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. Cammie says

    My daughter is 13 and she has been expected to help out around the house for quite a while now since it has just been her & I for many years. She carries her own laundry to & from the basement, folds and puts away her clothes (folds mine too if I wash everything together!) , unloads the dishwasher, takes out the garbage, and will help sweep & mop if I ask her too. Of course she has to clean her own room as well. The joys of having her be able to help out around the house outweighs the hormonal PMS insanity thing that she has going on right now … mostly lol.

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  2. Missy says

    Yep. The day they can do chores is the best day ever.
    And they don’t consider them WORK. They even like doing things to help me out with the younger one; getting him some water, putting some crackers in a bowl for him, etc.
    That’s how the Duggars do it. I remember watching one show and they said that each older child is assigned a younger child to help watch over.
    Each week, they rotate which older child is in charge of the laundry.
    It really does get easier the more you have because the older children can contribute to chores.

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  3. Katie Martin says

    I am one of 9 children (by the same mother and father, who are still married, god bless them). I now have 2 of my own and think everyday how on EARTH did my mother survive and not kill each and everyone of us. Yes, it does get easier as they get older. Being #5 I definitely changed my fair share of dirty diapers by the time I left for college. But we were never paid for chores, didn’t get an allowance and didn’t know any different. My mother was incredible, she cleaned, cooked, drove carpools EVERYTHING. And rarely asked for help from us. To this day, I am in awe of her. My kids are 2 and 5, and they do chores, put away their own toys, love cleaning toilets and bathrooms, vacuum, wash dishes. Granted I have to help them a bit, but I LOVE it!! My mom cracks up at them cleaning…. but hey – better them than me :-)

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  4. Carolyn (temysmom) says

    I have three too and it has been a crazy roller coaster ride… until recently. Now my oldest is old enough to stay home and watch her sisters. OMG… FREEDOM! I can run to the store, I can go get my hair cut, I can finally leave them at home and be free for an hour or two. AND… she makes my coffee in the morning, she helps her sisters and yes, she does dishes and folds clothes. She gets $6.00 a week – I would gladly pay $20… but don’t tell her. Shhhh. I’m not having any more kids but it would be so much easier for me if I had a baby now that I have live-in help.

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  5. Tasha says

    I have 7. I hope that doesn’t put me into the “disgusting” range of breeders. Believe me, it wasn’t a religious sacrifice. The only thing I sacrificed was my uterus and that was bad enough.

    My kids are: 17, 13, 11, 7, 5, 3, and 19 months. The older ones do help a ton. It is part of being a family and making this thing run. Note: I didn’t say smoothly. I’m content with simply running.

    I always tell my friends with 3 or so little ones under 5, how they should def not be in awe of me. I am in awe of them. I may have 7, but I have a lot of extra hands to help.

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  6. Aimee @ Ain't Yo Mama's Blog says

    I guess I’m pretty lucky. I only have one 3 year old (and one on the way) and he has clearly inherited OCD-ness from both my husband and myself. He always puts his toys and books away without asking, likes to help me with laundry, and loves to sweep and mop. He even loves to brush his teeth and bathe. Just like his parents, he hates clutter and dirt…but he seems to have it a bit worse than us. It’s like we created an extreme strain of OCD in this kid. The upside is that he is absurdly organized and clean for a 3 year old. The downside will undoubtedly be the future therapy bills.

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  7. kat says

    I just had my 4th 3wks ago. My house is like a circus, thankfully my older 2 are now is school. My 3yr old is still adjusting to having a younger brother. When it comes to cleaning my 5yr old is more than happy to help in exchange for a new toy, my 4 and 3yr old not so much, they refuse to do anything.

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  8. 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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    • 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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