So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I only have one sister, so I’ve always been curious about large families. I got my first taste of them when I started babysitting. As I got older, I have become close to several large families over the years. They have taught me so much about life and parenthood as I watch them raise their many children.

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Big families can’t worry about the little things. They clean, but they don’t stress when the house is covered in toys five minutes after the kids get home. They don’t worry if they have to order take out because they were driving kids around and didn’t have time to cook. They’re not concerned if a younger child is a little behind on crawling or walking, because they’ve had enough kids to know that they all develop differently. They just want their kids to be happy and healthy. Even though I don’t have a big family yet, I want to adopt this philosophy. I don’t want to get stressed about little things; I want to focus on the important things.

2. Your kids don’t have to be in every activity

The big families I know figure out what their kids like and stick to it. They don’t try out dance, music, art, swimming, soccer, drama, etc. They ask what the child wants to do and if he likes it, they stick with it. If he doesn’t like it, he drops it and tries out something else. They don’t have the time to drive each child to a number of activities, so their kids get more time to be kids. They also let their kids pick what they want to do, instead of pushing more activities the parents want on them. This is a great lesson. Children don’t need to try out every activity under the sun. They know what they like and they need unstructured time, too.

3. Let people see your real life

Parents with big families sometimes struggle to get a babysitter, because of the cost or need to get more than one. But that doesn’t mean they’re isolated. On the contrary, they invite their friends and family to come over and live real life with them. It doesn’t matter that the house is messy or that they’re just making spaghetti for dinner. We play board games at the dining room table after the kids go to bed. I love entering into the craziness of a big family’s home. It’s so full of life. Before I had kids, I would make sure my house looked beautiful before we had guests over and I would make my best recipes. But I learned from my big families that you’ll be a lot less lonely if you let people see and be a part of the reality of your home and life.

4. Help each other

Big families had to get over asking for help a long time ago. Sometimes one child needs to be at ballet while another has basketball practice. They don’t wrack their brains trying to do it all themselves, they call on help. If they want to take the kids to the fair, but need more eyes on the children, they ask friends to come along. I don’t mean this to sound like big families take advantage. They love to help, too! You know who I ask to babysit my kids when I need childcare from sunup to sundown? My friends with a lot of kids! After all, if you have seven kids already running around, what’s two more? Big families seem to make themselves even bigger by making friends part of their family. I used to feel bad asking for help. After all, I’m the one who chose to have these children. But big families have taught me that it’s a beautiful thing to help each other.

I watch big families so I can learn life and parenting lessons at the beginning of motherhood. I don’t want to wait until I’m six kids in to realize what’s really important in life. Let your kids be kids, be real, and love each other. You will all thrive, no matter what your family size.

You may also like:

10 Awesome Reasons I Love My Big Family

Bess Harper

I am a Christian foster mom and have been fostering for over a year. We have had 8 different children in our home during this time. I am also the proud author of “Parenting in the Unknown: A Weekly Devotional for Foster Parents,” which can be found on Amazon.

I’m Giving My Kids the Summer Fun I Never Had

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys playing in the waves on the beach, color photo

I love that my kids hate school. Stay with me here . . . Yes, I absolutely love that year after year, my boys cannot wait to ditch school for summer break, that they endlessly bemoan the academic year and cannot wait for June.  I love it because it is normal. I love it because it means they enjoy being at home and implies that I make summers fun for them, or, rather, allow summers to be fun for them. I love it because I always dreaded summers when I was growing up. Dreaded them with knots in my stomach...

Keep Reading

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two kids sitting in wagon, color photo

Life ebbs and flows. Seasons come and go. One of the reasons I take so many photos is because they are the only way to make time stand still. They provide a nostalgia that can’t compete with anything else. They help us remember the exact moment captured and show us how fast time is fleeting. It doesn’t matter if their texture is glossy or matte. It doesn’t matter if they are in a frame or on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or if someone’s thumbprint is in the upper corner. All that matters is the moment...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime