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For those with 3 or more kids...

533 Views 19 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Spring Sun
I really want a big family. I am the youngest of five, but my parents marriage fell apart when I was younger (they stayed together but faught nonstop) and I was raised by a tv.

Now, I want to have a lot of kids. This is my second, and there is a big space between the two, which I think will make it so much easier. But, I am 29 now, so I want to have a baby every couple years so I can stop by the time I am 36.

Is that really hard? What kinds of things are the hardest? What do you have to sacrifice? What is better about having more?

When I think about having less than 4, I get a really empty feeling, like there is someone special that will be my fourth that I would miss, and that our family would be out of balance. But more?.....

All thoughts welcome and ddcrashers welcome too!
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I always saw myself with 5 kids, but dh saw 4. I had severe ppd after number 2 which is when I wanted to be done! I went to counseling and was able to feel ok to have 3 and 4. For me, number 2 was the hardest! number 3 just felt right. She just fit right into the family. I kind of feel like number 4 will be the same. I didn't feel like it was actually a whole lot more. It might help that my first 2 are 19 months apart and 3 came 3.5 years after 2. 3 and 4 will be 22 months apart.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this helps at all but I really can't see myself now without number 3 and 4. I think this is really where we needed to be. I am 27 now and I had my first and second at 21 and 22, 3rd at 26 and I will be 28 with my fourth.

I really don't think I've had to sacrifice anything more. I do plan on getting a college degree when my last is in school, so I guess having two more made that day come later, but really, it's not a rush to me and being with my kids is important to me.
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ddcrasher here. Due in July with my 6th baby in 8 years (this one was a surprise; a really big one considering all that IVF I did before I even conceived the first one; long story).

Is it hard? well, it's certainly a full time job and more. Sometimes it is hard but in those moments I try to remind myself that one day they'll all be grown up and gone and my house will actually be clean but quiet and lonely.

I have learn to let go of having a neat and clean house. Five minutes after it's clean, it's messy again. But that part will get easier as the kids get older.

What's good about having a large family? Seeing how much the kids love each other. They fight like cats and dogs but they do love each other. They certainly learn from each other - all kinds of things, from simple things like taking turns, to academic stuff. Life is such that they need to be as independent as they can be - they're pretty good at taking care of themselves, considering their ages (just lock up the cookies LOL). There are lots of times that they'll have to figure things out for themselves when I'm busy with another one - particularly when I'm nursing. Just this morning I was lamenting the fact that my soon-to-be three year old loves to do things for himself - in the kitchen (e.g. he tried to make himself a sandwich yesterday; he likes to use a kitchen stool to get the gallon milk jug off the top shelf of the frig) (eek!) - which makes life even messier. And occasionally dangerous (no touching the knives!). And that kitchen stuff will be all the more scary/messy if I'm upstairs nursing my newborn. But he'll be in preschool five mornings per week (montessori) starting in August, thank goodness

I think they learn to understand practical things, like being quiet for sleeping babies (not that they always remember). And the older ones do look after the younger ones, or at least alert me when something's going on. 8 yr old and 3 yr old can be in the bathtub together while I'm getting the baby to bed, etc.

Mostly though they play together well in spite of the fighting and arguing and they enjoy being with each other. When one is away the others are always asking when he'll be back. I do about *zero* entertaining of anyone. It's all I can do to read with them. They play with the baby so I can get things done. I rarely get around to arranging playdates (unfortunately I'm really bad about reciprocating - mostly because I forget), but they're pretty happy and busy playing with each other. (when I was growing up, there were no "playdates" arranged by phone - we just ran around the neighborhood with the other neighborhood kids).

I'm old (41) so they'll have each other after I'm gone.

The closer you have them together, the more work it is in the young years. But they grow, faster than you expect. Now if only I could fastforward time about one year (my youngest will be about 13 mo apart)... or two or four or twenty lol...

I always thought I'd go on to have another career when the kids were older (was a lawyer before) but now I can put off thinking about that for quite some time, if ever (still there is a significant challenge in keeping the brain engaged; thank goodness for the internet).

other sacrifices: eating out (we focus on a few family restaurants - think red robin style - and go out about once every two weeks). It's always a little shocking to step into a restaurant with only a couple large tables. So, we rarely eat anywhere that we haven't researched beforehand. travelling is a huge sacrifice (my family is all over the country and some are in Europe but we aren't visiting them - I'm not going on an airplane with this many young kids; last time we all travelled together was for my dad's funeral when #4 was a baby, #2 and #3 were 3 y.o., one had a huge tantrum on the floor twice in the security line, etc.). eating in general - I eat after the kids are in bed most nights or else I end up with an upset stomach.

we may end up sacrificing private school for high school which would have been do-able for us but for having six kids (fortunately the public high school is very good but it's super huge and not what I'd consider the right environment for their various personalities).

The three oldest ones had special needs but that's slowly going away/getting fixed - #3 still needs speech. All that was quite a hassle when it was going on - getting to therapy appts, etc.

Going anywhere with this many kids can be tricky - took my five to the ped so #3 could get his blood drawn for his regular platelet check (he has low platelets) yesterday and we made a scene as usual. Fortunately the ped's office is ok with that. It's hard to do things like dr appts - when someone has an appt with a specialist at children's or something, I often have DH stay home to watch the others. And I never, except in case of emergency, bring any of them to the OB or peri's office.

Finding a babysitter for this many kids is hard. My one teenager here is going off to college in the fall - so sad. She'll help me out this summer. I'm guessing down the road we'll have to get two babysitters together for a night out ($$). DD is 8, so only a few more years until she can do it - not sure exactly what age - or at least we'd only need one sitter plus dd helping.

But we're happy - very. Certainly there's never a dull moment.
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WEll I currently have 3 expeting #4 my oldest I had when I was 23 he is 8 now and my younger 2 are 3 and 1 ( THEY ARE 19 MO. APART) just like this baby will be 19 months apart from my youngest

WhatI have sacrificed hmmmm lots,.
1. Sleep I have been back to back preg and nursing since 05
2. eating out, its just to stressful with little kids and hard to get a sitter but we still usually just DH and I go out 1 time a month
3. Income -I have sacrifed my old job to be a SAHM and homeschool and we are down to 1 vehicle ( a brand new van!
) and moved to a smaller more affirdable house

Would I change anything NO I love all my kids and its great to have many I only had 1 brother and DH was an only child so this big family thing is new to us although my mom was in a family of 10!

DH want 6 kids or as many as I'm willing to have lol I think this one may be my last I'm 31 bu I may have another around 35-36 I just dont want another back to back to soon but hey you never know!

Big families are soooooooooooo worth it IMO
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You've already got some great replies, but I just wanted to add that I always wanted 4 as well, and now that I'm expecting number five, I can't imagine not having another! My hardest transition, by far, was going from one kid to two, then once I got the multi-tasking down, numbers 3 and 4 just sort of fell into place. I'm assuming 5 will be the same.
When I start feeling overwhelmed I always remember the best advice on this I ever got: "You will never regret the children you do have, only the ones you don't."
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Another DDCrasher here--I'm due in June and have 3 kids already. My dh and I both always "saw" 4 kids in our family, ever since we started considering our first. I had my first at 28, 2nd at 30, 3rd at 33 (with a late loss in between #2 and #3), and I'll be 36 when this little one is born. I'm certainly glad we didn't wait longer to have our first because I think the timing is working out really well. We're definitely going to be done after this little one arrives.

Life is crazy. The kids love each other and have some really great moments as well as some cats and dogs moments. My oldest two are the closest in age and they are best friends.

After we had our first two, the idea of ever having 4 seemed like an impossible dream, but life just kind of worked out right and we are so thrilled to almost have our youngest with us now.

Oh, and no one on my side of the family has had 4 kids in a long time--none in recent memory. But I have 2 younger brothers. My dh is an only child.
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due to fertility issues, this may be our last. dh wants lots of kids and I just want to be done by the time I'm 30. granted, I probably will be whether I want to or not. we left our spacing up to NFP. the first 2 are closer together (which is awesome because they get along great) but #2 and #3 are further apart because ds2 is still nursing and I didn't get ppaf back til much later. if there's a #4 in our future will probably depend on how long #3 nurses
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We have 3 little girls and are expecting twin girls in August.

it's tough. My girls are all very close in age so that just adds to it. I also have no support from family because either from straight up life-long neglect or in my aunt and cousins cases they live too far.

But we manage! I didn't want this many kids. Well I should say in the beginning I didn't know I wanted this many.
Now I just feel like we are a family and I can't imagine our family being any less (or any more!

Besides that lack of advice I feel like a total novice still so I have nothing real to offer. Sorry. But there is a "moms of many" thread in parenting! Those mamas are full of great insights
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I'm due with #4 in July. My oldest will turn 5 in June. I've been pregnant or nursing or both since September of 2003, without a break. Its hard, but very, very rewarding. I'm 27, and my husband is 36. We both wanted to start our family right away after we got married, and ended up getting pregnant with my oldest the month following our wedding! I want to be done having kids by the time I'm 30, and we both knew we wanted a large family, so there's no time really for breaks.

Also, morally we are opposed (for us) to any birth control that has the potential to work post-conception. We're going to have the kids we're going to have and then take permanent measures guaranteed to work pre-conception when we're done.

As other posters said, eating out is more trouble than its worth at this point. Its more work than anything and if I'm paying $10-$20 for my dinner alone I'm going to enjoy it hot, at least! Having two in diapers at a time is not the most fun thing I can think of, but hey, at least my overall years of diaper changing will be less than if I'd spaced out the kids more!

The relationship between my kids is awesome. Sure, they fight, but all siblings do. I'm sure they'll be the best of friends and worst of enemies at

Having four teenagers at one time should be interesting, to say the least, but I'm looking forward to it!

It all depends on you, and what you think you can handle. Pregnancy is much harder on me at 27 than it was at 22 even. I can't imagine what it'd be like in my mid-late thirties.
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I can't speak from a mom's point of view, since I'm only now pregnant with #1. However, I have 10 sibs myself, and loved it! And still do! We are all 1.5- 2 years apart, so 11 of us in 15 years!

Things we gave up:
Didn't eat out much, but didn't care about that until maybe the teen years - wasn't aware of others eating out a lot until then.
Didn't have a whole lot of new clothes, or most came as bday/Christmas presents, but had big wardrobes still due to lots of hand me downs - from sibs and from other fams.
Didn't have many family vacations due to tight family cash, but took a couple camping trips, vacations in state parks with log cabins and a lake, trips to other states to see extended family...
Couldn't rely on parents to cover all of college costs.

[However, we all went to private school from 1st - 12th grade, so my parents decided that school was the priority and not material things or vacations, when it came to spending.]

Way more of these than cons!

-Always had playmates.
-Could play any sport with just sibs being enough for 2 mini teams!
-Learned to be independent (in a good way) pretty young.
-Got lots of experience with babies and toddlers, and feel quite prepared now for my own!
-Was an experienced babysitter before being legal to be hired as one.
-Socialization was achieved at home and with friends/neighbors - no preschool needed for that purpose. We knew other big families too, so we were exposed to lots of different personalities and learned to play and get along.
-It's hard to be bored in a big family. there's always something going on, something to do, someone to talk to and play with.
-Learned a lot about life and academics from older sibs. Had homework help from someone who had just done it a couple years before (mom and dad didn't remember all that math from high school!)
-Learned the value of money and saving and earning an income before many do. That paid off later - paid off my college loans in record time and bought a house at a young age myself.

I'm sure that I could list a ton more if I had more time, but that's what comes to mind in just a few minutes!

As another poster said, the wisdom I've heard is you never regret the kids you have, only the ones you don't. Of all the big families I know (5-12 kids), none of the parents OR kids wish they had smaller ones.
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Yes, it's really hard. I had two kids back to back and it was awful for the first, oh, two years? Actually it's still hard but it's nowhere near as bad as it was when I had a clingy newborn and a one year old that tantrumned almost nonstop.

It's hard getting everyone ready to go places, it's hard in parking lots when you have multiple kids that run off to deal with, it's hard putting them to bed when one or both is yelling/fussing/nonstop talking, it's hard giving them a bath when they splash and hit eachother in the tub, it's hard when they refuse to agree on a movie, it's hard when they hit/fight/scream all day long, maybe I am having a bad day and a hard pregnancy being pregnant with #3, but I have to say, I had no idea how hard virtually every aspect of life is when you have two very young kids close in age. NOTHING is easy. NOTHING. My kids are screaming and fighting right this second in fact, as my husband gets them ready so we can go out and get some groceries.

Some women are really good at problem solving and dealing with the stress of everyday life with kids and really seem to revel in motherhood. I am not one of those women
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I had my first three within three yrs. It was tough, but I didn't know any different LOL

I'm an only child, so watching siblings interact is awesome for me.

I never thought about having a big family, when I was pregnant with my first, it was unplanned. After that I just kept wanting more LOL
I do love watching my kids interact. When they're not fighting they are really cute together. It's funny too, they fight so much and yet if they are separated, they never stop asking for the other one. Our preschool keeps them separate on purpose (they're in different classes anyway) becuase if they are together they will only socialize with eachother

Also, one of my kids is very high needs/explosive so my take on things is probably different than your average parent. I wanted a big family too. But now I think 3 is more than enough!
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Lindsay, I totally get what you're saying. That's exactly why I had ppd after my second. They were 19 months apart. My second cried, all-the-time. He never stopped. He would throw fits for an hour at a time. For the first 2 years I wanted to run away. My dh was finishing off college and we didn't really have a stable life at the time.

At this point, my oldest is 6.5 and my second is 5. They play with each other all the time. Ok, they've started play fighting and that's been interesting but other than that, they are pretty good. Grocery shopping has gotten a bit better too as long as I give them something to help with.

I do remember wondering how people had big families. I mean little kids are insane and I agree, I don't feel like I'm meant to do this kind of stuff. I've never in my life been baby hungry. Now that I'm at this point, with older kids, I totally get it! They are more helpful and luckily my second is much nicer than he used to be. I took him to the chiro and he hasn't been the same since, thank goodness!
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I haven't had a chance to read all the replies ...

I had my first child at 29, then at 31, then at 33, and now at 35! My oldest was born August 30th, 2003 - another August baby

Is that really hard? At times it is overwhelming, I must admit, especially when my dh is traveling and I'm on my own for the week. But because I've had one child at a time, evenly spaced apart, I've been able to get used to the added responsibility somewhat gradually.

What kinds of things are the hardest? The logistics of getting everyone ready & out the door on time is somewhat difficult for me. Especially because I hate being late and I try to be perfect. It was really hard for me to face the fact that I couldn't have a outwardly perfect existence, and it was a harsh reality.

What do you have to sacrifice? I sacrifice a tidy home, my own personal time, my own personal hobbies. I'm devoted to the kids right now, and I have chosen to focus on them first and foremost.

What is better about having more? The kids have playmates. The kids are never lonely. The kids are always chattering between themselves. I love it!

I totally think it's possible for you to get a few more kids in by the time you're 36 - it's a reasonable age difference, it's a reasonable expectation. Good, luck, mama
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Originally Posted by marlygf View Post
Lindsay, I totally get what you're saying. That's exactly why I had ppd after my second. They were 19 months apart. My second cried, all-the-time. He never stopped. He would throw fits for an hour at a time. For the first 2 years I wanted to run away. My dh was finishing off college and we didn't really have a stable life at the time.

At this point, my oldest is 6.5 and my second is 5. They play with each other all the time. Ok, they've started play fighting and that's been interesting but other than that, they are pretty good. Grocery shopping has gotten a bit better too as long as I give them something to help with.

I do remember wondering how people had big families. I mean little kids are insane and I agree, I don't feel like I'm meant to do this kind of stuff. I've never in my life been baby hungry. Now that I'm at this point, with older kids, I totally get it! They are more helpful and luckily my second is much nicer than he used to be. I took him to the chiro and he hasn't been the same since, thank goodness!
Yeah, I had bad PPD after my second too, and that's exactly why (mine are 16 mos apart). People would tell me to just get out of the house like that is a great solution, but what they didn't realize is that it took over an hour of getting ready trying to find anything in my disaster of a house, while my kids screamed, then I'd have to carry my oldest while wearing the baby or carrying her in the infant seat, go down two flights of stairs, get them both in the car (still screaming), then listen to them wail until we got to our destination...and wail all the way back usually too. When I'd have to go up two flights of stairs again.
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I LOVE having a big family!! I never thought when I was younger that I would have this many but it just feels right, yk?

I had my first at 28, my second at 31 (had just turned), my third at 33, my fourth at 35 and this one will be born when I'm 38. I honestly don't feel any more worn out this pg then in the other ones. I actually feel better. That may have to do with not being pg and nursing at the same time as I was with my previous three kids. Their age differences are: 27 months, 26 months, 25 months, and this one will be about 37-38 months. I loved the spacing with my first four but think this spacing will definitely have its benefits too.

We don't go to Maui anymore - used to go every year. Can't afford it and too difficult to travel. We rarely eat out - too much money. It's harder to get anywhere - takes a lot of planning.

But the benefits FAR outweigh the negatives. I would not have it any other way!
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Congrats to everyone!!!

We have three boys, this is our 4th, we may have one more. My sons are 8 (soon to be 9), 6 and 4. We've had some losses along the way. Our first two are 27 months apart and they are really close. The second two are 30 months apart, but they are a lot alike so they are not as close.

I am the oldest of four and my DH is the 3rd of 4 so we both knew what it was like to have brothers and sisters, mine were all close in age and his were more spread apart. I think 2-2.5 years btw children is good but that's what worked for me.

My children all go to Private school, we make a lot of sacrifices to send them there and will continue to do so. We have an older car, we have a modest row home and we try to live frugally. I work part time and my DH works full time. I try to do most of my work at night or when I'm not volunteering at school.

All the best to you!

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This thread is so interesting, and has answered a lot of my questions - thanks for starting it!

We've decided that 3 is enough for us. I always envisioned having 4 kids but DS1 has a lot of needs related to his autism and I just can't see having more than 3. I'd feel like I was being unfair to him and not doing all I can to help him succeed. Other than that we'd have to get a bigger house with 4 kids, not be able to go on vacation, and I'd ave to put my degree on hold even longer. For us 3 feels like it will be the right number. But I do admire people with larger families, I feel like it teaches the children so many valuable life skills that they may not have otherwise learned.
Wow, thanks everyone for the really great, thoughtful responses. I think for us, the biggest sacrifice would be to move outside at least 10 or 15 miles, out of the Boulder city limits. It is like you pay a few hundred grand just to get a Boulder address. Since I work mostly at home, I have always liked living right in the city, so that I get out more, but I think with more kids I won't mind as much. But if we do move out of Boulder we could get a much bigger house fot less, I am sure. That is hardly a sacrifice.

I would be happy doing just two shoots a week, and having a nanny on those days. Plus, the older kids eventually end up in school all day anyway.

I grew up as the youngest of 5, and we would all pile in the car and drive to FL or something. When I was old the other youngest and me got to go on fancy tropical vacations every year since it was only the two of us left. But, we are planning on living overseas, so that is good enough for my kids.

I really want to be a midwife, and will have to hold off on it for a few years since it is a really demanding training and is probably too hard to do with little ones.

The private school is the other thing. Our ds inherited a ton of money from my mil-enough to pay for school his whole life and get him started when he is older. She had no idea we would have more kids, so it all belongs to ds. So what, we can send him to private school but no one else? And I have to use it just on him. I can redirect his funds by paying for ALL his expenses with his money. thereby leaving more of our money free for the other kids, but it all seems strange and unfair to everyone involved. Four kids in private school here would be at least $36k/year.

But, I have decided that for now, 4 is a good number. We may end up wanting less or more. DH is really flexible about it. When we got engaged we said we wanted like 8 kids. He thought he was going to be a rich dr and I thought I was going to be happy just being a sahm. So, I think 8 won't work. lol.

It does make me really happy to think about living in a big ranch style house (I live in a three story now and my hips are killing me!), with a big yard, and lot os kids running around.

Thanks guys!
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