Are you considering having a lot of kids close together in age or having a big family? This post will help you think on all the angles.
When you can no longer fit your whole family into a sedan… that’s when I consider it “big.”
When you can barely squeeze in a large booth at a restaurant.
And when you start getting stares at the grocery store and people wonder if you’re running a daycare.
A nurse who helped deliver my last two babies said, in her mind, a big family started at 5 kids.
But I believe she had 7 kids which I class as an “extra large” family so there you have it.
It matters on the type of vehicle you have to drive, the size of house you might choose to live in, the amount of money you’ll spend on groceries, how many times you have to double a recipe, and the noise level in your home.
Just to name a few things.
If you’re considering having a lot of kids, however you define that, then I hope this post will help you think it through.
Should I Have a Lot of Kids?
Full disclosure: I have 5 kids and could not imagine my life without all of them. To me, obvs, big families rock.
Husbands… if you only want one or two kids and your wife is letting you read this… don’t send me hate mail. :)
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It’s Not an Exponent, but It is a Multiple
Having no kids to having one child is a huge change. Having two instead of having one is less severe.
Now you’re just doing it with more kids.
People say that after 3 kids it’s a nuthouse. I personally believe the nuthouse begins at 4 kids. For what it’s worth.
Two you’re already outnumbered.
Three you’ve got to keep a firm grasp to run a tight ship.
Four requires an razor sharp brain and the ability to ignore some things you don’t like.
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You Must Be (Or Learn to Be) A Major Majorer As A Big Family Manager
If you are the type of person that needs everything a certain way or you don’t function, you either need to refrain from having a large family or you need to follow Elsa’s lead and Let It Go.
I personally chose (by force) to Let It Go. I still love order, still want kids who mind and obey, but I’ve learned to Major in the Majors and Minor in the Minors.
For us this looks like:
- Starting and ending the day with a tidy enough house, but not running behind my kids all day to clean up
- Letting kids dress themselves because it saves work. If it doesn’t match or it’s highwater and it isn’t church or a family photo, I don’t care.
- Loosening the grip on some rules and doing away with others altogether. I don’t mind if they run in the house if they’re playing, for example.
Your Home and Life Will Not Look the Same With A Big Family
If you have one or two kids and are still hanging on to the vestiges of pre-mamahood… those will be done away with when you have a large family.
For starters, you cannot maintain tight control on everything with so many kids.
It’s just impossible.
Two, by nature of the fact you have a lot of kids you just won’t have as much time. Three, good luck finding someone who will babysit all the kids if you want to be gone during meal or bedtimes.
At least, good luck finding someone to do it often.
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Your home can still be tidy, but imagine how big of a mess one toddler makes? Multiply that by 5 and, even if your kids know they must clean up after themselves, if you interrupt them mid-play the house looks like an episode of Hoarders.
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You can still have drop zones, good organization, and good home systems, but your home will look like children live there.
Because they do.
Big Family Energy Exists… Can You Handle It?
You know you can go out with a group of friends or go to an event somewhere and you feel that energy?
That energy that says “Something is happening. Tonight is going to be fun.”
Well, with a large family, that excitement is the norm. It always feels like something is happening. In fact, many things are always happening.
I can sense it myself and other kids most definitely sense it. When one child comes over and all 4 of my (mobile) kids run up to this child smiling huge grins and welcoming them…
I can feel that child feel it.
It’s a sense of excitement, energy, and movement. If you are a quiet introverted type, this may be a struggle. Or it may just mean you get better at finding time for yourself in the everyday.
Food Shopping Is No Joke For Big Families…
A dear friend is married to one of four boys. He said his mom would cook a normal sized dinner then throw a loaf of bread and some butter on the table to tell the kids to fill up.
This is life with a lot of kids.
They eat and eat and eat and eat and you better cook from scratch and let them go hungry sometimes or you’ll spend $356,346 on groceries a month.
We do pretty well and don’t overspend the budget most months, but it is a factor. If you hate cooking from scratch and tripling recipes and want to cook every meal with nice cuts of meat and fancy fixins… it gets a bit cost prohibitive with a lot of mouths to feed.
There is Less Time Per Child In a Big Family
Most moms really want to spend one on one time with their kids. We love our little ones and want the to feel special, included, and cherished.
The more kids you have the more creative you have to be. You have to capitalize on the little moments throughout the day.
You don’t have as much time for grand gestures with each child.
It’s possible, but it isn’t as easy.
On the other hand, the kids are not sitting around lonely either. Even times when I’m wanting to spend individual time with one child, they often want to bring a sibling!
I like to take one child with me on errands as much as possible. This is one way to fit it in. I have a fried who lets one child per night stay up half an hour later to have time with the parents.
Each family is different, but you have to make it happen whereas when you only have one or two children, it happens naturally.
- pinpoint an issue
- draw out how it’s affecting you
- label what you don’t like about it
- determine areas of responsibility
- figure out how it’s showing up
- say what you’d rather happen
- brainstorm solutions
If you are wondering how many kids is the right number or if you can really handle it, I want to assure you.
You’ll feel it inside.
And no matter what, you can handle it.
FAQs on Big Families
If you only have 2 kids, then 3 seems like a lot. To “large families” 3 kids isn’t a lot, and a family is typically considered big with 4 kids or more. But this is all opinion :)
Lots of built in playmates, chances to learn sharing, responsibility, and getting along with others. More people to love!
With home systems, organization, and distribution of chores and household tasks. Lots of life skills learned.
Well, that depends on the family. Big families aren’t necessarily any happier than small families, depends on the people.
Well, that totally depends on how many kids your budget can handle, your emotions can handle, and your level of sanity can handle.
Depends on the parents :). Some parents want one child but feel a lot of guilt since their child doesn’t have a built in play mate, etc. Lonely onlies end up just fine, but some parents suffer being worried about it.
Less money, less time, more people’s hearts and minds to cultivate, and generally a louder and more rambunctious home. This may be good or bad to you :)