The Biggest Challenge of Having a Large Family
A big family brings a lot of joy. A lot of messy, loud, chaotic, crazy joy.
But it also brings challenges. If you asked my husband, he’ll probably mention the inability to go anywhere without people saying something about the number of kids we have. It’s like if you bumped into a friend and she was wearing a really awesome gigantic hat. How could you not mention it? In fact, you probably would mention it every time she wore it.
My husband and I get all kinds of comments like…
“That sure is a handful!”
“Do you ever lose one?”
Never. Okay, rarely.
“Are they all yours?”
Yes. And they are a blessing.
“Are they all from the same marriage?”
What?! You can’t ask that.
“I don’t know how you do it!”
Alcohol. Just kidding. Mostly love, patience and resilience. And a little alcohol.
And of course another big challenge of a big family is money. You need some. And you need to be careful how you spend it. So that means eating at home a lot.
But my biggest challenge by far is finding time with each child. Even moments. So much of life is spent rushing around – preparing and cleaning and putting out fires. Not real fires. Okay one real fire when my daughters (5 and 3 at the time) decided to make popcorn in the toaster oven while I was nursing my newborn twins. I learned how to use our fire extinguisher very quickly. But in general, I don’t put out a lot of real fires.
But so much of my life is spent doing necessary, tedious things like making lunches, returning belongings to where they live, folding laundry – and so much less time playing and really seeing my children.
I often feel like a pinball, bouncing from child to child, trying to help with homework, kiss invisible boo boos and keep my 2 year old from leaping off the counter.
So just before each of them go to sleep – when things quiet down a bit during books and goodnight kisses, I really try to look at my children. I study the curves of their face, their bright eyes and soft cheeks. I try to take it all in and really focus on each one of them.
Because even though they will look the same in the morning, they will be just a tiny bit older and a little bit different. And I want to appreciate how they are right now, in this exact moment in life.
I take those moments and I cherish them. And then I prepare for the crazy chaos of the morning.