I am an only child. Life is certainly focused differently in small families.
Dinners were small, quiet affairs and we always had leftovers.
Finding a table in a restaurant or a hotel room spontaneously in a busy city while traveling was no big deal.
I was often alone but I seldom felt lonely – until it was taught to me by society as I grew up.
We have four children.
Our home is noisy. There is little privacy. The dynamics are interesting.
There are SO MANY unexpected things that I never thought about growing up in a mere family of three.
I polled my friends and readers for some of the things they notice having a larger family.
Having a large family offers some challenges that small families don’t face.
Money is a big complaint. Few people with a small family seem to understand that even having three or four kids compared to one or two is a big game changer to a budget.
We simply don’t have any extra money left over to meet friends out for a meal or the movies. We have to be more creative and frugal for gatherings and get-togethers.
“We cannot afford to make random trips to dinner or the movies. It never fails we have friends with 1 or 2 kids that always want to go places that it is expensive for a large family to go.” ~Deanna
“It takes an act of God for me and my hubby and five kids to meet you and… whoever at the… whatever.” ~DaLynn
More money is needed for so many things with a large family. More food. More medical and dental care and/or insurance. More extracurricular activities. More clothing. More utilities. More More More. There never seems to be enough no matter how creative and frugal a mom is.
“The big purchases that you don’t really think about…bigger car, bigger table, more furniture in the living room. Glasses or shoes or braces or music lessons or sports fees…you just don’t think about the cost until you are paying for 4 or 5 at a time. Extra cost of housing, utilities…just imagine the water cost of 7 people showering everyday, or the constant running of the washer and dryer.” ~Erin
“I just don’t have the funds to buy gifts for everyone [for Christmas]. I purchase for the kids in the family, but they are low-cost gifts. Budgeting as a whole is something the smaller families within my larger extended family don’t understand…” ~Heather
Kids in large families have to share.
Bedrooms, bathrooms, clothing, food, toys.
Handmedowns are expected for the younger kids and new items are a rare treat.
Nothing ever just belongs to someone. There is no privacy and nothing is sacred or personal. Including me. I never had to share anything, growing up. And that’s hard.
There are only two sides of me on the sofa during read aloud time. I make sure everyone can see the pictures, if there are any. Usually, Alex insists on sitting beside me and one of the little girls is on the other side. Recently, we had a sibling have a jealous fit about my lap. My kids are stocky and I’m not. There is only room enough for one kid to sit on my lap at a time. Maybe I should sell tickets.
Time is also at a premium. Most moms have to plan well and keep track of all the family activities, especially as kids grow older and develop interests that take them out of the house, often in many different directions at the same time.
“Nothing is simple. What one person does often affects nine others.” ~Kendra
A bigger vehicle. We had to get the minivan after our third child arrived. Three carseats couldn’t fit in the backseat of our Hyandai Santa Fe.
Two or more hotel rooms when traveling. It’s often easier and cheaper to rent an apartment or house when traveling. Then we can cook “at home” and not worry about who likes what or having enough or if there are leftovers, what to do with them.
Airfare is just ridiculous and not within most large family budgets at all. I can’t imagine flying all six of us anywhere. I listen to many families discuss their travel plans with one or two lap babies or just a couple children and it’s doable for them, but never for us.
“As a military family, the cost of getting us ALL somewhere is huge. It’s cheaper to have them come visit us, than to get all of us home to visit them.” ~Heather
Waiting forever for a table big enough at restaurants (and often having that gratuity added on despite potential poor service). It’s just stressful eating out. My food is often a gelatinous cold mess by the time I get everyone situated with their food cut up and all. Meals are chaotic and loud and I get embarrassed when people stare because I automatically think they are judging our manners and volume. They may just think we’re gorgeous and smell great, but I doubt it.
“It’s hard to imagine just how accidentally loud 7 people are.” ~Erin
I love how Europe has family tickets that actually do accommodate our family of two adults and four children (ages 4, 7, 8, and 14 at time of post). Many American museums and amusements have membership for a family of four and then you can tack on extra tickets but then the price sky rockets! Disney will probably never be an option for us (and I’m ok with that but my husband is not).
“I’d like businesses to be more flexible with their ‘family plans’ or deals. A membership or a coupon or a package is usually ‘2 adults and 2 children.’ Uh…? I have FOUR children! I’ll gladly pay MORE for my membership because I know I have more children. But I often don’t have the option.” ~Crystal
Huge blowout birthday parties like have become the norm in America are just not feasible when you have a large family. We have three spring birthdays and it would just drain us if we spent hundreds of dollars on presents, entertainment, those amusement parks, or whatever the trend is there days. We don’t even have the luxury to have a huge home party event with extended family since we always live so far away.
And I have felt like this SO MANY TIMES:
“I feel unable to really express frustrations with many of these things because… after all… I wanted them all, I asked for it. Yet families with just two children are free to complain about how hard it is.” DaLynn
No one needs more mommy guilt.
No matter what your family size, there are bad days.
“You can buy a jet ski when you’re 60 and use it every day for the rest of your life, but you only get a few years to be with your babies…So ‘no jet ski this year’ is kind of my mantra when the mommy guilt tries to take over.” ~Erin
Be a “No Jet Ski” kinda mom.
Really love your family, no matter the size. No guilt.
Linking up: Happy and Blessed Home