Pick a Number
by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson
Television has way of making big families look fun. I grew up watching shows like The Partridge Family and Eight is Enough. Houses filled with kids, games, and constant activities. It was like there was always someone to hang out with. Something was always going on. It was like Vegas. Well, without the casinos and strip clubs.
Like a lot of people, I grew up in a neighborhood where families were large. Seriously, most families had no less than four kids. I’m thinking it must have been a neighborhood association rule. And there had to be at least 10 families on just two blocks alone. That was a minimum of 40 kids. Every day, there was a gang of us going on kid -only field trips, playing kickball, and riding our bikes. We’d travel as a group, stopping by each other’s houses for snacks, toys, and indoor plumbing.
Our parents would all but tell us to stay out of the house all day. Aside from an emergency bathroom break and lunch, we were in the company of our peers. No pagers. No cell phones. And between the group of us probably no more than five dollars. We became honorary brothers and sisters of each other. There was a hierarchy of leadership, and the older kids took charge of things relating to money, arguments, and first aid.
I pretty much figured I would follow in my parent’s footsteps and have at least four kids. Until I remembered that growing up we had three bedrooms, two box fans, and one bathroom–with six kids. No wonder my parents wanted us out of the house as much as possible.
I have heard it said that it’s hardest to go from no children to one. That two isn’t that bad. Three will put you over the edge. And four will bring you back over. Back over? What if somehow I can’t make it over? And where exactly is over?
Four just sounded like a nice number. But I got nervous when I realized there’s math involved, because you have to know how to divide your time, snacks, and money. Having more kids requires a good assembly line technique for changing diapers, doing laundry, and making lunches. And a bigger family makes it more difficult to remember a child’s name on cue. When my mom got frustrated with me, she would run through at least three of my siblings’ names before she’d get mine right. And they were all boys.
So when I have second thoughts about having big family, I can just watch some reruns on TV Land. Or think about 40 kids running through my backyard, pillaging snacks from my pantry, lined up to use my bathroom. Plus, math has never been my strong suit, and it’s so much easier to divide by two than four.