Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

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

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

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.

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading

Let Them Wear the Costumes Whenever They Want

In: Kids
Kids in costumes walking around living room

I have five children. My oldest is 18, and my youngest is 8. Over the years, I have bought quite a few Halloween costumes. It always starts in late summer—the kids start getting excited about dressing up and want to start looking online for costumes because they want to make sure they’re delivered on time. As the kids have gotten older, a couple of them have even planned out costumes a few years in advance. It’s always fun watching their excitement, and it’s always fun “sharing” the candy with them. One of the things I’ve always done is allow them...

Keep Reading

Boys Are Feral and Raising Them Is Worth Every Single Wild Moment

In: Kids, Motherhood
Muddy boy plays by water

Coming from a home with three sisters and practically swimming in an ocean of estrogen my whole life, I had no idea what to do with a boy. When I had my firstborn, boyhood was a complete mystery to me. Having boys and a girl, I can tell you that they require you to tap into two completely different sides of parenting. Both are hard in their own ways. But raising boys is just constant noises, weird smells, and bizarreness. If you’re a boy mom, you know exactly what I mean. My sister, mom of two girls, is always a...

Keep Reading