By: Sarah Lyons
Raising six children has taught me many valuable lessons that have changed my perspective on parenting, housework, finances, and relationships for the better. You do not need to have a big family to live like a big family and use the principles most larger families are forced to apply. Here are some large family perspectives that all families should consider, no matter what size.
Time is something we all want more of. The change in perspective here is that large families must use their time more wisely. If there is an hour for cleaning, get up and clean. If there is an hour for playing, make the most of it and enjoy your children. If you have two hours to spend with your spouse, turn off the TV and talk. Put down your cell phone and ask the kids how school went. Rise early in the morning to spend some quiet time alone so you feel refreshed for a busy and full day.
Benefits for all families: When time is used wisely, there is more time for the things you enjoy.
Large families have to learn to let go of what they cannot control. Moms of many learn that fighting about whether the four and two year old wear coordinating T-shirts or matching socks is not a battle that is worth ruining a day, or even an hour, over. If the child is dressed appropriately for the weather, then the child is ready to go. This principle can be applied to any relationship, including your spouse. By choosing to let the small things go and work through the important things as a team, there are less disagreements.
Benefit for all families: Learn not to sweat the small stuff, which helps create healthy relationships and less stress for everyone.
We all realize that each person is different and has their own unique gifts, talents, opinions, quirks, and habits. Larger families learn to embrace differences because their own house is a diverse place. Growing up in this environment creates an appreciation for our differences and teaches kids to be accepting. You don’t have to have a lot of kids to know that life is precious and children are a gift. In a large family parents learn to appreciate each child for their unique personality and have the opportunity to teach kids to love and respect each other.
Benefits for all families: People should be celebrated and accepted for what makes them unique.
Many large families must stick to a tight budget. Activities like movies and other outings that cost a lot per person are often out of the questions. Large families learn to find the fun in things that are cheap or free, such as, a picnic at the park, building a fort in the living room, movie night at home, a dance party, or learning to bake.
Benefits for all families: Quality family time and lasting memories can be created at little or no cost.
When you are dealing with a large crowd, planning and organization are key to things running smoothly. As a large family mom, meal planning, a chore schedule, and a well maintained calendar are necessary for our family to thrive. Planning does take time but the results create a less stressful environment for everyone.
Benefits for all families: Planning ahead creates less stress.
Large families must work with a tight budget and learn to cut costs in creative ways. There are many ways to trim the budget and all families have to choose what works for them. Some ideas may include cooking from scratch, buying used instead of new, cutting out cable, or taking on household repair projects yourself.
Benefits for all families: Learn to spend wisely and save money.
Working as a team and sharing chores is a necessity for large families to maintain the house. Teamwork is a skill that is valued in school and in the workplace. Kids in large families learn to use teamwork to accomplish tasks and work with others in all situations. Kids also learn how to effectively do chores that they will be expected to take on in adulthood.
Benefits for all families: When everyone pitches in the work goes faster and children learn responsibility and skills they will use as adults.
Large families may stumble upon these perspectives out of necessity, but you do not have to have a large family to benefit from them.