An Army of Kids


I have a mere three kids and I constantly feel overwhelmed by the insanity and chaos at home. I am in complete awe of people who have four, five or six children. Seriously. You people are my heroes.

Then, there are the people who have twelve kids. Or fifteen. Or the Duggars with an army of kids. Those people, I’ve never been much in awe of, because I’ve been too busy thinking they are fucking insane.

Grocery shopping, meal times, doctors visits, bath time… I get a headache just thinking about it all. Honestly, it sounds like hell. I’m quite certain I would drown.

At least I was, until this week.

This week, Lily finally started with some regular household chores. She’s in charge of folding the laundry and tidying the playroom, two banes of my existence. Her allowance? Three bucks a week.

Three bucks a week for my most dreaded tasks. Three bucks a week for organizing, folding and putting away little shirts, shorts and bathing suits. Pairing socks. Separating Lego’s from Transformers. Building train-tracks and tidying playschool houses.

OMG. It’s the best thing ever.

Is this how it works when your kids get older? You pawn off your dreaded tasks onto them in return for money you’d still be otherwise still spending on them?

I’m beginning to think the Duggars might not be so freaky after all.


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  1. 21

    amie says

    I am one of nine children, 5 girls-4 boys, age range is 16 to 33. I am the second oldest and the oldest girl. I did a lot of babysitting, diaper changing, etc. My mom would rotate chores every month and we did receive an allowance. My mom never had it easy. Even as we grew old enough to do chores, she still had to teach us why we were doing them. She taught us responsibility, good work ethic, honesty. Of course there were and still are challenges, most of us are grown and out of the house, but I wouldn’t trade my big family for anything. Our vacations were simple and there were some tough financial times but I enjoyed my childhood. I had a rough time during my teen years but I came through just fine:p

    One thing I noticed when I was older is how independent I was raised. I never fully realized it until I was out of the house, at 18. When I found myself in a tough situation I didn’t automatically run to Mommy and Daddy. I figured things out for myself. I was a lot more mature then a lot of my young adult friends. I was also a lot more thankful and took pride in the life I built. Okay, I’ll shut up now. I just want people to know that big families can be a great thing. And you absolutely have to have a gift to raise an army of children, otherwise you’re pretty much screwed.
    Love you mom

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    • 22

      Matt says

      I sure hope that is the way my wife and I are raising our 4 kidlets. I sooo much want them to be able to handle things themselves, although my wife doesn’t mind them coming to her for help. Its a good balance of pushing them to be on their own and trying to keep them tied to the family. And I garutnee that I’ll be the one bawling when they start moving out:)


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  2. 23

    Mrs. Jen B says

    LOL I think you’ve found the keys to the kingdom there. It’s why my mom had her 3rd and 4th when I was 11, then 15 – and I didn’t get money for babysitting, bathing, feeding, changing, and household chores. Smart, smart lady, my mom.

    (Of course the time between was totally accidental – none of us were planned. It just worked out well for her.)

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  3. 24

    Clueless Mom @ Parenting ... smh says

    I totally think this is how it works at the Duggars. How else can they do it? I mean they’ve got some serious brainwashing mojo going on over there cause if I was one of the older kids, I’d be running for the hills as soon as I’m legal but the 18 and 19 year olds are still hanging around helping out. God Bless em. I’m waiting for the day I can pawn of some tasks to my boys.

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    • 25

      Caitlin says

      Ughh, the Duggars are insane! Have you ever heard of “Vision Forum”, “No Greater Joy” or Michael and Debi Pearl? The worst perversion of Christianity ever, I think. They seem totally happy because they’ve been brainwashed and sublimated everything. (Not to be a Debbie Downer about a very funny post, it just disgusts me is all.)

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      • 26

        Clueless Mom @ Parenting ... smh says

        No, I’ve never heard of it but, don’t think I really have to in order to understand their obvious teachings by example of the Duggars. Regardless of what the teachings are, I just think its not normal for young adults to not choose to blossom and live their own lives. Not to mention the fact that these parents are continuing to have children that their older kids have to raise. Let’s face it, day cares promote having low teach to child ratios for a reason.

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  4. 27

    Kelsey says

    I may only be pregnant with my first right now, but I am the oldest of…wait for it…soon to be 8 children. That’s right! My Mom is currently pregnant as well. With twins. We range from the ripe ol’ age of 22-not yet born twins. When my Mom said she was baby hungry last year, I thought she meant that she wanted to be a Grandma and I happily complied because I really wanted to be a Mom. Who’dve thought that she’d want more at the same time I wanted one?

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  5. 28

    Nicole says

    You aren’t the only one wanting an army. I’m totally drowning with just the two I have, but I want two or three more. My husband gives me the side eye everytime I mention it.

    The Duggars kind of freak me out though. Not the crazy breeding, because to each your own, but their religion. And the fact that don’t pay taxes.

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  6. 29

    Jen says

    We recently started this with Hayden. He needs to feed the cat and keep his room clean for 2 bucks a week. I am thinking that maybe I should raise that and add cleaning the toilets.

    Hate cleaning toilets.

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  7. 30

    myk says

    as far as the Duggars are concerned, I saw a funny picture of them one time with the caption: “Vagina, STILL not a clown car.” That is all I have to say about that. Cheers.

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  8. 33

    Meggan says

    I have 7 sisters and 6 brothers. Our family was normal (totally opposite of the Duggars as far as I know). We all had chores, didn’t get allowance for them, and our house was clean and ran smoothly. Our meals weren’t huge mostly because we are all pretty light eaters but our table was custom made (13ftx3ft) to fit all of us. We only had one oven and didn’t eat cafeteria style. I even had my own room when I turend 16. I can’t imagine not having that many siblings growing up. There are no twins in my family and all of us have the same mom and dad. I am the seventh child, right in the middle. I never really considered my family that big, I guess I still don’t because it’s just how it is for me.
    I am pregnant with baby #5 right now and sometimes my kids drive me crazy but my oldest is almost 9 now and is SO helpful. Our kids don’t get allowance for doing their chores, we just all help each other out…I make them meals, they help clean up, etc. Everyone works together, for the most part ;).
    The size of your family doesn’t matter really as long as there is love and respect. I think I might even have one more after this.

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  9. 34

    Megan says

    I am training my oldest on the household duties like picking up your toys and making sure the underwear land in the general direction of the rest of the laundry and not right inside the door. He is still not getting an allowance, but I think he needs to do these things anyway.

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  10. 35

    Twylla-Dawn says

    Uuuuhhh, I am brand new to this site and the first paragraph I read is speckle with profanity! Had I known that, I would have never subscribed! Do you really think it’s necessary to express yourself in such a disgusting manner. I am very disappointed!

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  11. 43

    Seriously Sassy Mama says

    Just think about the chores she does not have to do. My girls have started to do small things around the house. Now I just have to remember to pay them.

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  12. 44

    Kimberly Hosey (Arizona Writer) says


    For some reason, I keep putting off writing up a chore list. Thank you for the (re)inspiration. I told my son I was going to, he asked how much he might earn, and upon hearing it, leapt about joyously: “A couple dollars a WEEK?!” I guess I should take advantage of cheap labor while I can! First up: cat litter.

    P.S. Click through to my latest post for more speckles.

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  13. 45

    AHLondon says

    Allowance is for learning how to budget. Chores are part of family duties. Both are important but not connected. My mom is 1 of 11. Having older kids help out is merely how you survive, until you realize that having kids help out is a good idea for everybody. I’ve got 4 but only two old enough for real chores. The twins are 3 and helping the older two now, so they can learn. Another 2 years or so, and this house will run smoothly.

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  14. 46

    Lin says

    I considered myself lucky if I got an ice cream at the end of the chore week. My mom used to tell me, I put clothes on your back and food in your belly so it’s your duty to help out around the house. Of course my two younger brothers never had to shit around the house so it seemes that I was paying off their debt to our family society too :/

    Hmph…I think I wouldve liked living in your house better :)

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  15. 47

    BelleCosette says

    I have 2 boys 13 & 17. We moved to the country 7 years ago. Had I known I would be splitting wood, gardening,caring for farm animals etc…I would have had several more. Sure they roll their eyes but yes they have become very handy to have around!

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  16. 48

    Sharon {Grumpy, Sleepy, and Bashful} says

    I have three. The oldest is five, then there’s my two year old. The baby (9 months) really doesn’t pull her weight around here. I do have the boys pick up their toys (it is sooooo much more work than doing it myself, but I’m waiting not so patiently for the big payoff down the road). And, I do have the boys carry their dishes to the counter after meals. No allowance, and no specific weekly duties. Maybe I’m missing out on a goldmine of opportunity here!

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  17. 49

    LuEllen says

    I have four…14, 10, 6 and 4. Over the past year the 14yo has started babysitting for me. An hour or two here and there. I pay her well. But, she is buying most of her own clothes and anything else she wants to do. It works out like layaway for me! Recently started the 10yo boy on cleaning the bathrooms. $10/week for 3 cleaned and scrubbed! A bargain. And in return, he is learning to use his own money. Working pretty well.

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  18. 52

    Cristina says

    I’m friends with a girl who is the oldest of 9 kids, and I must say that they are the tightest-knit family I have ever seen. They do everything together and the kids are well behaved.

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  19. 53

    Polish Mama on the Prairie says

    Yup. Hubby is quietly upset that he can’t make boys. Because I refuse to mow the grass or take out the trash. And I’m teaching my daughters the same thing. So, he’s screwed. Haha!

    Seriously, I wanted three but we can’t afford them. But hey, two more people to teach how to cook and clean :) One day, I will be able to actually go to bed at a normal time with a clean house that I didn’t have to scrub top to bottom 15 times a day.

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