5 Flawed Assumptions People Make About Big Families

by ParentCo. September 15, 2016

I happen to know families with even more kids than we have. But where we live, a family with five kids like ours is a bit of a novelty.

Most people have two or maybe three kids; there are a few with four. Something about adding just one more and bumping that grand total up to five really amazes people. Some of them operate under assumptions that aren’t true.

1 | We're super religious.

We're actually not religious at all. So to the folks drawing this particular conclusion I say, sorry to burst your bubble, or, you’re welcome for breaking that stereotype for you.

2 | I can't help with the activity carpool.

Because we have five kids, you might think we’d really appreciate offers of rides for our kids to parties or sports. You’d be so right about that. I love having a kid driven to an activity so I don’t have to cart all of them around. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t ever be one of the drivers (oftentimes I can and do!) so please don’t be afraid to ask.

3 | Playdates aren't going to happen at my house.

Since we already have a house full of children you might feel badly about dropping more off. Please believe me when I tell you it’s fine. It’s more than fine – I actually prefer having more here than sending one of my kids somewhere else to play (“Why does he get to have a play date? That’s not fair. He had a play date last time. I want to go to someone’s house, too! Can you call someone and ask them if I can go over?”)

Also, you know how people always say there’s not that much difference between having two and three kids? The same is true for five and eight or 10 (at least on a temporary basis). The more kids here, the merrier it is and I barely notice the increase in noise or disappearing food.

4 | We can't afford for all five kids to do stuff or buy things.

You might assume you should waive fees for us when you can because we have so many kids to take care of. That’s very generous, I thank you. There may be times we’ll take you up on that – but if we say it’s not necessary and to please waive someone else’s fee, believe us. I promise to be honest if you promise to be respectful.

On a similar note, don’t buy our kids things because of any assumptions you’ve made about our family size and financial status. My daughter went on a class trip once. Together she and I discussed and mutually decided that she was not going to bring money for the gift shop. I was proud of her for thinking about how she’d like to spend money. Having seen that gift shop before, she knew there was nothing of much interest to her anyway.

Guess who came home with a tin of crayons (that she never used, I might add) because one of the chaperones felt badly for her?

Because we have five kids, you might think we love hand-me-downs. Oh, you are so right on this one! We'll take what we need and share the rest with other families. I'm sorry I can't always return the favor by handing our clothes down to your kids. My children are filthy and play rough and therefore they destroy most of what they wear.

5 | I won't notice if you just leave your kid at my house.

If you’ve thought, “Let’s just leave him there, Gina will never notice another kid,” I hate to tell you you’re not the first one to come up with that knee slapper. Okay, listen, I know I said above that I love having another kid or six over to play but eventually I’d totally notice that we have more kids than we should.

I don’t know what your assumptions are about big families and beds, but ours does have a bed for every kid and pretty strict bedtime routines. So even if I didn’t notice feeding an extra mouth, at bedtime the extra kiddo would become obvious. So by all means, drop them off to play but please pick them up before bedtime.

And I’m not sure what you think about parents with lots of kids do at bedtime but I’ll clue you in: we turn in early. But you may have guessed that one already.



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