Most people shake their heads in horror when we tell them we’ve got four children. The funny thing is, I’ve met a lot of adults who come from big families and they tell me they loved growing up with lots of siblings. While resources might have been stretched, they loved sharing bedrooms and growing up with close companions.
After a fairly intense couple of years, I’m beginning to see the positives of having four kids. Sure you have to look past the massive workload, the expense and the noise that comes with having a big family. Some days you might have to look really hard.
But when you do, there are some definite positives emerging:
A house full of chatter
While the screaming, whingeing and bickering can push me to the edge most days, I love hearing the sound of my kids playing and chatting together. Hearing those little voices engaged in a made-up game and working as a team fills me with joy. Kids in groups come up with the greatest ideas for play and adventure as their collective imaginations come together. I can’t wait to see what the four of them come up with. We are heavily influenced by Enid Blyton at our place, so I’m thinking Famous Four type escapades, or Magic Faraway Tree adventures. Only with less unsupervised play in the dark forest, thanks.
Early life lessons
Having a big family means my kids will be learning some important life skills early on. For one thing they’ll become fluent in the art of compromise, given that we’ll have so many competing opinions and ideas in our household. This is actually a great basis for learning assertive communication. And because our resources are going to be stretched in the years to come, they’ll also become great sharers and well-versed in what it means to be grateful. I’m picturing a lot of lectures from yours truly on the latter, so they’ll really have no choice but to get on board.
The instant birthday party
Speaking of stretched resources, we won’t be throwing them elaborate birthday parties every year either. But I’ve discovered a great perk of having a few kids in the house come birthday time: put on some music, blow up the balloons and serve up popcorn – it’s a party! We have the numbers for a mini-celebration and can even manage a modest game of musical statues or pass-the-parcel with our lot. While they’re still young enough to buy this idea, I think it’s a great alternative for when it’s not their ‘turn’ for a party.
We’re a village
They say it takes a village to raise a child and I reckon we have a mini village right here in our house. With three siblings each, the kids will have multiple influences in their lives that will shape the person they become. If one sibling argues with another, chances are that each of them will have someone in the family to talk things through with. Plus, having a big family means someone will always be around to support them, even when they’re older.
This is great reassurance for a worrier like me.
Someone once told me that a great plus of having four kids is that you have even numbers for teams when playing games. I’m picturing a lot of indoor family board games during rainy holidays, so this will definitely come in handy. The other thing is, dealing with even numbers in the family means I get to talk in percentages for fun: I can say, ‘75% of our kids have had their bath’, or ‘50% of our children are driving me up the wall’. It’s a little quirk that keeps me going some days.
I once read about these in a parenting book, and never dreamed that I’d have enough people in my family to warrant a weekly meeting. I love it. What a great way to sit down together as a family each week and discuss what’s happening for everyone. I can use a clipboard. We can discuss things like the weekly menu and the chores roster. We can dish out the pocket money. We can hand out weekly awards. Is it weird that this stuff excites me?
Right now I may be constantly on the brink of exhaustion from tending to the needs of all these kids, but believe me, I plan on reaping the rewards every Mothers Day for many, many years to come. I have a strong visions of me lying in bed sipping coffee, putting the newspaper aside as I beckon each child to enter with their gift. Oh god, I feel dizzy. Even the thought of reading the Sunday paper is exciting me.
Like I said, the good times are coming.
This content copy from: