My husband and I are blessed with 7 beautiful children. Life with 7 kids is clearly quite different to life with 2 or 3 children, but there are a good number of things that people assume about large families that simply are not true. Here are some of the myths I have heard many times.
You can’t possibly love so many kids as much as I do my 1 or 2 kids
Actually, yes, I can. Your heart does not divide itself with each additional child, but rather it grows a little bit more. I clearly remember asking my own wonderful mother (she has 8 children) after my first was born, how I could possibly love more children when I already loved my first so much. She told me not to worry, I would find more love. She was right. Each new baby, I love so much I cannot imagine life without him/her. I don’t suddenly love the other kids less, I just seem to have more love to give!
Added to this, each additional baby not only has loving parents, but also a number of adoring siblings each arguing over who gets to hold the baby next. Love is not lacking that’s for sure.
How can you give each child the attention they need?
Surely the more you have the more neglected they become? The answer to this is simple: a child’s needs change as they grow. A newborn needs his mother in a very different way to a 14 year old teenager and you can very often meet the needs of both at the same time. The needs of a tiny baby are simple, all they want are the comfort of a mothers arms and the food from her breasts. The baby can have this at the same time as the teenager has her discussion on the benefits of chalk pastels over oil pastels with mom!
The toddler is perfectly happy to listen to a story read while baby is feeding. The baby is perfectly happy to sleep in the carrier while the older kids have ice-skating. In fact, often the youngest needs a break from the attention showered on him. I will frequently be heard saying, “Please leave Benedict alone for a few minutes, give him a break”. The baby gets handed from one to the next sibling all day and is never ever bored for even one minute. As one kid is tired of playing with him, there is another one to take the spot of entertainer! No, the youngest are never lacking attention.
You must be wealthy! I can’t possibly afford more than my 2/3 kids
Well, what the person actually means is that they cannot afford to continue their current lifestyle with added children. Of course, no one is denying that children are costly. They need to eat, be clothed and educated. But each child does not need their own iPad, or separate bedroom, or the latest designer shoes or clothes. They do not need to eat out at restaurants or have takeaways every day. So, when someone tells me they cannot afford more children, I just smile, because yes, they are probably correct, as they are probably not willing to make a few changes in their lifestyles. I have frequently met women who tell me they regret not having one more child. I have never met a mother that regrets having any of her children! Children are riches, more precious than any diamonds.
You must be a saint, you must have so much patience
Only special people can have so many children, I run out of patience with 2 kids, how do you manage with 7? Truth is, I’m no different. I’m no saint. I’m not a special type of person and I very definitely run out of patience, just like any other mother. A tantrum-ing toddler is hard. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first toddler or 5th toddler. That moment is hard and patience is low. The only advantage I have over a first time mom is that I know this phase does not last forever and I will have my sweet child back again as time passes. Life with children involves a lot of self sacrifice, and while I’m not a saint, I pray that my children will lead me to sainthood as I continue to try every day to deal with daily struggles.
A mom of 2 little kids often will look at me with her fuzzy eyes and wonder how on earth I manage 7 kids when her 2 exhaust her so much. What this mother forgets is that I don’t have 7 kids between the ages of 0 and 3 years. By the time you have 7 kids, your older kids can be of great help. Whether it’s making a cup of coffee, holding baby so mom can bath or making the toddler a sandwich. Things are surely easier than when there are only little ones that rely 100 percent of the time on mother for every need!
Gosh, how many domestic helpers do you have?
Your house must need so much cleaning! Actually, I have no domestic helpers. We all pitch in and do our share. Every morning 30 minutes is clean up time. We clean, vacuum, wash dishes, hang laundry. And again in the evening 30 minutes is spent cleaning up to make the house look decent. The children are learning very necessary life skills and earn some pocket money in the process. We all live in this house, we all help to keep it clean. However, needless to say: my home is not out of Top Billing, but it’s clean and tidy enough to be comfortable (most the time).
Wow, your births must be so easy
You must love pregnancy! I’m sure baby practically just falls out! Ha ha ha. No, that is not how it works. Actually, with horrible morning sickness with every single baby, I do not love pregnancy. And while most my births have been smooth, baby does not fall out and most my labours have been 16-24 hours long.
Life with a large family is indeed quite different, but hopefully some of the crazy myths are now explained!