What I’ve Learned About Having a “Large” Family

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Where I come from, if you have four or five kids you are considered a large family. I know that some people may not consider a family with that many kids large, but we definitely solicit the funny stares from strangers and the not so funny jokes from people we meet. I always wanted to have at least four kids, but of course, like everything else in life I had no idea what it was like having a large family until I actually had one. In case you wanted to know what it’s like, here’s my experience so far with large family living:

What I’ve Learned About Having a Large Family

Having a Large Family

People will stare, some will even count your children.

We went with my grandparents to Cracker Barrel for one of my kids’ birthdays. As we walked to our table, I saw an older man sitting at a different table with wide eyes. We filed past his table and I could actually hear him counting my children. I currently have four kids (number 5 is on the way). I swear this guy was counting my kids as if I was marching in an entire day care.

That was the first time someone audibly made a not-so-great remark about the number of children we have.  We get stares almost everywhere we go. This is with only four kids, so I’m sure it won’t be any different with five.

Older people love large families.

On the flip side, I can’t tell you how many time we have been stopped by older people because seeing us with all of our children makes them happy. Apparently we bring back memories of the days when it was normal to have more than two or three children. I honestly love listening to their stories about how they had x amount of children and how much fun it was to raise them. 

Leaving the house is a huge ordeal.

I’m in the trenches of motherhood right now. All of my children are age 7 and under. It takes longer to get everyone ready and loaded in the van than it does to actually run errands most days. My third child is just coming out of the “I’m going to try my best to run away from you in public” phase. I avoided taking him out unless I had my husband’s help for a long time. My youngest hates his car seat and will scream for an entire car trip if he isn’t tired enough to fall asleep. Going anywhere takes planning and a bit of bravery on my part. 🙂

People think you’re crazy if you homeschool, too.

This one shocks a lot of people. “You homeschool, too? I bet you’re busy. You have to be superwoman!” Busy, yes, superwoman, far from it. Homeschooling my large family is probably the most difficult thing I have ever taken on in my life. I’m still convinced I have been called by God to educate my children, or I’d give it up. Even though it is very hard, it’s also beautiful and amazing. We have some really great days and we are making some really great memories. I started with homeschool preschool and have just continued from there. 

If you’re homeschooling your own brood an need some help figuring it all out, managing your home, you know, all the mom stuff, I suggest you check out Large Family Homeschooling by Amy Roberts. She knows her stuff.

The grocery bill will continue to rise.

I recently shared in my 2016 one income family budget that we currently budget $700 a month for groceries and household items. Right now all of my children are still fairly young, and only my oldest eats about as much as an adult. I told my husband there will come a day when our grocery budget exceeds our rent, I’m sure of it. 

As the mother of a large family, I’ve had to learn how to create frugal meals that feed a crowd. I definitely struggled with that! Baking our own treats is another favorite way to save on snacks. I have also done once a month grocery shopping to save both my sanity and my budget.

My house is loud, but full of love.

Building a gingerbread house together

As someone who is naturally an introvert, the noise level in my home can really get to me. Sometimes I have to leave my husband in charge and just go to my room to regroup. Even though the noise gets to me occasionally, when my kids aren’t with me I miss them terribly. Sure there is a lot of arguing, crying, and random toddler screaming, but there’s also lots of laughter, playing, creating, and growing. Nothing makes me happier than to see my children playing together nicely, or working to build a house of out wooden blocks. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything!

Do you have a large family? What are some things you’ve learned?


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  1. I can totally relate! It’s unusual to see a large family these days. We get more than our fair share of unwanted comments when we’re out and about with our 5 kids. Once we were asked if the other parents were on their way. It gets easier to get out of the house though! At one time we had 5 under 5 years old – it took 3 hours to get them out of the house. I wouldn’t change a thing …the love I get back in return helps me power through the day. I feel so blessed to have 5 healthy kiddos.

  2. I can relate. As a mama of 12, the noise level is sometimes unbearable but God gives us grace to deal with the noise! When they come back home to visit and take over beds of the children living here still, that is really interesting. It is a scramble to find places for everyone to sleep!

  3. I have only received/overheard rude comments 2-3 times. Most people go out of their way to come up and compliment. I sum this up to my lack of eye contact. When I notice someone staring, I make a point not to look them in the eye. Somewhat rude perhaps, but highly effective. I also believe that your attitude and interaction with your children in public plays a huge part in what strangers feel comfortable saying. That is solely my personal opinion, mind you.

  4. I never thought I’d be a mom of a big family and the house that everyone drops their kids off to stay for the weekend, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My house is loud and full but there is so much love and laughter. I’ve never gotten any super rude comments, but I‘be gotten the your awesome for doing it alone! Or I couldn’t deal with so many how do you do it?

  5. I’ll share a little humor… When heavily pregnant with our 9th child, my husband and I took the family to the hardware store (they had a kids’ event going that day). A man intent on humiliating and making a public scene asked me (very loudly) “Have you figure out what causes that (gesturing to my belly) yet?!” I smiled at him and then in a mock surprise (but not unkind) tone replied “I do! Wait, don’t you?” He was stunned for a brief moment then laughed. “Teach me to mind my own business, won’t you (he said, still laughing). Well done. They are well behaved, I’ll give you that.” He shook my hand and went on about his business.
    It’s funny how people find the need to “correct” us on our family size. One especially rude woman followed me around the grocery store making comments for the whole store to hear (yes, it was clearly harassment – the children were all behaving well, keeping close to the cart, walking and keeping quiet voices), but when I turned and faced her directly and asked (not angrily) “exactly which ones would you have me send back?” It surprised her and stopped her incessant hounding. She harumphed, turned around, and left the other direction. Two nearby shoppers literally applauded, then complimented my children on their good behavior and me on my “lovely family”.
    We have ten children, the youngest is 6 (yes, we are done, haha – I get asked that one a lot too…) and I find that when I respond politely but pointedly, people either realize how inappropriate their comments were and apologize or at least cease fire (haha) or they walk away. Responding in frustration over the tenth or twelfth rude comment based on family size alone only fuels their fire (and ire) and leaves mama more frustrated – remember that those responding unkindly just don’t “get it” that children are a blessing from the Lord. That’s on them, not you.
    Enjoy your precious families, whether you have a large family or not. 🙂

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