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.

About the writer

@scarymommy

In addition to being the founder of all things Scary Mommy, Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)

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Briar Ale 2 years ago

I disagree with you. I have a daughter and son: ages 10 and 9. I do chores. And I am a heck of a strict mom, but chores are not on the list of things I force my kids to do.
BTW I checked out your blog. Siblings always fight. You are hiding something. Definitely.

Jennifer Burden @WorldMomsBlog 4 years ago

My job at home growing up was cleaning the bathroom. I am quite good at it now. Probably why I’m not so good at setting the table…

My oldest is 4, so we’re just approaching the chores.

Jen :)

AHLondon 4 years ago

To Helana (I seem to get the email before the comment posts here so can’t reply to that post yet) Tangental comment: I submit that it isn’t the judging that is so bad, it is the poor debate skills. Basically some on this thread believe that it is inadvisable to assign chores and babysitting to older children. If instead of the personal attacks of the ‘y’all are bad mothers’ flavor they backed up their position with why they thought chores were bad, well then we could have a lovely, but probably firey, chat about the merits of chores for children.

Helena 4 years ago

Tracy, I just wanted to tell you that I agree with you. My son is 4, and I make damn sure he helps me around the house. I think it is absolutely appalling that people can sit there and judge you for doing something that should be done in the first place, teaching your kids responsibility. These people who judge are going to be the ones whose kids are going to be the inconsiderate, poor excuses for adults when they grow up because they were never taught how to function in real life because their mothers never showed them how. I say, congrats to you!! :)

Love 4 years ago

We have 5, and of COURSE their chores are the crap that I hate doing 😀 They get 5 bucks a week each, and I consider it money well spent.

Old School/New School Mom 4 years ago

I can’t wait until Ari does actual chores. He’s three and already is excited about the dishes. Who knew?

Boingerhead 4 years ago

Umm, DUH! As soon as Isa understood that little green papers and jingly coins could be traded for “twezzures” and “canny” I taught her how to wield a dustrag and mop. She is now in charge of her own laundry, dishes, and vacuuming. Ike handles trash, sweeping, and toy pick up. Both have to keep their rooms tidy and their armpits sanitary.

I can’t wait for them to be tall enough to mow the lawn and clean out the gutters. 😉

Amanda 4 years ago

I just taught my boys how to use the swifferf!! It’s fantastic! They bring me the dirty swiffer pad and ask me if they got enough dirt off of the floor for a dollar!

terresa 4 years ago

Ok, so I’m way behind in commenting, but the answer is yes, that is what it’s like when your kids get older. I have two boys. They are 16 and 6 years old. During the summer, for the low, low price of $150 a month plus cost of cell phone and car insurance, the 16 year old babysat the 6, cleaned the kitchen and dining room (dishes & sweeping included), mowed the 1 acre lawn, and washed and put away clothes. The 6 years old, for the extra low price of $10 a month, cleaned his own room and the playroom, picked up and vacuumed the living room, folded and put away towels and washclothes, fed and watered the dogs and took out the trash. I am so, so sad that summer is over and they are busy taking care of learning, socializing and participating in sports and turning most of housework back over to me.

Crystal 4 years ago

I agree. The only way to make it with 72 children is to make sure at least 70 of them are watching the younger ones.

Kelly 4 years ago

I have 3 too and a step-son, and it is hard!!! The responsibility is overwhelming! I think every year does get easier as far as help around the house. Some things have gotten worse though like back-talking, arguing and fighting…I figure I will be exhausted until they all leave home. Which they will do, cause I am changing the locks, moving, changing my name, etc….lol?

Alexandra 4 years ago

Oh, LOVE the exchange between sellabitmum and Andrea.

Yes, I grew up doing things for my siblings: and I know that made me a good babysitter, and an experienced mother.
It worked out well, and made me love my siblings more, since caring for builds nurturing, and made them love me more: since I was their caretaker.

We are very close, b/c of the love we shared growing up.

Elaine 4 years ago

I totally need to start doing this. Why am I not doing this? Geez.

Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation 4 years ago

You give Lily $3 bucks a week!??!! You are a high roller! Sadie gets 25 cents a week for her chores!

kiwimaid 4 years ago

Yeah… my mother used to make me look after my little sister constantly.
I think that played a major part in my decision to be child free.
Obviously mother and I are not on speaking terms, and I honestly hope that she has the decency to die before I have to find a rest home for her.
If I DO have to find a rest home for her, it will be done through ;lawyers.

Kelly 4 years ago

oh, yes!! Dishwasher, dusting, vaccuming!! All pawned off.

Just wait until they start doing their OWN laundry.

It is pure bliss. Bliss I tell you!

Emily 4 years ago

I’m certainly planning on DS getting involved with household chores when he is a little older.

b harper 4 years ago

No kidding – this actually made me smile. I never even considered “chores” and “allowance.” Now I really can’t wait to have another – I’ll have my oldest clean bottles and take poop bags outside for me. This will be a breeze!!

SoberJulie 4 years ago

My kids have the attention spans of knats! They take on a chore, it lasts two days and flops….too much whining…when does school start?

Jessica 4 years ago

I asked one of my little ones to clean off the kitchen table this week and she did it and then I was thinking that I am totally on to something with this. I think all of these kids can do more than they want to let on for fear of work from us. I can’t wait to start passing off some of my duties, especially matching the socks.

tracy 4 years ago

Oh you are funny. Someday – okay never, will I understand why people feel they need to judge other people. Shame on you.

When my 8 year returns from the pool, I will tell her you say hi.

Also – DAMN straight ALL my kids help out around the house and with their sisters. Just because you may choose not to give your children chores along with their play doesn’t make it wrong that other people do.

AHLondon 4 years ago

Sad? Her chore performing 8 year old likely has a stronger sense of duty, responsibility, ownership in her family, pride in accomplishment–in short a earned self esteem rather than a false one built on happy praise for trivial pursuits and a healthy respect for the effort that must be made in life rather than an illusion of success as a birthright. The fact that chores help out a mom is really just the icing on the cake.

Andrea 4 years ago

Why would you brag about your 8 year old changing diapers, giving baths, doing dishes,, I think that is appauling and so sad, she doesn’t deserve a dime,, she deserves a childhood. You decided to have kids not her. Shame on you.

Stesha 4 years ago

When I was little I had chores that I hated. Cleaning the bathroom. Washing dishes. I swore when I was older and had children; I would do all the housework and my children would do nothing! Seven kids later -it’s a different story my friends. I’d be hiding in my closet gasping for air if I had to do it all myself.

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

Alexis (The Exhausted Mom) 4 years ago

That’s awesome! They really wouldn’t notice….just train your kids to say they have Biblical names….

Alexis (The Exhausted Mom) 4 years ago

I’m honestly thinking I should have given birth to a teenage girl….think of it…you would have someone to help with the chores and babysit the kids! That’s got to be the only reason Mama Duggar was able to have more…she had help!
I’m exhausted with my two…but I’m slowly training them to be my slaves!

BelleCosette 4 years ago

OK, for those with little ones who are wondering how you will get your kids to do chores, here’s the secret. Forget that crap about not letting them play video games. Let them get fully addicted, and then they will do ANYTHING to avoid the threat of taking the games away.

Not Supermom 4 years ago

Mine have chores… But I don’t pay them for them. They got told “It’s your contribution to making the household run.”

They don’t like it… but they do it.

Erin 4 years ago

I’ve called you a Genius before – and I’ll say it again!!!

Chores are indeed THE BEST thing about having kids:) If I could just get mine to figure out the Keurig and bring me coffee in bed….

Erin I’m Gonna Kill Him 4 years ago

Those Duggars are like a chain gang. They’re assembly-lining dinner and baths. Don’t replicate that – just move next door and send yours over. They’ll never notice three more.

NSC 4 years ago

I was totally thinking I wanted a second kid after I pop this one out, but I’m totally second guessing that after reading this post. Especially since I can barely handle my needy cat most days.

Carpool Goddess 4 years ago

What’s amazing is when they start driving and actually help you with errands. It hasn’t happened yet in our house, but I keep hoping and waiting.

Raye 4 years ago

I have a large family, 7 children. All have age appropriate chores, but not more then two each daily. My age range is 16-3, from the start I was determined that my children would not be responsible for their siblings care. As a parent it’s my job to bath, dress, and feed them not my older children. Yes somedays are worse then others. But for the most part it’s a wonderful experience! My husband works full time plus night shift to be available to do appointments and after school activities, his sleep times vary depending on the schedule. Oh and did I mention 6 of our children are special needs? Yes, we have one child with a full time nurse which helps. But we average 6-8 appointments a week. I live off of a large color coded calendar! I am proud to say we have heathy, thriving children. They are happy, well behaved, I am truly blessed! Oh and by the way my house is for the most part clean! Lol

tracy 4 years ago

My eight year old does everything – changes diapers, gives baths, does dishes, vacuums, laundry and dusts..and I don’t pay her a dime..please don’t tell her that some kids get paid for things or my evil plan will stop working. shhhh

Bonnie K 4 years ago

I think those families with TONS of kids are getting help from the older ones. :-) But I only have 1 kid so far and I get overwhelmed so you 3 kidders are my hero right now!

The Flying Chalupa 4 years ago

Tell me I will get to that stage – PLEASE! My son will listen to me at some point, right? And do things I ask? I would gladly pay him.

PS – the Duggars are still freaky

zeemaid 4 years ago

*LOL* If I could get my kids to help without complaining I’d have it. Sure we’ve finally got them to take their dinner plates to the counter (mostly) and sometimes when you ask them to clean they are all excited to help but try and make it a regular thing and WAAAAAAAH. But persistance and consistency really is the key… sometimes I just forget to be persistant!

Clueless Mom @ Parenting … smh 4 years ago

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.

Paula @ thewilyweez 4 years ago

Little kids are such good cheap labor…and no unions, yet! :)

From Belgium 4 years ago

I’m already saving money for when that time comes..

Skye Diaz | motherhood, etc. 4 years ago

Hello?! That’s what I’m TOTALLY looking forward to!! I CAN’T WAIT til my kids are old enough to start doing chores! It’s going to be awesommmmmmeeee! Enjoy every minute of it!!

TypoFaery 4 years ago

Glad I could make you laugh :)

AHLondon 4 years ago

Ah. You have to work them up to it, the chores and playing alone. Depending on personality–some take to such things easier than others–you start slow and young. I always tell moms if they want a neat and tidy house, then when kids are babies, keep a neat and tidy house. Use the example you set. Use kid rules, i.e. they think books have to be put on the shelf because that is where mommy puts the books. As they get older, around 1, give them one tiny chore, put your blocks in the basket, while you do the rest of the tidy. Work ’em on up after that. By 4 years, full room tidy, bed making, towel hanging, clearing own plate and cup and the like should be standard. Then you can start on the real stuff.
Same for independent play. Tell them you have to do whatever in half and hour. Set a timer. Play with them until timer goes off, then tell them you must do your whatever. For a while you will get whining and interruption. Here’s the dovetail, if they can’t entertain themselves then you will give them something to do: a chore! or quiet time in their room which you may guess will not be quiet due to protest. Let them stew for a bit then repeat same plan later in the day.
Expect slow going to start, but once they get the hang of this stuff you will be a happy momma.

Humanmama 4 years ago

Totally right. When does that happen–the chores, I mean??! I’m still waiting for them to play independently without always saying “mo-oommmm, come play with meeee!”

Cate 4 years ago

Just how does Mrs. Duggar do it– I don’t mean reproduce without her uterus falling out ….
I mean I have 8 kids 29, 27, 23 (they all live on their own some with kids and all with significant others and homes and jobs) then at home 17, 15, 13, 9 & 5.
Asking them to pick up their underwear off the bathroom (just one bathroom) is a shock for them. Never mind doing household chores…. Let alone take care of a younger sibling all day.

Can I ask why on Earth does she home school them???

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

I can’t even fathom. Guess that’s why they do reality TV.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

I didn’t say disgusting, I said insane. :) But, you are not either. I just don’t know how you do it!

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

I’m laughing at the snowflake mat. Mine had fangs and horns.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

I really need to put a “like” button on comments for ones like this.

TheUrbanMum 4 years ago

Yes you see, this is also the wrong turn I took (well there are a few of those but lets keep to the topic at hand).
Two kids, two parents – oh how clever I thought.
But no – now I see friends who have older children, then…a little break and a couple more.
Bingo – in built babysitters, drivers, cooks, cleaners.

So indeed, more is …possibly better?.x

Triplezmom 4 years ago

I need to make my kids do more chores. Although I’ve always made them clean up their toys before bed. Because otherwise I’d be suicidal.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

That’s the dream, right there.

kiwimaid 4 years ago

No, kids… I can afford a maid! 😛

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

It would make for an interesting twist on my blog! Hmmmm…

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

I hope this laundry phase isn’t as short lived as the Swiffer one. Crap.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

Well, that makes me feel slightly more human.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

OK, that’s even smarter.

Rebecca 4 years ago

I make mine do chores and I don’t pay them for it :)

Gigi 4 years ago

I used to work for a man that had nine kids (10 by the time I left and, last I heard, had just added #11). Since the office was in his home I got to witness a lot. And you are right, they do get them to do a lot of chores (somehow they managed to do it without paying them though – never figured that one out) but I did notice that a LOT of things were missed – such as doctor’s appointments, practices, etc. And once, I even came across a little guy (about four or so) making his own peanut butter sandwich. With the bread on the floor and using a BIG sharp knife to spread it. No one blinked an eye.

Robin | Farewell, Stranger 4 years ago

I thought 3 kids was insane. Maybe I should reevaluate… But I’d still need to have a 2nd to get there.

Kim 4 years ago

My 6yo spent an hour yesterday folding towels and other laundry. My 4yo loves to Swivel Sweep the kitchen after meals.
These are the main 2 reasons I let them continue living here.

Domesticated Gal 4 years ago

My kid may only be 20months, but he’s already helping on laundry day. Sure, it takes me three times as long to actually get it sorted – but by the time he’s in kindergarten, he’ll be doing his own freakin’ laundry!

Joanne 4 years ago

Ha ha. Loved this post. I am pretty sure that is the only reason the Duggars don’t go crazy. Those kids are paired off from birth to help the others. I don’t think I could do that, but to each his own. Maybe you could test it out and let those of us who have a smaller amount of children know how it goes? Just kidding! :) Glad to hear you enjoying some freedom while teaching your kids about responsibilities.

Krystyn 4 years ago

i can’t wait until we can do those bigger chores…can’t wait.

Galit Breen 4 years ago

Genius, really.

Caitlin 4 years ago

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.)

TypoFaery 4 years ago

Last time I checked, there wasn’t a super special snowflake welcome mat here. Its called Scary Mommy, coming here expecting June cleaver is naive at best and just plain fucking stupid at worst. Its supposed to be about how REAL being a mom is. So scurry along, and stick to Martha Stewart.

nicolette @ momnivore’s dilemma 4 years ago

My 2 year old already does his laundry. Well if you count putting the clothes in the machine.

I can’t wait for chore charts and bribery.

This housewifery crap is for the birds.

Aramelle {One Wheeler’s World} 4 years ago

I vividly remember my mother frequently telling me “That’s why I had children!” when I would complain about how I did “everything” around the house growing up. Now that I’m a parent, I’m eagerly awaiting the day that I can use that phase on my own kiddo. He’s not quite two yet but has already been enlisted to help with picking up all his toys and “doing laundry.”

Polish Mama on the Prairie 4 years ago

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.

Cristina 4 years ago

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.

Twylla Jolly 4 years ago

Here I was excited to see someone with my name spelled exactly the same way… not so excited anymore. I mean I am not a huge user of profanity myself other then driving, upon which I turn into a sailor. But using a curse or two doesn’t indicate something isn’t a good read. Whether the profanity is necessary or not isn’t worth getting your panties in a twist. Criminey… (my version of swearing when not driving).

Reading (and chickens) 4 years ago

Yup, the only reason I got knocked up was because I was so tired of cleaning the floors.

LuEllen 4 years ago

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.

Sharon {Grumpy, Sleepy, and Bashful} 4 years ago

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!

BelleCosette 4 years ago

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!

Lin 4 years ago

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 :)

Jeanine 4 years ago

You definitely do not belong on this site if something like that bothers you.

AHLondon 4 years ago

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.

Kimberly Hosey (Arizona Writer) 4 years ago

Word.

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.

Seriously Sassy Mama 4 years ago

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.

Anne 4 years ago

It’s actually the second paragraph, and one f-bomb is hardly “speckle [sic]”.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

Profuse apologies. I shall give you your money back immediately.

Twylla-Dawn 4 years ago

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!

Megan 4 years ago

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.

Megan 4 years ago

HAHAHAHAHA! That is the funniest joke I have ever heard! Seriously though…you can’t come back from that!

Meggan 4 years ago

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.

Luna 4 years ago

I don’t get it?

Matt 4 years ago

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:)

M

myk 4 years ago

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.

Jen 4 years ago

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.

Nicole 4 years ago

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.

Kelsey 4 years ago

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?

Clueless Mom @ Parenting … smh 4 years ago

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.

Mrs. Jen B 4 years ago

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.)

amie 4 years ago

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

Nery 4 years ago

Wow! I admire u. We were 7 kids at home and yes, the big ones were much help to my Mom. Big families are the best!!

kat 4 years ago

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.

Aimee @ Ain’t Yo Mama’s Blog 4 years ago

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.

Tasha 4 years ago

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.

mom taxi julie 4 years ago

Until they decide it’s not worth the money. Which takes about two days at my house.

Life with Kaishon 4 years ago

Brilliant : )
Kaishon doesn’t get that excited about allowance any more. Darn it!

Carolyn (temysmom) 4 years ago

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.

Katie Martin 4 years ago

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 :-)

Missy 4 years ago

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.

Cammie 4 years ago

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.

Kristin 4 years ago

My husband sometimes sees families like the Duggars and others with lots and lots of kids (Ghenghis Khan or SisterWives, for example), and he bemoans not having spread his genetic code as much as these folks. I tell him he can go to a sperm bank and go at it, but I’m fine with my two.

Elisa 4 years ago

I have four kids and it is a LOT of work, but the older ones do help out. They aren’t really willing to do many chores (even for money!) but they help out with the younger ones for free, giving me more time to get things done.

By Word of Mouth Musings 4 years ago

My kids rely on my anal nature being unable to pass by a pillow without fluffing it, that clearly I am up to getting it all done myself … hmm, must fix that.
Altho living in the eternal showhouse has served well in the general tidyness of life. (maybe we will just keep on moving, what a fab master plan)

Anne 4 years ago

As soon as I saw the title of your post and the picture, I had this mental image of the Duggars rallying their army of kids to invade the neighboring farms and annex them in the name of Duggar.

I clearly have not had enough coffee today.

Good job getting Lily to do chores!

vanillasugarblog 4 years ago

that photo of all those kids is kind of wild.
all i keep thinking is what is their grocery bill like?
what kind of hot water heater do they have?
LOL for real

Alison@Mama Wants This 4 years ago

I think it’s time I start adding to the brood. Laundry folding and tidying up??? Magic words.

Carolyn 4 years ago

First I’ll admit, I like watching The Duggars. They have well-behaved, thoughtful children.
But you got it right, they pawn off chores to the older children. I saw an episode where the mom was left with 6 of the younger ones and had to call in reinforcements, something I’d totally do.
As for my kids, they’ll get some chores and rewards. I think it’s a good idea to involve them.

Julie 4 years ago

Pretty much sums it up. We have six kids. Five of them are 19 and up and moved out and on their own. When they were home we never owned a dishwasher… after all I have FIVE of them. Now that it’s just me, hubby and our two year old… a dishwasher is a necessity! :)

Jennifer 4 years ago

I keep trying to get Baby Girl to do some chores (unload the dishwasher), but I’ve been unsuccessful. I need to try harder.

OneHonestMom 4 years ago

Although I’ve heard that the more kids you have, the easier it is, I am just not willing to try it out….I mean, it’s not like they come with a money back guarantee. Two is more than I can handle..thankyouverymuch.