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I'm always thinking about more babies, and I would love to hear how you handled the addition of #5, #6, and up. I'm sure by then your oldest one or two were near 10, if not older. I know this is a big deal compared to having, let's say, 3 children ages 5 and under, or 4 children ages 5 and under. (I've been there, done that)

 

My last pregnancy and postpartum months were so difficult (health-wise) that for once DH and I have said we'd rather not do this again. He's usually very open to having more, but now he and I are both wary!

 

How do you handle 5 other children when you're in those newborn weeks? How do you have patience for the toddler, the preschooler, and the adventursome older ones? If you'd like to share please do! I feel envious of those with so many children (in a good way) b/c I'd love to do it. However, I don't feel good during pregnancy and for a few months after. I know the only reason I'm thinking about this is b/c now that my baby is about to turn 2 I am feeling human again! Now that I'm feeling good I'm full of high expectations that I could do it again :lol:

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When we adopted our last daughter at 2 days old, that gave me a newborn, a 9 month old, a 28 month old, a 6yo, an 11yo, and a 13yo. Honestly, it was a day by day adventure. My 13yo really stepped up to help, even getting up with one of the babies at night every other night. We managed life, and even got school done. I had to let go of the way I wanted to do it and just go with the flow. Now my youngest is 11 and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. My kids are all so close, and sometimes I even wish I had more. The joy and fun outweigh the extra work by miles.

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As the oldest of a bunch, I hope you'll consider the burden this might place on your oldest and if that's something you want to do to her (or him). Because that's pretty much how moms of many handle large families. Their oldest, usually oldest girl, will be making dinner and doing laundry and changing diapers and soothing children and teaching them how to read and so on. The Duggars make it all look rosy, but it's a huge responsibility and robs the oldest ones of some of their childhood. I've also seen how having many children has worn out my mother. You say that you're feeling good again, why not let your children enjoy their mother without having to deal with the negative side effects of pregnancy? Anyway, sorry to be so negative.

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Mimm, I don't think you're being negative. That's exactly what I want to hear. When I had the last baby I kept saying how I would like for my older children to have a 'normal' mom instead of crazy, pregnant, and emotional mom. I dreamed of feeling good so that we could go on outings, parks, and get our hands into projects. I can't do that with a newborn. Being the only adult responsible for that many kids most of the day leaves little room for anything besides the basics, in my opinion. I need to keep reminding myself of that.

 

However, like MamaT said, you wouldn't trade those memories for anything, and I get that, too! IF I were to find myself pregnant again (without having 'tried' for it) I would be happy and would know it would all work itself out.

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As the oldest of a bunch, I hope you'll consider the burden this might place on your oldest and if that's something you want to do to her (or him). Because that's pretty much how moms of many handle large families. Their oldest, usually oldest girl, will be making dinner and doing laundry and changing diapers and soothing children and teaching them how to read and so on. The Duggars make it all look rosy, but it's a huge responsibility and robs the oldest ones of some of their childhood. I've also seen how having many children has worn out my mother. You say that you're feeling good again, why not let your children enjoy their mother without having to deal with the negative side effects of pregnancy? Anyway, sorry to be so negative.

 

While I know this can happen, it doesn't have to. I made an effort not to burden my oldest, even though he WANTED to help with the babies. He did not do any more chores than was age appropriate and I traded off with a friend who also had 6 dc for babysitting so that it wouldn't always fall on him. I had to remind him many times that he was not the parent because he wanted to take care of them. He is married now and asks the kids two at a time to come spend the night because he misses them. I just had to say it doesn't have to be a negative experience for the oldest.

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I found pregnancy a lot harder to deal with physically as I got older, but the kids were really great at helping out with everything, even the younger ones. Even at the age of three or four a child can make you a pb&j or get you a drink or fetch a diaper. It is very sweet to be 'taken care of' by your preschoolers! Older kids are of course even more of a practical help. Honestly it is a lot easier to take care of yourself and a newborn with the help of your older children than it is to do it by yourself. In fact, one of my daughters, age 24, has recently had her first out of state with her military husband and wishes she could borrow either her seven year old sister or her eleven year old sister.

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I have 5 and it wasn't a big deal. My older children DO NOT help with the younger ones unless it's to get them a drink of water or something like that. I believe there are mommy jobs, i.e. laundry, cooking and all baby care. And there are older sibling jobs, pouring juice and putting a movie on.

 

By the time you have #5 you already have a schedule and a good handle on dicipline...or you should. It was easy for me to give my children directions while I was breastfeeding and then they did what I asked. That is not to say the noise level in my house was not high!! I feel that because they had to wait for whatever they wanted they learned this thing called patience and that is good.

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I'm always thinking about more babies, and I would love to hear how you handled the addition of #5, #6, and up. I'm sure by then your oldest one or two were near 10, if not older. I know this is a big deal compared to having, let's say, 3 children ages 5 and under, or 4 children ages 5 and under. (I've been there, done that)

 

My last pregnancy and postpartum months were so difficult (health-wise) that for once DH and I have said we'd rather not do this again. He's usually very open to having more, but now he and I are both wary!

 

How do you handle 5 other children when you're in those newborn weeks? How do you have patience for the toddler, the preschooler, and the adventursome older ones? If you'd like to share please do! I feel envious of those with so many children (in a good way) b/c I'd love to do it. However, I don't feel good during pregnancy and for a few months after. I know the only reason I'm thinking about this is b/c now that my baby is about to turn 2 I am feeling human again! Now that I'm feeling good I'm full of high expectations that I could do it again :lol:

 

When my 6th was born, my oldest had just turned 13. That was when I had the 4, 5 and under crowd. It was still very, very hard - the hardest time yet. #7 was an easier add because dh was unemployed until he was 3 months old. Now that my baby is almost 2 and the others are all schoolaged, it is a much happier, peaceful time. I have always looked forward to the time when they were all older and we could spend more time enjoying them instead of feeding, changing, etc. all the time.

 

For the sake of transparency, I have to point out that we did put almost all of ours in school 3 months ago. The 4yo starts Pre-K tomorrow and the 12yo is likely starting after Christmas. Homeschooling with so many (5 are 9 and under and the 9yo and 8yo have severe LDs and other issues) was not easy, though I know others do it more easily and successfully than I did.

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I have 5 and my older children are a big help, but I miss the mother I was with my older children before I was just so worn out. I miss having one second with my husband without having a baby in between us in the bed.

 

I hate turning into the day-late-and-dollar-short mother I never thought I'd be. When I whine to my best friends they just say, "What do you think we would trade to have been able to give our only children a sibling?"

 

I'm sorry to be a downer, but if you feel good, it might not be a bad time to just enjoy it.

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As the oldest of a bunch, I hope you'll consider the burden this might place on your oldest and if that's something you want to do to her (or him). Because that's pretty much how moms of many handle large families. Their oldest, usually oldest girl, will be making dinner and doing laundry and changing diapers and soothing children and teaching them how to read and so on. The Duggars make it all look rosy, but it's a huge responsibility and robs the oldest ones of some of their childhood. I've also seen how having many children has worn out my mother. You say that you're feeling good again, why not let your children enjoy their mother without having to deal with the negative side effects of pregnancy? Anyway, sorry to be so negative.

 

That is not true in my home, but I have tried very hard for that not to be true. The month before/after #6 was born was very hard for my oldest because I had to lean on him so much. I regret that it happened that way, so I will agree that it can be a problem if you aren't careful.

 

My older dc do not do anymore than what others do (who expect their dc to help around the house, anyway!) My 12yo doesn't do diapers.:lol: When my oldest is here, he does babysit occassionally, but not as much as he does at his Dad's. I think it is a function of parenting more than family size - there are only he and his younger brother at his Dad's and he does WAY more babysitting there than here. My 12yo has been babysitting the 1yo over the past couple of months more than I would like, but I am working towards remedying that situation now.

 

They help with laundry, dishes, cleaning, yardwork, etc. but they would do that even if there were only 2. I will admit that there is a lot MORE of that going on with 7dc, but there are a lot more hands to help as well. My father noticed that this past week at his house. The house was a mess (11 people in 1800 square feet for a few days will do that.) We decided to clean and it was done (straightened, vacuumed, dusted, kitchen cleaned, etc.) in less than an hour. Doing it that way, no one carries the burden of the cleaning.

 

We all help with laundry - most fold and put away their own clothes. The 17yo and 12yo do their own laundry. The 12yo, dh, and I share the dish washing duty. Sometimes the 9yo washes plates (his issues make more responsibility not possible.) The 8yo will cook eggs and bacon, but dh actually does the bulk of the cooking (he likes to cook and I don't.)

 

Money is an issue with many dc. I always heard (and said) - one more added doesn't cost much more. That is true - when they are babies. As they get older, there are things mine want to do. Yes, it builds character when they earn their own money for activities (mine do), but at the same time it is very hard. I never realized we would have some dc with issues that would cause a need for more money for them specifically. My 8yo would GREATLY benefit from music lessons, the 9yo could use more specific therapy (CogMed and Interactive Metronome), and the 12yo needs braces. Each of those things would be expensive alone, but all together (plus things the others want to do) is almost insurmontable. One child doesn't add much more, but all the additional children do.

 

There are positives to having a larger family - there is never a dull moment. Everyone has someone to play with most of the time. We have a LOT of fun together. The character building qualities that have come from the difficulties will be positives in the year to come. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

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I'm always thinking about more babies, and I would love to hear how you handled the addition of #5, #6, and up. I'm sure by then your oldest one or two were near 10, if not older.

 

 

Nope. When number 5 came along, my oldest had just turned 7.

When my oldest was 10, I had number 7.

 

Just saying,no not everyone who has a large family also has a larger spacing between them.

 

How do you handle 5 other children when you're in those newborn weeks? How do you have patience for the toddler, the preschooler, and the adventursome older ones? If you'd like to share please do! I feel envious of those with so many children (in a good way) b/c I'd love to do it. However, I don't feel good during pregnancy and for a few months after.

 

You do what you can when you can and accept the other stuff will be done later. You accept that life in general is full of high and low tides, frustratingly sometimes pregnancy or postpartum is the low tide.

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You do what you can when you can and accept the other stuff will be done later. You accept that life in general is full of high and low tides, frustratingly sometimes pregnancy or postpartum is the low tide.

 

:iagree:

 

You learn to accept that for a season, the house isn't going to be gorgeous. That the food isn't going to be the best you've made, that there are days when getting a shower is the greatest accomplishment. You learn to roll with it.

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As the oldest of a bunch, I hope you'll consider the burden this might place on your oldest and if that's something you want to do to her (or him). Because that's pretty much how moms of many handle large families. Their oldest, usually oldest girl, will be making dinner and doing laundry and changing diapers and soothing children and teaching them how to read and so on. The Duggars make it all look rosy, but it's a huge responsibility and robs the oldest ones of some of their childhood. I've also seen how having many children has worn out my mother. You say that you're feeling good again, why not let your children enjoy their mother without having to deal with the negative side effects of pregnancy? Anyway, sorry to be so negative.

 

Not every large family operates like the Duggars, and I hate that people assume such. Everyone's parenting/family style is going to vary, no matter how many kids are involved.

 

I did an awful lot of cooking, cleaning, and babysitting growing up, but I was "only" raised as 1 of 3. My son wants to take over more cooking because he loves it and I hate it, no matter how many kids are in the family. My one daughter helps with laundry and the other helps with dishes because we all participate in household responsibilities. And if my kids are asked to change the occasional diaper while I'm focusing on someone else's immediate need, there's nothing unjust or childhood-robbing about that.

 

Now, the mental and physical exhaustion and any medical issues are a whole other story, and certainly worth consideration. Carrying this 5th baby has taken its toll on me. I usually handle infancy just fine, but I'm definitely nervous about getting through another toddlerhood, and I really hope the rest of my kids have the patience to make it through my crazed state when we get there!

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We have 12 kids. I understand what Mimm has to say about the eldest children being helpers but there is an upside to that! There are times, and I've seen families where this is pushed to the limit. As parents of many children it is easy to push the work onto the older ones but if you are conscience of that and try to find a good medium then all will work out. I never really got sick with any of my pregnancies until baby #5. Then my oldest was just over 7. She was one of those who was 'born old' and was a very good helper. From her heart. Perhaps that how God does it. He sends the right child to the right family. Anyway, I got really sick from then on. We've always homeschooled from the beginning and this is what we have found. I think, because of the dynamics of our family that having input from each and every child is what has made us the close, strong family that we are. It is true that much was needed from our older children but they are not resentful. They deeply love their younger brothers and sisters and have a wonderful relationship with them. We had twins with pregnancy #8 and everyone really pitched in. I think that it gives off the message to children that "I am not the only soul in the universe" and therefore they grow up to be caring, sharing, giving, responsible adults. I'm sure everyone has seen the child who has been handed everything on a golden platter and everything is about them. Not true in a big family. It all isn't about 1 person, it's about the family. You love who you serve and I can certainly see that around here!

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AS far as logistics go I have always said once you have about 4, you don't notice a couple more.

 

My eldest girls are twins and were 10 when the youngest was born. I have raised them to be very independent and responsible so they are never a problem. The middles can be a little rowdy now and then but all in all, I have always placed a strong emphasis on the importance of being close with ones siblings. It's always been my goal that they completely care for one another so there isn't as much fighting in our house.

 

The kids all help with house chores but I really don't force them to do child care. I pay them (not a lot but I do pay) for babysitting and I never require them to change diapers. Sometimes they want to do these things and I of course allow it then but I don't want them growing up resenting having to 'raise' their siblings. They would be required to help out around the house no matter how many kids were in the family so that doesn't change. Mainly they are responsible for the kitchen clean up. With 4 of them doing it, it goes quickly. They also help with laundry and sometimes bathrooms.

 

As the oldest of a bunch, I hope you'll consider the burden this might place on your oldest and if that's something you want to do to her (or him). Because that's pretty much how moms of many handle large families. Their oldest, usually oldest girl, will be making dinner and doing laundry and changing diapers and soothing children and teaching them how to read and so on. The Duggars make it all look rosy, but it's a huge responsibility and robs the oldest ones of some of their childhood. I've also seen how having many children has worn out my mother. You say that you're feeling good again, why not let your children enjoy their mother without having to deal with the negative side effects of pregnancy? Anyway, sorry to be so negative.

 

This is a generalization and I am sorry it happened to you. It's not the case in every large family though and certainly not here. Amazingly though, if the bond is deep between children, the older ones will get to the sad or hurt little one first and soothe them because they want to, not because they have to. I am sorry you had to mother your siblings and it was not a happy experience with you, it's not the case for all large families though.

 

 

I have an amazing husband who does a lot to help me out. He does the majority of the laundry and isn't afraid to help out with bathroom cleaning or the like. I also have a fantastic Father In Law who does a lot of babysitting for me.

 

It has it's rough days but I really love having a larger family. Money is always tight but I don't care. People are what matters.

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Money is an issue with many dc. I always heard (and said) - one more added doesn't cost much more. That is true - when they are babies. As they get older, there are things mine want to do. Yes, it builds character when they earn their own money for activities (mine do), but at the same time it is very hard. I never realized we would have some dc with issues that would cause a need for more money for them specifically. My 8yo would GREATLY benefit from music lessons, the 9yo could use more specific therapy (CogMed and Interactive Metronome), and the 12yo needs braces. Each of those things would be expensive alone, but all together (plus things the others want to do) is almost insurmontable. One child doesn't add much more, but all the additional children do.

 

There are positives to having a larger family - there is never a dull moment. Everyone has someone to play with most of the time. We have a LOT of fun together. The character building qualities that have come from the difficulties will be positives in the year to come. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

 

 

Yeah, I didn't even go into the whole money thing. See my parents had 8 bio kids, then started adopting. If my husband and I want to take our kids out for pizza, it's really quite affordable. But if you want to take your 16 kids out for pizza, you better start saving up. :p And yes, as they get older, it gets worse. Teens start caring about the clothes they wear. They want cell phones that can text people. Do they need these things? No, of course not. On one hand, you have to feel that a sibling is more valuable than an ipod. On the other hand, do you want your kid growing up knowing they couldn't have nice things because their mom wanted lots of babies? I value my siblings, but I would have adored music lessons. And so on...

 

And yes, there is never a dull moment. And some of us thrive in those dull moments, of quiet and solitude and peace. After the train wreck that my family became, I realize that dull is really unrated. :glare: :)

 

Tricia: I was one of those "born helpers" who liked to cook and liked to help with the babies and so on. My mother relied on me and made it no secret that I was a huge help to her. I was very mature for my age and never resented the responsibilities placed on me till I was older, had left the house and realized that I didn't get those care free days when I wasn't responsible for some baby. I kind of made it worse for myself. I got married young, and had my kids (who I adore!) right away. A couple years in between caring for my mom's kids and caring for my own probably would have done me good.

 

Carrie1234: I know that all families aren't like the Duggars. Honestly, it would have been a more ideal situation than what I grew up in. I'm not making assumptions based on what I see on tv (I've never seen an episode on the Duggar's show) but making these statements based off my own life. I also am very aware that every family is different. And some people grow up in large families and don't seem to regret anything about it. That's great. But there's another side to that, and I will talk about that. Having all the information before making a decision to grow your family is a good thing, you know? I only bring up the Duggars because people see them and think, "Oh how nice, let's do that." Well, it's not always nice. :p

 

Renee in FL: I'm glad that you aren't burdening your children with diaper changes (and for the record, I'm not saying that changing a few diapers is a childhood-killer) :) but what about you? When you grow your family, there's more work and someone has to do it. Having a tired worn out mom can be difficult too. I hope you are taking care of yourself. :grouphug:

 

By the way, let me be very clear that I don't think expecting your children to do chores is a bad thing! :) My kids are, as I type, cleaning up the living room that they trashed. My kids actually have been expected to do things for themselves that many of their peers were not expected to do. One time Imogen was making her lunch the night before school and she said to me, "I'm the only one in my class that makes their own lunch." She was in third grade. I immediately felt guilty. Then I though, "Wait, why shouldn't she be able to put her own lunch together? I buy convenience foods for her lunches. It's not hard. And why in the world are these other parents not teaching their kids these things?" :) So I asked her if she needed help with anything and she said no.

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One of the ways that you can cut down on always relying on the older ones is, when you are going to ask your dc to do something, ask yourself first, "Who is the youngest child who can do this?" For example, my 2 yo can turn on the TV for me, so I could ask him to do it instead of my 12 yo. My 5 yos can bring me a diaper, so why ask an older one? That way, the older ones do only what they can do, not everything.

 

As for the OP, frankly, it's hard. For us, #5 and #6 came 3 minutes apart (identical twins), so it was a HUGE adjustment. My oldest was in high school and he did way more than I normally would ask of a sibling. But he was our only help. We have no family nearby (and even if we had lived near our families, they were busy dealing with my sister's dh, who died of cancer 2 months after the twins were born), dh couldn't take any time off, and we had no money to hire help.

 

I frequently feel that having both older and younger dc is harder, not easier as so many say. I could handle my 4, who are 7 and under, fine now. However, because I have older dc too, there are conflicts caused by my older dc trying to "parent" my younger dc, issues with my older dc wanting to do activities where having all these younger siblings along is an issue, difficulty trying to get to everybody's schoolwork every day while also caring for the younger ones, dealing with emotional teen problems while also not getting any sleep because of the baby, etc. About the only real advantage is that I do have babysitting available. Now, I'm not talking about their relationships (which are generally good), and I am not saying that I wish I didn't have all of my dc, but what I am saying is that the level of work for me is increased, and the presence of older dc DOES NOT CHANGE THAT, although what work I am doing may change. Does that make sense? I do think that, should my older children have children when they are grown, they will be going into it with their eyes wide open, knowing pretty clearly what it takes to be a parent.

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This is a generalization and I am sorry it happened to you. It's not the case in every large family though and certainly not here. Amazingly though, if the bond is deep between children, the older ones will get to the sad or hurt little one first and soothe them because they want to, not because they have to. I am sorry you had to mother your siblings and it was not a happy experience with you, it's not the case for all large families though.

 

Yes, it is a generalization, and perhaps not a fair one but it IS based on what happened, not only in my own family but in every large family that I knew. For people saying that they don't do this, great, but my point is that if you have a large family, it's a lot of extra work and it's work that someone has to do. If you are doing it all yourself, you will exhaust yourself and that also affects your kids.

 

I have a good relationship with several of my siblings. A distant but friendly relationship with a couple of my sisters (I try to keep in touch, be there for them to talk to, etc). I am in a perpetual parental type relationship with one of my brothers and have almost no relationship with one brother (which has more to do with having nothing in common than anything else).

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Dh and I were just having this conversation this afternoon! We have 7 and while I have always been open to more, he wasn't so sure. This morning, as I am nearing "that time of the month", we had the monthly conversation, "What if you are?" He was actually very positive. See, we both view children as a gift from the Lord. He opens and closes the womb. Children are a GIFT and we teach our children as such. Each of them is a gift, a treasure and if God would so choose to bless us with another, that child would be as well. Money is tight, yes. Space is a premium as we don't have a huge home. We must limit activities to the ones MOST desired. We can't spend hundreds on each child at Christmas. They can't have the latest and greatest gadgets like some of their friends. But this is what we DO have: There is always somebody to play with. There is always a shoulder to cry on. There is always somebody to talk to (or argue with :tongue_smilie:). There is a lot to learn while living in a large family that doesn't always happen in smaller ones. The children learn at a young age how to do things for themselves that doesn't typically happen in smaller families (i.e. a 7yo making scrambled eggs, 10 yo making pancakes, 6yo doing own laundry, etc.) As for children growing up too fast or being robbed of a childhood...I can see that happening to some. In our home, dh and I are very, very conscious of this and try very hard NOT to burden our older children. Dd14 enjoys helping care for, read to, dress, bath and even change the littles but it is her choice. Anyway, I'm getting off topic. It's a big decision and a personal one. Praying that you have peace one way or another.

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I grow rather weary of the "woe the older children in the large family".

 

It has absolutely nothing to do with the family size.

 

I was the youngest of four by ten years and my parents did it.

 

None of my siblings have more than two and they all did it. Heck, in two cases the older by several years kid practically raised the younger single handedly.

 

I see it all the time. Three kids and the oldest does the brunt of parental duties of feeding, clothing, cleaning, watching, diapering.

 

If a parent is going to "burden" an older child, they will do it whether there are two, three, four, or ten.

 

Aside from that, not everyone is a huge fan of extended childhoods and there is something to be said for teaching sacrifice, hard work, and duty to family.

 

My oldest didn't change a diaper until he was 12 and I bet only one diaper a week or so isn't changed by myself of dh since. The oldest two didn't start watching just one or two siblings alone until the last year.

 

Just last week one of my older crew was griping about their chores (empty the dishwasher and clean his pet rabbit's cage). I was so ticked. Not a single one of my kids has to work even half as hard as my dh (an only child) or myself at their ages. I told him the next time he whines, I'm going to treat him like an only child with two parents who work full time jobs. Yes, he can get up at crack of dawn for schools and make his own breakfast and do it all without parents around. He can do all the chores bc there is no one to share the burden and it better be done before mom and dad get him from work.

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I have 4 and I wanted two more. My dh didn't think he could handle having 6, and so we didn't. I'm pretty thankful that I only have my 4 now. Working on relationships with my 4, homeschooling, and providing for them really is a lot of work. I have certain expectations of what I want for them and my family.

 

I'm constantly grabbing one and saying meet me in my room for a powwow. That one-on-one time is very precious. If I had two younger ones I'm sure things would be harder for me, although I'd probably love it, too. I can only see the reality of my life now and I'm pretty sure for me and my family stopping was the right thing to do. I'm just not the super mom with unlimited energy that some of these moms of large families are. I have just enough to give to my current brood. :)

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I'm always thinking about more babies, and I would love to hear how you handled the addition of #5, #6, and up. I'm sure by then your oldest one or two were near 10, if not older. I know this is a big deal compared to having, let's say, 3 children ages 5 and under, or 4 children ages 5 and under. (I've been there, done that)

It changes a lot depending upon the family. A friend just had her 6th. The children are newborn, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. It's a much different dynamic than mine will be shortly with newborn, 17 months, 8, 11, 13, and 14. My older 4 children could all tie their shoes, dress themselves, read, write, get ready to leave, etc. when #5 joined us. It was actually a bit of a shock to return to diapers, dressing a baby, and needing to get her ready to leave rather than simply letting everyone know we were leaving in 15 minutes.

 

How do you handle 5 other children when you're in those newborn weeks? Unless the labor is difficult, I'll feel soooooo much better after the baby is here that everything will run much smoother than it does now.

 

How do you have patience for the toddler, the preschooler, and the adventursome older ones? The biggest issue for me, is dealing with the discomforts of a pregnancy while dealing with a couple smart-alec teenage sons. :glare: They're great helps but the commentary and jokes...

 

As far as the oldest carrying the burden, well there is no perfect family size. I was an only child until I was almost 6. It was a good life. I ended up the oldest of 4, and while the workload increased it was still a good life. I'd stayed up all night with a sick child, dealt with diapers, laundry, and general housekeeping. It gave me a lot of confidence when I became a parent. Of course, my mom and dad were careful to maintain the family structure. I was big sis, not mom or dad.

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I'm the oldest of nine, and I helped out a lot with the four who were born when I was between the ages of 8 and 14. I did laundry when I was 11 - the diaper load..that was pretty gross. :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm sure that at the time I probably resented it, simply because I was a kid and didn't want to do work. But looking back on it, it was fine. My parents already had a system of chores in place - I was the person who did daily kitchen chores for years. So it wasn't like all of a sudden we were expected to contribute when before we didn't have to. It was more of a natural progression, and any extra chores were temporary. Any inconveniences of extra chores were GREATLY outweighed by the opportunity to hold the baby!!! :) There were limits, though - I never got up with the baby at night, for example.

 

Now, I'm expecting my own baby, and I am VERY VERY grateful that I was able to help out with my younger siblings...because I know that when I have my baby, I won't be freaking out about whether I'll hurt her by picking her up. I know how to hold babies, I have a general idea of how to change diapers (that was the one thing I never did - poopy diapers!), and I'm used to babies. It'll be more scary, I'm sure, since I'm going to be the one with all the responsibility, but still. The fact that I did chores as a child and was around kids means that I feel MUCH more equipped for motherhood (and helped me in being ready to live on my own in college, too).

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I

 

If a parent is going to "burden" an older child, they will do it whether there are two, three, four, or ten.

 

Aside from that, not everyone is a huge fan of extended childhoods and there is something to be said for teaching sacrifice, hard work, and duty to family.

 

 

:iagree:

 

 

I'm the oldest of two, and I basically raised my brother because my parents worked all the time. It got worse after they divorced and we were left with my father. Every day I had to cook dinner, do laundry, and clean the entire house, in addition to making sure my brother got to school, cleaned his room, and did all his homework. (I should add here that my father was extremely abusive and is in prison now, but my point is that being from a small family in no way means you aren't going to be "burdened" with responsibility).

 

I also agree that many kids these days get extended childhoods and I don't think that is a positive thing. My oldest dd (9) does her own laundry, which for some reason is horrifying to a lot of people. She keeps her room spotless (she likes it that way) She makes her own food if she's hungry, and so what if I say "hey make a pb sandwich for your sister, too?" She certainly enjoys plenty of privileges in exchange for helping out with things (she has her own room, own tv, gets to spend the night at grandma's by herself- right now grandma is taking her to see the new HP movie AND Tangled). She's never changed a diaper, but she'll watch her siblings for 10 minutes so I can take a shower. She probably spends more time helping take care of the dog and the chickens then her siblings some days, actually. She also takes weekly violin lessons (with a family discount once the other kids are old enough, so they'll all get to) and gets to do things like go to summer camp every week. I can't give her everything she wants, but she's not wanting for anything. We are not wealthy, either, we've never made more than 34K in a year. Budgeting and living in our means isn't always fun, but it means my kids get to do fun things like summer camp and going to the zoo (or whatever). We make a point to spend one on one time with the kids when it's appropriate, even if it's something simple like getting to go to the store with just mom or dad (special trip that usually ends up with an ice cream cone or something :) )

 

Many of the moms I know with only one or two kids spend way more time complaining about how tired and exhausted they are than the moms of many I know. Many of them work full time and have their kids in day care or public school, then send them to various babysitters on the weekends so they can go out and "relax." I've had more than one mom tell me how they can't stand to be around their kids (!!!) and don't understand how I can stay at home full time and homeschool without losing my mind. So I really disagree that the "exhausted mom who can't handle her kids" thing is unique to large families (and I'm not dissing small families or working moms, either, because I know plenty who are awesome, just pointing out that plenty of them are exhausted, too).

 

One of our kiddos (5yo) is disabled and needs a lot of extra help. I know a lot of people who think if you have a disabled child you should never have more children so they aren't "burdened" with a disabled sibling. I think that's awful. Yes she needs help, but she's also a joy and adds a lot of love to our family.

 

I genuinely feel sorry for kids from large families who resent it, but I've known plenty of only children who really resented that, too.

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Renee in FL: I'm glad that you aren't burdening your children with diaper changes (and for the record, I'm not saying that changing a few diapers is a childhood-killer) :) but what about you? When you grow your family, there's more work and someone has to do it. Having a tired worn out mom can be difficult too. I hope you are taking care of yourself. :grouphug:

 

 

 

Don't worry! I am not by any stretch of the imagination exhausted. The only things that really take more work are laundry, dishes, and cooking. I have a LOT of help from dh in all 3 of those areas. The vacuuming, dusting, cleaning, etc. are the same for me whether there are 2 or 7.

 

The "bunches of littles" stage is hard, but it passes. I do regret how I handled some things, but I don't regret having 7 at all.:D Even with the "mistakes" that I made, my dc have an easier life than I did and I only have one brother who is 9 years younger than me. It really is a parenting thing.;)

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From a different point of view, I have a friend that came from a large family, had to help out a lot with her younger siblings and saw the toll a large family took on her mother. Now, she doesn't want to have children and never has and I think that's really sad because what she doesn't realize is that it is very different with your own vs. babysitting someone else's children.

 

For years, we all assumed it was her husband who didn't want to have children because if you met her, you'd think she'd make a perfect mother. She's just very sweet, gentle and kind. I was shocked when she shared with me that she did not want children and why.

 

So, anyway, I don't have a large family, but I think it's really a matter of what you think you can handle. It does sound from your post like you are getting burnt out at this point, though.

 

Lisa

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I frequently feel that having both older and younger dc is harder, not easier as so many say. I could handle my 4, who are 7 and under, fine now. However, because I have older dc too, there are conflicts caused by my older dc trying to "parent" my younger dc, issues with my older dc wanting to do activities where having all these younger siblings along is an issue, difficulty trying to get to everybody's schoolwork every day while also caring for the younger ones, dealing with emotional teen problems while also not getting any sleep because of the baby, etc. About the only real advantage is that I do have babysitting available. Now, I'm not talking about their relationships (which are generally good), and I am not saying that I wish I didn't have all of my dc, but what I am saying is that the level of work for me is increased, and the presence of older dc DOES NOT CHANGE THAT, although what work I am doing may change. Does that make sense? I do think that, should my older children have children when they are grown, they will be going into it with their eyes wide open, knowing pretty clearly what it takes to be a parent.

 

This is the truth! People always comment that I must have great help, but the truth of the matter is that my teens need their space and have all their issues. Parenting this new bunch of teens is *exhausting* and I turn to my toddler and baby with joy, not exhaustion!! I am a mother in conflict!

 

My teens have grumbled a bit over me having more kids -something I don't allow them to do since we are a family. As I am not returning a single one of them(!), then this is the way it is. We love our family as it is right now. I feel totally full, but I am also for the first time really, really busy so I sort of hit a point here. I feel great in that I know my physical/emotional need for having another one is over. I am taking great vitamins, drinking water and know very well how to pace myself so I rarely feel that bone-tired as I did with the first several kids. I know my limits now.

 

I consider myself a hard worker and I make a lot of effort to cater to each child, make sure they have something going on in their lives, bring teens to and fro and on and on. But I do realise many times still that the kid is talking to me and I am not *really* listening. I am not saying that wouldn't happen in a small family; gosh, I never got even close the attention in our 2 kid family than what my kids are getting from me here, but I do realise I personally would have been different if slightly less stressed. I have no regrets, however. Definitely not, but we are very happy with our size now. Having our twins was extremely taxing. Dh had a flexible job, but I got put on bedrest so my kids were extremely lonely that winter and we spent the next few years hearing them scream as we dragged them along everywhere. My kids helped so much and we survived.

 

Now with the youngest baby whom everybody loves- I am doing the work. The interest for them to change diapers is gone (they tried it with their toddler brother since I want them to know how to do it), so I am doing the babywork. Basically she gets a bath every 3 days (first few kids every day!). She is clean, very, very happy and occasionally gets held by a sister or brother as I don't care for leaving my baby alone in a room while everyone else is running around doing chores or playing. But she is an easy baby. My recoveries have been very easy except for some hormonal outbursts (which I used to get a lot, but now I am taking fish oil...). Pregnancy is fine with me except for early sleepiness, so I have been blessed in that regard.

 

I say, relax for now. It doesn't sound like now is the time for you guys, but perhaps in five years' time you'll fell stronger one way or the other.

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I'm sure that at the time I probably resented it, simply because I was a kid and didn't want to do work. But looking back on it, it was fine. My parents already had a system of chores in place - I was the person who did daily kitchen chores for years. So it wasn't like all of a sudden we were expected to contribute when before we didn't have to. It was more of a natural progression, and any extra chores were temporary. Any inconveniences of extra chores were GREATLY outweighed by the opportunity to hold the baby!!! :) There were limits, though - I never got up with the baby at night, for example.

 

Now, I'm expecting my own baby, and I am VERY VERY grateful that I was able to help out with my younger siblings...because I know that when I have my baby, I won't be freaking out about whether I'll hurt her by picking her up. I know how to hold babies, I have a general idea of how to change diapers (that was the one thing I never did - poopy diapers!), and I'm used to babies. It'll be more scary, I'm sure, since I'm going to be the one with all the responsibility, but still. The fact that I did chores as a child and was around kids means that I feel MUCH more equipped for motherhood (and helped me in being ready to live on my own in college, too).

My mom admits that I practically raised my youngest brother. It wasn't anything she asked or expected, we just had this bond, and that was that. And it absolutely prepared me for babysitting, and then parenting.

 

Honestly, I worry when I hear a friend say that their child does nothing, going to school is the child's job, so absolutely no other expectations are placed on the child. When asked about a real, outside the house, part time job in high school, the line about school is the kid's work is repeated. So, Mom intends to do everything for the child, until the child goes off on their own. That freaks me out. I just can't imagine a young adult, going away to University, trying to work for the first time, and being so utterly unprepared. To me, its like teaching a kid to swim by tossing them into the Pacific and leaving. I mean, if you're on your own, you go to work, then still come home to feed yourself, do laundry, etc. Life doesn't just end when the work day does.

 

All my kids help out, at age appropriate levels. Its what family does, imo.

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Honestly, I worry when I hear a friend say that their child does nothing, going to school is the child's job, so absolutely no other expectations are placed on the child. When asked about a real, outside the house, part time job in high school, the line about school is the kid's work is repeated. So, Mom intends to do everything for the child, until the child goes off on their own. That freaks me out. I just can't imagine a young adult, going away to University, trying to work for the first time, and being so utterly unprepared. To me, its like teaching a kid to swim by tossing them into the Pacific and leaving. I mean, if you're on your own, you go to work, then still come home to feed yourself, do laundry, etc. Life doesn't just end when the work day does

 

 

This is how we were. My parents expected stellar school work and that was our job. We did not have jobs while we were in High School (or CEGEP). My mother was a SAHM and did all the housework/laundry etc. but did teach us how to do it, how to cook, etc. so we were in no way, shape or form unprepared when we went off to college or lived on our own. I plan on doing the same with my children, but they will have chores around the house because that is how my DH was raised (no job, but chores at home).

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Limit your family to one or two rooms with a tv, toys, colouring materials, and a bathroom nearby (only if you have a family that NEEDS these limitations for your sanity...sometimes mine have and sometimes not). The older children are fully capable of getting things, turning over laundry, bringing you baskets to fold, and putting away stacks as you hand them to them and give them instruction. Younger ones can cuddle near you and baby, bring you a diaper, sit while you read to them and baby, etc. Keep meals simple. Have the children do their schoolwork on a coffee table near you. Key is to keep everything SIMPLE.

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My thoughts went to this thread last night as my 6 children all sat around our table eating slices of pie and plotting out a video they want to make of The Christmas Carol. They were all giggling hysterically and appointing character to each other.

"You can be Cratchit." "I need a porkpie hat!!" "We can use the plastic skull for Marley."

They were laughing so hard they could barely talk and I thought to myself then that the benefits to having a large family have GOT to outweigh any of the downside. At least in our home.

Our house is generally a very happy place and I don't see nay oppression of the older kids and they do not seem to either.

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While I know this can happen, it doesn't have to. I made an effort not to burden my oldest, even though he WANTED to help with the babies.

 

I agree. I have always been very aware of not putting too much responsibility on my oldest dc. My dd is very capable, and it woud be easy to delegate to her. Also, I LOVE the baby and toddler stage (well, every stage actually) so I like to sling my baby and keep him with me.

 

Lisa

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As the oldest of a bunch, I hope you'll consider the burden this might place on your oldest and if that's something you want to do to her (or him). Because that's pretty much how moms of many handle large families. Their oldest, usually oldest girl, will be making dinner and doing laundry and changing diapers and soothing children and teaching them how to read and so on. The Duggars make it all look rosy, but it's a huge responsibility and robs the oldest ones of some of their childhood. I've also seen how having many children has worn out my mother. You say that you're feeling good again, why not let your children enjoy their mother without having to deal with the negative side effects of pregnancy? Anyway, sorry to be so negative.

Hmmmmmmmm....not sure who you know who does it but I have 6 and don't put that responsibility on them. They don't cook, do laundry, or even really babysit unless I am in the shower, running another kid to an activity(while the youngest is sleeping) and when they do really "babysit" they get paid. I hate to be snarky but I really resent being lumped in with the people who pop out kids and don't really raise them. I do it all, I am not a burned out and frazzled mom. My oldest kids were robbed of nothing.

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