Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Big Families

I've been writing this post in my head for a few months now. I hope it turns out the way I intended it to and gives you an insight into 'big' families and answers the big question - "Why?"

No, I don't need to explain my choice to anyone. But I know LOTS of people are curious why I chose to have another child (including my husband). But you see this is a relatively new concept to me. Ask anyone - I only ever wanted 3 children. (Just to clarify I'm going to say a big family is 5 or more children) Then when the trio came along it all changed. I really, really did not want to stop. People laughed me off originally but I think they then thought 'crap, is she serious?!' Yes I was.

I had to do some soul searching. I had to try to understand WHY I wanted another. Did I want that last 'normal' pregnancy? Or was I grieving the last home birth I did not get? Did I want the child - or just to be pregnant and give birth again? Did I want 6 children to raise until adult hood or was I in a trance like state imagining that this time, this one would stay a baby forever? The answer?
Yes. To all. If that makes sense.

So then I had to turn Dan around. I'll be honest, we didn't have a great Christmas holiday. Lots of bickering and crankiness at each other (it was the longest time we've spent with each other all year!) which left me feeling flat at the end of it and wondering how I could imagine bringing another baby into this family - then BANG - I found out I was pregnant. Basically we had not 'been careful' over the holidays. Which I was quite happy about as I'd told Dan when I was fertile. Yes, he knew! He still shakes his head and says 'how the hell did that happen?' I think it must have been the new hair do I had done that day before he came home - all part of my plan *insert evil laugh here* Thanks Sharna!

So anyway, here I am, 9 weeks pregnant with just 1 baby (Huge sigh of relief from Dan). And I'm happy. Really happy. The kids are so excited too. They want a girl to even things up. 3 of each sounds good hey?

But back to big families.

I honestly do not complain. I chose to have this many children. You don't hear me saying OMG I can't believe I have 5 kids and I have to do ______ and _______ and its all too hard. Nope. I just get on with it. I accepted that I have a large family that is getting larger and I move forward. I wish those around me could do this. I hear all the time - are you taking/bringing ALL 5 kids? Yes - I'm bringing all my children. Would it matter if there was 12? I'd still take them as they are MY children. My family. We do things as a family unit. The only time I count my children is when I'm doing a head count. I'm very good at counting to 3 and 5. What comes after 5?

I don't like to split up my kids. Yes there are times when it is needed, easier ect. But unless its vital, I don't. Most of the time what one does we all do. Like soccer. Like Pony Club. Like food shopping. Like going to the park. Of course it is so nice to have one on one time with them. And I like to think that I do that each day - just a little. Big things like birthdays I like to do something special with them individually. They're all used to it. Sometimes the big kids ask if I can do something with just them and I try to. But because they're used to having so many brothers and sisters then they're used to the crowd of children, the time it takes to do things, the gear we need ect.

Having a big family helps children in so many ways. They learn respect for each other and their property. They learn patience in so many areas - time, teaching a younger sibling. They learn how to 'teach' a younger sibling things which helps their problem solving skills. They learn empathy for each other. They learn that there is no such thing as selfishness in this house, but plenty of selflessness. They help out. All. The. Time. They're learning responsibility from this. In a big way. They learn how to include others from a young age but also how to withdraw and find a (semi) quiet space and have time out. They learn to play together - mostly. They learn compassion, love, manners, good and bad habits from older siblings, but one of the most important things is that they learn family.

All for one and one for all.

I've been asked before how can I possibly give 6 children all the love and attention that they need? Easy - I give them some and their siblings give them the rest. They don't know what it means to only have attention and love showered on just them all the time. So it's not something they miss. It's not something they look for - mostly. They're still little people who want love and attention and that's fine they get it - just in smaller amounts.

Now I'm not saying that families with one or two children are spoiled brats or anything, this is just about big families - my family.

Take last weekend for example. Amali had her very first Pony Club day on where a whole heap of kids go to the grounds and get riding instruction for the day. People were shocked that I was taking all 5 kids. Yes, I took all my children. The babies love horses (neigh-neighs) and Jordan doesn't mind them either and I knew there would be other young boys for him to play with. Plus he could help me with the babies. (Unfair? No, he's just used to it) We had a great day, Amali rode great all by herself for the first time at Pony Club and her pony was very well behaved. Jordan helped out, compared computer/phone games with the other boys and ate sausages. The babies loved watching all the horses and 2 out of 3 slept for 1.5 hours in the pram. And did I mention I drove the horse float up, doing 2 trips to get the other girls horses there too? Yep. It's not far and the bubs are happy in the car. No problem, they even slept on the way home for both trips.

Am I special for doing this? No. I just do it because it's Amali's thing (ok, and mine!) and she loves it. Jordan starts soccer this week and we'll all be going most of his practices and games. No problem, it's his thing and he loves it.

Financially, sure, it'll be hard at times but I make so much of our food from scratch and buy in bulk that I'm fairly sure I feed our family of 7 cheaper than a family of four. There will be hand me downs. But with the cost of clothes these day being almost the same as some OP shops, it's not all that expensive to clothe 6 kids. I cloth nappy. That will have probably saved us close to $100,000 for all 6 kids over their nappying life. Back to school will cost around $1000 a year I'm sure. We buy good quality shoes and bags and lunch boxes so they last the whole year. Christmas and birthdays will be expensive but we will also be teaching them that it's not always what you get, or how much things cost, but who you are with and how much fun you have.

And the best part - imagining them all here, on our property, with their partners, wives/husbands, children. Imagine that!

And anyway - look at Dans family! There were 8 (siblings and their families and mother) others missing! This is siblings, grandfather,  aunt/uncle, father, and one cousin and her family. We've got some catching up to do lol!


  1. Love your honesty and openess. I admire you for the love and energy that you have for your family. It's amazing.

  2. I come from a big family (8), and I totally get what you are saying. I especially love what you had to say about taking all your kids everywhere. I'm currently 10.5 weeks prego with number four (four and no more for us!) and have started wondering what people are going to think when I haul all four of them around, but after your post, I've decided that I just don't care what anyone might think about that as they are MY kids.

    Btw, were you worried you might have another multiple pregnancy? Lol.

  3. Really nice post, I agree! And thanks for words about giving attention, nobody said it like this before. :)

  4. I'm the third of eight... Big families are great and if my hubby could handle it I'd love to have a few kids... but I really noticed with my Mum that eight was far too many for her... the thing I've taken from my Mum is know your limits... Some women can handle big familes.. some can't...

  5. Well said - people will comment - but its not their business. I had a comment when 8 months pregnant with number 3 - my others were 6 and 8 - was told bet that was a big mistake - no it wasn't - just had a hankering to have another one and took a year or so to convince my husband. You go girl - you do an amazing job and those kids are loved - all the best with this bub. Can't wait to follow along with you

  6. Good on you Chenoa. Enjoy every minute. Though I've only four, I often imagine the amazing Christmases we'll share with their partners and children.

  7. Congratulations! After I had my twins, who were babies no 3 and 4, I desperately wanted and longed for another one. I got to have her - she is currently 10 weeks old. I consider myself so blessed to have my five daughters. People's comments do annoy me at times - especially when they are negative and made in front of my children (how dare they say something at all; let alone in front of my children!). I also like to do things as a family. I like my children to be 'in tow' with me and I don't like to split them up. I completely agree with you about all the benefits of having a larger family (in the past 5 and 6 kids wasn't considered large; just normal). Wish you all the best :-)

  8. Happy Easter to you all - heading off on holidays soon so not on line then - can't wait for updates on the five and to see number 6 growing!!!

  9. Been wondering how you're doing... would be great to hear an update on the triplets and the new baby... can't stop thinking of you!