07 October 2011

Large Family Living - advise, please!

I stumbled upon this big family link up over at Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling and the timing couldn't be more perfect.

I have five kids and I don't really feel like we are that big of a family.  I know that if I stretched outside my little bubble, I would realize that to a lot of people, we actually are.  Which is why I somehow found myself schedules to give a talk on raising a large family.

So, here I am asking begging for some advice.  If you were to attend a large family living talk, what would you want to hear?  Keep in mind, this is going to be a mainly secular audience, so it's more logistical than spiritual.

So, go ahead: ask your questions, give your tips and advise, tell me what you've read / heard before, help me!  I promise to reprint my talk here for all to read. 


Heritage of Home said...

Well, I have six children, and I am always wanting to know more about how to organize our home, our outings, our groceries, our food intake.

The price of living has gone sky high, and I am a stay at home, home schooling momma! I want things to run smoothly. But the problem is I am a Scatter-Brain! Literally. If it is out of my sight, it is out of my mind. Things have to be right under my nose! That makes for a pretty clutter filled house if you ask me. I can't wait to find out what others will say on here for you!

Jamerrill Stewart said...

First off, thank you for linking up for the Big Family Link-up today! It was kind of a spur of the moment thing, but obviously a "God thing" that has worked out well!

When I speak to moms groups about homeschooling usually the conversations turns towards organization, schedules, meal planning etc. I would say go at it from that angle. Share how you manage your days and mushroom out from there.

God Bless!

andrew said...

Congrats! This is exciting. I am anxious to hear the details. In the meantime, here is type of talk I would attend (keep in mind that I am a guy and probably not your target market): dispel the misconceptions of a big family such as, the children do not get enough attention, parents are too worn out, it's too expensive to have more than two, and that it gets more difficult with each additional child. Good luck writing your speech. I am looking forward to hearing it. Love ya!

Sarah said...

Thank you for the tips and ideas! They are all definitely helpful and I already feel a little calmer about the whole thing!
Everyone else - feel free to keep the ideas coming!

Jill said...

Hi Sarah! I've gotten into a couple of discussions/arguments with people about big families and the role of the older siblings. As in, how much can parents depend on them to help out vs. putting too much responsibility on them, etc. Is it a good thing to expect them to help with the little ones, or is it robbing them of their childhood?
Does it help them in the long run to have work around the house, or does it make them bitter toward their siblings? And how does a big family balance that kind of thing (the work load vs. playtime).

Good luck with your talk! I'm very interested to read it!

Anonymous said...

I was so impressed with the way your organized your trip to Paul's wedding. The idea of putting each child's outfit for the day (including socks and underwear) in individual plastic baggies was really great! Only the mom of many would thing of that.
Your Mama (not of many....but Ooma to many!)

Sarah said...

Jill - Good points! Thanks!

Mama - That was a fantastic idea, wasn't it? Too bad I stole it from someone else, so I can't take credit!! Thanks for the reminder, though. It's a good point to remember.

It's interesting, too, that so many women I have had discussions with almost seem like they are just looking for permission to do what they feel is the natural course (have more children), but is so obviously counter cultural.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

Good for you! I, too, am Mum to 5 and am on the lookout for organizing, meal-planning and ideas, how to stay close as a family. Good luck with the talk!
*When you have a good idea from someone else, you may not be able to take the credit for the idea itself, but you CAN accept credit for sharing with others who didn't see the original!
Hope the talk goes well!
Donna L.

amanda said...

Sarah, I found you at Faith and Family. I am a mom of 3 so far. I am (God willing) going to be blessed with a "large" family someday. I would want to hear about your shortcuts (i.e. laundry help?, scheduling, babysitting co-ops) that you use. Also if you cook for the freezer to save time or other kitchen tips (bigger kids help with dishes). Other topics could be, finding spouse/me time, sibling rivalry, treating each kid as an individual, reminding us to take special interest in each child (even if it is taking #4 to the post office with you.) Good luck and God bless you with this talk and your beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

I think they've given good ideas. I'm a mom of 5, #6 on the way and I know I'm always looking to see how to manage everything better -- from cleaning, to cooking, to getting everyone to do what they need to do so I can do what I need to do. Oh, and someone mentioned laundry, which eats up way too much of my time!

Like you, I don't feel like we're such a big family (used to be the norm) but people act like we're freakish, I think partly because our kids are also fairly close in age.

I'm sure the Holy Spirit will guide you to what would be most helpful for your audience.

Jamie said...

I would love to hear a talk about balance in Mother's life. Balance between being a wife, mom, self-care, outside activities, housekeeping. How to know when you're burnt out. How to get out of being burnt out.

RealMom4Life said...

Here are a few things we've been asked (#8 on the way) or have asked other big families along the way. What about siblings giving gifts to each other at Christmas (we give each child a couple bucks per sibling and help them buy something - those are our stocking stuffers...I know other families who have drawn names, siblings having special time with each other, friends seem to love coming here to play, balancing activities-we simply cannot do the one activity/child/season thing, bedtime rituals with many kids, balancing older kids' need for rides, etc. with younger kids' need to just stay home and nap. I look forward to reading your talk!

Anonymous said...

If this is for a group that has big families the thing I have frequently heard is that there is a lot of negativity in the general public about big families. As a mom of 6 (7 and under) we generate a fair amount of interest in public together and if I respond in a positive way to a comment I invariably am told how blessed or lucky I am to have such a big family . . . thus I think if you talk about comments about familly size instead of focussing on the negative (as we all tend to do) I would talk about all the positive comments and really how much others seem to wish they could have a large family and how is IS possible to cope with a large family! Not sure if that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I am a mom of 8 and the things I would be most interested in hearing would bee how to help my children be each other's best friends, and the importance of teaching them to pitch in as part of the family while still keeping the balance of making sure they get time to just be kids. Also, as a mom, I often need to be reminded of the importance of staying balanced and healthy myself. And what another commenter said, also, about the importance of the way we react to comments about family size. I truly believe that even those comments which may at first seem rude, were not really intended that way, but rather, stem from the unfamiliarity in our culture with large families. It's no longer the "norm" and I think people aree not sure how to react when it catches their attention, so they might make a thoughtless comment. If I respond with grace, and assume positive, or at least neutral, intentions, I usually find that the person actually admires me for having a large family. Also, it gives a much better witness to the joy of having a large family than it would if I got all offended and defensive. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. God bless.

Sarah said...

Wow! You all are amazing. Thank you so much for the tips and advice. It is going to make a huge difference in this talk.

Keep it positive is a great idea. I think the snarky comments can bring us all down, but there is so much positive to share!