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Big Family Life the 5 toughest things

The 5 toughest things about having a big family

Before I start this I do want to say that I love having a big family and wouldn’t change it, but it isn’t all frolicking on mountains, singing and dancing like the Von Trapp Family….

large family life von trapp style

So if you are thinking about having a big family then these are the 5 things that make being totally outnumbered tricky and sometimes really quite stressful.  Our family isn’t huge compared to some, but we have four kids and there is less than four years between the eldest and the youngest.  The average family in the UK has 2 children so we are double and certainly count as a big family in our area.

big family in a swimming pool
The reality of big family life

This post is of course only one side of the picture though so don’t forget to also check out my post about all the truth of having a large family which also shares the best bits and there are lots of positives, but it can be hard so these are the 5 toughest things about having a big family.

1. There are NO quick trips anywhere

Suddenly realising you are out of milk when you have a big family is a definite problem.  You can’t just ‘pop’ round to the shop to grab the bits you need.  It generally takes at least 10 minutes to get everyone organised and out of the door and that is assuming that they are all feeling compliant.  So you have to always plan ahead so life has become less spontaneous and that can be really frustrating.

2. Big Trips are a military operation with a large family

Our world has shrunk since having four kids.  Sometimes I just can’t face the level of organisation required to get all of organised and get together all of the detritus that has to come with you when you are travelling anywhere with little kids.  If you have one child imagine all the stuff you take or used to take out with you in your baby bag and then multiply it by four – ridiculous! Honestly the level of organisation required to manoeuvre everyone about just  for a day trip doesn’t always feel  worth it and so we tend to do things more locally than we might have done if we had a smaller family.  Also forget about stuff like weekend city breaks it is just too much to do for a short amount of time and the expense…. which brings me onto number 3

5 Tough truths about large family life

3. The world isn’t really set up for a big family

As soon as you tip over to a family of 6 travelling becomes difficult.  The world isn’t really set up for families of over 5.

  • Family hotel rooms are typically for a maximum of 5 people so we end up having to get two rooms and then have to sit in separate rooms once the kids are in bed or we have to get a large suite which is clearly pricey.
  • Holiday cottages are also often max 5 people or just huge and so then expensive
  • Lots of planes have only 4 or 5 seats together – its not such an issue as you are often just across the aisle, but still something to know
  • Trains typically sit 4 around a table or are two seats together leaving two children to their own devices
  • Restaurants often have fewer large tables
  • Hire cars are mostly smaller vehicles and a 7 seater is always super expensive

This all just means extra expense for us and honestly travelling with 6 people costs a lot anyway so the additional issues of having to get two hotel rooms just makes it so we are limited with where we can go or can afford to go. Even our car insurance went up as  they add an additional amount for the extra kids!!

5 truths about big family life

4. Having a big family is noisy

Get ready for noise… Everyone fights for airspace in our house.  It seems to go like this:  one child talks, another talks louder the third speaks over them and so it goes on until mummy’s head feels like it might explode.  This isn’t even about them fighting  although that is ridiculously loud too!  I am just talking about day to day playing with one another – it is so very loud.  Someone is basically always making noise in a large family and I am not sure that there is ever really quiet except when everyone is asleep.

5. The mum guilt

Mum guilt is of course not just the territory of the large family mum, but I am talking about specifically the guilt I feel about whether I have done them all a disservice by having a big family.  I worry about whether they all get what they need from me and whether I am giving enough attention to them as individuals.  It is really hard to balance the needs of each child and this is for sure the part of having a large family that I struggle with the most.  I don’t think any child is going to look back and be gutted that they had to share a room because there were lots of children, but I do think that they could look back and feel that they didn’t always emotionally get what they need and that, as a mother, is very concerning.  

If I have put you off having a big family then I apologise….  There are lots of fab things too and I love having this not so little crazy bunch.

9 Comments

  1. I have loved with a family with 5 other children and I remember how hard it was to get out of the house lol X #dreamteam

  2. Thanks for sharing your really honest perspective. We only have 1 child and at this point in time we aren’t even considering a second. I worry that she might be lonely one day and there is also the fact I’m not sure I can physically or mentally have another child. But everything you mention above also sits in the back of my mind (even just for 2 kids). #DreamTeam

  3. Well done you on doing it all with aplomb at least most of the time. Accommodation providers are rubbish with larger families for sure. I wonder how they managed years ago when bigger families were more the norm – my great-uncle and aunt had 22 kids apparently! #DreamTeam

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