As the youngest of five kids, I know what it’s like to be part of a big family. It’s a little bit crazy but never boring, and there are certainly some things unique to big families – things only other people from big families will truly understand.
1. Blink and You’ll Miss It
Sometimes those mashed potatoes don’t make it all the way around the table, but if you’re from a big family you’ll get called out for hoarding certain foods. The best strategy is to eat as quickly as possible in hopes that there may be a little bit leftover.
2. Last Ones In, Last Ones Out
This happens because someone in the family is still talking or because you can’t find one of your siblings. For us, this always happened at church. Usually, the culprit was dad, but we all knew better than to interrupt him. Fortunately for us, our home wasn’t too far away, so it wasn’t uncommon to walk home. You almost always beat the car home anyway.
3. “Kevin! We Forgot Kevin!”
Being left out or even left somewhere always seems to happen to the baby of the family. I distinctly remember walking downstairs one afternoon to find that my family had eaten a family lunch without noticing that I wasn’t there. They were all like, “Oh, we didn’t even notice you weren’t here.” Thanks, y’all, that really makes me feel appreciated…
4. A Bus Would Be Easier
Sometimes this is because the entire family can’t fit into one car, and other times it’s because of overlapping activities – one kid’s baseball game, another kid’s soccer game, and then another kid needing to be dropped off at Boy Scout Camp. The activities of multiple kids are never ending, and, somewhat, exhausting.
5. Grocery bills that Cost as Much as Other People’s Mortgages
When you’re feeding a bunch of kids (especially teenagers) the cost of groceries is truly astronomical. I’ve heard of moms who have put locks on their pantries and refrigerators just to keep kids from eating at non-meal or snack times. The saying “you’ll eat us out of house and home” probably came from a mom with a big family, and she may not have been exaggerating.
6. The Questions
“Are they all yours?”
“Are your parents Catholic?”
“Your parents do know where babies come from, right?”
These are just a few of the totally inappropriate questions that you’ll hear if you’re in a large family. Really, people, these aren’t okay to ask.
7. Getting Assigned a Buddy and Doing Roll Call Anytime You Get in the Car
Somewhere along the way, parents of large families will wise up and try to create some order in all the chaos. That’s when you will get assigned a sibling buddy for special activities. Yep, just like teachers do when they take school children on field trips…
8. Parents Getting Your Names Confused
Parents have a hard time recalling specific names of their children, and, apparently, this problem gets worse under stress. I’m pretty sure my mom once called one of my siblings by the dog’s name before she finally got around to calling him the correct name.
9. Always Being Late to Everything
Just as large families are the last ones to leave, they are also the last ones to arrive, too. You can’t really blame the parents. It’s sort of like herding cats to get all the children dressed and ready to go somewhere in a timely manner. After a while people just sort of start expecting your family to be late.
10. Getting Stared at Everywhere You Go
When you’re part of a large family, you are going to get some stares. Being part of a big family comes with some notoriety too. Upon your arrival, people will say, “Here comes the Davises” (or whatever your name is) as if seeing your family is as exciting as seeing a celebrity or the circus or something.
11. The Endless Fights Over the Front Seat
When I was growing up I had friends who would have “their week” in the front seat. That’s really cute, but if you’re from a big family, it’s just not going to work. What parent wants to come up with a weekly schedule that goes 5 or more weeks out? Instead, it’s easier to just let kids “call” the front seat or declare their right to it based on birth order.
12. Never Ending Laundry
You know that feeling of accomplishment that you get after doing all the laundry? No, you don’t – not if you’re from a big family. Laundry is never ending in big families. Moms of big families get so tired of socks that they can’t wait for spring to come so everyone will stop wearing them and switch to flip-flops.
13. Knowing You Had an Army of Siblings That Had Your Back
The best part of growing up in a big family, is knowing that you have an army of siblings who have your back should anyone try to mess with you. Someone might dare to mess with you if you just have one sibling, but when you have four or more? That thought is downright terrifying, and anyone who values his or her life will know better than to mess with you or your family.
The truth is I loved my big, crazy family. I loved that it was big, and I loved that it was crazy. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.