If you’ve stumbled across my little blog, chances are you’re a fellow mom like myself. You’ve also probably figured out by now that this wonderful job called parenting is one heck of a job. It goes without saying that parenting and nurturing a big family definitely comes with a unique set of challenges.
As a mom of six, I can say for sure that I’ve encountered every one of these challenges I’m about to list. When your family is ever changing (and for some still growing) we simply cannot “do away” with these challenges, but instead we learn how to manage or adapt to them.
If you’re a mom of many, then I’m sure this list of big family challenges might sound oh so familiar. And if it does, you’ll be happy to hear some of my solutions for conquering them.
1. The Comments
It happens everywhere. I mean, we do look like a walking circus sometimes! Typically I try not to take offense to the awkward exchanges, but some comments can be a bit…much.
Some of our all time “favorites” have included “You do know how that happens, right?” Or ”Don’t you two have a hobby?”. And my most favorite of them all (you know, because it’s totally their business) “Are you done/getting your tubes tied?”
I even had a woman once tell my husband and I, in her own words, that we were stupid for choosing the lifestyle we did!…in front of our kids mind you! Yikes!
While most people mean well, these type of questions and comments can be like nails on a chalkboard, and sometimes offensive to big families.
I Simply choose not to take it to heart! Choosing to have a large family doesn’t quite fall in the realm of “normal” these days and is nothing short of perplexing for some at first sight.
More often than not, our conversations with passers-by regarding our family size often err on the side of genuine curiosity, leading to lots of shared laughter and blessings. HOWEVER, when it comes to those like the woman at the park who simply do not want to understand or learn about the joy of a big family and would rather make crude comments instead, I brush what they say right under my feet.
I simply choose to smile, say a quick prayer and ask the lord to forgive them for their ignorance for they know what what they do!
So before you allow it to wake the momma bear in you, remember this the next time your approached. And if that just doesn’t do it for you, well, there’s no harm in clapping back with an equally awkward answer! I’ve got a whole post full of them just for you!
How on earth can we possibly afford to house, feed, cloth and entertain so many little people at one time? To that I say “where there is a will, there is a way!”
For years experts have told us the most expensive part of parenthood would be the baby stage, but oh how I beg to differ. I WISH our bank accounts looked as fluffy now as it did when we had only infants and toddlers.
The real costs, at least for us, come as our children morph into the rapidly growing, fridge raiding, shoe busting, trip taking school agers. When having to keep up with so many needs, whether pre planned or surprise (not to mention birthdays and holidays!) things can get tight from time to time, and it is very easy to loose track of finances if we’re not careful.
We try to be as money conscious as we possibly can by creating sensible budgets in addition to a solid managing and planning system.
I also happen to be as frugal as they come! I can count on one hand how many times I’ve put my little ones in anything name brand. Why? Because my kids are kids and they have the potential to destroy anything just by breathing on it, and I just can’t emotionally deal with that!
Hand me downs are a life saver, bargain shopping and sales are my best friend and we research and take advantage of as many free or low cost family friendly activities we can enjoy. We manage by meal planning and tracking our expenses and bills each month. Just being aware and planning accordingly goes a long way, big family or small.
It sounds like a lot, and initially, it might be. But thankfully once you get the hang of it all, its smooth sailing folks!….most of the time!
3. Spending Time With Each Kid
Kids require and deserve our undivided attention, but what happens when you have multiple kids and are trying to figure out how to divide that attention?
I found myself the other day praying and hoping that I was delivering this need to each one of my children fairly. It was triggered by the realization of how fast my first born child has reached the end of her elementary days.
I was reminded that once this school year comes to a close, she will be transitioning to an entirely new phase of life and is going to need to her momma more than ever.
I wondered if I had been able to give her the attention she’s needed thus far and how to make sure she continued to get it, as for the rest of my bunch. Albeit together, when your habitually going through the motions of your day without stopping, knocking out REAL quality time with each child can be tricky.
Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for and so easily pick up on when they are being “put on the back burner“ and not given the time. I try to devote at LEAST 10-15 minutes out of each evening solely to each child.
This time is spent having one on one conversation with them about their day, how they are feeling, questions and anything their little hearts want to converse about. As basic as it seems, remembering to touch base in the lives of our children is so important. Hubby and I also try to plan and alternate a special one on one “date” outside of the house every so often with each child, which they look forward to so much.
4. The Chaos
What house full of kids isn’t a house full of chaos!? I know it is in our home! I have one child who I like to refer to as my feral one. You know, that one that likes to climb to forbidden territories, jump from the highest stair and comes back in the house covered in dirt from head to toe. THAT’S my four year old.
He’s the unofficial leader of the busy bunch, leaving a trail like the Tasmanian Devil with the others just following suit. If I don’t keep them busy, you can only imagine what my day, my house and myself might look like by days end. There is never a dull moment in our home.
Keep those little hands and minds busy in a constructive way! For one, we have a play room where they are allowed to have free reign. This is the special place where all their toys live, and (are supposed to) stay! I’m a HUGE fan of STEM toys as they are a big hit with my kids. Things like Magna-Tiles, building sets and gears can keep my kids busy for hours while keeping their minds creative.
Another thing I like to do is give the kids a super easy and engaging group activity to do together with each of them having a special role. Having special roles eliminates the “but IIIIII wanna do iiittt” battle we all love so much. Things like letting them cooking dinner with me, or going on a “toy hunt” to clean up the playroom . This usually gets the kids excited and working together pretty well. It also assures they are all in one place, being productive, and spending quality time with each other.
5. Remembering The Important Stuff
It goes without saying that this challenge is probably the most relatable amongst all of us moms! Half of my children are now school agers who have busy little lives of their own. From mounds of homework, to school events and fundraisers, doctors appointments and all of the little things in between. With so many individual lives to stay on top of, I’m bound to miss something somewhere!
Time Management! This is something all of us moms benefit from and must implement in our lives! Most days I still feel like a chicken without its head when every minute of the day is booked, but if time management wasn’t a part of my daily I’d just be a plain old hot mess!
For one, I like to use a very large calendar as my main calendar where I record everything like hubby’s work schedule, appointments, events, etc. I use a yearly planner and a weekly wall board planner to help me micro manage my time between working on the blog, Tinkergarten, other business ventures and anything on the main calendar I have going on that week.
I also take full advantage of those friendly little text alerts that a lot of offices provide for their clients (thank GOODNESS for those). Lastly, if your phone happens to double as one of your unofficial organ like mine, there are tons of apps for busy families on the market to help you keep track of it all, like the Our Home app.
It’s a super fun task manager and calendar that allows the whole family to get involved, full of rewards and point systems. It’s a great app that I can’t wait to write a personal review on, but in the meantime check out Shaindy’s over at My Happily Hectic Life awesome review of Our Home here.
Those are just a few of the challenges big families face. Every family is unique, but one thing remains the same across all families and that is that no challenge is bigger than the love we have for this big life.
What are some of your biggest challenges you face as a mom of many and how have you conquered them? Lets chat about it! Leave a comment below!