Not many people have big families anymore. People are waiting longer to have children and having fewer of them. There are a lot of reasons not to have a large family. Here are a few.
Children are expensive.
They are a strain on the environment.
There are no guarantees with children.
They are really expensive.
They take all of your time so you can’t do the things you want to do in life (travel, have anything nice, etc.)
The world is a wicked place so why bring kids into it.
Did I mention they are expensive?
When I was in a theology class in college my professor made a statement that caught my attention. He said something to the effect of, “Christians should have large families. Children, in the Bible were always seen as a blessing. God told Adam to fill the earth. God never took back His command to fill the earth.” Up until this point in time in my life I’d never really thought about how many children I should have. I just assumed two children was the magic number since that seemed to be how many everyone was having. But that day was kind of a light bulb moment in my life that changed how I thought about children. It is one thing that has largely shaped why I wanted a large family from that time on.
If you are one of those people who think you would like to have more than 3 kids then I want to give you a little dad insight as to what that might look like.
My wife and I now have 5 children. I think we would qualify as a big family. Here are some observations about having a big family you should consider.
CHAOS – Big families must be willing to embrace chaos. One of our family logos is “Embrace the Chaos.” If you have to be in control of every situation a big family will crush you. Somebody in the family is always going to be crying, complaining, need something, hungry, sick or all of the above at all hours of the day. Just embrace it.
FAILURE – If you have a big family you have to learn to accept failure, personal failure. When you have one child you are very likely to be a close to perfect parent. You feel guilty if you forget any little thing. You try so hard to make sure your child is perfect, hitting every milestone before the other children. With your first child if they drop food on the floor you scold them if they pick it up to eat it. By the time a fifth child rolls around you scold a child that drops food and picks it up and throws it away because that is wasteful. Because of the size of the family your perspective changes. The demands of 5 children are sometimes overwhelming and it is often that a project is not complete; a child did not get a bath, a form for school was not signed or a recital was missed. Failure is part of it. You must learn to get over it and move on or parent guilt will crush you.
NO PRIVACY – Don’t be shocked to see fingers under the door when you are having a moment of solace in the bathroom. If you ever want to take a shower then you have to do it with a child in a car seat staring up at you. Don’t you dare try to see something on your phone without showing your kids. Kids are super nosey and they no nothing of boundaries.
NO SLEEP – Just write off a few years of your life when it comes to the sleep department.
SICKNESS – Big families share stuff…everything.
EXPENSE – You can’t eat out much because a meal with the family equals a small car payment. Children play sports, go to the doctor, need dental work/braces, and it all adds up. It feels like every dollar that comes in pretty much goes out. It is very difficult to travel because adding a family of 7 to someone else’s family can be quite the inconvenience.
I am not going to lie; having a big family is hard. Every night my wife and I go to bed completely exhausted.
While having a big family is hard I cant imagine there is anything better in the world than having a big family.
SO MUCH LOVE —- I mean big love. I have little girls that tell me multiple times every day how much they love me. Hugs and kisses till you can’t stand them anymore. The absolute joy of walking in the house and having a bunch of children screaming, “Daddy!!” in delight as they knock you over with hugs! SO MUCH LOVE!
TEAMWORK – I always wondered how the Duggars did it with 19 children. The older I get the more I understand. The older your kids get the more of a help they become. You just have to train them. The 10 year old takes out the trash, feeds the dog, cleans his rooms, vacuums, and watches his baby sisters. The Twin 7 year olds change diapers, wash clothes, clean their room, cook and do the dishes. The 3 year old…destroys everything (I call her the destroyer). They may not do it perfectly but every family member pitches in to make life manageable.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY – My children know that they are responsible for their schoolwork and homework. If they need something signed they must remind us. We do not remind them.
LAUGHTER – We laugh SO much! Kids are so funny. They are so full of joy and the wonder of life. Kids are always performing and cracking some kind of joke.
WHEN I GET OLD – One day when I get old, if the Lord allows, I want people around me. I want so many grandkids that I cannot remember their names. I know I will have a son and daughters that will take care of their mom and dad when we are sick or on our deathbed. So yeah, it’s selfish, but I want people to love me in the end. At the end of life people want those they love around them. The investments that last are the investments in people. When life is coming to an end you never think, man I wish I had more money to bring me comfort.
LITTLE WORLD CHANGERS – Ultimately our decision to have a large family was a spiritual one. We knew it would not be easy but we also knew that the Bible teaches us that children are a blessing from God. There is no greater joy than to see my children growing up and embracing Jesus. To see them pray and serve others is perhaps life’s greatest fulfillment.
If you are thinking about having a big family I will leave you with this, it is hard but IT IS WORTH IT! Now if you are physically able go make some babies, or go adopt some!