So you want a big family… (or not)

I had a very fun opportunity this past week. I recorded a segment for a podcast!

This all came about a couple weeks ago. I noticed I had been tagged a couple times in a post in the gDiapers Facebook community. I clicked to see what I was being called out for, and I instantly laughed upon seeing the post. They were looking for parents of large families (5+ children) to interview for their podcast.

After laughing, I sat and thought for a minute. I’m really the person my friends think of when asked if they know any crazy people who can’t seem to stop having babies?!? Yep. I am. *insert more laughing*

The focus was a lot about how you know when and if you’re done having babies. There were a lot of questions regarding this.. but one actually made me think. What would I say or what advice would I give to someone trying to decide if they’re done.

Considering only ONE of our SIX babies were planned, and one was a birth control baby when we thought we were finished, I have no advice to give on deciding whether you’re done or not. We have been blessed beyond measure – but with very little deciding. (Until now, that is..) That said — I do have a lot of insight on having a large family. So, if you’re sitting there, staring at your all-too-quickly growing baby, trying to decide if you want to set out to procreate like rabbits.. here’s a few things to think about:

•On your worst day, how do you handle the chaos? Large families come with a lot of chaos, even on the good days. You often find yourself running in circles. Like you’re in one of those revolving doors and can’t seems to figure out how to get out of it. Round and round you go. Same stuff, different kid. Over and over until you hit the mattress. (And then a couple times after you’ve hit the mattress. Kids, they just KNOW when you’ve attempted to relax!)

•Do you enjoy shopping at Costco? Costco is one of those things that is no longer a luxury. A trip to Costco used to be one of those “Oh! I can buy our entire months worth of groceries!” Nope. It’s basically a necessity just for a week’s worth of feeding 6 kids. Especially when almost all of them are growing boys with giant appetites. (Have you seen how much a preteen boy can put down?!? And WHERE does it go?????)

•Are you willing to size up your vehicle? Our particular dilemma when we found out that number 6 was on the way was that we would require 5 car seats or boosters to be installed. My gripe is that most large vehicles don’t feel the need to accommodate car seats like they should. We upgraded to a full size van just to fit the amount and types of seats we needed to install, plus give room for all the STUFF that going out with 6 kids requires. It also allows us to not fold our giant stroller (Uppababy Vista) so, yay for being lazy! I mean, uhhh, saving time!

•Are you one of those people who loves doing laundry?  Here’s an equation for you. Smelly, sweaty preteen + sticky, snot nosed toddler + slobbery, poop filled infant = A LOT OF LAUNDRY. Along with upgrading the vehicle, you may need to upgrade your washer and dryer capacity. I used to love laundry. I no longer love laundry.

•Cold and flu season.. when one goes down… the entire forest is going down with them. I’ll never forget when I was about 7 months pregnant.. our toddler vomited as we were getting him ready for bed. We thought it was a one off, as he seemed fine after. Put him down to bed and moved on. An hour later, our 3 year old followed suit. Oh no. Okay.. two was tolerable. By 3 am, we had 5 vomiting children and a pile of towels and sheets covering beds and the floor. (Which goes back up to “do you like laundry?” Ha!)

•Are you willing to become best friends with your local baristas? Let’s face it – coffee is my life line. Drink the coffee, do the things. Fairly certain my baristas know what kind of day I’m having based on how many times I roll my giant van through the drive-thru (also a necessity!) and how many children are crying as I do so. They know my drink based on time of day. No joke.

In all seriousness, though..

Do you want a lot of kids? This is probably the only thing that matters. Everything else works itself out. If you want a large family, if you love being a parent and want to keep doing it.. do it! We have our people, our tribes or our villages, whatever you want to call them.. and that’s great. They will all have an opinion on whether you should or shouldn’t have several kids. They’ll probably voice those opinions, too. But as nice as it is to have a support team, this decision is one only you can make, and you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.

We love our big family, and our children love our big family. Did we set out thinking we’d have 6 kids? No. It’s been amazing, though. We did make the decision to be done-done (or as done as you can be.. they say nothing is 100%) after baby girl.. We thought we were done after number 5, and she is the whipped cream that topped off our mocha.. We felt ready to make that decision of completion.

Half a dozen kids, one kid, no kids. We all have our ideas of what OUR perfect family is. None of us are right or wrong. Make the decision that works for your family. Also, keep an open mind. Sometimes surprises or tragedies happen and our ideas get changed a bit. Embrace your family, and never apologize for your decisions.

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