A Current Snapshot Of Our Big Family Life

“You sure have your hands full!”

“Are they all yours?”

“How many sets of twins do you have?”

“Are you religious?”

“Do you homeschool?”

“What do you drive? A Bus?”

“Have you ever thought about the carbon footprint your large family is having on the planet?”

“Are you done having kids?”

“Do you know (insert other family who also has more than 4 kids here)?”

These are all things people have said to me. Some of them get on my nerves. Some of them make me wanna punch people in the throat. Yup, I can get that irritated by it. The funny thing is sometimes I get the comments when I don’t even have ALL of my kids with me. It’s hard not to respond in a snarky manner when someone says, “Looks like ya got your hands full” when I only have 3 of the 8 kids with me. For whatever reason it makes me feel like they are trying to tell me I can’t handle my children or am not in control of the situation. Regardless, it doesn’t come off as a compliment. I can honestly say I am more in control of the situation when I am getting 2 full grocery carts to my van with a toddler in the shopping cart and a baby strapped to my back. Yeah I am sure it looks strange to see me pushing a cart while pulling the other but I assure you “I got this!” I truly believe God wouldn’t give me more than I can handle. I am not perfect but somehow I do my best with the skills God has given me to be a Mom, wife and keep my house rolling.

As a mom of 8 I am not normal. Pretty sure there isn’t anything normal about our family and that’s totally cool with me. A house of 6 boys and 2 girls can be a bit much for anyone and being the Mom of a crew I can say it’s certainly not for everyone. Our kids have chores, there are rules and to do lists but there is still much to be done. I do 2-3 loads of laundry EVERY SINGLE DAY. I can put it off every now and then but then the next day will be 4-6 loads and well, that doesn’t sound awesome. I empty and re-load the dishwasher 3-4 times a day depending upon the time of year. The kids help with various chores based on their rotating chore chart and it all works.

This past week is a great example of how things work. We have a routine for the school week and a routine for the weekends. The weekend came and went and then late Sunday night we recieved notice that school would be closed on Monday due to snow. On Monday we then received notice that due to the extreme cold temperatures school would be closed Tuesday & Wednesday. On Wednesday we were then notified that the polar vortex would be staying a bit longer causing the temperature to reach -58 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind chill thus no school again Thursday.

So we had 2 days of our regular weekend family time followed by 4 full days of bonus family time. The 4 days were different because we were basically shut-in. It was too cold to go outside so it wasn’t like a typical snow day where the kids can get outside and be active. Many families were overwhelmed with this bonus time. Our family rocked it. Why? Our big family comes with friends. This is precisely what spurred this post. My daughter who is 2 weeks shy of turning 14 said, “Mom I love that we have a big family. Many of my friends hate snow days because they miss their friends and feel that they have nothing to do at home. I love being home to BE with my family. I miss them when I am at school.” After hearing her thoughts I reflected upon how we spent our time over those 4 bonus days.  The littles played Duplo blocks, pretend police officers, matchbox cars, little people, tinker toys. The Middles built forts for everyone to play in, they read books to the littles, they worked on their science projects and they played computer games. The bigs played some X-box, connected with the younger ones playing Minecraft, played ping-pong with the middles and played knee hockey with the littles. Everyone seemed to pair off here and there to play, read, or build some legos. We made lots of snacks, baked yummy treats, made some snow cream and watched some fun family movies. We snuggled, we argued, we played and did our best to enjoy the bonus time together. Although they don’t always get along sometimes their siblings are their best friends. And yes, I did have more dishes than normal but I didn’t feel like a cruise director trying to entertain everyone.  I was able to watch them interact, play with them, read to them, snuggle them and just BE. It seemed to happen organically and that right there made me smile from the inside out.

“You sure have your hands full!”

So, yes. Yes I have my hands full. As a mom we are always juggling things and we make it work.

“Are they all yours?”

Yes, they are all mine. (Although in public places they do seem to attract more children that are NOT mine. It’s pretty funny.)

“How many sets of twins do you have?”

None. We don’t have any twins as of yet but we would welcome a set of twins.

“Are you religious?”

Yes. We aren’t perfect but we are children of God and do our best to raise our children in a loving christian home. We attend church every Sunday, we are involved in our church and do our best to serve the Lord.

“Do you homeschool?”

A little. Our school aged children attend public charter schools; however, the little ones do a preschool at home with Mom.

“What do you drive? A Bus?”

No we don’t drive a bus. We have a Nissan NV & a Ford 150. We used to have a Chevy Suburban and a GMC Yukon XL but after outgrowing them we did A LOT of research on larger vehicles and went with the Nissan NV and LOVE IT!! It’s a 12 person van that drives like a truck & tows like a dream. It has plenty of room, fits carseats well & has a back-up camera. I will be the first to admit it was hard to find one that wasn’t a commercial van but it was worth the work to get one. If I could wave my magic wand the only change I would make would be to add 4-wheel drive and put a vacuum in it. Even without those things I love my van. It’s a box on wheels and I can’t imagine life without it.

“Have you ever thought about the carbon footprint your large family is having on the planet?”

No I don’t think about the carbon footprint we are making. We recycle. We regularly use the thrift store & pass down clothing from one child to another but no we don’t think about it.

“Are you done having kids?”

Well after our first was born we thought we’d wait 5 years before having another but baby #2 arrived 2 years after the first. We thought we were done after 4. We thought baby #5 might be the last and we had baby #8 last year. So I guess it’s safe to say we aren’t sure. 😉

“Do you know (insert other family who also has more than 4 kids here)?”

This one is a funny one. No there isn’t a club for large families, at least not that I am aware of. We are finding that we are meeting other larger families. This has more to do with our van. We have people now ask if we know other families that have vans like ours. Yes, we are meeting those families and it’s funny. Maybe we should start a club for families with lots of children who also drive Nissan NV’s. 🙂

For other Mama’s who hear these comments and questions know that I feel ya. Like most other unpleasant things, this too shall pass. 🙂

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