Rearing a large family is rewarding but, at times it is challenging task, especially when there are so many under one roof. (A certain nursery rhyme comes to mind.) We are the keepers of our homes and most of us would agree that we should guard that home against the ravages of the world. The world doesn’t seem to cater to the health and wealth of large families. Large families were the norm 100 years ago and were very well accepted, but in our modern society large families are an enigma, so how does all of that work?
There are many aspects of life to consider through the eyes of a large family. Life is very different. You not only have your own children playing in the yard, there are usually neighborhood children as well. But there is always someone at home to play. Get a drink of water, you ask? It’s better to put out a large cooler of water with cups so little feet aren’t walking back and forth into the kitchen.
Bandaids are bought in triplicate, beds are stacked from the floor to the ceiling in a room and children must learn to get along. We can’t always pay for everyone to ride at the carnival and sometimes we leave one behind at church but somehow we manage to make it through.
School studies, grocery shopping and driving everyone to their games, dances, or classes need smart scheduling. Organization is a must with laundry, school supplies, and clothing with accessories. Many belongings are all labeled and stored but there are also possessions that are shared. A great aspect of a large family is when you are tired of your own clothes; you can borrow your siblings’.
Then there are the life experiences of children. The voice of reason is not always within the distance of a listening ear when children are concerned. Either they are not really listening or they just don’t want to be obedient to parents’ rules. Mistakes are made, accidents happen and life goes on but important lessons are learned.
There is also the time factor: raising nine children does create time deficiencies in certain areas. Housework and yard work take time. There are only 24 hours in a day and only so much a mom and dad can do. Training your children to help with chores around the house helps make the week run smoother and anything can be accomplished. Television takes a back seat and planned fun stuff with as many family members as possible moves forward.
We have a great support group in all areas of life. We appreciate what we have at home even if we are squished. We pray together, we read together, we dance together and we work together. Many times blessings come in the form of a large enough vehicle to transport everyone at one time and have enough room for groceries. Life through the eyes of a large family is awesome. We are grateful for the life we have made for our family and many more blessings are yet to come in the form of grandchildren.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.