Sunday, March 20, 2011

LESSONS FROM A BIG FAMILY.

We acquired six extra kids this past weekend, and boy was it fun. We coerced some of our favorite friends into taking a weekend away with a promise to keep track of their brood for three days. With our two, we totaled eight kids from age fifteen down to age one. To be honest, it was a lot of fun.

Six extra kids spurred lots of conversation with Jimmy and I and has given me lots to think about. Here are a few things I learned in three days with a big family.

Parents learn from experience. Ask me about sleeping, eating, teething, playing, tantrums up to age three and I'm a semi-expert. After age three, I am clueless. I left from our weekend feeling very grateful that I have a lifetime to learn through each phase of my children. Don't ask me how to deal with teens or pre-teens for that matter, because I haven't crossed that bridge quite yet.

I need a son. Not that we are raising the daintiest of daughters around here, but there is an element of rowdiness that only a boy can add. Our girls run and jump and wrestle, but it comes much more naturally to a boy and adds a fun feeling of activity to a home. I enjoyed my three adopted sons this weekend, and their sporting events too. Of course we'll love what we are given, but I think a son would be a blast.

Big families can sure make a mess, but they can clean it up too. I was amazed by the continuous amount of dishes pumping through their little dishwasher, and even more so by the quantity of crumbs that made their way to the floor after each meal. But, the best part is seeing a big family all pitch in and get things picked up quickly. Some days I imagine when I'll have my team of happy helpers, right Hannah and Kate?

Sign me up for a Masters in Organization, because it takes just that. Our friends left us with a very detailed calendar of events for the weekend. Pick-up times, drop-off times, games, practices, lessons all had to be orchestrated and planned for. Jimmy and I had some very focused conversations planning our method of attack to make sure everyone got where they needed to be. I seriously haven't used my problem solving skills like that in a long time.

It takes a team. Maybe the reason I had so much fun was seeing my husband shine. I think he is meant to have a big family. If lots of kids are in our future, I will definitely not be able to do it without him.

Families are fun. I am assuming that our weekend children were on their best behavior, but they were a lot of fun. We spent Friday evening on a blanket with Little Caesars and seven kids, cheering on the oldest brother at his baseball game. The kids wrestled and played and my girls were in heaven. We had no major mis-haps, only push-up competitions and races. It was neat to see the kids enjoy each other.

There you have it. Lessons learned from a very short experience of having eight kids. I am amazed by all of you full-time mamas of large families (large being more than two kids). And, since our family is not totally planned (we are hoping for the  four to six range, right Jimmy?), I would love to hear what you love about having a large family. Please share.

8 comments:

Christina said...

We have 3 so far, but we definitely know our family is not complete. I love big families, but I'm unsure where we'll end up. I think the big family challenge for a weekend would give great insight for those of us still towards the beginning of our motherhood journey. What a fun experience!

runningfan said...

We'll have five in August -- ages 9, 7, 3, 2, and new by then -- and it's a busy life. But I think one of the biggest blessings is seeing the siblings play together. We didn't plan our kid spacing, but I love that each of the kids has a buddy. I also love that the older kids are old enough to help around the house, shepherd the younger ones, and contribute to FHE/meals/etc. My husband is one of 2 kids and I come from a family of 6 kids. I'm SO GLAD we have a big family of our own.

Heather said...

I have 5 kids (one boy and four girls) ages 7, 5.5, 3.5, 2.5 and 2 months. Life is really crazy around our house but I honestly love it. There is never a dull moment here that's for sure. I just need to get better at the organization thing but I guess that will come with time. I really love how my kids are all friends...they get along so well, most of the time. :)

2tiredmommy said...

I have four girls and one boy. 17, 15, 11, 9, 7 there are days that I miss the tiny stages, but I love that my girls can cook and clean. Spring cleaning was a breeze because they could take 1/3 of the work! My favorite though was listening to all of them when we spoke in church. They are amazing! I wouldn't trade any of them or the experiences they bless me with. The easiest way or us to organize is a family council on Sunday night. Everyone shares their schedule for the week and how they need my help. My favorite is my son when he says I don't have anything except hanging out with dad on Saturday.

Heidi said...

My husband comes from a family of 8 kids. And his mom has been a schoolteacher all the while. I think a lot of the way he was raised is due to his older siblings. My sister just had her fifth baby, but her oldest is 12, so it is a totally different experience that I am fascinated by. She has a built in babysitter and helper in everything from meals to feeding the baby. Not quite like having a 2 year old oldest sibling "helper".

Mostly Diane said...

I love your positive attitude about big families!!! --So Rare-- I have 8 kids. My oldest just turned 13 and my youngest is 2 months. I love my life and my kids. Big Families are a lot of work, but they are wonderful too. I feel really blessed to have been able to bear 8 little angels.

The Mighty Miners said...

I absolutely LOVE being a mom to six children. 12,11,9,8,5 and 3. I grew up in a very close family and there were four of us, and I always wanted a big family. I absolutely LOVE watching my children play together. I started teaching them when they were very young how to do chores and it has worked well for us. We very rarely have complaints to get chores done around here and when meals are over everyone always chips in to clean up the kitchen and get everything put away. We always eat dinner together, that is where we unwind from the day and talk about what was good or bad about the day, how we made a difference in the day for someone! I love being a mom, it really just makes you feel like you are making a difference somewhere.

Busy Mommy said...

I am mom to 9. Ages 21 to 4. I love every minute of it, and couldn't imagine life any other way :)

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