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Question for those with big families (5+)

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I don't think that's normal.  I think it's more a personality or brain thing, on the part of both parents and kids.  It could be the kids all have ADHD or something, mixed with the mom who might be overly-sensitive, or who knows.  The most unusual part to me is that they kept having more kids!  Why would you keep having more if it's so hard?

We had 5 kids in 7 years and never had help (besides my dh, who was a HUGE help!), but they were easy kids.  Most of them had a very easy going nature, and I did too.  It didn't bother me to have a messy home and super simple meals, and I didn't take on more than I could handle.

But my niece right now has just 2 kids, and both she and her oldest child (3 now) have ADHD.  Hers causes her to be disorganized and absent-minded, and her ds's causes him to be super hyper.  He's a terror, running around screaming at the top of his lungs every time I'm over there.  She is absolutely frazzled!  They won't have more than two though, and I assume they'll figure out how to help their ds soon enough, and life will settle down for them.

My dh is from a family of 9, but their mother was extremely organized and it was a very disciplined household (not in a bad way).  So, it was a different type of household than ours, but was still very manageable and I think all 7 kids had fairly easy personalities.

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30 minutes ago, mom@shiloh said:

 My personal opinion is that if you can't manage a large family, you shouldn't have a large family, but that's not my call and if people are willing to help this mom, then that's their decision. 

I think sometimes it's hard to know before it's too late. I mean, I was terrified when #4 (a big surprise) came along.  I was just starting to feel like I was getting my act together and thought the house of cards would tumble.  Instead, I really was getting my act together and it was getting easier, and I was SO fortunate to get the easiest baby I had ever had! #5 didn't scare me at all because of that.  But then I was thrown other curve balls and things skidded sideways for a while.  Life is not predictable.

Maybe none of that applies to the given scenario, but I think it's relevant enough to withhold any blanket statements.

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17 hours ago, Kinsa said:

Y'know, I know people with 1 or 2 kids who whine and complain and get tons of help too, so I don't think this is limited to large families.  I suppose its more a personality thing than a large family thing. 

Yup.

16 hours ago, Murphy101 said:

But if you were someone who had only known of me the last 2 years? You wouldn’t even recognize who I used to be. It has been extremely humbling to see how easily and swiftly my whole life can unravel right before my eyes.  Turns out, my suspicion that control is nothing but illusion was more accurate than I’m ever going to be comfortable with.

 

I do think the concept of moms managing everything is modernity propaganda BS.  How do I manage/do it all? I don’t. And that’s usually for the best for everyone. Moms make themselves nutty over trying to do that.

This. I think it is impossible to really know. Also, she's pregnant. I cut most pregnant women ALL the slack in the world, and for another say, 4 months afterwards. I personally had easy pregnancies (to an extent) until the last, when I was hit hard by prenatal depression. It made me unable to just "do" things. So maybe she's going through that but doesn't want to advertise it. I am VERY open (I tell everyone about my bariatric surgery, for example) but even I REALLY had a hard time admitting the depression to people. The the point I just said I was "having a hard time". 

Finally, i do think the idea of moms managing t all is total BS. Total. We are meant to live in tribes, in extended families, etc. There should NOT be one person responsible for it all 24/7. It's not healthy for mom or the kids or the husband who comes home to an overwhelmed wife. Also, parenting is harder than it was before - I was reading a book (One Beautiful Dream - highly recommend) and her MIL talked about how when she was a mom she'd shoo the kids outside all darned day. They got exercise, so they slept well, she had time to cook/clean/THINK without them under foot, etc. And they didn't ahve a zillion toys in the house to be picked up! She commented that it is much harder now, for young moms, then when she was a mother, even with the labor saving devices, etc. It was a good point. (this book makes a STRONG case for all moms trying to find help if at all possible, paid or otherwise). 

I also try to NEVER EVER EVER equate "parenting is hard" to "you shouldn't have had more kids". Every now and then my husband gives me a whiff of this sentiment, since I'm the one that wanted so many, and I shut him down real hard real fast. I can LOVE my kids, love having them, and still say it s hard. Just like he can love his career and still find it hard sometimes. Hard doesn't mean bad. Heck, honestly? All the really good stuff is hard work. But hey, that's me. He jokes that I don't know how to enjoy "easy". As soon as we reach an equilibrium  I find a way to make t harder again. I guess I like challenge?

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5 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

I know quite a few very large families. I have noted that the ones that have the mentality that birth control is a sin and they have to keep having babies PLUS a husband who doesn't lift a finger and thinks that making the babies was his one and only role = a family that has the mother struggling and requesting help the father also tends to be an overbearing jerk as well. But other large families where the father pitches in and they have a more realistic understanding of if they reach their threshold of children then it is time for a break in adding to the family tend to cope better. I am talking about families with 9, 10 and 11 children.

 

My own children are so spaced out that I never had more than 5 at a time at home.

This is it. They are quiverfull. And dad doesn't help at all. 

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Someone mentioned ADHD, that certainly could be part of it, especially adding in hormones from pregnancy, lack of sleep (I get pregnancy insomnia) etc. And then add in if some  of those kids have it too, and yeah. That would make routines, etc hard. 

Honestly, what she probably needs more than someone to cook meals is a mentor, someone with a large family to come over and help her get organized, help her find a routine that works, and mentor her through it until it sticks. Not stop gap measures, but a real mentor. 

I think mothers/mothers in law used to fill that role, plus we had other friends going through the same stuff to help us. Not so much anymore. 

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1 minute ago, lolo said:

This is it. They are quiverfull. And dad doesn't help at all. 

Ah. Do you think the wife WANTS to keep having kids, or feels she has no choice? Honestly, feeling forced into pregnancy after pregnancy would certainly be enough to cause depression, and depression would explain pretty much everything you listed about her. 

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18 hours ago, lolo said:

Is it normal to not be able to handle your household?

 

We're a family of 7.  Our household runs very smoothly.  We have a very predictable schedule, so the kids know exactly what to expect.  We have a chore chart that each kid works on every day.  We have a big dry erase board in the hallway with all of our outside classes/activities and times, so each kid knows exactly what they have and what times they're leaving.  I have a mega-homeschool planner with all of our school scheduling worked out for each week.  We do school consistently, year-round.  My kids are not behind, academically.  In fact, one skipped a grade this year (like, officially, across the board).

One thing I do that helps with spending time with each kid individually is combining trips when they have activities.  For example, last night, my oldest son had football practice and the two tween girls had ballet.  After I dropped them all off, I took dd16 and ds3 to a park.  We had a picnic, watched the ducks (which ds3 kept calling chickens), walked the trail and ds3 played on the playground.        

  

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18 hours ago, AFwife Claire said:

I will say I felt more overwhelmed once my older kids started being in high school.  

 

Me, too, actually.  

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I don’t care how many babies she has, if her husband is the biggest one then that’s the one she should have thought twice about having. Don’t blame the actual babies for the faults of the big baby father.

By default, the brunt of the work in this house wrt to the family and the household is mine bc I’m the one that’s staying home and bc for so many years my dh traveled for work. I get that. But when he was home, he pitched in with the kids just as much or more than me.

I think the perspective that men didn’t care for babies in the good ol days is BS. Only the wealthy men could have that option. If the wife was layed up on the prairie, which happened often, then the man had to suck it up and take care of the house and kids. If the man injured himself, which also happened often, if the woman wanted her family to eat, she got out there and did man work.  The men that absolutely refused often did so to the selfish detriment of their wife and kids. Yes community matters greatly but if a man only wants to be a paycheck, he needs to accept a woman doesn’t need to live with his crap to get that for her kids anymore.

/end rant

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15 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I think the perspective that men didn’t care for babies in the good ol days is BS. Only the wealthy men could have that option. If the wife was layed up on the prairie, which happened often, then the man had to suck it up and take care of the house and kids. If the man injured himself, which also happened often, if the woman wanted her family to eat, she got out there and did man work.  The men that absolutely refused often did so to the selfish detriment of their wife and kids. Yes community matters greatly but if a man only wants to be a paycheck, he needs to accept a woman doesn’t need to live with his crap to get that for her kids anymore.

 

Well, and not just the men, but boys, too.  My grandfather was basically the "mom" to his 7 siblings when he was growing up.  His dad was a single parent with 8 kids and my grandpa was the oldest.  He did all the cooking, cleaning, packing the kids' lunches for school, helping them get dressed, etc.  He actually quit school at 8th grade to stay home and take care of the house/kids.

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1 hour ago, Murphy101 said:

I don’t care how many babies she has, if her husband is the biggest one then that’s the one she should have thought twice about having. Don’t blame the actual babies for the faults of the big baby father.

 

Yup. 

My husband does plenty, and so did my father when we were growing up. He often cooked dinner, usually did the dishes, and almost always did the laundry. (I partly think he did the laundry because we had a detached laundry room so he could escape out there to get some peace and quiet, lol). 

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4 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Yup.

This. I think it is impossible to really know. Also, she's pregnant. I cut most pregnant women ALL the slack in the world, and for another say, 4 months afterwards. I personally had easy pregnancies (to an extent) until the last, when I was hit hard by prenatal depression. It made me unable to just "do" things. So maybe she's going through that but doesn't want to advertise it. I am VERY open (I tell everyone about my bariatric surgery, for example) but even I REALLY had a hard time admitting the depression to people. The the point I just said I was "having a hard time". 

Finally, i do think the idea of moms managing t all is total BS. Total. We are meant to live in tribes, in extended families, etc. There should NOT be one person responsible for it all 24/7. It's not healthy for mom or the kids or the husband who comes home to an overwhelmed wife. Also, parenting is harder than it was before - I was reading a book (One Beautiful Dream - highly recommend) and her MIL talked about how when she was a mom she'd shoo the kids outside all darned day. They got exercise, so they slept well, she had time to cook/clean/THINK without them under foot, etc. And they didn't ahve a zillion toys in the house to be picked up! She commented that it is much harder now, for young moms, then when she was a mother, even with the labor saving devices, etc. It was a good point. (this book makes a STRONG case for all moms trying to find help if at all possible, paid or otherwise). 

I also try to NEVER EVER EVER equate "parenting is hard" to "you shouldn't have had more kids". Every now and then my husband gives me a whiff of this sentiment, since I'm the one that wanted so many, and I shut him down real hard real fast. I can LOVE my kids, love having them, and still say it s hard. Just like he can love his career and still find it hard sometimes. Hard doesn't mean bad. Heck, honestly? All the really good stuff is hard work. But hey, that's me. He jokes that I don't know how to enjoy "easy". As soon as we reach an equilibrium  I find a way to make t harder again. I guess I like challenge?

 

I agree with this so much. We are not meant to be living they way we do and taking on all the work ourselves. I think that we have problems with mom's not being able to handle it all because we have set ourselves up for this.  We move far from family, we don't know our neighbors, we don't all help to take care of each other.  

Also you don't know anything about her kids or her health.  Why spend all this time judging her when you can't possibly know all her circumstances.  I think it is great that she has  tribe of people that are helping her.  Yes hopefully she isn't a user and one day when her kids are older she helps people like she was helped. 

She is pregnant and has a bunch of other kids, I am glad that people are stepping up when she needs them. 

 

We have 5 kids and have never had any help.  We don't live by any family, friends we haven't ever taken up on offers (they stopped after we had 2 kids) and we don't hire any help at all.  We haven't ever had a babysitter.  Now I am not saying this is the way to do it.  I wish that we had a tribe around us.  I wish we had family around us that would have helped and given us breaks from the kids.  It would have been so helpful to our marriage and to my mental health.  Ha.  I know I would have been a much better mom.  

I think we should spend less time judging each other and more time helping each other. 

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If the husband isn’t helping and is physically present to do so that needs to be rectified before calling on the church to give of their energies and money to assist.  He needs to care for and love his wife and kids FIRST.

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5 hours ago, lolo said:

This is it. They are quiverfull. And dad doesn't help at all. 

 

There is no way I would begrudge a pregnant mom of many with a slacker husband all the meals and help her community feels fit to provide.  

Quiverfull men who don't shoulder any of the load at home?   Don't even get me started.  

Who could manage that?  No mortal woman.  

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To be honest, I think when someone else is willing to pick up the slack, you grow to feel like you can't do it and you need someone else to help. I bet if she did not have her parents to help she would do just fine on her own. But seriously, one thing in abuse (what is happening with her parents is not abuse at all, I am just telling about this) is an abuser will do a lot for the person they abuse to leave the abused feeling like they cannot do anything and need the abuser. Sort of like the person who won't let their partner get a job and then leaves the partner to feel like they couldn't handle having a job. The partner grows to think this and all the more cannot leave the abuser. Of course, grandparents taking their grandkids sometimes is not this of course. But I am just saying that when someone does not have to do something, they grow conditioned to think they cannot handle it.

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I firmly believe the best thing every woman can do for themselves and their family is to leave the kids with dad for extended periods of time and do not call it babysitting. Go away for a weekend. Seriously. And no crap about dh leaving everything for her as some kind of passive aggressive punishment upon her return. He doesn’t have to do things like mom, but it should still get done. If it doesn’t  - go away for a week next time. ?

And if a mom literally cannot leave her children alone with their father - they need to give serious thought to the implications of that. Ask if it would ever be okay for a man to say that about the mother of his children. 

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Yup.  That’s why we are taking a baby break, even though I tend to run toward allowing babies if at all possible.  Mom’s health plus management ability matters, and if he can’t handle it with me gone or won’t assist? Then I’m the one making the numbers choice because I’m the one dealing with it day to day.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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24 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I firmly believe the best thing every woman can do for themselves and their family is to leave the kids with dad for extended periods of time and do not call it babysitting. Go away for a weekend. Seriously. And no crap about dh leaving everything for her as some kind of passive aggressive punishment upon her return. He doesn’t have to do things like mom, but it should still get done. If it doesn’t  - go away for a week next time. ?

And if a mom literally cannot leave her children alone with their father - they need to give serious thought to the implications of that. Ask if it would ever be okay for a man to say that about the mother of his children. 

Honestly, leaving dad with the kids for a weekend and not calling it babysitting isn't really enough.

 

I have done that as long as DH and I have been married.  But DH didn't really get it until he had been doing it for more than a week or two.  He totally had things well in hand when he first started.  It was about week 2 that things started to fall apart.  That was when he realized that it's not just a lot of work....but that it's a lot of work that DOES NOT END.  It doesn't matter if someone isn't worn out by day 3.  It matters if they hit day 14 and then realize that they have to turn around and do the EXACT SAME THING on day 15, even if they are sick.  Even if their spouse has to work extra OT.  Even if their spouse has to go away.  

 

DH spent years going to school full time, and even working full time, plus OT.  And, I worked part time during that time.  And we had babies.  And he knew that was hard....and as someone who has been a single parent while doing school and working, I know it was hard and don't discount his hard work.  But when roles switched, and I was working a full time job, plus a part time job, plus he was also going on interviews out of state, that he realized not just that the SAHP gig is hard, but that it actually really truly is AS HARD as doing things the other way around.  He realized that just because I don't have to punch in at a certain time, that doesn't mean that having a kid wake up screaming and crying because of a bad dream is easier on the person not punching in a clock.  He realized that just because I am not being yelled at by someone with a title, it doesn't mean I don't get yelled at.  And that just because it's not earning a paycheck that doesn't mean it isn't a really big deal.  

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I think what you’re describing is unusual. 

We just had #7. Our oldest is 12. We do not have nearby family. 

I don’t need that level of help. At our house everyone pitches in on laundry and dishes and cooking. We also have housekeepers come twice a month to do deep cleaning. I have never had a mother’s helper or anything like that  

But I feel like we manage ok. Homeschooling gets done. Our kids are on swim team and a golf team. We’re able to enjoy all their activities and competitions. But we still have family time too. 

There are definitely times I feel overwhelmed but I remember having those feelings with just one baby. 

I have a school schedule, my kids have a chore routine, we have a menu plan, and we try to stay very organized. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

Honestly, leaving dad with the kids for a weekend and not calling it babysitting isn't really enough.

 

I have done that as long as DH and I have been married.  But DH didn't really get it until he had been doing it for more than a week or two.  He totally had things well in hand when he first started.  It was about week 2 that things started to fall apart.  That was when he realized that it's not just a lot of work....but that it's a lot of work that DOES NOT END.  It doesn't matter if someone isn't worn out by day 3.  It matters if they hit day 14 and then realize that they have to turn around and do the EXACT SAME THING on day 15, even if they are sick.  Even if their spouse has to work extra OT.  Even if their spouse has to go away.  

 

DH spent years going to school full time, and even working full time, plus OT.  And, I worked part time during that time.  And we had babies.  And he knew that was hard....and as someone who has been a single parent while doing school and working, I know it was hard and don't discount his hard work.  But when roles switched, and I was working a full time job, plus a part time job, plus he was also going on interviews out of state, that he realized not just that the SAHP gig is hard, but that it actually really truly is AS HARD as doing things the other way around.  He realized that just because I don't have to punch in at a certain time, that doesn't mean that having a kid wake up screaming and crying because of a bad dream is easier on the person not punching in a clock.  He realized that just because I am not being yelled at by someone with a title, it doesn't mean I don't get yelled at.  And that just because it's not earning a paycheck that doesn't mean it isn't a really big deal.  

 

Absolutely they should get more than a weekend. Mine did several times due to having to take medical leave from work for two if my pregnancies that were significantly worse than the hypermesis I had with the others.

But I hear women talking all he time about how they can’t go for coffee or what all else bc they “can’t just leave the babies/kids with dh”.  Yeah. Actually they can and should. If they don’t want to, that’s fine by me but I wish they’d quit whining about it then. And quit talking about fathers like they are idiots too incompetent to be left alone.

Yes, this is hard work but there’s no moral high ground to making out like a martyr by making it more difficult than it already has to be. 

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I have 9 kids in 16 years, no babysitters or mothers helpers, no cleaning ladies or meals outside post partum. But maybe she needs more help.

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I have seen such a thing in big families a very few times but I have seen it in some small families as well. There was one big-family mama involved in my homeschool co-op at one time and her requests for help really did begin to rub me wrong. I also felt that her eldest girls were the most dejected surrogate mothers I had ever seen. I spent time with two in the nursery where they baby-sat siblings when I also had a baby and they were the most joyless, unhappy-looking girls. I was glad when that family moved on. 

But I also saw this with a mom I briefly befriended when our first couple kids were babies. Her mom was like a substitiute mom and my “friend” was trying to stick to some ideal in her head of not having babies “change” her. So, she would go on trips without her tiny babies so she could get a “break.” And a lot of similar things. That friendship had to go. She was a nutjob. 

I know some big families that run a heck of a tight ship. I am in awe of those couple moms. Shoutout if they are reading here to G.A., A.K., F.J., D.G. I bow to you, incredible moms. 

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So I see it’s a quiver full thing. Her and her Dh have both drank the kool aid and aren’t really thinking about what they can logistically, emotionally, and financially handle.  They believe they’re Doing The Right Thing. Fortunately for them, the church that SERVED them the kool-aid seems to be offering back-up. That seems a bit better than pushing this lifestyle in very young, impressionable couples then offering no support when reality sets in. 

Honesly the woman seems ill-equipped. I think women should ask for help when they need it, but they shouldn’t NEED help to get through an average day alone with their children. Also, if the dad is disengaged this early on itcdoes not bode well for their future. 

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If I had her husband I'd probably be depressed enough that it ALL felt overwhelming and I'd need extra help from some decent people.  Bleh.  ?

I agree that personality may also be in play here. Some moms need more help due to total lack of confidence.  I'm the oldest of 4 and have 6 of my own. I can only say I really felt overwhelmed after having our 3rd when I had postpartum depression and dh was working a ton.  I've never had family helping or had many sitters, no cleaning or household help.  That doesn't mean I'm a supermom. If I'd had an offer of help at various times in our family life I probably would have said yes for a short, finite period of time!  lol  And I don't know any families that sound like the OP, even though I know a few that would be considered quiverfull.

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I agree that this lady might have other issues like depression going on, but on the topic of why someone might choose to keep having kids when they already feel maxed out—I chose to have another when I was already struggling.  I only had three, but my third was an incredibly difficult toddler.  I mean really, really extreme.  I just felt so strongly that there was another child that belonged in our family.  I dreamed about this baby regularly, and knew that he was supposed to be with us—and that he would be my number three’s special friend.  It did not make logical sense, and there were a few tough years there while it was a struggle for me to manage with four very young kids, of whom #3 was a rabid toddler and #4 was a medically fragile baby.  But despite the difficulties, I have never doubted for a moment that our family was always meant to have #4 at that time, and he is our special, gentle, wise little soul who shares a unique bond with his diametrically opposite older brother, who is his leader and his protector.

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14 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

If the husband isn’t helping and is physically present to do so that needs to be rectified before calling on the church to give of their energies and money to assist.  He needs to care for and love his wife and kids FIRST.

How can it be rectified? if the husband doesn't rectify himself it is impossible for external forces to rectify him

 

 I personally  am related to someone who has just had her 10th baby. She had life threatening complications in her last pregnancy that involved extended hospitalisation. Both her and her DH were told by the specialists that another pregnancy will kill her. She asked her Dh if he could get the snip.. He brought the priest or minister or whatever the leader of their church  is called to come and have a stern talking to her about being a submissive wife.

the husband doesn't  even work .

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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3 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

How can it be rectified? if the husband doesn't rectify himself it is impossible for external forces to rectify him

 

 I personally  am related to someone who has just had her 10th baby. She had life threatening complications in her last pregnancy that involved extended hospitalisation. Both her and her DH were told by the specialists that another pregnancy will kill her. She asked her Dh if he could get the snip.. He brought the priest or minister or whatever the leader of their church  is called to come and have a stern talking to her about being a submissive wife.

the husband doesn't  even work .

This sort of thing makes me unspeakably furious. What in the name of Pete is going to happen to those precious kids if mom does die??? This grieves me. 

I cannot imagine their lives. 

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3 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

How can it be rectified? if the husband doesn't rectify himself it is impossible for external forces to rec tify him

 

 I personally  am related to someone who has just had her 10th baby. She had life threatening complications in her last pregnancy that involved extended hospitalisation. Both her and her DH were told by the specialists that another pregnancy will kill her. She asked her Dh if he could get the snip.. He brought the priest or minister or whatever the leader of their church  is called to come and have a stern talking to her about being a submissive wife.

the husband doesn't  even work .

Wow. 

How about the minister/priest counseling daddy spreads his seed to man up and accept being celibate then, if birth control is against their religion? Keeping it in his pants may sound extreme, but certainly less so than death! Love your wife as Christ loved the church, not use her into an early grave!

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22 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Finally, i do think the idea of moms managing t all is total BS. Total. We are meant to live in tribes, in extended families, etc. There should NOT be one person responsible for it all 24/7. It's not healthy for mom or the kids or the husband who comes home to an overwhelmed wife. Also, parenting is harder than it was before - I was reading a book (One Beautiful Dream - highly recommend) and her MIL talked about how when she was a mom she'd shoo the kids outside all darned day. They got exercise, so they slept well, she had time to cook/clean/THINK without them under foot, etc. And they didn't ahve a zillion toys in the house to be picked up! She commented that it is much harder now, for young moms, then when she was a mother, even with the labor saving devices, etc. It was a good point. (this book makes a STRONG case for all moms trying to find help if at all possible, paid or otherwise). 

4

 

18 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

 

I agree with this so much. We are not meant to be living they way we do and taking on all the work ourselves. I think that we have problems with mom's not being able to handle it all because we have set ourselves up for this.  We move far from family, we don't know our neighbors, we don't all help to take care of each other.  

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I agree with both these points. We do have more tools to help us get jobs done but expectations in this social media/Pinterest world are ridiculous. Everything is supposed to look so-so and you are supposed to have your kids in every activity imaginable, running yourself ragged. I think we need to work a lot harder on rejecting all this bs and we need to place a higher value on support systems around us. 

I hope I can provide more help to my kids than I was given, and not make them guilty for taking it. Motherhood is hard and I think we play it off too much, like it is sunshine and roses. I think it can be worse in the SAH, hs'ing world, oh, I love my kids and want to be with them 24/7 and if you don't there is something wrong with you. We could all use some help sometimes, even if we can make it on our own. I remember when my first was 3 days old and I'm pretty certain he'd been crying for most of that time (after a long delivery followed by a wicked case of PUPPS that left me already sleep-deprived). Dh and I were sitting on the front porch with him, all of us crying and we called MIL, desperate for some help, a little reprieve. She haughtily replied, yep, sounds like colic and wouldn't even offer 5 min of help. I remember calling my Mom when pregnant with my last, so sick I couldn't get out of bed and she asked me if I *really* needed help before telling me no, she was too busy helping my SIL. That about sums it up, we had help here and there but we didn't ask unless desperate and never could depend on it.

I will also strongly encourage my kids to let go of society's unrealistic expectations, we can't "do it all" and we need to stop trying. 

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

Wow. 

How about the minister/priest counseling daddy spreads his seed to man up and accept being celibate then, if birth control is against their religion? Keeping it in his pants may sound extreme, but certainly less so than death! Love your wife as Christ loved the church, not use her into an early grave!

 

I don't think it's even slightly extreme.  I think it's the right thing to do if his wife is not okay with the risks.  If she is open to that risk, that's fine too, but her just fears shouldn't be dismissed as nonsense either.

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1 hour ago, soror said:

 

I agree with both these points. We do have more tools to help us get jobs done but expectations in this social media/Pinterest world are ridiculous. Everything is supposed to look so-so and you are supposed to have your kids in every activity imaginable, running yourself ragged. I think we need to work a lot harder on rejecting all this bs and we need to place a higher value on support systems around us. 

I hope I can provide more help to my kids than I was given, and not make them guilty for taking it. Motherhood is hard and I think we play it off too much, like it is sunshine and roses. I think it can be worse in the SAH, hs'ing world, oh, I love my kids and want to be with them 24/7 and if you don't there is something wrong with you. We could all use some help sometimes, even if we can make it on our own. I remember when my first was 3 days old and I'm pretty certain he'd been crying for most of that time (after a long delivery followed by a wicked case of PUPPS that left me already sleep-deprived). Dh and I were sitting on the front porch with him, all of us crying and we called MIL, desperate for some help, a little reprieve. She haughtily replied, yep, sounds like colic and wouldn't even offer 5 min of help. I remember calling my Mom when pregnant with my last, so sick I couldn't get out of bed and she asked me if I *really* needed help before telling me no, she was too busy helping my SIL. That about sums it up, we had help here and there but we didn't ask unless desperate and never could depend on it.

I will also strongly encourage my kids to let go of society's unrealistic expectations, we can't "do it all" and we need to stop trying. 

 

I agree with you.  I am sorry you had that experience with your mil and mom.  That is sad.  And where I think we are now.  I feel like it all started with the mommy wars btwn working moms and sahms and then society just got more and more separate, high expectations, people judging each other on everything, social media making you feel horrible about yourself.  

Just like you I hope to help my kids out and be part of a tribe that helps them.  I hope that other people our ages see what has happened to people and changes how the next generation goes through motherhood. 

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2 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

 

I don't think it's even slightly extreme.  I think it's the right thing to do if his wife is not okay with the risks.  If she is open to that risk, that's fine too, but her just fears shouldn't be dismissed as nonsense either.

Sorry, I didn't mean to say "I" thought it was extreme, but that the husband might. I'm making an assumption that a guy that has that many kids is used to a fairly decent sex life. 

Although maybe my perception is messed up, as my own is not exactly robust right now. Still cosleeping with the 1 year old, in a separate room, at least most of the night, and totally exhausted most nights. Plus hormone issues while nursing, etc. And honestly - my libido dropped after my weight loss surgery and never fully recovered. Not sure if it is related to the surgery, the weight loss or a coincidence, but there you have it. Most nights, if the choice is sleep or "tea", it's going to be sleep. Thankfully my husband would not DREAM of ever complaining or pressuring me. And honestly he's exhausted too and often up late working or studying for his masters degree that he's doing in addition to working two jobs. Not to mention the drag that it is to start the kettle and then have the 1 year old wake up before you reach full boil, have to get her back to sleep, etc. That whole process is honestly what mystifies me about families with a dozen children - not that they would want a dozen, as I would probably love having a houseful - but that they find the time and energy to do what it takes to MAKE so many kids, while taking care of so many more, lol. Maybe their kids sleep better than mine do, lol.

So no,  I do not think forgoing intercourse is extreme when it could save someone's life! In that context, it is what it is. Not ideal but neither is being a widow and having motherless children! If you are THAT strict about your religious beliefs (and I admit, I'm not sure I could/would be in that situation), then that's the answer, not killing your wife. 

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On 8/11/2018 at 8:09 AM, lolo said:

This is it. They are quiverfull. And dad doesn't help at all. 

I am so sorry to hear that.  I was just thinking if she feels so overwhelmed why is she pregnant again, but that answers the question.

I was very overwhelmed by one and had postpartum depression.  That's why I have one.  I know others with big families who function very well with minimal help.  Yay for them!  I don't believe a family should *choose* to have more if they already need excessive assistance to handle what they already have.  Accidents happen of course.

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

Sorry, I didn't mean to say "I" thought it was extreme, but that the husband might. I'm making an assumption that a guy that has that many kids is used to a fairly decent sex life. 

Although maybe my perception is messed up, as my own is not exactly robust right now. Still cosleeping with the 1 year old, in a separate room, at least most of the night, and totally exhausted most nights. Plus hormone issues while nursing, etc. And honestly - my libido dropped after my weight loss surgery and never fully recovered. Not sure if it is related to the surgery, the weight loss or a coincidence, but there you have it. Most nights, if the choice is sleep or "tea", it's going to be sleep. Thankfully my husband would not DREAM of ever complaining or pressuring me. And honestly he's exhausted too and often up late working or studying for his masters degree that he's doing in addition to working two jobs. Not to mention the drag that it is to start the kettle and then have the 1 year old wake up before you reach full boil, have to get her back to sleep, etc. That whole process is honestly what mystifies me about families with a dozen children - not that they would want a dozen, as I would probably love having a houseful - but that they find the time and energy to do what it takes to MAKE so many kids, while taking care of so many more, lol. Maybe their kids sleep better than mine do, lol.

So no,  I do not think forgoing intercourse is extreme when it could save someone's life! In that context, it is what it is. Not ideal but neither is being a widow and having motherless children! If you are THAT strict about your religious beliefs (and I admit, I'm not sure I could/would be in that situation), then that's the answer, not killing your wife. 

 

I wasn't jumping on you.  I just think people need to hear out loud that doing without sex is not like losing a limb or a life. I mean seriously, when said out loud it sounds ridiculous - right?  Sex, married or not, is not a need like food and water. No one has a right to demand it of another.  Men are not craven beasts.

I don't think it matters what our libido is or how robust a couple's sex life is.  That's difficult to even compare.  You might think you have low libido but someone else might think it's way more than they can manage. I think I have a very decent sex life, but someone else might not.

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2 minutes ago, goldberry said:

I am so sorry to hear that.  I was just thinking if she feels so overwhelmed why is she pregnant again, but that answers the question.

I was very overwhelmed by one and had postpartum depression.  That's why I have one.  I know others with big families who function very well with minimal help.  Yay for them!  I don't believe a family should *choose* to have more if they already need excessive assistance to handle what they already have.  Accidents happen of course.

 

How much help a family needs isn't the deciding factor to me.  I have the general opinion that control is an illusion and that none of us make it through this life without a lot of help.

I do want to dispel the theory that having a large family that functions very well doesn't mean the mother hasn't had all the problems any other mother has had.  I've had PPD with two.  I've been overwhelmed. I've had difficult pregnancies and I've had hard delivery recoveries.  I've miscarried 1/3 of my pregnancies.  I've been pregnant and thinking about divorce.  Don't presume that because they smile and seem to cope well that they aren't suffering same as anyone else has. There's a LOT that mothers of many don't feel comfortable discussing with other mothers or sharing socially.  Often because of threads like this.  (Which has actually been rather kind for the most part.) The reaction a mom of 1-3 might get is usually just... not the reaction a mother of more than that tends to get.  When feeling like crap and wondering how to get through the day, a mother of many isn't any different than a mother of a couple kids - she isn't likely to have the energy or emotional fortitude to deal with judgements about her intelligence, character, bad marital choices, foolish faith, ignorant motherhood or lack of feminist ideal conformity.

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9 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

How can it be rectified? if the husband doesn't rectify himself it is impossible for external forces to rectify him

 

 I personally  am related to someone who has just had her 10th baby. She had life threatening complications in her last pregnancy that involved extended hospitalisation. Both her and her DH were told by the specialists that another pregnancy will kill her. She asked her Dh if he could get the snip.. He brought the priest or minister or whatever the leader of their church  is called to come and have a stern talking to her about being a submissive wife.

the husband doesn't  even work .

At that point it’s her responsibility to protect herself and her children with surgery, birth control of some sort, or abstaining.  And I say that as someone who detests both.  Her husband is abusing her body and her desire to submit to and please him.  He isn’t loving her as his own flesh.  

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I certainly cannot manage on my own all the needs of my family. 

I'm not sure why it would be assumed that I could or should? I think the pressure on childbearing women regardless of family size to do it all without help is misguided. Just one single high needs baby can be more than a mom can handle.

I think support as needed should be the norm. Whether that comes from family and friends--a spouse, a parent, a church group, a community support group--or from paid help may depend on unique circumstances.

My personal working set up includes family help (my mom tutoring some of my kids in math), paid help (a weekly cleaning service), an oldest child who is remarkably reliable, a husband who provides financially although he isn't able to contribute much practically around the house, sometimes other help (extended family lending a hand with yard work, church folks bringing meals when someone is sick) and quite frankly letting a lot of things go.

I think every mom should have outside support and help.

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32 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

At that point it’s her responsibility to protect herself and her children with surgery, birth control of some sort, or abstaining.  And I say that as someone who detests both.  Her husband is abusing her body and her desire to submit to and please him.  He isn’t loving her as his own flesh.  

That’s an option I guess. 

For me, if it came down to the wire of compromising my health for his lust - he’s going to lose.

All those options would compromise my health and my faith. If a woman wants to do that regardless of husband issues, that’s one thing. But to heck if I’m going to do it just because he thinks he has a right to demand sex off me. That seems a rather steep unfair demand from a supposedly loving spouse.

If I have to protect myself from my spouse, what I really need is to not have that spouse imnsho. 

Edited by Murphy101

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6 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

That’s an option I guess. 

For me, if it came down to the wire of compromising my health for his lust - he’s going to lose.

All those options would compromise my health and my faith. If a woman wants to do that regardless of husband issues, that’s one thing. But to heck if I’m going to do it just because he thinks he has a right to demand sex off me. That seems a rather steep unfair demand from a supposedly loving spouse.

If I have to protect myself from my spouse, what I really need is to not have that spouse imnsho. 

Well, it’s horrible situation.  Divorce may not be a better option for a mom with ten children and health problems than abstaining, nature family planning, a tubal ligation, or whatever else she decides she has to do. 

 

If she was okay having him get a vasectomy, it’s not a stretch to thing an ablation or ligation could be options she could consider, too. 

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12 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Well, it’s horrible situation.  Divorce may not be a better option for a mom with ten children and health problems than abstaining, nature family planning, a tubal ligation, or whatever else she decides she has to do. 

 

If she was okay having him get a vasectomy, it’s not a stretch to thing an ablation or ligation could be options she could consider, too. 

 

I didn’t say it was. I’m simply stating another perspective. If nothing else, who is going to help her while recovering from those procedures? Unlikely her husband and if they have a militant quiverful circle, unlikely much from there either. And again, I think it unreasonable to demand even more physical sacrifice of her for his lust. Let him get the knife this time if he’s unwilling to abstain for her health. 

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Ideally I’d agree with you, and that’s how we run it in my home.  But if he won’t do it she cannot make him.  He is wrong in this and SHOULD be making a choice that honors and protects his wife.  But since he is refusing, she can only control so much when it comes to her body and family.  That was my point - these are things she can control to protect her life and health, since her husband is refusing. Divorce, separation, abstaining, these may be options too.  Or not.  But when it’s life or death and your husband and church won’t help, it is not sin for her to save her life and protect her children, even if it is FAR from the ideal choice.  Sometimes you really do have to choose between two bad options.

 

I’m not speaking without empathy here.  We are generally against birth control for religious reasons and open to welcoming as many children as I can safely have and maintain good stewardship of.  We aren’t quiverfull and wouldn’t self identify with that anymore, though, precisely because of the spiritual and physical abuses that can happen with an ideology imbalanced as that one can be.  And quite frankly I wouldn’t be done with babies (and might still not be) except that we have been providentially hindered by my health and the issues that popped up and almost killed me and the last baby, which haven’t been solved yet.

 

We have our ideal and goals and convictions.  And then we have the situation God gives us.  And have to respond in wisdom accordingly.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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On 8/11/2018 at 4:01 AM, Melissa in Australia said:

I know quite a few very large families. I have noted that the ones that have the mentality that birth control is a sin and they have to keep having babies PLUS a husband who doesn't lift a finger and thinks that making the babies was his one and only role = a family that has the mother struggling and requesting help the father also tends to be an overbearing jerk as well. But other large families where the father pitches in and they have a more realistic understanding of if they reach their threshold of children then it is time for a break in adding to the family tend to cope better. I am talking about families with 9, 10 and 11 children.

 

My own children are so spaced out that I never had more than 5 at a time at home.

 

My general observation is that being married to an asshole makes life harder on any mother and usually requires her community step up their game in helping their neighbor. 

Why a woman would continue to willingly have sex with a jerk has dumbfounded women since Adam and Eve.  Heck. Even the women having sex with the jerks are often wondering why they are doing it. 

ETA:

I do agree that a negative mentality of having to endure children vs Wanting the child for its own sake makes a huge difference in how some women seem to cope. I’ve seen that false martyrdom a couple times too and it’s not pretty. 

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I do know large families who ask the community to help them repeatedly. I also know large families who pay to hire help which is a-okay with me. But there are also plenty of us out there who do it without hiring a house cleaner or a nanny.

I have six who are 10 and under, including a set of toddler twins. it's a handful and a handful that I chose to have so I tend to not ask for much help. Have I asked for someone to hang out with my kids so I could take one to a doctor's appointment without the rest in tow? Yup! I don't hire regular help. However, I DO have a husband who is amazing and does not feel like his job is over when he comes home from work. He steps up and does chores, parents, often helps kids with a math lesson if they need to be taught in a different way. So while I am not leaning on the outside community to meet all of my needs or hiring help for it, I do have a co-parent in this unlike plenty of moms of large families whose husbands don't feel that is their role.

Edited by NoseInABook
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18 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

How can it be rectified? if the husband doesn't rectify himself it is impossible for external forces to rectify him

 

 I personally  am related to someone who has just had her 10th baby. She had life threatening complications in her last pregnancy that involved extended hospitalisation. Both her and her DH were told by the specialists that another pregnancy will kill her. She asked her Dh if he could get the snip.. He brought the priest or minister or whatever the leader of their church  is called to come and have a stern talking to her about being a submissive wife.

the husband doesn't  even work .

I would have an "emergency" planned snip snip of my own after having a "talk" with my OB-kwim.  

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We have a large family (9 children) and know several more large families, some with 5, 7, and more.  It doesn't represent the ones I know, but that doesn't mean it isn't valid for that family.  Two of my children are officially "grown" and one of those two has already flown the nest.  Our third-born attends all outside classes as a senior in high school, so that "only" leaves 6 for me to homeschool.  All are school age, so no babies or pre-schoolers to occupy.  That does make a huge difference! 

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20 hours ago, soror said:

 

I agree with both these points. We do have more tools to help us get jobs done but expectations in this social media/Pinterest world are ridiculous. Everything is supposed to look so-so and you are supposed to have your kids in every activity imaginable, running yourself ragged. I think we need to work a lot harder on rejecting all this bs and we need to place a higher value on support systems around us. 

I hope I can provide more help to my kids than I was given, and not make them guilty for taking it. Motherhood is hard and I think we play it off too much, like it is sunshine and roses. I think it can be worse in the SAH, hs'ing world, oh, I love my kids and want to be with them 24/7 and if you don't there is something wrong with you. We could all use some help sometimes, even if we can make it on our own. I remember when my first was 3 days old and I'm pretty certain he'd been crying for most of that time (after a long delivery followed by a wicked case of PUPPS that left me already sleep-deprived). Dh and I were sitting on the front porch with him, all of us crying and we called MIL, desperate for some help, a little reprieve. She haughtily replied, yep, sounds like colic and wouldn't even offer 5 min of help. I remember calling my Mom when pregnant with my last, so sick I couldn't get out of bed and she asked me if I *really* needed help before telling me no, she was too busy helping my SIL. That about sums it up, we had help here and there but we didn't ask unless desperate and never could depend on it.

I will also strongly encourage my kids to let go of society's unrealistic expectations, we can't "do it all" and we need to stop trying. 

I hope I can help my kids out, too.  But this thread is making me feel like I should start figuring out how I define that before the time comes!  Though some of my kids are starting to talk about not having kids of their own, the reality is that I have 5.  If they were to average "just" 2, that would give me 10 grandchildren.  While I adore the idea of having 10 little maniacs (my kids' kids will obviously be maniacs) running around for Sunday brunch, would happily invest in a passenger van for Grandma park trips, and have already dreamed about building a bunk room for regular Grandparent Week(s), I'm the kind of introvert that needs a lot of recovery time already, with 5 pretty self-sufficient kids.  I don't imagine a huge improvement in my 50s and 60s!  

Spreading myself across 5 families and whatever exponent of kids, I don't know how much hands on help I'll be able to offer, outside of the above and emergencies.  Now watch none of them have kids and me get bored and lonely! ? 

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2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

I hope I can help my kids out, too.  But this thread is making me feel like I should start figuring out how I define that before the time comes!  Though some of my kids are starting to talk about not having kids of their own, the reality is that I have 5.  If they were to average "just" 2, that would give me 10 grandchildren.  While I adore the idea of having 10 little maniacs (my kids' kids will obviously be maniacs) running around for Sunday brunch, would happily invest in a passenger van for Grandma park trips, and have already dreamed about building a bunk room for regular Grandparent Week(s), I'm the kind of introvert that needs a lot of recovery time already, with 5 pretty self-sufficient kids.  I don't imagine a huge improvement in my 50s and 60s!  

Spreading myself across 5 families and whatever exponent of kids, I don't know how much hands on help I'll be able to offer, outside of the above and emergencies.  Now watch none of them have kids and me get bored and lonely! ? 

We can only do what we can do. What is the most upsetting about my parents is that my Mom ALWAYS put their kids first, always, when they were younger she never had any time left for my kids. When I talked to her about it that is what she said, they come first. As with our younger kids things are never the same/equal but such glaring differences are a bit to stomach.

Edited by soror

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I know moms with 7,8, 9, or even 10 kids who handle it beautifully.  One mom that I know with 9 kids was practically negligent to her kids.  She could not handle what she had going on in her household.  For her it is a religious thing.  They knew they couldn't handle that many kids but felt religiously opposed to any birth control at all.  Even NFP was a sin because it wasn't trusting God with the family size.  They tried to push their literature on us when oldest dd was little.  I found it very interesting that all of this literature was written by a guy with two children.  They didn't feel this conviction until after his vasectomy. 

To be fair, I know moms with 2 kids who have a very together household and moms with 2 kids who are falling apart.  Moms need to know what they can handle and stick with it.  

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On 8/11/2018 at 1:23 PM, Arctic Mama said:

If the husband isn’t helping and is physically present to do so that needs to be rectified before calling on the church to give of their energies and money to assist.  He needs to care for and love his wife and kids FIRST.

Dads can have depression, ADHD, disabilities and health issues too.

And wives can't make husbands do stuff. 

Sometimes you have to ask for help where you can expect to receive it.

Edited by maize
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