Pros and Cons of the Big Family (According to the Parents)

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Photo by Impressions Photography

Married young and naive, my husband and I decided to go big or go home. After all, we loved Yours, Mine and Ours and chaos sounded like a great idea.

We eventually talked ourselves out of a dozen. However, the kids kept adding up.

Seven kids in, the pandemonium is a little less idyllic than we once imagined, but we would never want to go back. I mean, who would we fire?

Without further ado, here is the best and the worst of the Big Family, as my husband and I see it.

Impressions Photography

The 7 biggest {Parent} CONS of the Big Family:

  1. Not as much individual time. No big surprises here. Every kid gets daily hugs, eye contact, food and shelter. But not every kids gets daily heart-to-hearts.
  2. They know more than we. I expected to know my kids’ latest crushes, BFFs and candy bar favorites. Which would mean I was rocking my job. In Big Family reality, when we are playing games together, they can guess which sibling wrote which answer before I can. Dang.
  3. We miss some stuff. We don’t catch all of the bad attitudes, the iffy lyrics or the rotten habits as quickly as we would like. Oh, but don’t worry; their siblings don’t let us sit in ignorance for long.
  4. We are a circus. Not like the swinging trapeze acts who bring in Ahhh’s and How-do-they-do-it’s. More like the elephants who trip and step on each other’s trunks. Fortunately for us though, our kids need our attention so much of the time that we seldom notice the open-mouthed spectators.
  5. Dinner. It’s much more complicated to tell everyone to fend for themselves when we go through 40 pounds of food in one sitting and you can’t tell who has merely goofed off instead of eating and who is ready to burst.
  6. The money. We are shrugging that one off.
  7. We really can’t think of any more. So maybe: Poor memory.

The 7 biggest {Parent} PROS of the Big Family:

  1. Siblings make great playmates. One of the bestest best things about having a lot of kids is that I NO LONGER HAVE TO PLAY BARBIE! There you have it. I’m a parent who doesn’t like to play with her kids.
  2. We can play real games. Except that we are parents who like to play actual games. Do we sound like snobs preferring kickball to make-believe? ‘Tis true.
  3. Sanctification. With all the shoulders we rub daily in a big family, we are rubbing off some seriously rough edges. She is teaching her patience, he is teaching him endurance and that one is making them all talk to Jesus a whole lotta extra this week. We parents feel sanctified too, down deep to our sticky feet.
  4. Variety. Who would have known there are so many different ways kids can react to spilled milk? If we would have stopped at three, we would have no Princess, no Ms. Nurture, no WildChild and no Sunshine. How can seven kids in the same family see the world so differently?
  5. We get stuff done. About once a week we notice that our dining room fell apart. The art/homework/project/lego corner exploded, the laundry baskets threw up and a few food fights got out of control. Never under estimate the power of the Big Family. Before the mom can return from her bathroom (Instagram) break, that room is ship-shape. If by ship-shape you mean less disgusting.
  6. Older ones loving the little ones. A big one snuggles the grumpy toddler and a teenager helps the first-grader. It might give off warm fuzzies, but more importantly, we know it’s also prepping them to be moms and dads and compassionate citizens one day.
  7. Camaraderie. This is available for all siblings everywhere. We just get to see it on a larger scale. We watch hand holding, giggling, hanging out in big sister’s room and toothbrush pranks. It even makes the mockery of mom’s over-used phrases bearable.

These are the things that keep us going.

That, and the fact that we slightly enjoy loud and chaotic.

Don’t miss the kids’ Pros and Cons Lists! Completely grounded in reality, of course.

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