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The downside of having a big family

1. If I ever win a family vacation for 4, it will be very hard to chose who will be left at home.

2. Look at all those dirty boots.

3. Nobody gets his or her own pumpkin on Halloween, unless they can completely cut, scrape, and carve it him or herself. We tried doing 6 jack-o-lanterns one year. Never again. One pumpkin is sufficient.

4. The amount of milk they drink weekly is a little embarrassing.

The Milky Way

5. A bunch of bananas is gone in a flash of yellow.

6. Being counted audibly in public.

7. Having to sit at 2 or more tables in restaurants.

8. The school papers I have to sort through make the Oxford English Dictionary look like a leaflet.

9. When sampling foods at Costco, we clear the trays, which makes other people cranky.

10. In the school pickup line, we look like a daycare van.

11. At the store, we look like a daycare outing.

12. Seasonal clothing swap-outs take two weekends a year to accomplish.

13. Waiting for your turn is a way of life.

14. When traveling, we have to get 2 hotel rooms.

15. The wide range in ages means someone is always bored during any given activity.

16. The wide range in ages means the little kids grow up more quickly.

17. We tremble at the thought of car insurance for multiple teen drivers.

18. One day park admission to Disneyland: $625, and that’s with kids under 3 free.

19. In every family photo, there is at least one person blinking, sneezing, looking off into the wild yonder.

Christmas Morning 2011

20. Deafening noise.

21. We are memorable, which sometimes isn’t very handy.

22. School picture day is silly-expensive, even when buying the cheapest available package.

23. A lot of moms with many kids deny it, but enduring many pregnancies IS hard on your body. It doesn’t mean the kids aren’t worth it or multiple pregnancies shouldn’t be allowed. It just means it is almost impossible to be pregnant a dozen times (me) and not exhibit some sort of medical issue.

24. Grilled cheese sandwiches: Buh-bye, entire loaf of bread, except for the heels.

Lunchtime! Thank Goodness for Griddles

25. The house will be too quiet someday.

(Coming soon: The upside of having a big family. You’ll be glad to know it was far easier to make that list than this list.)

26 comments to The downside of having a big family

  • You speak truth, dear Gretchen. Everywhere we go, we are a circus sideshow, even if everyone is behaving! And would you believe that I have YET to get the winter clothing put into drawers? We just keep limping along…

  • Laura

    I can relate to nearly every one of these!

  • Oh, love this, Gretchen! I do get all achy and sad when I see things that only come in 4’s.


  • THIS IS ALL SOOOO VERY TRUE. OMG! Love this!! You hit the nail ON the head! Don’t forget about the laundry. The laundry monster is sometime, soon, going to freakin’ swallow me whole.

    • Gretchen von Lifenut

      LAUNDRY. It’s a daily battle. Thankfully, I sort of like doing laundry. Weird, I know. It’s cooking I have problems with…as evidenced with my burned grilled cheese sandwiches.

      Thank you for your comment! Love meeting moms of many. We need to stick together.

  • Kim

    My family is only half the size of yours, but YES!!! I so agree! Also, I was number 4 of 5, so I can relate to all of these either as the Mom or the kid 🙂 Love it!

  • LOL! Yes, these were great. I buy three bunches of bananas, every other day (one ripe, one green, and one in between). We homeschool and we don’t eat wheat/grains, so I couldn’t identify much with the school stuff, but I have been asked if I’m a daycare. 😀

    We have actually won two trips… one for four, and most recently a trip for six to Orlando. I turned both down. The trip givers where incredulous, they couldn’t believe I’d do that, but either we all go, or none of us do. I was told “well, maybe next year we’ll give away a trip for a larger group, and maybe you’ll win that.” LOL, yeah… what are the chances? 🙂

    • I meant to say, I couldn’t identify much with the school stuff, or the grilled cheese… 😀 (to explain the wheat/grains comment). Our house is also remarkably quiet, most of the time, but they’re outside a lot. And they’re all girls. 🙂

      • Gretchen von Lifenut

        How painful to turn down free trips, but not as painful as being the people left behind. I’ve always thought if we somehow won a trip, we’d find a way to pay for everyone else, but for something like Orlando, it probably wouldn’t be do-able at this point. Maybe if I won a trip to Denver!?

  • This is a funny list. I can’t wait to read the upside!

  • Gretchen – You are truly an inspiration and super mom. Your kids are so lucky to be in your large, beautiful family! What a Christmas picture. And I thought it was hard to get my 2 to look at the camera and smile at the same time.

  • Even when everything is clean and put away, it still looks like a tornado. Or is that just me?

    Kids eat free nights are only marginally helpful since we have so few adults and so many kids.

    Even when it’s quiet, it’s loud.

    This is fun. A sense of humor is essential to this crazy life.

    • Gretchen von Lifenut

      It helps when the oldest kids eat from the adult menu. Then they count toward the little kids eating free. Actually, that makes no sense. Having kids who must order from the adult menu is NO FUN. We used to eat out a lot more often…

  • HA!!! I could’ve Written this post!!! We don’t go through milk though!!! Many kids means they drink water!!! And grilled cheese for an instant dinner isn’t an instant dinner at all when you are feeding eight kids!!! And pancakes for breakfast…hahhahha… someone is going to be waiting a very long while!!!… And an amble through the store or down the sidewalk always means a trail of kids because we can’t fit across the aisle. And no we can not share a pew with another family – we take up a whole pew in church and then some. When you do laundry from a week away you wash and peg and fold: thirty shirts, thirty trousers, thirty undies and sixty socks!!! And once a week I make sure that 160 finger and toenails are chopped!!! I think I need to write a post like this too!!!

    • BAH… I meant weekend away!!! Don’t even think about the laundry for a week away!!!

      • Gretchen von Lifenut

        When we drove to California a few years ago, I wrote a post titled, “We took 56 pairs of underwear to California.” Luckily, one of the places we stayed had a washer and dryer, which we used several times. Having a big family means doing laundry on vacation!

        We take up all sorts of rows ~ movie theater rows, church rows, school show rows. If we don’t arrive early, we don’t sit together! And people aren’t very accommodating, it seems.

  • Susan

    You have captured it beautifully! We have one more cup of milk in our line-up, but all the rest is so familiar.
    Love your blog!

  • Oh Gretchen, I LOVE this! We only have 4, and we fit into some of them. Stop making me want more…although my house is getting bigger…

    I will most definitely not read your good things post, since the “bad” things one makes me want more. I’m not sure what that says about me? 😉

  • Loved this post- so cute! And I thought 2 kids was a lot and enough 🙂 Haaa

  • I have discovered the accommodating problem to be very true – we are early for everything because of it!!! Worst scenario, on an overnight flight to the UK… And very small children scattered throughout the plane with nary an adult in sight. Saving grace – the over-night-ness – much as my kids think they were awake watching tv all night they were actually asleep within minutes of departure right until the descent… when of course the two youngest both had blow out diapers and everyone else needed the bathroom – stat!

  • Mary B

    Oh how it was fun for me to read this list! I grew up the youngest of 7. We were a combined family since my dad was widowed and my stepmom divorced. They married when I was 1 and had a combined family of 7 kids under 8. I’m now 42 and we celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last April. All of us get along great.
    My parents were both involved in the schools system. My mom was a part-time preschool teacher and my dad was a social worker. They worked hard to make things work and money was always tight. However, we did manage to get away somewhere spring break and usually rented a cottage during the summer.
    Sine there were 7 of us we each had a “day of the week”. During that day it was our responsibility to walk the dog, set the table and do various responsibilities. THere was also a schedule for doing the dishes.
    What I learned is that no matter the size of your family matters its how you were raised. We were all raised that legacy matters. And that you always care for your siblings. My husband has 1 brother. We never see him and he lives in the same town. We’ve attempted to make contact and at least stay in contact via e-mail/texting but we usually get no response.
    Hang tough! Its hard and I still don’t know how my mom did ALL our laundry on only 1 day a week. (I have 3 kids and I can’t keep up!)
    The memories I have of ALL of us together are priceless!

  • Love this post! The Disneyland one blew me away.

  • Queenkai

    I love this post because I was just discussing this with my husband. I admit I only have 6′ but anyone with more than 3 kids in this town is considered a large family and the mom is considered nuts. I wanted to cry when you mentioned the bananas ( we are considering a tree). Can’t wait for the next post.

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