Large families require extra work
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
I was talking to another mom this week and we were, of course, talking about school starting. She made a comment about how difficult it was getting two kids ready for school. I kind of smiled and she asked how many I had in school. I replied, "Five."
She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "You have five kids?"
"Well, actually I have six, but only five are in school."
"I couldn't stand anymore than two!"
I know what she means. No, really I do. When we had our first, I couldn't imagine having two. How on earth would I handle another child?
Then number two came along. Well, I managed. Then surprise, we had number three. (And, yes, I know what causes that.) Yes, I was tired most of the time, but we got along and I learned to set my priorities.
I learned that if you read a story to your kids instead of doing the dishes, the dirty dish police didn't come and carry you away. (I sometimes wished they would though.)
I learned that if your five-year-old wanted to play Candy Land, that the load of laundry in the dryer could wait a while.
I learned that you could do quite a few things, like opening mail, reading a story to an older child, helping with homework, or even playing a board game when nursing your baby.
I also learned that after three kids, it doesn't really matter how many more you add to the mix. After three you're outnumbered anyway!
There are, admittedly, differences between small and large families. For example, instead of fixing one box of mac'n cheese, I fix at least two and sometimes three. I usually fix about 4 to 6 pounds of chicken per meal. We do entire packages of frozen veggies and usually several cans of fruit. We average 3 gallons of milk a week and 3 half-gallons of soy milk. (We have two with a milk allergy.)
I just read recently that the average American family has 1.86 children. I guess that explains why things packaged "family size" doesn't fit my family. We're about 4.14 kids over the "average" family.
Another difference is in laundry. Instead of doing three to five loads of laundry a week, I do three to five loads a day.
Over our summer vacation, we spent a few days with John's parents. Before we left, I wanted to get caught up on laundry, so I took about two days of laundry downstairs to the laundry room.
My mother-in law, whose only child was John, looked at the pile and said, "This is two days of laundry!"
My response was, "Yep, that's why I usually do laundry daily." She just shook her head.
Of course, there are other differences. My kids do wear hand-me downs or, as they are now more frequently called, "pre-loved" clothes. I also sew quite a few clothes for my kids.
Another area I find a big difference is in medical care. I often feel we ought to get group discount rates at physicians' offices!
I do try to my best to keep us as healthy as possible. I have a steadfast rule about hand washing. It has made huge difference in how often we get ill.
Having a large family can be trying at times, but it can also be hilarious. The most important thing I've learned is to look for the humor in the situation and don't tell hubby everything.
For example, when your two-year-old paints hubby's favorite chair with Vaseline. It's a great time to buy a slipcover.
Of course, according to my mother, the biggest reason to have a large family is that when you're old and gray there will be more people to take care of you. It's always been the family joke that Mom says she figures with her seven kids she can spend about two months a year with each one and every seven years or so each child gets a year off. Of course, it's just a joke. I think, anyway.
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