Before we can talk about the blessings and challenges of a big family, we first have to define “big family”. What – exactly - constitutes a big family? When you see a reality TV show exhibiting a family with nineteen children, a four-child family seems kind of small. But, for most of us – families with more than two children seem big – or at least bigger than usual. For the sake of our discussion, you can define “big family” however you would like to.
Being a part of a big family brings – both – blessings and challenges that are unique to family size. Here is a fun look at some of those delights and trials.
There is always someone to play with. Well… maybe. Sibling dynamics certainly have an impact on the truth of this statement. What I notice in my four-child family is that when two children are having a difficult time with each other, they have other siblings who they can gravitate to. Boredom should never be a problem because there is always someone to engage with in play, creative imagination, or a fun activity.
After every meal, your dishwasher is full and needs to be run. I don’t know about other moms of ‘big’ families, but my dishwasher is always full and my sink is always full. There are always dishes to wash, dishes to load, and dishes to put away. Even when I try to make life easier and use paper plates, I still seem to have an abundance of dirty dishes to pay attention to.
Life is like a pinball machine. You can look at this as a blessing or a challenge, depending how good you are at pinball. There is always someone who needs something. There is always something to clean or put away. There are always clothes being grown out of, dentist appointments to schedule, and schedules to keep track of. But, pinball machines are exciting, never dull, and have lots of cool sounds and flashy lights – much like a family with a lot of children!
Someone will always say they do not like the dinner you made. It’s hard to please everyone. My husband and I have very different food tastes, so I’m more lenient when it comes to the variation in food preferences between my children. However, without fail – there is always someone who groans when I answer the question about what is for dinner.
There is a built in support network. When joyous times are upon your family, you have a built in party. Happy occasions come up more frequently, and there is often something or someone to celebrate. When your family is facing a sad or difficult time, there is a network of support readily available to help and pitch in.
Getting along with others is a must . Throughout their lives, your children will work and play with people who exhibit a wide variety of personalities. Being a part of a big family with a variety of personalities will help prepare your child for the world outside of your home.
Having a lot of children can be expensive. Raising children is a costly endeavor, and many families consciously choose to stay small because of this. For many, however, the joys of having a large family – even if it means struggling a bit financially – far outweigh the burdens.
I would not say there are pros and cons to having a big family. Rather, I would say there are extra delights and there are unique challenges. No matter the size of your family, relationship dynamics – the coming together of various personalities - are always interesting to observe!