We walked into a restaurant tonight and one of the other guests counted out loud as we followed the hostess to our seats. I laughed, because it happens all the time and it doesn’t bother me. There is an unspoken question, I think, when people see a large family, and that is, “What are the pros and cons of having a large family – and is it worth it?”
Raising a family is hard work. More children means more laundry, more food, more mess. More noise. More mud in spring. More driving people around. It’s a lot of work! But there are advantages.
First, the pros.
What are the upsides of having a large family?
- There is always someone to play with;
- There is always someone to talk to;
- You are never lonely;
- You can easily field your own hockey or basketball team;
- Children learn to help and pitch in;
- Children learn to get along;
- Children learn to share;
- Children learn what it means to live together and put other people’s needs ahead of their own (you can even teach them about taking a number at the deli line: “You’re in line. You’re not at the front of the line but you are in line and you have a number. I’m just not serving you yet.”);
- When you walk into a restaurant it really does make the grandmas and grandpas smile to see all the kids – especially when they are well behaved;
- You can fill up the entire pew at church with just your family. That’s amazing. When you try to sit down and there is no room in the pew because your family takes up the entire length of the pew. That’s way up there on the list of cool moments.
Some of these could also be seen as downsides:
- Someone probably will take your toy as soon as you put it down;
- Someone is always talking and it can be hard to get your voice heard;
- It’s hard to get to be by yourself, even when you really, really want to be;
- Someone always needs help.
There are other challenges (maybe not cons) as well:
- Going grocery shopping is a pain (so you just shop at the restaurant supply store. It’s easier.)
- There are a lot of clothes to be washed, meals to be fixed, and dishes to be washed.
- There is no such thing as a fuel efficient 15 passenger van.
- There aren’t very many hotels with rooms big enough to accommodate a family our size.
- You tend not to get invited to other people’s houses for dinner or parties (there’s too many of us).
- Finding alone time for Mom (or for Mom and Dad) is not easy.
We didn’t set out to have a large family but I am so glad we did. The only time I have ever regretted it – no, not regretted it – but the only time it really was awful having 7 kids was Christmas 2013 when we had the stomach flu. A few kids were sick one day and then the next night 5 of us were puking simultaneously in the living room. That was awful. If you don’t have a large family, you won’t go through that, plain and simple. But you would miss out on so much fun and craziness. There is a richness to our days that we love. As my mother in law said a while back, “Every where you look there is a child!”. It’s a good life.
Children are a blessing from the Lord…Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. –Psalm 127:3,5