Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. ~Psalm 127:5
Big family, large family, boat load of kids, however you label a family with several kids, I think we are there. I don't know what the definition of a big family is. There are people like the Duggar's who make families like mine seem puny. Then there are people with 3 kids who label themselves as having a big family so clearly the definition of a large family is subjective. But with number seven on the way, I am going to take the leap and label us a big family....understanding that yes, there are several who have gone before us who have had twice as many as we do. However, I don't think that changes the fact that 7 is a lot. And if it's not then it just feels like a lot.
Within the past year I have had an interest in reading blogs written by other Christian woman who are raising 6 or more kids in hopes of gleaning wisdom and advice. The topics of organization and time management in particular interest me because to raise a family with a lot of little kids, those two things are almost a requirement. Otherwise it's just chaos. Maybe you like that kind of life but I don't. Many posts that I have read have been helpful and fun to read. On some level I can relate and that is nice.But then there are the posts where I say to myself, "I don't belong here". I may be raising the same amount of kids as this woman is but I cannot relate to what she is saying or talking about.
Do you know that some of these moms have meal/menu plans that are more complicated than trigonometry? My menu plan is simple and has worked great for me so far so I don't understand the need to make it so complicated. Do you know that I'm pretty sure I am one of the only moms raising 6+ kids that does not home school? And to be perfectly clear, I think homeschooling is a great option for some. Even the blogs written by non-christian moms are homeschoolers. So on that front, I can't relate. I apparently am also the only mom raising a big family that does not buy all my grains, sugars, spices, what have you's at whole foods in bulk....nor do I make my own bread because yeast intimidates me. It also would appear that I am the only large family mom who has no skills. I don't sew, quilt, knit, crochet, and I'm not at all artistic nor do I have the time to learn any of those things even though I wish I could do even one of them so I can't relate to the moms who are making their own clothes and curtains to cut costs. And apparently animals and large families go hand in hand. You will not find goats or cows or pigs or chickens (although that idea was briefly thrown around since we go through so many eggs) at our house...not even a cat or a dog. We do live in the woods but we are far from a family who farms and I can almost guarantee we never will be. My husband grew up on a farm so he knows perfectly well that is not the life for him...God would have to intervene big time!
But the thing that stood out to me the most and probably the thing I let influence me the most is that apparently I have the only 9 year old of a large family that if he so needed to, could not run the whole house like these families 9 year olds can. At least that is what they claim. Boy, girl, it doesn't matter. Now, I have an incredible 9-year-old. He is smart, kind, loving and has a good attitude about helping when he's asked. But he's also normal. He likes to do 9-year-old things and yes, most of the time he acts his age....AS HE SHOULD! I was really starting to feel like I was failing my kids because there is no way Noah could run the house should Ben and I one day need him to. Sure the kids would eat toast and cereal, he'd make sure they were safe in the house and could put a movie on for them. He could feed Tess a jar of food...maybe....if he absolutely had to, but diapers....NO WAY. Could he educate the kids, feed barn animals, make bread from scratch and and build a fire to keep the house warm? No he couldn't. Because he's 9. I'm so thankful my friend said this to me, "should any 9-year-old be running the house?". I'm so thankful for that comment because it helped me put things in perspective again. I was being way too hard on myself. My kids are just that, they're kids, and they should be allowed to be the age they are. Responsibility is good and they all (even our 2-year-old) have their chores and responsibilities that we require of them but they should not have to grow up faster than they need too. They will have plenty of time to be grown up and run a house of their own...they don't need to be capable of running mine, not at 9 anyway.
While there are the many day-to-day areas that make me feel I am inadequate for the calling of being a mom to several children and not qualified to call myself a "large family mom" there are a few very important ways we are on the same page. We agree that children are a blessing. They are a precious gift from God no matter what anyone says. You can think that 7 is too many but I will never listen because 7 is wonderful in our eyes. Is it overwhelming at times? Yes, it is but its wonderful nonetheless. When you get to watch these kids grow and know that God has entrusted you with the awesome responsibility of raising them you can't do anything but be thankful for this ministry God has given you. My kids are my ministry and it's a high calling! When you see all your kids interacting and loving on each other and see how excited they are when you bring a new baby home you know you're onto something good.
So, while I am not sure exactly where I fit in, one thing I do know for sure is that I love being a mom and I consider it a privilege and blessing that I get to be a stay-at-home mom. I love that I have a big family and I am okay with the way we are choosing to do things because we are seeking God's guidance and the choices we make are made with prayerful consideration for what God wants from us. I just need to take my own advice and not compare myself with the way these other "large family" moms are doing things. It's amazing how often I have to be reminded that God is not going to show someone else how I should be doing things, he's going to show me. And that is all I have to be concerned with!