When I was very pregnant with Blaise, I found myself at Mass with Andrew, but with none of the kids. I kindly woman approached us afterwards and asked “Is this your first?”
Of course, once a mama of a big family answer honestly (I admit to being tempted to skirt the truth, but I was still standing in the church!), the questioners eyes kind of pop out and you get a reply along the lines of “I couldn’t handle the two I had!”
I get it! Big families can be hard! When I had a gaggle of littles, even the smallest activity could seem overwhelming. The grocery store, stopping by a friends house, hitting a drive thru. No matter what it was, it was an event. And then the activities that actually *where* events, became nearly impossible. I remember doing swimming lessons one year, with just a couple small kids, and it was so difficult, I swore we’d never return. We tried again this year and had an absolute blast! And I had a newborn this time!
Once you’re through the first overwhelming years in the trenches, it’s like the sun shining through the clouds after a storm. It’s pretty glorious.
Here are a just a few reasons why more isn’t all that much more difficult than a handful.
Built In Friends – We don’t have neighbor kids where we live, but our kids are never without playmates! Dressing up, having tea parties, or a pick up game of ball are always easy to organize, because there are plenty of people around to join in. It’s also great when the bickering starts – just go find a different sibling to play with!
You’ve Done it All Before – This on is particularly great right now. Number seven has been so much fun, because we know what we are doing! His infancy hasn’t been typical, with his clubfeet, but all has been made easier with the wisdom of experience. Even the bigger kids remember how it all goes and are more able to help out. I no longer stand around wondering how to take a shower, like I did with my first! (true story. I think I cried and called my mom!)
Arms to Carry – There are always arms to help out, when there are so many arms around. Someone is always willing to hold the baby, but there are also times when a bag or a toddler need hauling as well. Having big strong helpers makes it all that much easier. Sometimes, my arms will actually be empty! I remember outings being so overwhelming, because it’s so nearly impossible to carry a baby, a diaper bag, and some random child’s abandoned shoes, all while keeping the toddler from being squashed by an oncoming car. All this, just to run into the store for a gallon of milk! It isn’t easy.
Enough for Cards or Baseball – Big families, big games. We love a good round of Euchre or a rousing board game, but many games take lots of people. We always have plenty! Little kids can double up with big kids to make everyone happy. Remember playing baseball or kickball and having “ghost man on second”? Not in a family filled with kids! Bases are loaded and there’s still a batter up.
Always a Baby to Hold! – Is there anything better than a sweet baby to snuggle? I really don’t think there is! Besides the time between Kateri and Blaise, we’ve never gone much beyond a two year old without having a new baby. I figure, at the rate we are going, by the time I don’t have my own baby to hold, it won’t be long until my biggest kids are married and starting their own families. The circle goes on and there’s never much time without a snuggly squish. That’s just how life should be!
It’s not always easy to be open to welcoming the many little people God may see fit to send you. But the laughs outweigh to hardships. And the friendships you’re giving your children are immeasurable.
What are your favorite advantages to having a houseful of little people?