even a meltdown in the cereal aisle or Kool-Aid vomit on the new carpet.
3. People drastically lower their standards for how well-kept you and your house should be. You can astound them just by showering regularly and carving a path through the toys from your living room to the kitchen.
4. If you’re in the mood to play Uno or The Game of Life, you can ALWAYS find someone to play with you.
5. Many hands make light work. Unless we’re talking toddler hands. In that case, get them the heck out of there or you’ll never get anything done.
6. You get way more bang for your buck on family memberships to things. Hello, aquatic center.
7. You can shop in bulk and not worry about food spoiling. Unless we’re talking “health food”, which my kids despise. I have yet to use up an entire bunch of celery before it turned bad.
8. You have an excuse to buy a 12-passenger van. Everyone should own a 12-passenger van at some point in their lives. The only thing better than a 12-passenger van is a 15-passenger van.
9. It’s a lot harder to be a helicopter parent (you know, the kind who feels compelled to supervise her children’s every move and decision, hovering around them like a helicopter) to a whole bunch of kids. So, if you want to avoid being a helicopter parent, having more children is a big help.
10. Built-in exercise. I haven’t exercised just for the sake of exercising in YEARS. And yet, between carrying around a 25-lb. baby all day, constantly going up and down the stairs to retrieve things I’ve forgotten, and picking up everything off of every surface in my house and putting it away for 10 hours straight, I’m pretty sure my body is a finely tuned machine.
11. Someone is always coming up to you and hugging your legs, or saying they love you, or calling you the best mom (that last one’s usually after I’ve given someone candy).
12. Hand me downs. Toys, clothes, beds, entire bedrooms, even underwear (shhh…don’t tell my kids) can passed from sibling to sibling and lower the cost-per-use to almost nothing.
13. You can see more clearly that much of the behavior that drives you crazy is truly, as they always say, just a stage.
14. There are SO many crafty, DIY project possibilities. Sewing and knitting and Mod Podge, oh my!
15. You and your kids learn – albeit slowly – that some battles are not worth fighting. Patience is cultivated. Rough edges are softened.
16. In a culture of smaller and smaller families, people will find you fascinating. They might be horrified, but they’ll still be fascinated.
17. You start to notice things about kids, in general, and your kids, specifically, that make discipline and “parenting” easier.
18. You will collect more crayons that you will ever be able to use. No tape, though. There will never be any tape when you need it.
19. Your chances of being abandoned in a nursing home in your old age are a lot lower. I hope.
20. You will get really, really good at changing diapers. I can change a diaper in almost any position (me or the baby) or location. I once changed a diaper in a moving vehicle with the baby on my lap without getting any poop on anything.
21. You get a lot of practice in humility. I hear things like, “This dinner looks gross,” and “your butt is so squishy” all the time. They’re usually not as far off as I’d like to think.
22. Rocking chairs. Sitting in a rocking chair with someone’s warm fuzzy head under your chin. Every night, if you want to.
23. You get a second, and a third, and a fifth, and a seventh chance to be the kind of parent you always wanted to be.
24. You’re practically guaranteed to have a lot of grandkids, which are supposedly way better than your actual kids.
25. People who don’t know all these secret benefits will think you’re AMAZING.
My two oldest, circa 2006. Who would have thought they’d have so many younger (and older) siblings? P.S., I think we still have most of those clothes somewhere…
What’s your favorite thing about having a big family? If you have a smaller family, is there anything on this list that surprised you? Tell us in the comments!