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What reactions do you get when you go out with your large family?

(65 Posts)
Carlie123 Tue 17-Sep-13 12:49:30

Hi, so I have 7 children and I'm pregnant with number 8. When I go out I get a lot of looks, comments and some people even point and count as we walk past! Does this happen to anyone else and how do you handle the comments? Thank you!

PyjamasNotBananas Tue 24-Sep-13 07:35:52

^ Larger families even. ^

ZingWantsCake Tue 24-Sep-13 08:26:39


sorry, to me it is an odd thought. in other words - no way!grin

laundry - one or two loads of washing is done daily. I tumble dry everything that can be tumble dried.
I get the kids to help me put the clothes away, pair socks, fold towels.

my oldest is 12, youngest is 1.5 so the older ones only watch the younger ones for short periods of time (say 10 - 15 mins) and never on their own.

attention/spending time one on one - I'm a SAHM so I'm available to talk/hug/problem solve 24 hrs /day.
they don't actually need me that much.
we eat dinner together so we chat about our days then.

I don't read bedtime stories. I used to, but my older ones used to get way too excited and wanted to talk endlessly after a story so it worked better if they were read a story during the day.

shopping - one big shop and some smaller ones every week

discipline - this is the hardest, we have 5 boys in a row so there's a lot of competition and roughplay between them.
I admit it is a struggle and sadly I shout a lot.
but I find that some of the problems go away when I'm better organized.
and when they have to do chores as punishment! grin

homework - the ones that need to read to me do so every day. 5mins/child. spellings - ditto.
other homework they do on their own, we help as and when it's needed.

after school clubs/school run - I do get help from grandparents who live nearby. also friends help occasionally.

what else do you want to ask? smile

ZingWantsCake Tue 24-Sep-13 09:00:13

oh and it is definitely time consuming and exhausting.
but as the children get older they learn to do things for themselves.
even a 2 year old can help with tidying up
from age 4 - they get dressed on their own.
from age 6 - they read in bed, brush their own teeth and so on.

I never do breakfast unless it's a special one - they help themselves and each other.
(DD I help of course)

I think you learn to cut corners, simplify tasks, get quicker, get organised, prioritize, delegate etc.
you just get on with it.

I meant to add:
car - we have an 8-seater and DH has a motorbike to go to work

time to self - my need for this varies, I make sure I have this when I need it.

spend time as a couple - that's the trickiest. definitely not a regular thing, kids, work & housework, sleep etc seem to take priority.
we are working on a solution. wink

Artandco Tue 24-Sep-13 09:17:31

I suppose it just depends. Personally although a 6/7/8 year and older can read to themselves in the eve I still think its nice to read to them also.
Although a 4 year old could get a basic breakfast I personally would still prepare it for them ie I poach egg and do toast, they might lay table/ get a yogurt

How long would it take you to leave house if you decided on a spontaneous park trip?

purpleroses Tue 24-Sep-13 10:29:18

There's no rule about childrearing that says they need 1 to 1 time before bed. There's other times of the day too when you can read with them or do other things 1 to 1.

imip Tue 24-Sep-13 12:29:26

4dds here. When all six of us area out, people offer their sympathies to dh. We get pretty sick of it to be honest. We like having dds, we don't mind not having sons. People assume we are upset about it, having four of one gender is a lot of fun!

If people annoy me too much, I do tell them how we lost our eldest daughter and we actually have 5dds. It usually stops them in their tracks. I hope it makes them realise that actually we feel quite blessed having 4dds....

imip Tue 24-Sep-13 12:30:11

Oh yes, no 1on1 bed time here. Not necessary. We read all together, but not neccescarily at night.

Pootles2010 Tue 24-Sep-13 12:42:38

Wow, hats off to you all! I have just the one ds, and not planning on having anymore. I guess I would ask how you do it, but then I ask my friends with two the same thing!

I guess the biggest thing i'd worry about would be treats - meals out, holidays, theme parks etc - assuming unless you've a fair bit of money you'd just have to not do them? I can't imagine how much a holiday for 8 children would cost...

I think some people are just naturally more organised and 'together' than others, I am most certainly not grin

TwoStepsBeyond Tue 24-Sep-13 13:37:41

DP and I have 5 between us, although his are with him 50/50 so generally its only at weekends and holidays that we're all together.

We do get asked "are they all yours?!" quite regularly and it makes me smile when he says yes, without explaining that some are mine and some are his.

I find that being firm and fair is more important when there are lots of DCs e.g. if we go to the shop and someone wants a drink and sweets and a comic we have to say no, one or the other, because otherwise it would mean buying all 3 things x 5. They don't miss out as such, but I think they have to realise that they don't always get everything they want, which can only be a good thing.

It means there is always someone to play with, so no "I'm bored" but there are lots of squabbles which need refereeing, generally about sharing etc. If that was happening I would find it really hard work, even if they were biologically all mine, so I know how people feel when they ask how you cope with a big family! I do manage, but only for a day or two, then I'm quite glad to be a 'normal' sized family of 4/5!

TwoStepsBeyond Tue 24-Sep-13 13:38:57

I meant 'If that was happening every day I would find it really hard work'...

Fairylea Tue 24-Sep-13 13:44:17

I wouldn't stare. I think I'd just think wow how do they cope! I have two dc - one aged 10 years and one aged 15 months. I waited that long because there was no way I could cope and stay sane with two little ones! I'm exhausted with just one small child!

purpleroses Tue 24-Sep-13 13:55:01

Your family sounds very like mine twosteps - I'm never quite sure how to handle the "are they all yours?" question, that we do get a lot. You can't really tell by looks in our family who belongs to which parent.

Collectively they are all ours, but individually obviously not. If we say yes, it's then usually followed up by the "are those two twins?" which then takes more explaining though.

ZingWantsCake Tue 24-Sep-13 13:57:14


treats - tesco vouchers! tesco points convert into 4x the value in vouchers!

we did a joint birthday party for two eldest a few years ago. it cost just over £200 for hiring 3 bowling lanes (18 children, two games each, meal and party bag included!) but as we paid with vouchers it only actually cost us £50!

and all we had to do was to turn up and bring the birthday cakes!

we used tesco vouchers at Legoland, Pizza Express (this is a regular one, either eat out or delivery), Cafe Rouge, Longleat, Whipsnade, Needles Park on IOW etc etc.

we don't do spontaneous stuff with less then 30 mins warning.
depending on what it is I can scramble them in the car under 5 mins (say having to pick up DH from train station as an "emergency" - there's no need for clean or proper clothes then or shoes or nappy change etc)

otherwise it really depends on what we have just been doing, if everyone is already dressed, fed then probably 10-15 mins is needed for changing nappies/going to the toilet, get drinks and snacks, grab phones, money, shoes on and go.

of course it takes a whole hour to get ready in the morning.

anything else?

ZingWantsCake Tue 24-Sep-13 14:00:57

oh, holidays - I don't care for going abroad as long as we need a pushchair.

DH takes boys camping with a friend some weekends and a whole week in the summer.
we also have a week family holiday staying in a self-catering cottage.
just been to IOW and it was great.

PyjamasNotBananas Tue 24-Sep-13 16:22:55

Thank you for your honest answers and for explaining how your family works zing . I hope you know I wasn't meaning to be rude, I am just genuinely fascinated and in awe of you all.

I agree with the poster who said some people are more organised and just more 'together' than others. I am clearly NOT one of these people! I'd have loved a big family but I know, I know I wouldn't cope well and it wouldn't be in the best interests of the children. They'd be late for school daily, I'd be stressed and snappy. I adore my two children but I already feel like I'm spread very thin. DS2 is 21 months and has various on going developmental delays which means he still isn't walking well yet and I feel like I've had a baby for a very very long time when most other mothers are on to the toddler bit, I feel like we're trapped in babyhood. I feel it has definitely taken it's toll on me.

Me and DH struggle to get time alone now and that's just with having the 2 boys. We've both agreed this is something we are prepared to sacrifice, especially while they are so young. Also we have no family and no support so we are in it alone which again I think makes a big difference.

I adore both of my children but I'd be lying if I said it all came naturally and the thought of having any more makes my palms sweaty and my legs go a bit shaky!

I take my hat off to you all. Some people are clearly just 'meant' to have larger families.

PyjamasNotBananas Tue 24-Sep-13 16:27:35

I love the idea that your DH takes the boys camping Zing, what amazing memories they will have from that. It sounds like you have a lovely family. Sorry if you get asked this all the time but do you have any plans for any more or do you feel your family is complete?

FavoriteThings Tue 24-Sep-13 16:38:17

Looks and stares yes.
The worst thing for us was holidays. Lots of luggage and no extra room. Big car wasnt big enough. Ended up buying one of those trailers you hitch on the back[after buying a hitch and making sure all future cars could have one added], with a tarpulin over the top.
And the cost of holidays. So yes they did have less than other people but they understood.
Now they have all flown the nest and have jobs and can go anywhere they want, and do. So a bit of lack of holidays isnt for life. Far from it.

More than made up for by always having others to play with. And now that they are having partners, Christmas and other family times are just going to get bigger.

FavoriteThings Tue 24-Sep-13 16:47:25

Not sure could do it now as the business sector my DH and I are in was fine for the first few years but teenagers are more expensive than little ones imo so it was then a bit harder in the later years to finance them all.

calopene Tue 24-Sep-13 20:23:47

NOT all disabled people claim behefits - many work. What an assumption.

StupidFlanders Wed 25-Sep-13 02:30:42

I just had a lovely experience at the shops! A lady came rushing over to help me get the dcs in the car (I was fine) saying how beautiful they are and how I must be doing a wonderful job etc. her youngest just turned 18 so she missed having young ones- it really made me feel good!

As I said up thread though- 4 doesn't seem large compared to 8! We can still stay at most hotels for holidays and fit luggage and family in the one car!

favouritethings I'm so excited thinking about future christmas days!

Turniphead1 Wed 25-Sep-13 03:01:01

I can remember a girl I was friends with as a teenager was one of 6. Her parents had a great sense of humour and lined them all up outside a Family planning clinic for a photo wink

I like the old French lady mentioned up thread who said "you are blessed".

NAR4 Wed 25-Sep-13 09:29:01

Black my son used to be friends with a little girl who was one of 13. They had an old minibus to fit all the children in. They had proper car seats for all the little ones and never left any of them in the minibus while dropping others off, during the school run. It was a wonder to behold because dad often did the school run on his own, on his way to work, leaving mum at home with the very youngest.

NAR4 Wed 25-Sep-13 09:36:58

Dh and me spend time together as a couple by taking the little ones for a LONG walk after tea, once they are ready for bed. That way we can talk with no interruptions from the children. Personally I don't really feel a need for 'me' time, which seems so popular nowadays. Didn't really get it as a child as from a big family so I guess the hussle and bustle just seems so normal to me.

ZingWantsCake Wed 25-Sep-13 09:37:08


I don't think you were rude!smile

honestly I'm happy to answer any questions!

the truth is that I'd like 2 more. I don't feel our family is complete.
but as I had a MC (5th pg) I wonder if it ever will!
so there's this dilemma whether we should stop and call it a day (we tend to vote yes on some days!grin ) or TTC and see what happens (I'm more inclined to go for it).

I honestly don't know the answer or the solution.
it's really difficult.
I'm not ready to get rid of all the baby & maternity stuff just yet - maybe that shows my feelings more.

ZingWantsCake Wed 25-Sep-13 09:47:13

and pyjamas I totally understand why you feel you are stuck in babyhood. (sorry about that btwthanks )

DD (youngest) had feeding problems so I was literally stuck on the sofa/bed with her bf for months beyond what I expected.
when she was 5 months old she still had to be fed every 2 hours like a newborn. and she was a velcro baby - I could not put her down or pass her to someone else without her screaming until she was about 13 months.
both things took a lot out of me emotionally and physically.
If I had another baby like that for a 7th - well that scares me into wanting to have my vagina sewn in forever!shock grin

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