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Rearing large families is a fascinating concept. Shows such as Counting On and Outdaughtered have become wildly popular because viewers want an inside scoop on how heavily-populated households survive. We want to know how parents feed that many and stay on top of laundry without losing their minds. Or we might enjoy watching someone else’s chaos and feel thankful our lives suddenly seem manageable. Probably both.
Clarification on “Rearing Large Families”
So what defines ‘a large family?’
Well, that depends. A few generations ago, having a double-digit amount of children was common. Today people raise their eyebrows when I say my husband and I made four little ones…although it might be because we made only boy versions. And no, we were not trying for a girl.
Since we are raising quite a few children in an expensive city, our boys understand we have to stretch our dollars. Years ago, one son asked me why his friend was allowed to order TWO burgers from McDonalds. He was baffled by this obvious sign of wealth. My oldest piped in quite seriously: “That’s because they only have two kids. Families with lots of kids like us are only One Burger Families.”
The “One Burger” Family
Are you a One Burger Family too?
I am amazed by all the parents who bravely step into the Land of Lots of Kids. Whether through birth or adoption, having many children in your care deserves a celebration. You give. You serve. You carry. And you find margin to make even more babies, which is especially impressive.
But I am beginning to realize that rearing large families may not stem from entirely selfless motives. There are multiple reasons Moms of Many appear so relaxed and calm.
Which brings us to this light-hearted list fueled by caffeine and a warped sense of humor. If you use humor as a coping mechanism in parenting, you’ll understand.
17 Perfectly Good Reasons for rearing large families
- No child will have the dreaded Middle Child Syndrome. There will be a first born and a last born and a bunch of others in between.
- You will have multiple excuses for a squishy Mom belly.
- You will hear compliments like, “Wow – you look good for having [insert #] children.” Although this implies if you had fewer kids, you would only look mediocre.
- If each child cleans one room you can have the entire house clean in a morning. And then when your many kids mess it up within 6.2 minutes, they can repeat the entire process. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
- When your children say, “I’m bored” you can easily answer, “That’s why we made siblings. Go find one and play.”
- You are bound to have at least one child that looks like you. Your chances of giving birth to a ‘mini-me’ increase exponentially the more babies you make. It’s simple math, really.
- One day, when you have huge family pot lucks, you can bring something simple like napkins. Or dinner rolls. Let your many children and their spouses make fancy dishes. You’ve done your time.
- You will never have to worry about having money problems. You will never have the burden of deciding what to do with your extra money because there will likely not be any.
- Having many children can be your built-in retirement plan. Your chances increase that one of them will be willing to shelter their elderly parents in the twilight years.
- The probability of someone remembering your birthday greatly increases. 0-3 kids: Someone will say Happy Birthday 4-7 kids: You will get a Happy Birthday plus a card 8+ kids: You will receive breakfast in bed. And if you do not, email me and I will personally serve you waffles on a tray.
- Those rearing large families will have many chances to name children after all the important people. Your Mom, Dad…..Great Aunt Sally, your optometrist, your ….
- You only have to teach manners to the first few. The rest will be taken care of by older siblings. If you get really lucky, this might include potty training. #peerpressure
- No one will ever be able to get away with anything. You have eyes and ears in every corner of the house. It’s your own personal CIA, but cheaper.
- You are guaranteed to find at least one kid who is in a good mood. On tough days it may require Mother’s intuition to feel out who that is, but you will find them eventually.
- When you have good news, you can share it over and over with each child separately. Of course, you may also tell the same kid twice, in which case they will be convinced you have dementia.
- If something hilarious happens, you have multiple opportunities to relay the tale and work on your comedic timing. By the time you tell the last child, you’ll be ready for the comedy circuit.
- You will never suffer from Empty Nest Syndrome. You will drop your last one off at college and pick up your Bingo card at the retirement home. Or, move in with one of your many children if all goes according to plan…
If you are weary from ARE THOSE ALL YOURS questions, be encouraged. At least your many children have heard that question right alongside of you and can roll their eyes in solidarity at just the right moment.
Celebrating families of all shapes and sizes,
Karen from Lightly Frayed
BIO: Karen Gauvreau would squeeze her four-baby-body into a cheerleader’s uniform for you to know someone is rooting for you as a Mom – cartwheeling for your victories and offering a pep talk when you feel pumelled. Making others laugh is her caffeine. She encourages Moms to chase hope and humor, over at Lightlyfrayed.com. As a Mom to four boys – 2 teens, 1 tween and 1 little bean she never runs out of material. Groceries maybe, but never stories.