It seems like most people in this day and age prefer small families. It’s the cultural norm, and it’s seen as a little “out there” if you plan to have more than 2-3 kids.
So how about those of us who want to have more? I’m right there with you: I would like to have anywhere from 4-8!
With all the negative talk surrounding large families, how can you decide what’s right for your clan? Should you add on or call it good?
My husband and I both grew up in families of 8 kids. We also had similar age gaps within our families. Both of our parents had “normal” families (Both with 3 kids)…. Then they decided to add on more than 5 years later. Between biological and adoption, they both ended up with 5 more children.
Though we don’t know what it’s like to have many children is close succession, we do know the pros and cons to having a large family in general. Hopefully this list will help you to decide if a big family is something you would love to have.
- Not as much 1-on-1 time with parents. I didn’t know this as a child because what I had was all I knew. I didn’t realize that other kids were spending a lot more time with their parents individually. However, my parents always made the time to go on occasional get away’s with us… maybe a weekend to a hotel, or a day of shopping, riding along with dad in the semi, or even just taking ONE of us on the weekly grocery trip. They just had to work extra hard to make sure we each received quality time with them. But in the long run, I have a deep relationship with both parents. And even when we didn’t have our parents attention, there was always a sibling to hang out with and I would say that was just as good as anything else!
- Less money. I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. Choose your priorities, I guess!
- Less space. Unless you have the budget to build a gigantic house with rooms for all your kids, having a big family is going to require some strategic organizational skills. But, it can be done! It also might mean just having less stuff, and my personal opinion is that that’s the best way to go regardless of the amount of people in your home.
- Less alone time. This is one thing that really irked me the most as a kid. I grew up surrounded by 7 VERY loud siblings, moved on to a missionary school and lived in a single dorm room with 15 other girls for 3 years, then finally got married. I will always remember that first morning in my new home… sitting in my recliner, reading a book and drinking a cup of coffee. ALL. ALONE. I was just a little freaked out at the silence, but very very happy.
- Someone is always fighting – at least when you’re kids. Even as adults someone always seems to have a messy relationship. There are just too many personalities to avoid some sort of friction.
- People will hardcore judge you and possible make fun of you. But that’s the case no matter what parenting decisions you make. So, why even let it phase you? The thing that is exclusive to large families are the jokes people made to my parents about whether or not they “knew what caused” the children. Ummm…. WHAT?
- You’ll get stared at. Honestly, I was just used to it. Every time we went out to dinner, or when mom took us all grocery shopping, people gawked. There were 10 of us including mom and dad, and apparently we looked like a freak show. I don’t know. It all seemed normal to me.
- Your younger kids will always be known as “so and so’s little brother/sister”. There’s truly nothing more aggravating when you’re 13 and trying to make a name for yourself.
- You always have a play mate. Like I stated above, there always seems to be someone fighting when there are lots of children. But the best part of this is that someone will probably always be mad at you, but there will always be someone that has your back as well! You will never be at a loss for a listening ear or a partner in crime.
- Lots of cousins & grandchildren! One day I decided to do some math. I realized that my mother could end up with a minimum of 8 grandchildren if each of us has children, and a possible maximum of 64 if we all had 8 children ourselves! That’s a lot of grandkids, not the mention cousins. Honestly, the thought of it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy because those memories with my grandparents and cousins are some of the best of my childhood.
- You always have enough people for games. In the summer we loved to have baseball games, and in the winter we played lots of board games and card games. You never had to wait for the extended family to come over because we had at least 2 built in teams for any game!
- Someone is always doing something fun. There’s literally never a boring moment in a large house. After I got married, sometimes I would just wander over to my parent’s house to see what was going on. On the other hand, my home is currently very boring and quiet and sometimes my son gets so aggravated with me and wants to leave for more adventure!
- Great conversation. I’m sure that there were many years where my mother felt starved of real human contact and really sick of baby talk. But after we have all grown up more, family dinners can be an absolute blast. Bring up pretty much any controversial topic and you’ll have quite a fiery debate! The best part about them though is that we all have mostly similar opinions because of our upbringing, so a lot of the time our conversations actually end up resolved, or helping each other make decisions.
- New babies ALL the time. Like, really. All the time. It’s the best.
- Character building for all involved. The parents are obviously shaped beyond your wildest dreams. Older children are mature and responsible and sacrificial. Younger children are used to being ignored and figuring things out for themselves. Generally, everyone ends up being more considerate of others and more selfless. Of course, we are all human, but in a large family there is no room for being a selfish brat. Eventually it will get booted out of you.
- The circle of life means no youngest kid syndrome! On both sides of the family, the youngest sibling (aunt/uncle) is either younger than, or no more than a year older than, the oldest grandchild. Both my parents and my in-laws have perfectly alleviated the youngest child syndrome. All the youngest children are used to sharing their toys, helping out with the babies, and realize that titles don’t matter – we’re just all family and we all love each other!
- More creativity & diversity. Two of my siblings are very quiet and peaceful. Six of us are loud and obnoxious. Two of my siblings, and myself, are logical perfectionists. Four of them are artistic. One of them is somewhere in between. Four of them struggle with anger. The other four of us not so much. Three of us are sporty. All of us are musical. Let me just tell you that there is NO shortage of diversity in our family. We are all so vastly different, and yet there is this part of us all that is so much the same. It’s so magical and beautiful and I can’t wait to watch those individual personalities emerge in my own children.
- So much love. Regardless of all the above things, the more hearts in the home, the bigger potential there is for BIG love. Yes, if there are parenting or mental/physical issues this can all have an effect. But if you do your best to usher a loving atmosphere into your home, there will be BIG, REAL and POWERFUL love in your home. The protective and connective love between siblings is amazing, and the more you have the stronger a force you will be to reckon with.