It is birthday season and last weekend my birthday skidded past alongside life as we know it. We are only half way through the birthdays of this month… I usually blog something totally different to normal for my birthday and this year I thought I would bring you Se7en+1 opinionated opinions about living with a heap of kids.
So many readers have asked, is there a reason why we would choose to have eight kids (we didn’t, we would have had heaps more if the father person and I had met sooner), and then live in a two bedroomed home and without a car… there must be a story behind that. There isn’t really, life leads you down a path and like most people we took that path. That sounds terribly unintentional, it isn’t… we always wanted our kids to be part of a gang of kids and our own personal rent-a-crowd appealed in every way… So this post is for all of our readers, who gasp… and would like to know the thinking behind all the action over here…
Just Quietly Destroying The Myths of Living With Se7en + 1 Kids
- We Are Not Overly Wealthy: We have EIGHT kids!!! “Financial Wealth” is not ever going to be our middle name. On the other hand, our kids have food to eat every single day and clothes to wear mostly. So we are in fact better off than heaps of folk around the world. We have everything we need to get a long and so much more. I think the intentional part is defining the difference between what we need to survive and want we want.
- We Don’t Live in a Ten Bedroomed Mansion: This one always makes me smile, with eight kids when in the world would I ever find the time to clean a huge house. I really want to have a small house, in fact I need to have a small house. We have a regular home with a lounge and a kitchen… two bedrooms and a bathroom and in a moment of insanity we added another bathroom – one more bathroom to clean. Our house might not be huge in the “each child has it’s own room” sense, but most folks’ homes around the world could probably easily fit into our kitchen.
- I am not Sure that Sharing a Room is the Source of All Conflict: Take a look at the world, the largest protagonists don’t even share a continent. Our kids rooms are where they sleep and read – they have a space to sleep and plenty of books, so there really is nothing to fight over. There is only one thing that they do fight like crazy over… and it is not toys, art materials, clothes, stuff… if you don’t actually own stuff then fighting over stuff is a non-issue. However, our kids do feel very strongly about INJUSTICE in general, and more specifically the potential injustice from the person dishing up meals. “He got an extra-morsal of dinner, she might have received less porridge…” Food has to be distributed evenly. Now that is a matter of world peace, and I am not exactly kidding about it.
- We Don’t Own a Family Car: This fact often leaves folks with their mouth literally hanging open, but after years of our car breaking down wherever we went it finally broke down forever about a year ago and we haven’t looked back. The father person has a small car for getting to and from the city for work, we live about 45 minutes from the city centre. Occasionally it is a pain to be without a car, but to be honest it has been fairly liberating, our days have freed up immeasurably, we have time to amble to the store, the beach, the library… in fact we are within walking distance of everything we need for our day to day living. When we have to go further, we have had to ask friends for rides and this it turns out is a good thing. Friends like to help out, I don’t think we are meant to function as totally functioning little units… Just as I like to help friends out, friends like to help us out. We are meant to depend on each other.
- Our house is full of stuff, but not a lot of clutter: We don’t have a heap of stuff. We aren’t minimalists, by any means, but we just don’t have a heap of gear. It never gets so cold that we need snow gear, we have one raincoat… why would all of us want to go out in the pouring rain at a time. We store like things with like – so toys with toys out the front door, shoes with shoes behind the front door, backpacks are squashed flat and in the closet. Linen, well that is on the beds, and towels are hanging in the bathroom or in the swimming bag. Basically, we keep what we use and whatever we don’t use we give away. The only thing we have a ton of, and I mean a ton… is books. As for kids’ gear, we just don’t. Just as I teach my kids that the candy companies are out to get them in the check out aisle, I firmly believe that most baby paraphernalia is marketed at adults and we don’t actually need it. Your baby won’t grow up better, braver, stronger, cleverer or even wealthier… because you bought certain baby products. But manufacturers really do know that you know that, so they aim at where parents hurt the most and here again: your baby will not necessarily sleep better because you bought a specific stroller, swing or even socks (yours or the babies). Just not true. So the only evidence that a heap of kids live in our house is that there are ten toothbrushes in the bathroom. And dare I mention only one bottle of shampoo.
- Half My kids at Least, Still Sleep in my Bed: Long may that last, we are firm believers in the family bed. I have found that eventually kids do beg for their own bed, but until then I am happy to toss them all into bed at the same time most evenings, read a couple of stories and drift off to sleep chatting about their day. Everybody likes a good story and we have never had a problem with folk heading for bed or with kids getting up after they have turned in for the night… why would they want to leave where it is warm and cosy, when they are tired after a good day of playing.
- We Constantly Declutter: We have a strong policy of one on and one in the wash… everyone pretty much owns the same clothes: two pairs of shorts, two pairs of longs and a couple of t-shirts. Everybody has a warm top or a sweater and a bathing costume… We do laundry every other day… and really the laundry pile can never get that huge because we run out of clothes long before the laundry pile can get too crazy. We have found that for most tasks, it is easier to do a “little” more often than a huge mountain of chores when they build up.
- Well There is a Background Noise Around Here: We think we lead a quiet sedate life… and we do. Mostly everybody is quietly doing their own thing… reading drawing, playing with legos, building a house, drawing. Quietly busy… tinkering away and getting on with their lives. However, almost each person is whistling their own tune, humming their own song and one or two are beating their own drums and one, just one, is always playing the trumpet. So while the quiet is quiet for us… the background buzz can be a little overwhelming to those not quite accustomed to it. It’s our normal and we like it, just one person missing can leave everyone feeling a little lonely. I guess when you live as part of a crowd that’s the way you like it.