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

Scunnilingus Sun 20-Oct-13 22:28:45

Oh marriedinwhite I am so sad for your losses. Thank you so much for replying and putting it all into perspective a bit. sad

lljkk £300 a month on clubs??! Wow, but I know what you mean, sometimes those indulgencies are vital and worth every penny...I get your point totally about Sky TV. It is a luxury we can afford at the moment but certain things would HAVE to give if we do have more.

I do find babies extremely draining to be honest. They are so exhausting and yeah they're cute...when they're asleep grin but my God both of mine have been extremely difficult, refusing to go in the pushchair. screaming on car journeys, very poor sleepers, lots of crying and both had to be worn in slings and needed constant soothing. I've never had one of those smiley cooing babies that my friends got! I got the colicky, angry, red-faced, screamy type that refused to nap and spent all day being grisly and miserable! This is why I am terrified of going back to all that. In all honesty, the first 12- 18 months can not go fast enough for my liking.

...But then I think of my boys now and I wish I had a house full of toddlers and children. Such a hard decision really. I'd love at least 3 children. DH has always said at least 4 but obviously would respect my wishes either way.

We are in Yorkshire by the way so the £800 per month mortgage is a 4 bedroom semi so not too bad.

Worriedthistimearound Mon 21-Oct-13 10:10:21

I understand totally what you mean about wanting more children rather than babies. I hate being pregnant, and I really dislike the newborn stage. All mine were walking by 11/12mths and that's when it starts to get easier and more interesting. I quite like toddlers even though they're hard work partly because they are so in awe of the world and partly because I know the really hard bit is over.

We lucky that DH earns a good salary but we still only have 4beds and I'd like 5beds so they could all have their own room. Unfortunately we live in a very expensive part of the country so we need to look at extending.

I don't regret our choices but I do think going for numbers 3 and 4 have aged me 10yrs! However, that may be because dc3 has some additional needs.

Worriedthistimearound Mon 21-Oct-13 10:11:00

marriedinwhite, I am sorry for your loses.

Thinkingofmyfabfour Mon 21-Oct-13 16:38:57

married thanks

I have 4 and will be going back to work p/t when baby dd is a little older. I haven't had to buy anything for her yet as we have all baby stuff and tons of clothes which are mostly ok for her even though they are 'boys' clothes. Days out for us are forest walks, beach etc which is free. Holidays are self catering in UK, no sky tv, freeview has all we need!

The big two are 6 and 4 and pretty independent, ds3 is 2 and is very hard work but getting better! I had a very easy pregnancy with dd and recovered v quickly, I've felt great most of the time since having her, though of course it's vv hard work and there are v stressful times!

For us, totally worth the hard work. Next challenge is building extension which will be chaos I think but will give us plenty of space to stay where we are forever which is what we really want,

I think your ideas that you want more children rather than just wanting another baby is spot on, that's exactly what I felt too. I'm so happy to be done though, broodiness cured!!

imip Mon 21-Oct-13 17:54:05

married sad

In a similar kind of vein, after my first daughter was stillborn, we were told that the next baby would have a 20% chance of not surviving. Dh and I just worked. Didn't spend a penny, we were already in our early to mid 30s, so financially comfortable. We wanted to start a family earlier but due to infertility, it took three years til we brought a baby home.

We just saved everything, not a deliberate plan, we just spent that year working, not taking holidays and holding our breath. We were fortunate to go on to have four surviving dds, and in a strong financial position to support them.

I worked full time for three years in the lead up to having a family that we didnt expect. Not the way I would have chosen it, but as a result we had a good housing deposit and could buy a big house.

So many things influence the financial aspect of a large family, but having children later and being more established in a career that will pay better the longer you are in it, no doubt helps.

imip Mon 21-Oct-13 17:55:00

Oh, I still struggle with 'managing' the house and giving time to the kids....

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 18:14:05

I have four, 11,8,4 and nearly 1. I love it!

Positives, the older one help with the littles
They play together and look out for each other
They are a pleasure
They have each other never lonley.

Negatives, very expensive especially as they get older.
Hard to have one to one
Am pulled in all different directions
Mine can't do all the activities they would like to as cant afford it
I would like them to play instruments but can't afford it

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 18:17:29

Laundry, is endless but doesn't feel worse than with 3. I don't iron much. I have dropped my standards, dds wear uniform 2 days in a row now.

Baths are ever other day, stretched out at the weekend.

Nights out together are n

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 18:19:40

Non exsistent at the moment due to babysitters.

House is a tip except for about an hour after I've done the clean.

Full nights sleep are ask rare.

I have friends who go out often and treat themselves, rare here again.

They are worth it!

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 18:22:52

Another positive is how lovley people can be. Negative is that with four, you are fair game it seems for judgeyness.

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 18:28:56

We have four bedrooms, 3 are doubles and a box room. Dds have a room each and ds is in with us. Would like a 5th bedroom but that is a luxury.

The noise does get to me sometimes. However, I think you get used to it and drink wine. I really enjoy my own space when I go out with my friends every few months, I also always have a lie in on a Saturday and lie in bed matting while dh minds kids, really helps.

tallulah Mon 21-Oct-13 18:30:19

We had 4 children, 5.5 years apart. Because they were so close together we didn't get into the habit of clubs and activities. I was a SAHM until DC1 started school at 4.5, then DH and I worked shifts around them. For years one of us came in and the other went out.

We were on very low wages (and no tax credits then) and until they were 11 - 6 we were in a small 3 bed semi. DD had her own room and the 3 boys had to share the largest room. Hardest was the car because 7 seaters had only just come out so there weren't any old ones and we certainly couldn't afford a new one.

We always had loads of laundry but that hasn't ended, even now most have left home. We always had a white load, a black load, a red load etc.

We had a late baby when our youngest was 14, and she is effectively an only. She is much harder work than the others ever were because she wants our attention the whole time. She won't just go off and play.

The older ones get on really well now they are adults and 3 are currently sharing a house through choice.

trish5000 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:38:54

If I were you, as another poster said, I would take it one extra at a time. We had several kids, but our income has dropped since then. We got through it just.
My husband was and is self employed, so he was able to drop his work if necessary and look after them if I had to take one to the doctors or something. And he was and is a hands on dad, which to me was pretty essential.

Would we have so many again. Not in this economic climate I would have to say.

Personally managed ok with homework etc. House wasnt always brilliant, but no one seemed to mind much.I did partly ration how many extra ciricular activities they all had. And if 2 or 3 wanted to go to the same one, all the better!

Aquariusgirl86 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:50:33

I'm can't help with what it's like having lots of children as I only currently have two, aged 1 and 2.5 but I plan on having 2 more. I also can't comment on how much older kids have to cost but here's the baby but from my point of view. My second child has cost me very little, I use cloth nappies on him and breastfed him exclusively until 6 months, we had lots of toys from my older child and all the baby paraphernalia, I luckily have a cousin that gives me all her boys hand me downs (and she buys really nice things so I'm lucky!) but you can easily get second hand things. When I weaned him I made all his food from scratch and didn't waste money on jars and stuff like I did with my first baby. I haven't done all this because we can't afford these things but because we want to extend our house by converting the garage to living space and I know my baby boy doesn't need brand new things.....he's 14 months and really doesn't care, he wants to play and sing but he really isn't bothered if his clothes are second hand.
My husband and myself both work I work 2 days and he works 5 so one of us is always with the kids, means we rarely have a day together but worth it at the moment to save money. We both cycle to work to keep costs lower, try and be economical with food shopping etc
We do of course have treats and the kids don't go without, but a general trend towards being clever with money works for us.
I have a 3 bed house so children will share rooms until a time when I will work full time and we can afford a bigger house. I think if having a bigger family is your desire and your priority then you can make it work :-) x

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 19:32:16

Oh and as another poster said, a hands dad is essential.

WinkyWinkola Mon 21-Oct-13 19:38:19

I have 4. Would love one more. Hopefully next year.

It's not like having quads.

My ds1 is 8 and dd is 6. Even the small stuff they do like taking their own breakfast crockery to the sink instead of leaving it all on the table for me to clear away helps.

Little jobs like tidying up and they love hoovering! As they get even older they will be expected to clean their bedrooms and empty the dishwasher.

Laundry is hideous. One load at least every day. I do 1 hour of ironing every day in the morning after drop off. It's fine because I can listen to the radio, catching up on news etc.

I run round house quickly with a Hoover and a duster. Clean kitchen floor every day and bathrooms on Mondays and Fridays.

Plus we are members of the zoo and a local children's farm. Walking the dogs is a nice excursion for them too.

They play together and rub along okay.

In term of food, soup and homemade bread as starter. Great way to get veggies inside them. Then stews bulked out with lentils and beans. Baked potatoes with cheesy fillings and corn on the cob is a smash hit too and quite cheap.

You just muddle through. I look pretty dreadful ad I often don't have the time to put make up on etc.

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 20:01:14

Good points winky my 11 and 8 year old clean and tidy their own rooms.

I too do soupoften as generally goes down well and gets loads of veggies in them.

I often don't wear make up as I just don't seem to make time.

A lot of things depend on what's important to you and dh.

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 20:01:41

Oh and soup so easy and can double up.

marriedinwhiteisback Mon 21-Oct-13 20:07:47

Thanks for kind words - it was a very long time ago now and it doesn't hurt like it used to - I just wanted to give some perspective about the relative value of children -v- money because I know which I would have preferred.

If my DH had been supportive I would have had no hesitation in adopting or fostering but that was something that we both had to be up for and actually as the DC have got older and I have got older and wiser I think it takes a very special person to love another's child enough and it was probably right not to go down that route however much I would have liked a house full of children.

Oh well, mine are 15 and nearly 19 now and perhaps in 10 years or at least before I'm 70 I might have arms full of grandchild. Always something to look forward to. And if DS 2 hadn't died then I wouldn't have dd who I adore from the bottom of my heart and even now it brings a tear to my eye to look at her wrapped in three feet of blonde hair and she truly was a miracle - born 51 weeks after DS2.

thanks brew wine and where's the love emoticon?

NAR4 Fri 25-Oct-13 20:58:47

Our household income is around the national average but as my dh earns most of it it means I can be a sahm. I worked full time but term time only up until my 4th child was born and the cost of childcare outweighed my earnings. I now only work 9 hrs a wk, in the evenings, after dh returns from work.

We have 5dc in a 3 bedroom house but after dc4 got the garage converted into a 4th bedroom. There isn't much room in our house but I grew up as one of 7 children in a 3 bed house and we had a girls room (5 of us), a boys room and a parents (my aunt and uncle) room. I never wanted my own room as a child and just accepted how things were, so don't worry that my children need more space of their own. I think it is a very modern expectation for children to have a bedroom each.

I have LOADS of washing and need to do at least some housework every day to keep on top of things. Don't think I could work during the day again until some of my DC have grown up. I have a pretty full diary with eye clinic, orthodontist, paediatrition, school sports, dcs hobbies and activities with the pre-schoolers. Always busy, but have to admit that I love it that way (most of the time).

Don't often do one to one time but often do various activities with only 2 or 3 of the dcs rather than all 5. Like others have said on here, don't forget that the older children are much more independant by the time you get to dc4 etc (usually anyway, unless you have a multiple birth).

We don't drink, smoke, go for meals out, or on holiday, but the oldest 4dcs all have fairly expensive hobbies. I have found that teenagers are A LOT more expensive than little children, so you do need to take that into account, but often adults income increases over time anyway, which helped us to balance this out.

My last 2 pregnancies I have had severe sickness for the first 6 months and severe spd from about 3 months onwards, which has made them hard. Like you I only seem to produce babies which don't sleep for the first 18 months and are only happy in my arms (or wrapped to me in a sling), but even this hasn't put me off wanting more.

All mine have very different personalities and vary from really easy and compliant to a complete nightmare with ADHD and various other problems, who is more time consuming than the other 4 put together. Just take it 1dc at a time rather than have a set number in mind.

We have four kids living full time, and my stepchild is here 70% of the time, so five.

They all have to help in. Before bedtime, they each spend ten minutes tidying their room (so they get a bit of winding down time) and putting toys or clothes or whatever way. I spend that ten minutes doing a bit of tidying too, and usually spend a further ten minutes just pottering and tidying around, as does DH.

We are in a 3bd. My stepchild has his own room, but he will be moving out in two years. The other four are 10 and 10, and 3 and 2, so they share rooms in those pairs. By the time my step son moves out, that means the 10yos get their own room. Six years later, they'll hopefully move out, by which time the other two can have their own room.

There's loads of washing. The older children all put their washing in the basket, and as a rule, if they come in and the basket is full, they put the load on. They know the times and how to do it. Usually it's me or DH who do it as of course we will take in the younger 2s and they have e most washing. It's the same with the dishwasher, or if you cook something, you wash up. The older ones generally like hoovering as it means they can listen to music with earphones and don't have me nagging. They can also text away without me telling them to get off their phone, so they do it because, as long as it is done well, it means they have ages to text their friends.

We don't drink or smoke. DH cleans the kitchen floor every other day, it takes five minutes tbh, as long as we clear up messes when we make them. I also clean the floor every other day, so it is spread evenly. We wake up at 7 together, and while one wakes the kids up, the other does a quick tidy. Then after the tidier has eaten and the kids have eaten, we generally swap, so that I will sweep the kitchen floor or whatever day it is, he might, and the other deals with the rest of the kid stuff. The cleaning time also means we have time to do a quick bathroom clean.

We have to budget hard. They go to free clubs at school only, although their grandmother has bought them each a membership to the pool, so they go their regularly, without us paying. The younger two go to a childminder which is cheaper for us. We take the bus and tube everywhere.

Homework is hard. The 14yo is doing GCSEs and we are prepared to help, but he doesn't really want the help as he's better than us at a lot of stuff. The 10yos do their homework without our supervision, and we check when and if asked, and we have a tick off sheet for homework. We have a set homework time for them, an hour and a half long divided into two bits, which helps and also means we have 1-1 with one of the younger children. For project stuff which needs adult help, we are stretched tbh.

It can be quite hectic. The older DC help out with the littlies but not much, they are great entertainment. The older ones also generally keep themselves fine- the 14yp is out all hours with either his friends or his girlfriend, and the 10yos are with friends or are in their room doing something or other, without needing us there.p

dawdyman Mon 04-Nov-13 12:17:23

sorry, I haven't got to grips with the abbreviations as yet...
Myself and my partner have 6 between us, her 3 full time 15, 11, 5 and my 3 girls thurs to mon, 8, 7, 5. We both work full time I do standard 9-5, her hours are not so regular, I earn well and my partners income is good.

It is hard graft, but its amazing. They learn so much from each other. They are all at different stages and I love it. I never wanted a big family, but it just happened, and I wouldn't swap it for anything.

I haven't seen the bottom of the laundry bin in months. I was on a mission last nights and smashed out 4 loads and dried them... and I wandered around the house and gathered up another 2 loads of dirty clothes...

We still manage a holiday abroad each year, but only because my parents live in spain so we only have to pay for flights. otherwise..no chance! We spend time doing free or affordable activities. the clubs have to be paid for...swimming club, lessons, gym, football... but they benefit from those activities no end. walks in the woods, trips to the beach, park, walk the dog.... that sort of thing.... and you take food and drink with you rather than buying when you are out.

Food costs a fortune. we have gone through 30 eggs over a weekend before now and a box of cereal lasts one breakfast sitting. 4-6 pints of milk a day and I only know what value cheese tastes like these days.

Clothes... they get worn, they get washed, they get worn they get washed.... they don't need that many changes because the machine is always on.

We are not well off.... but I don't care, I love it!

You just have to be organised. This morning, we had all 6 up, washed, dressed, hair plaited/brushed, lunches made, bags packed and we both had showers and ready for work. We got out of bed at 7.45am and were all out the door at 8.45am with the children looking beautiful..... and me and my partner kissed and high 5'd on the doorstep!

GizzyBoo Mon 04-Nov-13 20:02:55

We have 4. (16,14,10 and 1!) We live in a large 4 bed house which we rent. We can afford this due to our location. DH has a modest income but we get by. Yes, we do get tax credits and that helps considerably. I'm currently a sahm and am seriously considering a closer sib for #4 before I shut up shop.
The older kids still have wants/needs/demands but all are old enough to know I have to put some things first.
I empty my laundry basket on a Saturday and a Wednesday. I do a load a day to keep on top.
I b/f and use washable nappies. It saves a fortune. I used a sling/wrap when tiny so never shelled out for an expensive pram.
We don't do holidays (But moved to a remote Scottish island 3 years ago so who needs holidays) and days out are beach, walks or something community based.

I think it very much depends on what your expectations are. x

blueblackdye Mon 04-Nov-13 20:21:03

Marriedinwhite, hugs to you, I m sorry you have been through hard times, I am grateful everyday for the 2 healthy dc I have.

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