5 Depressing But True Advantages of Having a Large Family

06/05/2015 02:45 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2016
Nicole Jankowski

So, you think you'd like to have a large family. Good for you for taking that first step! A decision as big as this should never be made without the proper Google search.

And thankfully, you ended up in the right place!

I know all about having a large family because I have lots of children.

Lots. Of. Them.

How many is a lot, you ask? That's a good question! I could just answer it, but I think it would be much more fun to play a guessing game! You like guessing games, don't you? Well, you better! Because when you have your large family, you're going to have to play them a f*ck of a lot. (Guess who left a popsicle in your bed? Guess who pooped in the bathtub? Guess who is never going to sleep again for more than three hours in a row*? Soooooo fun!)

As for my family, can you guess how many kids I have by the number of stains on my sweatshirt? How about by how many times I repeat these words these words here? By how many small people are grabbing at my fat rolls and calling me "Mom"?

Don't be too confident! The stains can lie!

Shit, I actually really don't have time for games, people. I don't have time for games, or hamburgers or teeth-brushing or lots of things that people with reasonable amounts of kids have.

I have four kids and two step-kids.There's your answer. Boom. Cry. Boom.

And while I am not qualified to do very many things (which does not stop me from doing them, of course), I thought it might be helpful to impart some of the wisdom about having a large family that I have gathered over the years.

And as such, I now offer you this cheery guide to five advantages to having a large family.


1. You never have to talk to strangers. With a few exceptions**, when you and your large family enter any establishment for shopping, dining, etc, you will immediately be disliked by nearly every person in the place. No one really wants you to be there. This may sound harsh, but think of it like this: your children are loud, difficult and plentiful. Even YOU would hate you if you weren't in your position. No one wants to chit-chat with you while little Bobby knocks over the display of Chef Boyardee. No one wants to dish the dirt or keep you in that store/restaurant/emergency room waiting area any longer than they absolutely must. That guy with the flesh wound sitting over there in the ER? He's willing to give up being next in line in Triage just to avoid having to listen to your three girls sing "Let It Go" for the 17th time in a row. So, with your large family in tow, you can get in, get out and keep the carnage at a minimum. This is a really wonderful thing for everyone involved. Especially all those other people that don't have to deal with your kids.

2. You don't ever have to play with your children again. Let's just call a tiara a tiara and talk straight shit here. No person over the age of 25 likes playing dress-up. NO PERSON. While a 6-year-old sees herself as a princess searching for a date to the ball in that shiny gown and jelly shoe ensemble, all you see are your fat thighs rubbing together in that makeshift kimono your daughter had to fashion to fit over your birthing hips. Don't worry, Mommy, we can stuff you in. Push, Mommy! PUSH HARDER! And don't even mention the time you found your husband in the Tinkerbell wings with the wand in his hand. What seemed cute at first quickly turned creepy when your daughter told Daddy to sprinkle his fairy dust all over Mommy.

Good news, friends! When you have a large family, there will always be someone else to play dress-up! There's always a teenager or a toddler to throw unsuspectingly at your little Aurora or Belle or Elsa. Let the siblings bear the brunt of Maleficent's wrath. Why else did you have so many, Mama, if not to fawn off the less desirable tasks? Worst-case scenario, when you have many children, there's always a brother somewhere in the house to be Prince Eric. Let them both dress up and plan a wedding fit for the all the undersea creatures to attend. Because watching your 4-year-old son marry your 6-year-old daughter is way less uncomfortable than having your husband dance around over you shouting "I'm sprinkling my dust!" TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.

3. It's less expensive than you think. In a large family, sharing, hand-me-downs and martinis are all essential. ESSENTIAL.There are limited resources, no matter what your income level is, and every member of the family must do his or her part to ensure there's enough to go around. Enforce a system in the household and try to stick to it. Pass down all clothing and toys to the next sibling in line and so forth. If you really want to be frugal, disregard gender rules. What, are you a feminist or not, mom? Convince your 6-year-old son that pink is the new camo. Don't let social constructs keep you from sending your youngest daughter to preschool in that 'Chicks Dig Me' t-shirt with the truck plastered on it. If she cries for something, anything, other than her brother's dinosaur-themed hand-me-downs, convince that 3-year-old you are both bucking a misogynist and patriarchal society. Tread carefully, however, you sleep-deprived mom of many: therapy is costly.

4. By having a large number of children, you increase the odds of having a Good One. I'm going to give it to you straight. While all children are a gift from God, not all children are a gift you won't want to return at some point. When you have a large family, you might look around the dinner table as your six kids are complaining and shuffling their peas around and spilling their milk and think, I could take or leave 5 of you right now. But there will most likely be ONE that is happily shoveling in his meatloaf with a smile. This is the best doggone meal you've ever made, Mom! If you are lucky, Mom, there will be one. That Good One will change throughout the years. Hell, that Good One will change throughout the DAY. But with six chances, your odds of having a nice kid at any one time are at least greater than most people's.

5. People will think that because you have a large family, you have a clue about parenting. This can be a wonderful badge of honor. And it seems legit. By the time you have, say, five or six kids, you've had a lot of experience with tantrums, potty training and teenagers. It seems logical for people to expect that you might know a thing or two about how to handle a parenting crisis. The logic here is that the more a person (you) does something (raise a child), the better you are at doing it. This is where I deliver the bad news to you in one swoop. Doing something over and over again, especially when the job really sucks some of the time, does not make you (especially me) an authority. It only makes you really, really tired. And maybe addicted to The Home Shopping Channel. And increases the odds you'll have osteoporosis and bunions. And will make you good at finding shortcuts. And finding babysitters. And increases the likelihood that you will be living in a senior home, lost in your own insanity, toiling your last days away making teeny-tiny handmade top hats for squirrels.

That's about it, I think. And I suppose the advice above is invalidated by the last revelation. Everything you think I know about parenting is a lie.

But isn't that true for all of us? Those of us with one kid or 19 kids? Don't we string our days as mothers and fathers together on a wing and a prayer, faking it until we make it and hoping against hope that it all turns out all right? (OK, maybe YOU don't, but that's the reason we aren't friends anymore).

Finally, though, there is one thing that I can promise you, and it is the biggest advantage of having a large family. I doubt it's much of a secret, but if you lean in close, I'll clue you in. Because it's one large thing to consider before you decide about having more than a few children: Your heart will be as full as your house.

Oh! And down the road, one of your large brood (most likely the Good One) will always be around to drop off a Subway sandwich to you in the nursing home and stay to admire the dapper new bow ties you've made for your little squirrel friends. And this alone, really, is all the advantage you are ever going to need (or really, ever going to get).

*The answer to the last question is YOU. It's always you.

**The exception is old people. Old people often love large families because they are apt to remind them of either of the following things: The good "old" days (which have never, to me, truly sounded that good -- what with the war and the Great Depression situation) or their grandchildren in Saskatchewan.

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