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I’m a big family mummy

334 replies

Devonmum2022 · 09/08/2022 13:35

So whist talking to a random mum at soft play she was surprised at our “big family” 9 children (full time custody of 3 step children) l. Never thought of us as a big family lol but ask away

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Apollonia1 · 10/08/2022 06:49

You sound amazing and organized. I'm wondering about a few practical questions:

  • how do you afford childcare? I've only 2 kids and my childcare bill is 3k a month
  • how do you organize swimming (you said you all go on a Sunday). Where I am, each child under 5 needs a dedicated adult. How do you have a dedicated adult for each of the small ones?
  • clothes - how do you keep track of who owns what. How do you find time to check what clothes one kid has grown out of, and hand them down to the next-smallest kid?
  • when you have 1:1 time with one kid, who looks after the others?
  • what kind of meals do you cook - are they generally 1-pot meals like a big stew?
  • are all the kids healthy - I imagine if one child had significant additional needs, it could really impact the whole setup
    So many questions! :)
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venus7 · 10/08/2022 08:49

shinynewapple22 · 09/08/2022 23:57

@venus7 "We would need fewer taxpayers, carers etc if there were fewer to take care of."

The issue is the age profile of the current population - more over 60s and far less children who will grow up to be the tax payers of the future .

I know there are fewer future tax payers, but if we keep on and on ensuring there are tax payers for looking after the ageing population, it will never change; it needs economic changes, not just contraception. We need to think of the bigger picture, not simply keep making problems for the future.

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toomuchlaundry · 10/08/2022 09:11

When do we stop having to increase the population to look after the elderly? Surely it will just get worse and the amount of resources will keep on reducing

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MercurialMonday · 10/08/2022 09:36

When do we stop having to increase the population to look after the elderly? Surely it will just get worse and the amount of resources will keep on reducing

Ideally you want a slower drop - so decrease but at a slower rate.

However UK and most western countries will probably rely on immigration anyway.

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Tillsforthrills · 10/08/2022 10:26

Itwillworkifyoutryit2222 · 09/08/2022 22:24

@ScreechingEchoChamber I definitely agree it should be discussed, and sincere questions about “did you worry about the environmental impact? What made you go ahead anyway?” Are totally fair game in my opinion. Or even comments like “I’d be worried about the carbon footprint aspect of having so many children, what are your thoughts on that OP?” Tbh I’m surprised how prominent a concern it has been on this thread, i thought almost all the comments would be focused around how OP manages and prioritises day to day, with a few rude ones about benefits etc for good measure. It didn’t occur to me initially that this would be a primary concern, maybe if OP was contemplating a big family- but not when she actually has a big family.

There is, to my reading, quite a nasty edge to some of the comments regarding her children, and “population control” as a solution to various crises through the centuries has a long and storied history with many of the roots of recent arguments to this effect stemming from the ecofascism movement in its various guises (Godwin’s law holds true yet again! - but for good reason I think). So, I think it’s important we also acknowledge what it is we’re implying or outright advocating for when we suggest the solution to climate change is “fewer people”, which people is always the key follow up question, and on what basis do we decide?

These arguments are often verging on anti-natalist (the idea that there’s so much suffering in life it would be better to never have been born and having children is a cruelty to said children) which is widely accepted to be a preposterous position for reasons which are hopefully obvious. Add into the mix that often comments on the thread aren’t even making just a general point about “more people” but rather are implying that @Devonmum2022 should not have had the specific living, breathing, children she has now I think this starts to breech decency- and we should acknowledge that as well.

Decency and the whiff of the fascistic aside, I genuinely don’t think these are compelling arguments to win people over to discussing climate crisis effectively, especially if people doubt the importance of climate change to begin with. I consider myself to be on the same side as people who are hugely concerned about climate change, but throwing out the odd “you’re selfish for having 9 kids”, which happens to also be unhelpfully sandwiched between comments about birth control and government benefits does help me to see us as the other side might see us- as essentially inhumane and worryingly unconcerned about humanity.

People get really stuck in denial when they see no way out of a problem, and the idea of deliberately curtailing people having children is many people’s idea of “no way out” because such a world is so undesirable as to seem impossible.

Excellent post.

Its extremely worrying when people are saying to an individual the existence of your living, breathing children is wrong.

There is no excuse whatsoever for that kind of disgusting comments.

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Soproudoflionesses · 10/08/2022 10:45

AyeUpMeDuck · 09/08/2022 17:05

And this is why me saving a kettle of water a day is meaningless... Imagine the washing of a 9 child family.. The showers... The baths... The electric.. the gas...

Me and little DD scrimping where energy where we can is a compete waste of time.

Hmm l have to agree with you here.

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Louise0701 · 10/08/2022 11:00

@AyeUpMeDuck are you doing that because you can’t afford not to? If so, continue. Otherwise, I doubt you not boiling the kettle will save the planet.

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Devonmum2022 · 10/08/2022 12:20

Afternoon all 😊 will answer as many of the questions as I can see and answer rest when I sit down.

do I get any time to myself? Simply no I don’t but I am surrounded by my 10 best friends (have to count husband apparently lol) so never really want it. I would sometimes love a shower but it doesn’t happen.

food wise it varies but usually about £150-200 per week but we all eat a huge variety of food and none of the kids are picky eaters (all off to beach for tea so tonight is jerk chicken bowls heated before we go)

I do often feel guilty about them not getting 1 2 1 time but even if I’m just folding washing then usually one will sit with me. When I cook they each take turns to help and the others respect that’s my time with them but I do my best.

childcare is stupidly expensive but as I’m also studying I need to work for my placement. I’m also very lucky that it’s linked to my work sp reduced

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Devonmum2022 · 10/08/2022 12:22

Absolutely terrifying I found out in the space of a day I had sepsis, was pregnant and he was coming that day he spent a long time in NICU but is our little fighter.

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Devonmum2022 · 10/08/2022 12:25

The hardest bit isn’t actually the number of children it’s the blended bit. We both had different parenting as everyone does and bringing that together was very hard to start but you adjust

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wellhelloitsme · 10/08/2022 12:37

Who shares rooms with who age and gender wise?

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JanisMoplin · 10/08/2022 12:55

How do you cope without being able to shower? If I have read that right. It is unclear.

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Herejustforthisone · 10/08/2022 13:00

I know they largely know no different, but such a big family, so many children, so much confined and shared space, nine kids across three bedrooms, it just sounds anonymous and sad. This would especially be the case for your own children who suddenly have to share you with your husband’s kids plus the extra two you had together.

The descriptions you’re giving; ponies, jerk chicken bowls on the beach, cute little bed pods with their own TVs (Japanese train stylee), them being your ‘nine best friends’, all sounds quite idyllic and charming, but I’d be curious about the reality of it. As I said before, especially from the ‘big’ ones, to use your terms.

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Devonmum2022 · 10/08/2022 13:12

The 16 and 17 year old share a room then the 15,12 and 5 girls share a room (built in pods which has a curtain to pull across, tv, light to and shelf) 12,8 and 3 boys share room in same set up and baby in with me.

we considered a sofa bed for us but so there was an extra bedroom but half time they would happily share a bed if they could they are extremely close

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Devonmum2022 · 10/08/2022 13:16

Oh no it’s definitely no idyllic it’s bloody hard work. I guess yes I feel awful at times that it’s the way it is but we wouldn’t ever have put them in care so had to manage. I was pregnant with my 3 year old when kids came to live with us which if we had known we obv wouldn’t have had more

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FourTeaFallOut · 10/08/2022 13:18

Anonymous and sad?

I think some people suffer from this idea that there is a gold standard, from which everything else deviates. So, two parents two kids is somehow the pinnacle of a family structure and assume that each step away is a step towards a problem.

But that gaze is never turned inward. You could narrate all sort of problems and harms from having a two child family - if you wanted to. You could point to the perpetual gaze and attention of an adult and consider whether that is good for self identity or whether it induces anxiety, you could talk about the concentrated nature of sibling rivalry in this environment, you could talk about the erasure of the necessity to share space and home resources and how to be adaptable adults. Then you could go ahead and pretend that these kids had no idea of what they truly missed because 'they never knew any different'.

I'm not saying I agree with the above, just that you can turn these games on the status quo.

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TabithaTittlemouse · 10/08/2022 13:30

Op I’m not going to embarrass myself or you by asking one of the many stupid questions already asked but wanted to say that I admire you.

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JanisMoplin · 10/08/2022 13:35

You could ask better questions? This is after all AMA. Apparently questions relating to climate change are awful but so are questions relating to anything else.

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Itwillworkifyoutryit2222 · 10/08/2022 13:35

@FourTeaFallOut well said! You can create elaborate stories of why one upbringing is better than another in either direction. The truth remains though, that apart from very obvious forms of abuse and neglect being detrimental to a child, there really is not a good consensus in the research literature on what exactly will improve outcomes in adulthood. That applies to a range of factors such as parenting style, family composition/birth order, type and degree of non-parental childcare, religious versus atheist ethos, the list goes on. The old classics of wealth and community connectedness do seem to have a positive impact on outcomes in adulthood, but even those findings tend have a lot of caveats and apparent contradictions.

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Happyandyou · 10/08/2022 13:36

FourTeaFallOut · 10/08/2022 13:18

Anonymous and sad?

I think some people suffer from this idea that there is a gold standard, from which everything else deviates. So, two parents two kids is somehow the pinnacle of a family structure and assume that each step away is a step towards a problem.

But that gaze is never turned inward. You could narrate all sort of problems and harms from having a two child family - if you wanted to. You could point to the perpetual gaze and attention of an adult and consider whether that is good for self identity or whether it induces anxiety, you could talk about the concentrated nature of sibling rivalry in this environment, you could talk about the erasure of the necessity to share space and home resources and how to be adaptable adults. Then you could go ahead and pretend that these kids had no idea of what they truly missed because 'they never knew any different'.

I'm not saying I agree with the above, just that you can turn these games on the status quo.

There's a big difference between 2 kids and 4 kids, there's a big difference from 2 kids to 6 kids.

Let's not pretend it's not about a gold standard. I would like to read a thread of the kids... or adults themselves coming from a 4+ family... I think their side perhaps wouldn't be so Rose tinted.

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FourTeaFallOut · 10/08/2022 14:54

Let's not pretend it's not about a gold standard. I would like to read a thread of the kids... or adults themselves coming from a 4+ family... I think their side perhaps wouldn't be so Rose tinted

Well most likely it wouldn't be as rose tinted - most parents preserve their contentment with a degree of positive narrative, most young adults will look to find fault with their family as a mechanism to differentiate and build an identity outside of the family unit.

You'd have to look if the severity of their discontentment was worse than those in smaller families. You'd have to see if the gulf of perception was wider between parents and children in larger families.

I've seen all sorts of gripes laid at the feet of parents here which is identified as a source of consternation and adult failure, lack of an individual bedroom, didn't get a pet, never got privately educated... on and on it goes. A larger sibling group is one too but who is to qualify if this is any worse - beyond your own prejudices.

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Leafy3 · 10/08/2022 15:19

Wow some of the judgement on this thread 🙄

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ScreechingEchoChamber · 10/08/2022 15:28

Soproudoflionesses · 10/08/2022 10:45

Hmm l have to agree with you here.

An extremely large family is an outlier in the UK and most of the developed world. I think the average is at just over 2, now. So everything we can do does make a difference, it's not all or nothing.

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Tabbouleh · 10/08/2022 16:00

ScreechingEchoChamber · 10/08/2022 15:28

An extremely large family is an outlier in the UK and most of the developed world. I think the average is at just over 2, now. So everything we can do does make a difference, it's not all or nothing.

Also in the developing world. India's TFR is now 2.0. Even cultures with formerly large families now think twice.

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Lilgamesh2 · 11/08/2022 10:48

Wow 9 kids! i can't imagine.

Here are my questions:

  • is giving birth really easy like doing a poo when you've done it so many times?
  • what does the post-school evening look like in your family?
  • what is the hardest part?
  • do you have any parenting or organising tips you can share


Hope the preemie is doing well.
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