SORRY to ask a rude question but how do you all afford your big families and how do you manage to split your time and manage the day to day running of the house?

(49 Posts)
Scunnilingus Sun 20-Oct-13 15:23:28

Me and DH currently have 2 children. I was one of 4. DH was an only child. We both LOVE the idea of a bigger family but I have no idea how we'd actually afford it. We don't struggle as such but there are definitely some months when we do overspend and we have no savings to rely on either. DS1 is 6 and DS2 is nearly 2 and I have noticed they get a LOT more expensive as they get older! A lot of our money goes on days out and trips to farms, swimming, meals out etc. I think we do spend too much on just entertaining them to be honest but it is for our benefit as well as theirs. I love getting out and I do find the week days when DH has the car at work and I am stuck in or have to stay fairly local (walking distance) are a lot harder. So how do you budget or are you all just on very high wages?

Also how do you manage house work? Home work? Reading, bedtimes? Etc? Currently DS2 has a bath and goes to bed at 7 (DH takes him up and gets him to sleep while I play or chat with DS1 downstairs), DS1 goes up at 7:30 and I read with him and he's asleep by 8pm. How do I manage this with more children? sorry if that seems like a stupid question. I just don't know how you make it all work!

Are you drowning in laundry? How many bedrooms do you all have? Do you get frustrated at the noise and mess? Do you manage any one on one time with your children?

Sorry there are a lot of questions. Basically just after a brief overview of how you all make it work and how we can do similar. THANK YOU

lljkk Sun 20-Oct-13 19:01:01

That's a lot of questions.
MN def of "large" = 4 which is what I have.
I think you know that your spending is unsustainable if you want more DC. Something will have to give. Some relatives are a family of 8 on an income of £14k after housing, but they are so parsimonious about what they buy you wouldn't believe.
All the "large" families I know IRL have at least one parent FT at home.
One-to-one time is hard but does happen sporadically.
Housework: muddle thru, they get paid to do some as they get older.
Homework: depends on the kid! Some are self-starters & others have to be hand-held for 2 hours every Sunday morning.

RandomMess Sun 20-Oct-13 19:04:04

In short, you lower your expectations!

RandomMess Sun 20-Oct-13 19:09:12

Also you don't entertain them, they play with each other, argue with each other, talk at each other (instead of you), you involve them in housework, you have less stuff each, they share bedrooms and bed times.

It's just a completely different dynamic compared to having only 2 IME

5madthings Sun 20-Oct-13 19:10:32

We have national trust membership and we use tesco vouchers. We dont go to expensive places all that much. We do go out for walks, to woods,'to the beach, etc lots of free stuff.

I do a load of laundry a day if not two.

I am sahm mainly due to DPs hours which make childcare etc I possible.

You do manage one on one time, bedtimes wellelder two piut themselves to bed, then ds3 and ds4 goto bed together and have a story etc and I put dd down.

Mine are 14, 11, 8, 5 and 2.

Housework you have to keep on top of and the kids pitch in, the rule in this house is we all a me the mess so we all help tidy up!

Homework is done at the table in the dining room so I can supervise/help as necessary an also be cooking dinner etc.

You just get on with it, I think you learn not to sweat the small stuff! It is noisy at times and messy at times but nothing a quick blitz can't sort out.

We only have three bedrooms at moment but two boys in own room, two boys in another room and dd in with us for the moment. We will either put little three in together or sort a loft room or downstairs extension at some point.

One of the things I have found when talking to people who are maybe considering having one or two more on top of their current two is that they picture having four like the current two they have.
It doesn't work like that. By the time number three comes along numbers one and two are automatically more independent.
I don't need to listen all of mine read, now the youngest two are at at school (4&6) the eldest two (8&10) are fluent independent readers who just have the occasional questions on a unknown word. They are not the 4 and 2 that they were when dc3 was born

As for drowning under laundry, yes I am. But it's a small price to pay

NachoAddict Sun 20-Oct-13 19:18:59

We have four between us, three resident and dsd who is here Fri - Sun and Tuesday.

Money, we both work and money is tight, days out tend to be trips to the park or the beach, walks in the woods rather than theme parks etc, we save hard for Christmas and birthdays.

Laundry - yes we have tons, always a wash on the go and one drying, it gets me down sometimes as its never ending but its the putting away that is worst. The kids are doing their own now which helps.

One on one, this is hard but we do manage, ds gets at least when the girls are at rainbows, dd gets when ds is at cubs, dsd gets when the other two are ar their dads, the baby is occupied by one of us and the other spends time with the kids. Baby gets the most one on one but the older kids do prefer to play out with their friends/watch a dvd in their room/wind each other up.

RandomMess Sun 20-Oct-13 19:23:42

I think my dc don't demand/expect attention off me in the same way 1 or 2 do. There is genuinely little competition for parents attention in our household...

lljkk Sun 20-Oct-13 19:25:28

Mine fiercely compete for attention, sadly. They also get up to mischief because of inadequate supervision.

Worriedthistimearound Sun 20-Oct-13 19:25:49

I gave up work as there's no way we could have done it with us both working. Laundry is ridiculous but eases as they get older. We will not be taking 4 abroad for a long time as I just can't face the hassle, certainly not until the youngest is 3. We are renting a very large seaside house next summer with friends and their 3 kids. The house sleeps 12 and is 5mins from the beach. It's costing £1500 per family which we feel is quite reasonable for a large family by the seaside in school hols. A beach holiday in Majorca was working out at 5k+ for the 6 of us which just isn't going to happen.

Quality time is an issue without doubt. I try to do something at least once a month with each of the older ones on their own. They also enjoy reading bedtime stories such as Gruffalo to younger sibling.
There are definitely reasons for sticking at 2 but I honestly believe what the elder ones miss out on in terms of expensive excursions and lots if one to one time is far outweighed by what they have gained and will continue to gain from having 2 younger siblings.

RandomMess Sun 20-Oct-13 19:29:33

Hmm perhaps it's partly because my youngest 3 are so close in age that they don't, they do not remember it being any different!

I returned to work when the youngest was 5 and just moved into year 1. So we both work very locally me 36 hours and dh 30 hours. It's a breeze now they are older and my eldest has moved out to her dads sad so just down to the 3 of them.

MomentForLife Sun 20-Oct-13 19:32:28

Only have the one myself but I'm from a large family. Once you have 2, you have everything anyway. Lots of toys, clothes if same gender, buggy etc. The main expense is the food and having to have a bigger car. Obviously holidays more expensive but most caravans sleep 6 anyway if that's your thing.

Washing can be a problem, once I was about 12 I had to do my own if I wanted stuff ready in time.

Having one, I feel my DD is more hard work than we were as we just got on with things and played together.

Scunnilingus Sun 20-Oct-13 19:51:03

Thanks for all your answers. It's lovely to hear all your replies and realise it is do-able!
Yes, I do realise our spending is NOT AT ALL going to be sustainable if we do have more. We will really have to ease off with the days out and excursions. However we don't ever go on foreign trips anyway. DS1 has been abroad with us once to Disneyland in Paris before DS2 was born but it's certainly not something they expect or that we would miss.
Just a family ticket to the local aquarium is £35 plus £11 for any additional children (after the 2 included in the family ticket). Little things like a trip out for ice cream which we would take for granted now would cost a fortune. I know it can be done though and the pluses must massively outweigh the negatives.
I already do a wash load a day but I think I make work for myself by only letting the boys wear things once (I know, I know, it's a waste of energy and time.)
Anyway, think we have lots to think about. I am only 28 and DH is 30 so we have plenty of time to decide, I hope, I know fertility should never just be expected though so that does add to the worry.

DontSweatTheSmallStuff Sun 20-Oct-13 20:19:14

You adjust and adapt. After ds1 i thought i'd never be able to cope with 2. Now ds3 is 4 months and we have mad moments of 'should we have dc4'

They don't need lots of expensive outing/hols etc. Admitedly the individual attention can be an issue but as they get older they entertain each other more.

We spent alot of time debating about dc3 and even though it's hectic and ds1 was diagnosed with autism after dc3 was conceived (adding a bit more stress into the mix) I wouldn't change a thing

As they say - the more the merrier -

Ooddoyouthinkyouare Sun 20-Oct-13 20:25:16

4 children, 3 bed house, earn 22k between us. I work p/t but have been off for a year due to illness/mat leave. Dh works between 25 and 50 hours a week.
Not sure how ill manage once I add in work & commuting again but that's partly due to health problems with me & 2/4 children and have quite a few hospital appts at the moment.

RandomMess Sun 20-Oct-13 20:30:51

The nice thing about washing is that you do a white/lights then a dark then a pink/purple/red wash on a sort of rota basis grin

Also you have fewer clothes each as you wash so often so it gets worn, washed and worn again. We had 3 girls sharing a wardrobe with 2 rails in it for a long time as they didn't have many outfits each IYSWIM. Used washable nappies too to save money.

Ooddoyouthinkyouare Sun 20-Oct-13 20:37:32

We don't seperate unless there's new clothes with strong colours. Large washing machine & dryer helps get through it.
Our house running stuff has been a bit muddled lately due to me being unable to do a lot but in theory I do paperwork/bulk of children/day to day stuff. If dh is home he does cooking, heavy housework, renovations , bulk of gardening, allotment. yes he is overworked

imip Sun 20-Oct-13 20:46:29

4dds six and under here. We find it affordable because dh has a good income. Without realising it, I think we pay a lot less for days out than others because we live in London and a lot of things are free. For instance, today we spent a whole day at a local museum with loads of craft activities and treasure hunts. This was all free, we bought lunch there at the cafe, and at around £20, that is expensive, but a picnic was the only other option and the weather forecast said rain. Still £20 for a day out for six people is pretty good. In the same vein, our local farm is free, often free activities in parks etc.

I realise as they all hit primary school, it is a lot harder than I expected. But gym and swim classes are reasonably cheap here, at about £3-4 a session.

All the same gender, clothes get handed down. Dds 1&2 are around the same size so can share clothes. Dd4 is wearing clothes that dd1 wore. A bit faded but still in good nick.

Homework is tricky, we do it whenever we can. Often in the mornings or when I am cooking dinner. I read to the kids when I get a chance, it won't always able at night. We do struggle on giving individual attention. But they do love each others company (and also hate it at times!).

I don't work, it makes childcare affordable and manageable. I find it lonely When dh works late and I am home alone with the girls for a long time. By they are young, I'm sure they will be good company in my twilight years

Thants Sun 20-Oct-13 20:51:03

It depend how much you earn? People tend to spend to what they earn and then think its impossible to live on less but many people do it.
Low earners are entitled to tax credits which help.

Ooddoyouthinkyouare Sun 20-Oct-13 20:59:29

We don't claim TC before anyone hunts us out for benefit bashing

Annunziata Sun 20-Oct-13 21:06:13

We have 7, but there is a massive gap between 6 and 7. We are very lucky to be able to afford them.

I am drowning in laundry and housework, yes grin My DH doesn't do anything around the house so I get up at 6 to fit it all in.

I did/ do get one on one time with them all when they need it. We were very organised with routines when they were younger to fit everything in.

Scunnilingus Sun 20-Oct-13 21:19:59

I don't work and haven't done since having DS2 nearly 2 years ago. All of my wages would have gone on childcare for the two boys as DS2 would have needed fulltime childcare and DS1 was only at school part time (age 4 at the time).

DH earns 41k a year which I think sounds like a lot and equates to £2500 per month BUT our mortgage is £800 per month, with council tax £140 per month, gas electricity, car insurance and car loan payments plus food shopping it really doesn't leave us with much which I know must sound ridiculous but it's true.

We already have everything a baby would need but obviously as they grow their needs change. If we were lucky enough to have another boy (not at all anti-girl, just saying it would make things simpler if it were a boy), then we have clothes and toys by the tonne!

We really need to look at our budgeting I think. Certain things like the biggest TV and broadband packages from Sky could be scaled back considerably, perhaps looking into changing where we food shop (currently shop at Tesco rather than the bargain shops purely because they deliver- which again costs blush )

Do you have any tips for saving money and making food go further? Do you find that you all are in need of adult conversation by the end of a day in the house with them all? I must admit, I'm not the most sociable person and my kids really are my world so I am not sure I'd really miss out on any interaction or socialising as I don't really do much now. DH is very very supportive and is all for having a larger family...he says he'd like as many as 6 children shock but I think every single one we are lucky enough to have is a blessing.

Must admit the one thing that I find really daunting is the thought of going back to the baby phase all over again and then possibly even again and again! I am not the biggest fan of the baby phase. Both of mine (maybe all babies actually) have been HARD work, loads of crying, poor sleepers, endless soothing and breastfeeding on the sofa, I find it all consuming and a little bit boring exhausting for the first year or so. BUT I can't help but feel like I'd love more CHILDREN. More people round the dinner table arguing chatting, more noise, more little people each having their own relationship with each other and each bringing something of their own to the family. Is this a naïve way of looking at it?! I know it can't all be good fun. I know it must be so hard, but then all children need a lot of input and are hard work right? If I can get my head around having to have another baby then I am all for it.

Well as for budget. A lot will depend on where you are

Our income is less than yours. It's gone up a little again this year after dh's fourth redundancy so we're feeling more comfortable than were. Our rent and council tax are also more so I would say it was easily doable for you. Unless that mortgage is on a 2 bed in London...

lljkk Sun 20-Oct-13 21:42:27

yeah, having a baby in my life again is a rather scary prospect. Babies are so cute... when they belong to other people. More kids means more squabbling & arguments, more opportunities for heartache. Mine have spent today demanding things & refusing to do something I'd like (like GO OUT). I end up getting little done on weekends because I can't get motivated with the constant interruptions.

You could change, in 2-3 yrs you could decide you do want to get out & do other things with your life. Babies really do tie you down.

Not meaning to sound all negative, it's just that you need to hear that lots of kids has downsides, too. Best maybe you planned one at a time. Friend has 7. She woke up in a pool of blood with No. 3 but that didn't put her off. With No. 7 she had terrible pregnancy problems; then she had painful & scary time with him for months. No.7 turns out to be the most impish child (not that rest are total angels, iyswim, but No.7 is the child you need eyes-in-back-of-head for). My No.3 is my difficult child. The type that teachers at school pray to never have. Thankfully No.4 is docile & sweet as muffins.

Budgeting: Sky telly always seems like an indulgence to me, sorry. But then Broadband was once seen as an indulgence. You have to try to never buy or spend anything to find out what you can do without.

I spend about £300/month on regular clubs for my kids. shock Total indulgence.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 20-Oct-13 21:51:30

Well we bought a six bedroomed house because we wanted lots of children and could afford lots. That was more than 20 years ago and eventually after five pregnancies we managed two healthy dc who survived. So plenty of money here but not rich in other ways. Although I couldn't have better DC than we have I would have given every penny if DS 2 hadn't died in my arms smile.

If only we could all have it all but I know what I'd rather have.

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