Raising a Large Family
If people thought my hands were full with 5 kids, they better watch out! We are having baby #6 in July! 6 Kids! We certainly are beginning to raise a large family! How fun is that? We couldn’t be more excited. With our oldest being only 9 when this baby is born, we are using these months leading up to the birth to plan everything out so life doesn’t fall apart…
Let’s Get Real:
Life did just that when our baby #5 was born…it sort of fell apart. You would think after having 4 other babies that I would know exactly what I was doing. This baby was something else though. After a picture perfect birth, I brought him home and thought everything would continue on just as smoothly. Boy was I wrong. I spent the next 15 months feeling like I was fighting for his life and for my sanity.
From day 1 he hated nursing. I had plenty of milk and found that I could get him to breastfeed, but only when he was sleeping. When he was awake all he did was scream. For 15 months. This resulted in me waking up every two hours during the night for months while he somewhat starved himself all day long. Trust me. We tried everything to change this. For whatever reason he would go for weeks without pooping too (this somehow resolved itself and we never found out why it happened).
We took him to doctors, specialists, the hospital, etc. I was at my wit’s end and felt like I was nearing my breaking point. My husband was working full-time and in a Master’s program at school and I felt very alone. We had a great neighborhood support group that included young women coming in to help with laundry, watch kids, and people to hold the baby at night so I could get all the other kids down for bed while my husband was at school.
To say I have a little bit of anxiety about facing this scenario again is quite the understatement. This is honestly where all of the minimalism/decluttering is coming into play in my life. I am hoping that if I can simplify and mainstream my life enough, things will go a little more smoothly.
So Why Have More Kids?
All of the eyebrow raising and interesting responses to us having another baby have made me more aware of people’s thoughts on our family size. There are so many reasons on why I want to have a big family. Basically, children are amazing. We can learn so much from them. Every single one of our kids have their own personality and view on life. I have a healthy body that is able to carry and deliver healthy babies. I love babies, and I love to watch them grow to be little people. We have the means to provide for them physically, spiritually, and emotionally, so why not? Each child that we have had (and yes, every one of them has been planned, anticipated, and rejoiced over) has been an unfathomable blessing in our lives.
What We Will Upgrade:
Well, first things first. Going from 5 to 6 kids seems very similar to the transition from 3 to 4 kids. Think of all the things you all of a sudden out grow of and have to buy now:
- Car: And not just any car. You ask our kids and they will tell you it’s going to be like a mini-bus. Just think about this too, 5 kids in car seats or booster seats. That further limits your ‘mini-bus options’.
- Kitchen table: We no longer will fit at our kitchen table once our current baby grows out of the high chair.
- Beds: The purchase of another set of bunkbeds was recently made. I like how bunk beds give us the option of stacking them if we choose. Right now we have them separated, but it gives a more completed, finished look to the room.
- New car seat to replace the expired one.
Preparing the Youngest Child for the New Arrival:
This is something that I try to do pretty far in advance. Since our kids are pretty close together, and the youngest child probably has no clue what is about to happen to them, we try to prepare ways that are physically obvious to them.
- Potty Training: Our last child was the first time I had a kid potty trained before the new baby came. That had it’s pros and cons. We potty trained 4 months before the baby was born. Because they are so tiny when they are potty trained, I still have to help quite a bit with bathroom breaks. This led to some accidents simply because I was in the middle of taking care of the baby. We have gotten the potty chair out and our youngest sits on it for fun, and has actually had 1 successful attempt! We are going to do the full-blown potty training over Spring Break. (crossing fingers)
- Big Bed Training: I like to move the current baby out of the crib quite a while before the new baby is born. That way they never feel like they have been ‘kicked out’ of their bed or anything. Staying in a big bed all night can be a hard transition!
How We are Planning Ahead:
- Freezer Meals: I have been trying out and making a list of freezer meals so we can fill the freezer up with a few months worth of meals so I don’t have to worry about anything more than preheating the oven each day.
- Kid Chores: We have responsibility books that each of the kids sets goals of things to work on. The kids are currently trained on cleaning bathrooms and have been learning simple meal prep. Running the washer and dryer are next on my oldest child’s list. (I can’t wait!!!)
- Simplifying: As I mentioned before, we are going through the house room by room and getting rid of anything that we don’t love that is just cluttering the house up. The kids are learning the value of taking care of their own space by keeping their rooms clean and cutting back on clutter there too.
We are seriously so excited to have another little girl in our family. We are utilizing every moment we can leading up to her birth to prepare to make this the smoothest transition ever!