Loving my Big Family

A few days ago, I took my kids to Walmart to pick up a few things. It was after school, late in the afternoon, everyone was a little keyed up, and really, I probably shouldn’t have risked it. But we were there and we needed milk, and well, sometimes we have to do hard things. Shopping with children isn’t easy. Shopping with five children along is a little like parental suicide. I felt it keenly after I lost one of the five, then had him returned to me by a friend who happened to find him at the jewelry counter and was nice enough to stay with him until they’d tracked me down. And of course, it didn’t make it any easier when, while speaking to the friend who’d just saved my 8 year old from a sure to happen Walmart abduction, my children attacked a wrapping paper display, chose their weapons, and started sword fighting.

Yesterday afternoon, I jumped between Jordan who needed help with his Social Studies homework and Lucy who wanted a piano lesson, to the computer where I was trying to fix Jordan’s flash drive so he wouldn’t lose an entire semester’s worth of work, to the kitchen where dinner was cooking, to Henry who needed help with his game, to Sam who couldn’t find his missing worksheet, all with Ivy on my hip…

I don’t have a problem admitting it. Big families are hard. My laundry is never finished. My floors are in constant need of cleaning. The house is always noisy, bustling, busy. My grocery bill is ridiculous. Back to school shopping can break the bank. My patience is constantly tried, tested, pushed to the limit. Many days, I fall into bed and wonder if it’s worth it. Many days, I feel like there simply isn’t enough – enough time, enough money, enough energy, enough of me to go around. Many days, it’s hard to walk through the store with five kids, pregnant with another and constantly field the looks and stares and exclamations, while trying to keep the sword fighting to a minimum and the bickering at bay. Many days, it’s just hard.

But.

Every day, even the hard days, it is always worth it. Worth it because my children are incredible, wonderful little people that love each other and love me. Yes, they bicker. Yes, they whine and complain and act ridiculous in the isles of Walmart. But they also teach me patience. They teach me love and compassion and generosity and they teach me to recognize God’s goodness in every single aspect of my life. They are pure and good and oh, so much fun. And you know what else? I think they teach each other love and patience and compassion. They teach each other to be generous and kind and thoughtful. If anything is certain, you can’t grow up in a family of six children and think you’re the center of the universe.

Makes my mother heart happy, this one…

I know that in many ways, this life Josh and I have chosen will be more difficult because we’ve chosen to have six kids. But I’m certain, it will be more of the good too – more full, more rich, more entertaining.

Walking downtown, enjoying Christmas lights and ‘open late’ shopping… I have no idea what Henry is doing… and yes, Jordan does look a little angry. I don’t have a reason for that either.
Notice the baby bump… determined to not let this pregnancy pass undocumented like all the others… even though I look like a goof and have soup in my mouth and Sam is… um, being Sam.

*********
How do you feel about big families? Comments have been oh, so very meager lately. So, let’s discuss. I draw the line at six – for my health, both mental and physical. What about you? And also, I’ve linked this post with Chatting at the Sky’s Tuesdays Unwrapped, because sometimes I have to unwrap the chaos of my life to find the joy always hidden on the inside.

 

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26 thoughts on “Loving my Big Family

  1. Steph @ Diapers and Divinity says:

    I love that you have a big beautiful family. I'm glad I'm at a place where I can honor that and not feel guilty about stopping at 3. Everyone who chooses a family chooses well, and I wish the world gave it the credit it should.Yay for families, especially the ones who do it right.

  2. apesjam says:

    We have not started having children yet, but we both like the idea of a big family. I don't know what my health will be like when we start having kids and of course my husband is concerned with making enough money to support a big family, but we're at 6 right now. I want even numbers and 2 is just too little so if I have to settle on 4 I'm okay with that too. I love being around big families because there is so much love there!

  3. Cindy says:

    My big family didn't happen in the way I envisioned it happening, but I love it. I think all the time about what our life would be like if we had stopped at 3, and it makes me kind of sick to my stomach to think of missing the other half of our family…

  4. Abby (Diligent Joy) says:

    I am an only child and so big families are a little bit intimidating to me. I'm afraid of not having enough time/money with which to spoil our children if we have more than one. There is also a selfish part of me that worries about not having enough time/money for myself and the things I want to do in this life.With that being said, I do think I want more children. Being an only child is no fun, especially now that I'm grown and it's just my parents and I instead of a house full of kids and grandkids. I don't think we will ever have a "big" family, however. I draw the line at three children.

  5. Tatiana says:

    Big families scare the hell out of me because I desperately want to have one but I'm not sure I'm doing too great with the two that I've got. In the end though, I guess God will judge and then decide. Your family's absolutely beautiful and I wish you all the best with number 6 🙂

  6. Carrie says:

    I am the oldest from a family of 11–and I honestly thought I would have at least 8 because I loved my big family. Well, I am 30 with only 2. And as I have had my own children, and as I have recognized what my own abilities are, I have made the decision that I won't have more than I can mentally and physically be a good mother to. My mom is really tired and she had too many at an older age. Of course, that is only her individually and some mother's of 11 do great! But I want to BE there for my kids. That doesn't mean that there are never moments of insanity with any number of children, but that I can meet my children's needs in all areas. And so maybe that is why I have only been blessed with 2 at this point, and maybe that is why they are so gosh darn far apart and why, if I am able, maybe another babe had to come so much later than I had planned. I often gasp at how my cousin has 5 under the age of 6. And then I step back and remember that she is a great mother! If anyone can do it, she can. I think you are the same;)

  7. mCat says:

    I so love your posts about the joy of being a mother. They resonate with me on a level that I doubt I would have understood when I was in "the throes" of it all. In some ways, I wish I could go back and do it better, and in others, I look at my grown men and think, hey – you pulled that off pretty good for a sorry, swearing, short on patience mom.and the whole "choosing their weapon" with the wrapping paper made me laugh since my grown boys WILL STILL DO THAT!

  8. Andrea says:

    I can't count the number of times I've had people ask if those are all mine? Not sure when 3 became such a big family? Kinda makes me laugh. Although some days I feel like 3 is a lot. I'd love a big family, but life has taken a different road. It's all so personal and life doesn't always go as we'd like. I think people need to be able to provide for their family physically, mentally and socially and not be the crazy mean mom and that number is different for everyone. Plus there's so many things out of our control.Sometimes I feel like in blogland you have to have a lot of kids to be an amazing mom. (not that you say that!) And I struggle with not feel judged and not being a good mom for having 3. Anyways… too much babbling. Sorry. Basically.. I'm so happy for you and your big family!

  9. Hannah Fox says:

    Ben is the youngest of 8. I know that if his parents had stopped at two (as they had planned) I would never have him, and that would be a truly sad thing. I also know that he is so patient and giving because of all of his siblings. Growing up with siblings is tough on the kids as well as the parents, but it's so worth it to both. I'm so grateful his parents chose to have a large family.

  10. Jen says:

    I think I would've loved to have a large(r) family if being pregnant wasn't so hard for me. Plus I got a late start, so I think 2 is all we will manage.

  11. Laree says:

    Physically, I can't have as big of a family as you – but I love the idea of 6 kids. Maybe not quite as close as yours . . . but my hubby and I have talked about adopting later on so we can have our big family!When I only had two, I noticed something about my idea of "big" (from counting books of all things). Every time we counted down, 4 in a group was huge, but 3 wasn't. So I guess for me 4 is where it starts to be large!

  12. Mommydew says:

    I needed this post today. It was one of those mothering days where you question your sanity. Flu shots this morning for three kids (me at 7.5 months pregnant), allergy shots for the two older kids, piano lesson and then the mall to find new shoes because they were all wearing worn out shoes that were at least a size too small. (It's amazing how fast they go through shoes) Of course the two oldest had to be overly hyper and in the mood to annoy each other while the youngest didn't get his nap out and was in an ill mood. I got home tonight and felt exhausted in my motherhood duties. Then I read your post and suddenly felt ok. It's nice to know you're not alone and that other mothers feel like you do and yet understand why you're doing it. So, thanks for sharing!

  13. Amanda says:

    We chose to stop at four – four boys!! My husband so wanted that girl but with every other year deployments we chose my sanity. I love that we have four though & envision big family Holidays when they hopefully marry & start families of their own. My best friend is on baby 7 & I get a little jealous, but her husband is home all the time to help out. I love large families & can so relate to the wrapping paper wars in wal-mart. Two of mine where using them as light sabers just the other day & they have no excuse!! They are 125 & 13 years old- BOYS!!

  14. Lisa says:

    I love big families and I love small families…it's really all about what the couple feels is right for them. Sometimes I feel others with big families judge my small family…we really didn't just have 2 b/c we like to spoil them more! Sooo not the case…it's just how life has worked out for us. I am happy for you guys! PS – I do think you look young to have 6 kids, but ha! – that is great for you 🙂

  15. Jessica G. says:

    I came from a big family and never knew that we went without. And I really do NOT know how my mom managed it all, while going back to school for her degree. She is totally my hero.

  16. Lindsay says:

    I come from a family of 6 kids and my husband is one of 5, so numbers in that range feel familiar. However, with each pregnancy/birth I go through, the number drops. 🙂 I think right now we tell ourselves that we'll get to 4 and see how we feel. Of course, if our current living situation changes, the number will probably go up, but as it is, we'd get laughed out of Brooklyn (at least our neighborhood) if we even made it to 4! 🙂

  17. Denise says:

    When me husband and I were making the all-important "how many should we have" decision, and to be honest, a chief concern was surviving the pregnancy, my sister warned, "Remember, you'll need to raise them too." As my five are beginning to enter college, etc., my mother now reminds me, "You never stop worrying about them." I've found both warnings true. I love my closely-bunched crew (I had a late start). And I can't imagine not having our "caboose" as part of our family. I see how important my children are to each other, and appreciate the lessons they learn from each other. It is crazy, because we do too much. I suspect I'll miss those chaotic times. And parenting adult children (and helping support their worthwhile endeavors)is even harder than managing middle school and grocery bills and orthodontics! I sometimes remind myself I gave up a jet-set, fast-track career for this. And I wouldn't wish it any other way.

  18. DeNae says:

    When I had no kids, I was determined to have six. After I had my first, I was determined to have…one. Thirty one hours of labor and an emergency C-section will do that to you.As you know, I wound up with four, and that was just right for us. Enough to keep me humble without making me a lunatic.I remember being at a San Francisco Denny's with my mother and all of my sibs (there were six of us). This man came in, dressed just like a bird — all in white with feathers on his coat and a giant top hat — and asked my mom if we were all hers. He said it like she was nuts. When we get to the point that the crazies off the street still manage to feel superior to the moms who have a lot of kids, then in my opinion it's time to just stop listening.And I know you so well, I can honestly say there isn't anyone better suited to parent a large family than you. And girlfriend, I'm loving that baby bump! More pix, please!

  19. Jen says:

    I sometimes feel compelled to explain to people why I only have two (it's complicated). This because we live in a LDS community where 4-6 is standard. I could say I feel judged, but I don't. I think if anything, I judge myself against someone else's life. And so then I remind myself that my life is my own. I also remember the brief period we tried for a third and thereafter really felt two was enough. Little did I know then that my husband would become disabled about the time my youngest entered kindergarten, freeing me to go back to work full time to support the family. And I thank God I don't have a baby on my hip or we would not have been able to weather this storm. Some days I wish I had a bigger family, but frankly, some days I wish I was still single and childless. It's good all our wishes don't come true or we'd all be pretty miserable. God knows the end from the beginning. I think the trick is learning to trust Him and lean not unto our own understanding.

  20. Greg and Shirley Kmetzsch says:

    I love peeking into your world and get a much needed reminder that a big family is hard. I'm a mother of six kids and just recently I've been overwhelmed with thoughts of "what have I got myself into?". I absolutely love kids, especially babies and believe strongly in family and teaching my children what's right and to be good people who love God but it's definitely hard work but I'm going to take a page from your book and try to remind myself more often that it's worth it and some day my kids will appreciate all I do even if they don't seem to right now.

  21. Paily says:

    I am the youngest of 8 kids. While serving a mission, I often got into conversations with people who thought big families were wrong, but they liked me. I enjoyed telling them that I was the youngest of 8, and so I was all sorts of supportive of big families.As for me and my hubby… We like the idea of 6. 3 of my 5 married siblings have 6 kids. It's a good number. We only have one so far, so we'll see how it turns out!

  22. shannon says:

    Thanks for your positivity and realness. I love your posts! 😉 We have 5 energetic boys ages 3-10. I love them each so much, but I also relate with the stress, frustrtion, and general desire for mutiple "Me's" when trying to balance it all! It can get hectic, loud, and downright exhausting, but I love that what I do counts, teaches, inspires, and perpetuates for another generation! I feel so lucky to be the Mama of these little acorns just sprouting their lieaves and digging in their roots, for someday they will be mighty oaks!

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