This month, we celebrate "large" families-those with four or
more kids. While smaller families may wonder how big families do
it, parents of larger families wonder how small families cope. And
though each large family that responded has different strategies
for staying organized, all agree on one thing: Their big families
are a big blessing.
My husband and I have six children: Shlomit, 12; Devi, 10;
Kinneret, 8; Amir, 7; Nechama, 4; and Noam, 20 months.
Our craziest, and paradoxically most organized, day is Sunday.
We have four kids who play soccer. We keep a chart listing who
plays where, when and who brings snacks and water.
One of the biggest payoffs for me was when I was at one son's
soccer game and another mother asked, "Pam, how many kids do you
I hesitantly responded, "I have six kids." She looked at me and
asked, "How did you get so blessed?"
That was one of the best moments of my life. Pam, mom of six,
With four children under 7, I find our "large family" busy, fun
and at times, overwhelming.
My biggest strategy is to stay organized. I have a separate
folder for each child to keep track of class lists, field trip
If you stay on top of the laundry it isn't bad. I do two loads
every day. Of course, the clothes are getting larger-and we aren't
on any sports teams yet-I may need to do three a day pretty soon.
Alison, mom of four, Grayslake
A look at the laundry situation at the Thoma family home in
Hebron, Ill. (family of six, with four kids ages 5 to 14):
Last year I decided doing laundry by color just wasn't
motivating for me anymore. I'm a people person. So I decided to
change my laundry schedule to be "family oriented." Monday, instead
of doing darks, it's boys' laundry day. I do my husband's and sons'
clothes. Tuesday is girls' laundry day. Wednesday it's back to the
boys and so on. It's been more inspiring to know I'm taking care of
their needs by name instead of color. Sylvia, mom of four,
We have a family of six - seven with our dog, Miles. Grant is 6,
Benjamin is 5, and we have 11-month-old twins-Natalie and
So many times I hear: "You have your hands full" and "How do you
Simple. I do it all for the love of my family.
It is also such a blessing to have a husband who is as hands on
as I am. Diaper per diaper, dish per dish, we are equals. We are
very lucky and cherish our "little" family.
To other parents of large families: enjoy. You are truly
blessed. Allison, mom of four, Libertyville
We have five kids: Riley, 9; Piper, 7; Major, 5; Glory, 2; and
Saylor, 1. Getting everyone up each morning is like a relay race.
Breakfast lasts between one and a half and two hours.
I thought about streamlining it, but decided it is worth the
individual attention I can provide each morning.
Eating together is a dinner event, less like a relay race and
more like a circus. Leslie, mom of five, Wilmette
How do you cope with a big family? Whoever wrote that query must
come from a small family. I have four kids: Francesca, 10; Inno, 9;
Frankie, 7; and Luciano, 4. There is no coping-it's not so negative
as you may think.
I think your outlook has everything to do with it. You will
crash and burn if you or your spouse are pessimistic.
I look at any family with one or two kids and wonder how they do
it without lots of siblings.
We don't do play dates or camps as much as smaller families
because we don't have to. Ask any four-kid mom what she signed her
kid up for this summer and nine out of 10 will say her kids are
happy to be home. Ceil, mom of four, Elmwood Park
Perhaps the question ought to be: "How do you cope without a
large family?" The natural assumption is that if 1 kid=X work, 5
kids=5X work. Fortunately, that's not how it works.
We have five children, and we're pursuing options for adoption,
but we do not feel our family is "large." It's just the right size
for making sure there's always someone to play with and for sharing
games, chores and clothes.
It's not as much extra work as one might think. Cooking for
three can be as much of a hassle as cooking for seven. Seven just
takes bigger pots.
It does seem once a family has more than a few kids, people ask
about reproductive plans. Someday we'll try the response a friend
came up with: "We'll stop as soon as we figure out what causes it."
But for every intrusive person, there is another who says, "How
Is it worth the extra laundry and extra planning? Without a
doubt. Elizabeth and Jud, parents of five, Evanston
We have eight kids: Jason, 15; Amanda, 14; George, 13; Matthew,
13; Kimmy, 12; Heavenly, 12; Johnny, 10; and Bobby, 7. Two are
biological; six are adopted.
On a recent trip to the library we walked in with our eight and
four friends. A librarian said: "I am so sorry, but we didn't know
there was a tour today. If you wait a few minutes, though, I can
I said, "No, we are just here with the family and a few friends
to look at books." We all laughed.
Our children are all wonderful. We wouldn't trade having a big
family for anything in the world. Sheila and Jim, parents of eight,
Greetings from the Mitchell family. We are a tribe of six: mom,
Felicia; dad, Kalonji; Elijah, 8; Emmanuel, 6; Ariel, 2; and
Isaiah, 3 months. Every day is an adventure-especially with one
bathroom in the house.
For the six of us to get out of the house, my husband or I
awaken two hours prior to departure. The older boys shower,
followed by the adults, and our toddler and baby bring up the
I'm in charge of scheduling, so every month my husband and I
coordinate our calendars. This is helpful when planning a rare
occurrence-such as a night out minus the children. Felicia, mom of
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