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My Take On.......Perceptions of a Large Family

So I write this post from a personal point of view, currently being a Dad of 7 kids, I thought I would write about the perceptions that people have about us as a family, and large families in general.

Firstly, iI'l clarify, that for me, and me alone, a large family is typically mum and dad and 4 or more kids. anything under that is your average family in my eyes,

Secondly, I'll make it known now from the top, that i absolutely HATE when people, especially strangers approach us and make comments and act surprised when we tell them, or they see how many kids we have, in fact, whats worse are the stupid jokes that usually follow their statements as to why we havent stopped having children.

Those initial thoughts aside, lets take a look at some perceptions of a large family. so here are my 5 thoughts on the matter!

1) We are married, living together and raise a family - why is it frowned upon or queried? especially when many single people have many different kids to different partners?

2) when people ask how you can give enough love, time and attention to each child.

3) do we ever get time as a couple?

4) the cost!?

5) people are genuinely fascinated by large families because they often reference how they struggle to cope.

We are married, living together and raise a family - why is it frowned upon or queried? especially when many single people have many different kids to different partners?

This really annoys me and I think its because deep down, I'm very traditional, with very traditional thoughts and feelings, especially in the home. The world has moved on from these traditions. Whilst i was brought up in an environment where you would get married, have kids and raise them with your wife, the world is now saying dont bother with that. dont worry about having kids, dont bother tying yourself down to one person and settling, and the effects of this are starting to show through, Divorce rates are up, broken homes are up, in fact I cant really like the term for "blended families" i think it just sugar coats the situation, but i digress.

We have been in positions before where people judge us for having such a large family together, whilst in the same conversation, praising someone who has mulitiple partners with multiple kids and no intention to settle down etc. And I believe this instability in the home is not always good for a family growing up!

Its almost as if getting married and settling down and having children is now a thing of the past. even my grandparents have more than 9 children so whats the issue?

The traditional nuclear family structure is being dismantled by western ideology.

When people ask how you can give enough love, time and attention to each child.

This is another question that comes up every now and again for us, and I feel its almost a sly dig at us for having so many kids. My answer to this is that because the kids are all close, but at different stages, we can do a lot things as a family that involve us all, but by the same token, because they are all at different stages at schooling, then we find the time between each childs schedules. heck, over christmas, we started playing UNO Extreme as a family, including one of youngest 3 year olds playing as well, and guess what, we all loved it, and they all felt so included in the fun,

But lets be honest here as well, there are parents whether couples or singles, who have even only one child, and that child doesnt get love or attention or time with one thing or another. We are in a privileged position where we can both stay at home during the day and do all the school runs and all that stuff, then i leave for work at 6pm and Clare has a settled routine for the kids in the evening so its like clockwork now.

If you are a good enough parent, you can make the time to spend with your children, you just dont have any excuses to not do it! you get on with it!

Do we ever get time as a couple?

Short answer here is, well no. Not by the measure other couples would deem it. We spend evenings at home with a movie with a takeaway when the kids are in bed and thats pretty much it. On a special occassion we will get the grandparents to babysit so we can go for dinner or the cinema, but me and my wife actually prefer to be at home with the takeaway!

As much as you will doubt me when i say this, we actually prefer being around our kids, when were away or on our own together we actually feel at a loose end and dont know what to do. We have become so accustomed to the chaos and the madness of our large family, that quiet time is a bit boring.

In fact, what we as a couple have come to learn is that is important is we each get our own peace and quiet of an evening. so some evenings long after the kids go to sleep, and Clare goes to bed, I will sit and just unwind with some classic comedies on tv and just relax. and thats important. you need your sanity as a parent of a large family.

The cost!?

Yes. simply put. there is a cost. everything is more expensive. More nappies, More wipes, more formula, more food, more heat, more diesel, more insurance costs, more everything. and thats not something we sat down 8 years ago and planned for, but something we have adjusted to as we have went along. and actually, I think thats the thing about being a large family, its ADJUSTING to everything. Always on your toes.

A takeaway 8 years ago wouldve cost me and clare no more than £12, now were talking anything up to £50. a day out to the theme park, easily €300 before food and stuff like. it all has a cost, but sure who cares when the children are happy.

Everything has a cost!

People are genuinely fascinated by large families because they often reference how they struggle to cope.

As I've eluded to already, when people see us out and about with all our kids, we get all the usual raft of comments and statements and most of them we simply smile, acknowledge and move on. but on occassion you meet another large family and you have that conversation about how you both manage, share tips and tricks and general conversation, and it can be uplifting and encouraging for us, even though we may have never met.

We have also met people with one or two children who stop us and we always get asked how do we manage with so many, and we have that conversation, and we reassure those people, that we manage, we're no superheroes, we just do what we have to, and because we have more kids than someone else doesnt make us any better than another parent!

I always try to make that point.

We are no better as parents than someone who has 1 or 2 children.

In fact, I try to encourage people to have more, to put the stigma away and embrace more children because it honestly is the best thing ever. I love my kids (most of the time ha) and its great watching them grow up and seeing how their personalities develop!

So there is a brief opinion piece on my thoughts on the perceptions of a large family. If i have missed anything or you agree/disagree with anything Ive said, then let me know!


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