5 Things Every Couple Should Know Before Starting A Big Family
Being a parent in a large family is what I have always aspired to be. Whenever people asked me how many kids I wanted, I would reply with a hasty, “7.” My grandmother had multiples, and she was happy right?
I was young and naive.
Here are a few things to know about living with a large family before setting out on this task yourself.
- Bathroom Breaks
I don’t care how many bathrooms are in your house. Whenever you need to use it, it will be full. If it’s not full when you decide it’s your turn, someone will run in right before you. My youngest boy likes to steal the bathroom out from under me. I usually wait until it’s necessary to visit the facilities. It’s emergent. We have to go right now, or this factory will explode. “Daddy, I have to go potty.” Wait.. are you serious? You don’t understand son. Daddy needs to go first. “But I can’t hold it.” Now… with my son, I don’t know if he can or cannot hold it. What I do know is he won’t. His mom decided one time that she really should have the right to go first. My son peed in the trashcan and the floor around it.Don’t get me started on my girls. They will lock themselves in there for hours under the guise of potty time. For some reason, potty time leaves them looking refreshed and ready to start clown college. (They may not be the best at applying make-up yet.) Then there’s my wife. Three showers a day? Really honey? A king needs his throne room!
- Quiet Time
Forget whatever notions you have of peace and quiet. They talk. They run. They dump out entire totes full of toys to find that one car that you threw away three weeks ago because the wheels fell off. Ashlee works in EMS. They have some pretty messed up hours. She has worked a 96 hour consecutive stretch before. Do you think the kids care? Well, the pretend to. They break into stealth mode. “Shh, Mom’s asleep. She had a hard week.” Stampede. Who would have thought tippy toes could sound like a herd of Elephants in the middle of a mouse invasion?I finally tell them they need to settle down in front of the TV for at least an hour. It will give them something to focus on, and keep the earthquakes to a minimum. Netflix plays a funny movie. Their favorite part comes on the screen. Guess what. Kids don’t really do that cute little giggle to express themselves. All four of my children let out a chorus of laughter, snorts, and farts. Yes. They get the laughing farts. This causes more laughter. After 15 minutes of this, I concede as a failure because I notice my wife has gotten dressed, and is glaring at me with her hair sticking up at all angles.
- Road Trips
Car rides are not fun. First, you have to give up your cute little car that gets awesome gas mileage, and trade it in for a very snazzy minivan that makes all the ladies squeal. Then there’s the car seats. In my case, I had my children back to back. Everyone was in a carseat at the same time. And I just heard the most wonderful news! *eyeroll* My state has instituted a new law that puts 3 out of 4 back into boosters and harnesses. I know, it’s safer, but crawling all through the van to buckle everyone up isn’t the easiest task in the world. The back of the van was not made for adults sizes.We only have one vacant seat in our vehicle. Everyone is in close quarters. I took a road trip a while ago, and for hours on end I heard this. “He’s touching me!” “She won’t stay on her side!” “Stop kicking my seat!” “If y’all don’t stop, I’m pulling this van over!” (Says the mom who is definitely not in the position to pull over since she’s not driving.) I thought I had an awesome remedy to the whole thing. I turned up the radio. That little knob is magic. When you turn it, the volume of the van’s inhabitants increases as well. It was interesting, but it wasn’t something I wanted to explore further.
Helpful hint: Buy sound cancelling headphones for any and all trips.
Never go to any store without a cowboy hat and lasso. Have you seen those parents who have a screaming toddler sitting in their basket? You have a mixture of compassion and irritation with them. Why won’t they just make their kids mind? It must be rough having to have that while shopping for groceries. Now multiply that by how many kids you want in your big family. Each time I visit Walmart, they scatter. One tries to B-line for the toys. Another is ducking under clothing racks looking for Narnia. The littlest ones are trying to find their favorite candies. Lord forbid we tell one of them no. Then we have to drag them through the store kicking and screaming because buying them a new action figure at the last store was just not enough. They need something at EVERY store EVERY time.Ever had 4 kids mad at you at one time? Just give up, and go home. Your shopping experience is over for the day. You may have a moment of kindness flush over you bidding you to buy one item for one child. It’s gas. Remember that. Each time you get that feeling, it’s gas. Because once you buy one item, you hear the all too familiar, “UH! That’s not fair!” which leaves you standing in front of a wall of candy for two hours because the other ones can’t decide what they want.
- It’s Worth It
Yeah, having a large family may not be for everyone. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of patience. But my quiver is full, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Each child is very different from the other. I get to help shape all their futures. I get to watch their personalities develop. I have deep memories with each child individually that I wouldn’t trade for the world. There is a love that floats in the air at my house that I just can’t explain. I get crazy at times, and maybe a little exasperated, but what parent doesn’t? With a little hard work, I have put together a team that will help anyone in need, love on any person who is hurting, and will take on any opposition together. My family is my army that is always by my side. It is my hope that they will go out there, and make the world a better place.
So just remember, there will be times when you will want to pull out your hair, but take it from a dad who now has 11 years experience, the good times outweigh all the stress involved. I get 4 hugs every morning and before bed each night. Have have four children reminding me multiple times a day that I am loved. They take interest in me, and want to be around me even though I’m a nerd. They like my TV shows. They read my blog. They cheer me on. As much as I am a father to them, they are an inspiration to me.
Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section, and please, by all means, share this on your social media profiles. Get the word out. There’s a new dad in Blog Town. 😀
I’m off to drink a cup of coffee. Thank you for reading.