Friday, January 25, 2008

Big Families and the Moms Who Blog Them

By Rocks In My Dryer

I have four children, which is not enough to get me my own Discovery Channel special, but it is enough to cause curious strangers in grocery stores to ask, "are they all yours?"

I'm sure the fact that one of the children is making monkey noises and another is trying to open a box of cereal has nothing to do with the strangers' look of sympathy. Or maybe that's disdain?

There was never a magical moment where my husband and I decided we were going to have a larger-than-average family, just an ongoing sense that all the little souls meant to join our family weren't all here yet.

(They're all here now. Oh boy, are they are ever.)

And despite the extra doses of mischief in the grocery store, the endless laundry, the living space in our home that seems to shrink daily, I would not trade this rowdy lifestyle for all the peace and quiet in the world. My husband and I both come from small families, and we watch with great joy as our brood never has any shortage of companionship. Watching the various sibling dynamics develop and evolve is undoubtedly one of the most interesting parts of my parenting journey.

While news of declining birth rates and a western "population implosion" abound, there are still plenty of families choosing to have a larger-than-average number of children. (In fact, the U.S. is experiencing a "baby boomlet", according to MSNBC.) And thankfully, many of these families are writing blogs. Blogs written by moms of many are among my favorite blogs to read--I love to watch how these women manage their homes with grace and laughter and unbelievably clever organization.

Katherine at Raising Five has written recently about some of the specific resources that have helped her navigate the raising of her crew.

Mary at Owlhaven is a mom to ten, including four biological children, two children adopted from South Korea and four children adopted from Ethiopia. She gives some practical advice for a common difficulty in large families:

I personally think the hardest thing about having a large family is finding individual time with each child. The youngest kids tend to get the lion’s share of my time during the day, but it is important to remember older kids need time to chat with mom, even when they seem pretty self-sufficient. We stagger bedtimes and let the big kids stay up a little later. which gives us a little chance to chat. I also rarely run errands alone– almost always I take one or two kids along. I’ve found that it is much easier to have a nice chat when there are only a couple kids along with me, and it feels more special to the child as well.

Angie at Larger Families (pregnant with number seven) also writes on teaching her kids to master the mess, noting that

This is harder than it sounds, because I have to factor in resistance, attitude, ineptitude. It is hard work training children. It’s even harder when you have to train yourself first. But the rewards are beyond measure.

Amy's Humble Musings has been chronicling her family's preparation to pack up their six kids and move to a converted Amish farmhouse in Kentucky, in an effort to simplify life for all of them.

Jenni at One Thing, expecting her 12th, writes her answer to the oft-asked question: How do you do it?

This question is overwhelmingly the winner of most-frequently-asked, even though it is vague and largely rhetorical. Do what, exactly? Breathe? Live? Get up in the morning? Make coffee? Wrangle toddlers? Adjudicate disputes? Potty train? Keep my eyeballs from rolling around independently of one another?

I suspect I do it the same way everybody else on this terrestrial plane does, whether they acknowledge the existence of a higher Power or not.

By the grace of God, baby. By the grace of God.


Published at BlogHer

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