Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Big Families

While searching the blogosphere, I came across the following feature and felt compelled to share, simply because I'm always being asked 'how do you do it- with so many kids'. When confronted with this question, I'm usually caught off guard because I can't picture it any other way. I'm not quite sure how we do it, we just DO it. It doesn't take much thought and it's not work, it's actually kinda easy. I'm not quite sure how some parents do it with just one or two!!! Don't they drive you crazy? I would think that it be somewhat lonesome. Here, in this house, there's always someone to play with!

Why big families are easier: Patience. I never have to teach patience. My children know that I can’t drop everything for them if I have a baby in my arms.
Work Ethic. My children have learned to work because there are always chores to do in a small house packed with little messy lunatics. And they all learn quickly that sometimes they have to clean up a mess even though they didn’t make it.
Humility. My children have learned it’s not always their turn. They’ve accepted they can’t always get their way because other people have to get their way sometimes. They’ve learned that some children are better at certain things than they are.
Foreign language skills. You can learn a lot of Spanish by watching ten years of Dora the Explorer that you just can’t pick up in two. And now with the Diego spin off I’m practically fluent. Laughter. The children have learned to laugh at the insane non sequiturs of younger siblings. They’ve learned that laughing just feels better when seven people are doing it along with you.
Competition. Do I really need to go into this? Everything is a competition in big families. The children compete over who reads faster, who drinks their milk faster, who gets to the bathroom first…etc. Everything is a competition and they’re all keeping score.
Balance. The floor of the front room of my home is a minefield of toys and childhood paraphernalia. Just walking through the room requires great skill and balance. I’m absolutely convinced my two year old will be a favorite for Gold on the balance beam in the 2016 Olympics. (She might have to lay off the cookies a little but I’ll deal with that later.)
Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you just give it to the baby because you want a little quiet. Not all the time. But sometimes.
Just say “No.” Being able to say “no” may be the most undervalued skill in this world. The need to be liked is pervasive. The need to be cool even more so. Having brothers and sisters teaches children to say “no” about 143 times a day. It’s a good skill. Praying. They learn that nothing beats praying together as a family. Nature/Nurture. Having many children has taught me that nature has a lot more to do with who my kids are than nurture. This is helpful, especially when your children misbehave you don’t have to feel bad about it. Just say “Stupid nature!!!” and blame your spouse’s genes. Namecalling. You can occasionally call your child by the wrong name and still not be considered a terrible parent. They know who you mean just from your tone. Sometimes if you need something done you can call the wrong name and someone will still show up. That helps. Spying. My children have learned that they can’t get away with anything. I have spies who look a lot like them who are willing to drop the dime on them for anything. Even at school I’ve got a child in just about every grade. If they do something I’ll hear. That keeps them nervous. And I like keeping my kids a little nervous. Friendship. The children have many friends. They’ve got girly friends, crying friends, fun loving friends, consoling friends, and crazy friends. And they all have the same last name. And they’ll be there forever for each other. No matter what.
Love. I think my children have learned to love because there are others around them to love and who love them. I honestly can think of no better way to teach children to love than siblings.


  1. Love it! Love it!!!! Christine you really baffle me with your wisdom and time to journal! Your children & family are lucky to have such a loving caring woman who knows how to express love & life to the fullest! Hugs & Kisses to all, Lynn

  2. Christine I keep meaning to ask you this question and just remembered this morning. Did you intentionally name the kids in pairs 2 B's, 2 E's, & 2 M's? Just curious.... Have a great week-end!
    Love, Lynn

  3. Lynn, good question!!! One of my favorite things about having babies is picking the name. Believe it or not, not very many people have noticed this pattern. But, I did not do it on purpose, at least not in the beginning. I simply just fell in love with all of the names that I've given them. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Megan that I realized there was a pattern going on. That's when I KNEW we had to have one more to complete the pattern. Haha! I've always liked the name Benjamin and hoped so badly that the last one would be a boy so that I'd get to use it. Now my pattern is complete! I started with a 'B' name and ended with a 'B' one. In the middle of that are my E's and M's.

    Now, if Ben wasn't a boy, the whole thing would have been thrown off because for the life of me I couldn't find another 'B' girl name that I absolutely loved and that flowed nicely with the other kids' names. Ben would have been an Olivia, Madeline, or a Grace.