Friday, March 23, 2012

Family Size

We are a family of seven, which seems small when you compare us to someone like the Duggars. However, I grew up as an only child so my family seems large to me. I remember that when my husband and I got married we always said we wanted five kids. We both thought that was the perfect number. Annie came along and we still thought five was a good number. Megan came along and we started thinking that two was fine. :) Needless to say, Megan was a bit of challenge as a baby/toddler. All of my children are two years apart with the exception of Megan and Lily. It took me an extra year to convince myself that another child was a good idea. :)

I can remember growing up as an only child. I admit that there are perks to being an only child. Yes, I did get all the attention and I was spoiled. I never had to share my room or my things. My parents were always available to attend whatever school/sporting event that I was participating in. I was fotunate enough to be able to travel a great deal with my parents. I could go on, however, there was one MAJOR thing about being an only child that could never be fixed. Loneliness. The life of an only child can be very lonely.

I watched my friends bicker and fight with their siblings and inside I was jealous. I wanted soemone to get into my things and pick on me! I always sat at a table full of adults for every holiday meal. The one exception was when my cousins were able to attend Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house. I lived for those Thanksgivings! A few of my friends had more than one brother or sister and I always loved the chaos in their homes when I was a visitor. So, even at a young age I knew that I would try to have at least two children.

Fast forwad many years and I have five children! Life in our house is crazy! There is always noise. There is always a mess. Someone is almost always fighting or whining. There are too many toys. I have a basement full of clothes of all sizes and genders. We hardly ever eat out because it's too expensive and too nuts. Our children don't get the chance to participate in tons of extra activities. Five pregnancies have certainly taken away my slim figure.

None of it matters though. I love my crazy life! :) It's what I always wanted. My children are never without a playmate. It is rare to feel lonely. There is always someone who is up for a game of Tag or Candy Land. Our holidays are hectic but so much fun. Going to the simplest places (grocery store, park, mall) is always an adventure. If you ask my kids, they will tell you that they like having lots of siblings.

Are there times when one child wants some one on one time and I am unable to provide it? Yes. Are there times when one child voices that they wish they were an only child so that their special treasures wouldn't be messed with? Yes. Are there times when one child balks at wearing hand-me-downs? Yes. Are there times when one child wants to have their own room and their own space? Yes. Would my children trade the life they have for any of those things? No.

My husband and I are fully aware of the challenges that having a larger family brings. We keep an open door policy in order for our kids to talk to us about how they are feeling at any given moment. I think, because of that, our kids never feel like they are cheated out of Mom or Dad because of their siblings. I can remember many times closing the door to my bedroom in order to have a discussion with one child who needed to talk to me. I run errands on Saturday mornings and always take a different child with me each week. I use that time to connect with that child and find out about what is going on in their life. My kids love this! I have also been known to crawl into bed with each of my children for 15min. at night and listen to them chatter about their hopes and dreams or their favorite book. Yes, I have five children but I know each of them very well. I know their individual quirks that make them unique.

I know that having five children is not for everyone. I have friends that have one child and it's perfect for them. I have friends that have eight or nine children and that is perfect for them. Family size is such a personal decision and that's why I cringe when someone makes a heartless comment about our family size. For the record, I do know what causes all these kids! I also know that birth control is available and I am aware of how it works. I am not trying to become the Duggars and I am not interested in being on TLC or any other network for any reason. Yes, we are Christians but that is not the reason for our family size. No, we do not receive public husband has a good job. I know that our carbon footprint is larger than many others....we try to conserve in other ways. Yes, we homeschool but I don't consider us odd or unsocialized....just ask any of our many friends.

The two questions I get asked most often: "Are all of these kids your's?" and "Are you planning to have anymore kids?". I always answer "yes" to the first one and I am currently answering "no" to the second one. :)


  1. Ohh, I love this! We just have four, but they are all girls, and we get comments all.the.time. And most of them seem very mean-spirited, suggesting that we must be just devastated that we don't have a boy. Not that we wouldn't love a boy, but we could not be happier with our four little princesses! I'm not sure why perfect strangers feel the need to comment on something as personal and private as family size.

    PS. We homeschool too, and love it!

    *Found you through Kelly, and I'm so glad I did!

  2. aw! your kids are precious!

    i found you through kelly's blog (although i'm not in the large family category). and even though we only have three, we hear some of the same comments. my favorite was "haven't you guys figured out what causes that?" when i was pregnant with #3.

    i think it's sad...and it reflects on a society that doesn't value children. they are SUCH a blessing...and they definitely have made me a better person.

    anyways, glad to find your blog, i'm your newest follower :)


  3. Enjoyed your post! So glad Kelly did this SUYL! It's been fun to see all the big families!

  4. We get those questions, too. ALL the time. It goes with the territory I guess. People think they are being cute with the comments, but it would be nice if they would realize that it's not always cute to us.


  5. Popped over from Kelly's Corner. I also have five with only one boy, but ours is the eldest. I enjoyed reading your post.
    Have a blessed day!

  6. I am the older of six and think having a large family is such a neat thing! You have a beautiful family.

  7. D and I thought we only wanted 1 (or none). Now we have 3. And it is enough. It is such a personal decision. As long as you and Carlos are able to care of them and meet their needs, it is no one else's business.

  8. I can relate to your post in so many ways. Though I wasn't an only child, I did have one sister. I constantly made up other siblings because I longed for them so. I always say I was meant to have a big family--I just got it as an adult. You have a sweet family. We get all those questions too, but since we have all girls we also get "oh, poor dad," "are you trying for a boy?" "just wait 'til they're teens." Anyway, I just smile and nod when I bite my tongue :)

  9. Love this post. We have only one daughter and I home she'll have a big family for me to enjoy. We would have liked more but it wasn't meant to be. My husband is one of 13 & he didn't want to do that but 2 or 3 would have been good for him. I know my daughter gets lonely sometimes but she gets a lot of things (tangible and not) that her friends don't. I have a friend who has 6 and #5 & #6 are just a year apart - that part wasn't planned but they did want 6, just not so close together. She gets all the questions & stuff but they are thrilled with their family and that's what matters.

  10. I am frequently asked those same questions! :0)

  11. I love this post, Shelby. It just makes me smile.