My husband and I never set out to have a “large” family. If either of us, when dating, announced that they wanted a family this size, the other would’ve run screaming for the hills. Well, he would have, for sure. Now that we have one, it’s an incredible experience. We love our family size, and can’t imagine having one less child.
Large families seem to be fewer and farther between than generations past, so, there tends to be some curiosity about how it all works. Here are 10 things I know about raising a large family…
1. ‘Large’ is a subjective term. For some folks, more than two children is ‘large’. For myself, having five children at home, I think seven or more is “large”. It’s all a matter of perspective. I’ve come to accept that to most people, five is a large family. I think it’s kind of the same idea of what “old” is. It’s always at least twenty years older than your current age. Or thirty.
2. Forget spontaneity. With a large family, everything needs planning. I once decided, spur of the moment, that we were going to leave on a trip a day early. All the laundry was done, so why not? Yeah. Took us FIVE hours to actually get out the door.
3. Add travel time. If it takes the average person four hours to make the drive, count on it taking six to eight when you’re traveling with a clan. Potty breaks, diaper changes, baby feedings, letting the children loose at a rest stop so they don’t start chewing the seats in an effort to burn energy, all those stops take time. And then the time to reload them all again.
4. Say goodbye to private time. The number of children in the house directly correlates to a huge potential for getting interrupted at everything. Including, but not limited to a little romantic time with your spouse. If you can manage romance in the time it takes to transfer a load of laundry, then you’re golden. If not, you could be in trouble. (A lock on the laundry room door helps, too.)
5. Laundry is never-ending. Oh, my word. I can honestly say that I’ve yet to lose a child in the laundry room, or had someone trapped by an avalanche of unmatched socks. Yet, the potential is absolutely there.
6. Dreams change. Where once my winning lotto dreams consisted of traveling to exotic places, now I dream of industrial grade appliances. A double set of industrial washers and dryers. A walk in freezer. A room for every child, including the one that is currently sharing our room. Soundproofing. A kitchen large enough for a massive table that we can all fit around.
7. Grocery bills are not for the faint of heart. Seriously. I’ve long dreamed of having an acreage, because with three boys at home, I’m convinced that the only way I’m going to afford them all once they hit their teen years is if we’re growing our own food. Including a head of cattle.
8. Forget gas mileage. To haul around a crew our size, gas economy isn’t an option. I’ve yet to see an affordable vehicle that fit our family that isn’t a complete gas hog.
9. Early bedtimes are a must. New friends were shocked to discover that the Middle Minions had a 7:30PM bedtime. Frankly, it’s a survival skill. The peace and quiet that happens once the kids are finally down for the night is our sanity saver. Granted, Wolf tends to pass out on the couch shortly after, but those few blessed moments of quiet are a daily ‘woo hooo’ moment.
10. Get used to noise and chaos. There is no way I can think of that you can have this many people in one house and not have noise and chaos. I’ve completely resigned myself to my home never meeting the ‘home beautiful’ standards. Children live here, and it’s obvious. And, I’m totally ok with that.
Will we have more? Only time will tell…
Related post: 10 Questions Not To Ask a Large Family