I'm expecting our seventh and would like to connect with mamas juggling a larger family
Any moms of many here?
I'm on number 4, but we fostered between kids #2 and #3 to a little girl we received at 4 weeks old and raised until she was 2.5 years old. We're still heavily involved in her life though she's no longer with us, so I really feel like I'm pregnant with my #5. I would love to continue for a couple more kids, but I think it would probably drive my DH to a nervous breakdown (I had to convince him to try for #4, I think he was happy at 3 - though he's ecstatic about baby!). So alas I think we may be done at 4+1 bonus.
oh yay - there is a whole pile of us
i am finding this the hardest pregnancy ever. hyperemesis and total exhaustion means things have been a bit chaotic and my dh has had to take over most of the home maintenance. lots of it has been let go of completely
i was watching some programmes on larger families the other day and just wondering how do mamas do it. are there some mega moms out there who really breeze through pregnancy? are you gliding through yours?
No gliding here! Lots of exhaustion and nausea and therefore anxiety because so much is falling on my incredible husband's shoulders. He's great about it, but I feel guilty. This has been a harder pregnancy on me. The nausea hit sooner and isn't leaving. I've never vomited before in a pregnancy, until yesterday.
Well I think what ends up happening in larger families, is that we have older kids who help. Our husbands pick up the slack, sure, but mostly it's the older kids.
I know when I was pregnant with number 4, my oldest daughter would send me back to bed in teh mornings so I could sleep longer.
And when I was on bedrest with number 5, she did all the cooking and the next oldest 2 did most of the cleaning. (THough the house was FAR from clean...LOL.)
So it helps the more you have. LOL
My bigs do not take care of their younger siblings really. Perhaps it's because they are boys and don't think that way, but none of they are interested in watching a baby/little one for very long. I never pushed that issue because I, personally, don't think it's right to have a big raise a little (not saying anyone here is doing this... just what I have seen in other big fams) I wish they did more sometimes but it is what it is. They also generally sleep later than I do.... as for cleaning, that's funny. I feel like I have to beg for the simplest things.
So that has definitely NOT been my experience... the more I have, the more I do.
Yeah, i have a 6 year old, and bless her heart, she tries to help a lot. And my 4 year old son tries too, especially when Daddy is out of town and tells him to help mommy. Man, does he ever take that seriously.
Demeter, I dont have older sons, so that dynamic is probably different. But we do expect all of our children to do their part. I dont REQUIRE child minding. HOwever, the oldest (at home) daughter babysits, for pay, once a week so dad and I can have a date. She's never said she didnt want to...probably because she lieks having the cash.
And because we homeschool and I like to have one on one time with each child, they rotate playing with the younger ones. My 14 year old actually has organized activities for them but the 12 year old just plays.
But each older child, has a younger sibling that they are buddies with. They help them get their church bags ready, they pick out their sunday clothes, sometimes during the week they dress them, they sit beside them in the car. Nothing is really REQUIRED, again, but they tend to do more to help with their buddy than they do with the other siblings. ESPECIALLY my 6 year old, who takes her "job" of being a buddy SERIOUSLY. If anyone else but me dresses her buddy, it really upsets her.
No one has to change diapers, but occasionally someone will. Mostly just my 14 year old...which my oldest daughter never did.
They all have chores in America, but not here.
Yeah, we all just pitch in and help.
My boys are all 3 years apart... so I had a 6, 3, and nb at one point. Boys... not girls, I have noticed there is definitely a difference. When my youngest boys was almost 6 my first daughter was born.... they all helped entertain her but no one did the care aside from me. They all will play with the littlest one but rarely for anything longer than 10 minutes. If I ask, they usually oblige... but again, it' snot for very long. I don't feel comfortable leaving my kids home alone with one of them in charge... that would turn into an awful big pissing match of who's dominant. I'm not sure WHY they are that way but my 2 oldest boys definitely have a lot of warring testosterone at times.
My kids have chores but don't go above and beyond, I don't expect them to either. If I ask it gets done but sometimes it's not worth the conflict.
As for the buddy system.. I don't know how I feel about that. It seems to work in some families, but I don't think it would in mine. Not at all. My kids are all very individual and while they enjoy time together as a family, they also like to explore their place apart from us...I culture that exploration.
my dh has been doing *loads* and my eldest 3 (12, 11 and 9) have been making sandwiches and playing with toddlers, so I have felt the support and togetherness that hard times can create.
the girls seem to naturally gravitate towards being 'delightful', but my boys (eldest 2) are also extremely competent - WHEN they decide they want to be
i prefer to be in the driving seat of running things though
we also homeschool intime0
Jennifer - sorry to hear you're being sick
Demeter, it just seems like boys are so different. :P We love seeing the differences in our 4 year old son. I dont know how different our household would be if he was first. You know he's surrounded by sisters, and that means, princess adn fairies movies every saturday. Well his older sister has Narnia on DVD and was watching it a while back. He happened a long on a battle scene and from that moment on all he wants to watch is Narnia, but ONLY the fighting. LOL. SO FUNNY. Meanwhile, my 6 year old has to leave the room because it's too intense for her.
We also have a completely different mindset. We feel like being together is more important than being apart...so yeah, completely different mindset. It works for us!
My family spends a lot of time together.... we homeschool just the same. We're home for most of the day together. I encourage their freedom because I think it's important to explore the world away from each other, too. The only difference I see is you have implemented a 'buddy' system while I have not. I just don't agree with that... so that would be the mindset difference, hardly the spending time together.
This will be number 5 for us. I've found that by using each child's individual character strengths to assign them to specific "tasks" seems to work out really well and they aren't stressed because I've asked more than they can handle. For example, my 16 year-old is more detailed orientated and stronger on watching out for "dangers". She is great for helping keep the house organized and knowing what kinds of activities might be too dangerous for the little ones when they get into things. However, when it comes to needing someone with patience, and empathy I enlist my 11 year-old son. He is very nurturing, playful, and can even sit down with the 6 year-old and instruct her on her studies if I am busy. So for us it isn't based on gender or age so much as their innate strengths.
Demeter, I see what you mean. We just have a whole-family attitude to our lives. They dont do many things independently of us. For many, many reasons. For now, it's age, but as they get older it will change, I'm sure. I understand your perspective though, as that's the way most people are. We are VERY conservative and believe strongly in teaching INTERdependence and protecting their innocence. I sometimes try to be a little vague about our lives, because people can be so judgemental. But you know, I havent really found that to be teh case on this DDC.
Arcane, I only have the one boy, so I don't really know. But my girls are that way. I have one daughter who I KNOW will protect the children adn watch over them. While we have a 14 year old who is more patient and fun with them, so she babysits. She's more organized, so she helps me get ready for the school week.
Then the 6 year old LOVES to help out with baby stuff, so she helps get her little sisters clothes ready. That kind of thing. But yeah, we cater to their strengths too. BUT they have chores in America. And they have to all do their chores based on their abilities. I would always give my (now) 12 year old the easiest jobs and make a complete list of everything to do. If I left off pick trash off floor, she would leave trash on the floor. (She has AS.) But my 14 year old would look for extra cleaning opportunities. LOL
In fact, yesterday I was in the kitchen preparing lunch. (Migraine) They came in from church and my 14 went right to work cleaning off the table and helping me get ready for lunch.
I love hearing about how other families do things.