Published on September 15, 2008 By Texas Wahine In Blogging

In past generations having many children was an asset, rather than the liability that it seems to be today. Reliable, inexpensive, readily accessible birth control, high levels of education, the many opportunities available for women in the workforce, a shift in societal values, the increased cost of living, and many other factors have contributed to today's trend toward smaller families.

What many couples may not realize is that the same benefits that were created by a large family are still applicable today. Of the many potential bonuses (bonii?) of having a large family (which, apparently, is anything more than 2 children), there are these to consider:

  • Naming rights for several human creative, be indulgent, be classic...the choice is yours!
  • Increased odds of having a wealthy child to care and provide for you in your old age
  • Increased odds of having a child who likes you enough to care and provide for you in your old age
  • Hand-me-down toys, clothes, potty seats, bikes, and backpacks = it gets cheaper as your family grows! By child number 3, they won't even expect new stuff, ever!
  • More Mother's Day drawings, Christmas pipe cleaner crafts, and yard weeds presented as lovely floral gifts
  • Children will play and/or fight with each other, rather than demanding attention from you!

The most notable benefit is, of course, an increased capacity for child labor. Many children = many skill sets and much more available elbow grease.

I feel children are often overlooked and under-utilized when it comes to household maintenance. What infants and toddlers lack in thoroughness, they make up for in enthusiasm. They truly believe you when you tell them it's fun to scrub the floor.

Older children, when properly trained, are limited only by your imagination when it comes to chores and household tasks. A mom of older children should never have to vacuum. That's what *kids* are for!

Of course, shoddy workmanship is common with older children and teens who are no longer thrilled to be carrying in groceries or putting away folded clothes, but that is easily remedied. All a mom (or dad) must do is simply stop caring so much that things are done properly. Just don't look in your child's dresser or closet. Even better, don't check his room at all.

You could make them redo the task or continue to guide them in how to do it correctly, but that sounds an awful lot like work to me! And the point is to have children who work for YOU, not you for THEM. Mommyhood is a management position. Remember that!

And sure, this idea of childhood servitude could work for a small family, but to really realize the benefits, you need several children. Children with strong backs and long, wiry little arms that can really reach in behind stuff. That's what you need.

on Sep 15, 2008

lol.  Right on.    My paternal grandparents had eight kids, and my maternal grandparents had five.  I love big families, and while we'll probably never have one of our own, I totally believe you that it's all about management.  My family never made me do ANY chores, hence my shitty-ass house.  It's all my mom's fault.  lol

on Sep 15, 2008

Ummmm...sorry.  That was me.  Who the hell does he think he is to use my computer?

on Sep 15, 2008

Marcie:  LOL, I was being somewhat facetious, but I do love the idea of a great big family.  We are probably maxed out at 4, which isn't super big, but isn't the average size family either.

I do think kids learn a lot of lessons about cooperation from being a part of a large family, but the downside is the increased odds of less one on one time and less focus on individual family members.

I grew up in a yucky house.  I was responsible for a lot of chores but didn't get a lot of guidance on how to keep a house.  It has definitely been a learning experience for me.  I would like to spare my children that.  Even my boys, I feel like, need to leave home knowing how to care for their own space and how to cook for themselves. 

My kids are not super great on chores.  They don't have a lot of responsibilities but they do them without complaint (usually!) and do a decent job.  Even Isabella pitches in.  They can't get the house spotless by themselves, but they know how to do a lot of things to help out.  They are not big on self-starting, though.



on Sep 15, 2008

No...I know you were being silly. 

What do you think the difference is between two kids and four?  Do you think the workload is different for you?

I'm with you...when kids leave the house, they need to know how to take care of themselves and their space by themselves.  I think that living with siblings in a bigger family can help kids know how to work things out with other people.  My sister and I were seven years apart, so I never really got those skills cause I was the boss.  So when I had roommates in college and right out of college, I was horrible at telling them when something was bothering me and having a conversation about it.

Ryan's helped me to get over that.  I'll ask my neighbor at work to stop screaming with their students because my students can't hear and are even more easily distracted.  It's just so much easier to be honest (I had a little boy admit to saying an inappropriate word today...which was AWESOME.  We talked about it, and I gave him a little time out, and we were done).

I'm babbling.  lol

Take care, babe. 

on Sep 16, 2008

Marcie:  2 kids to 4?

Well, I don't have four yet, haha, so I guess I can't vouch for that, but "workload" seems to be really dependent on their ages and how cooperative they are, LOL.  Infants require a lot of attention and care but they are not obstinate, haha.  Toddlers are into everything and require a lot of physical work to keep up with them.  School age children are less dependent on you for physical stuff but it's more emotionally exhausting. 

I do a crazy amount of dishes and laundry, though! 

When the new baby comes I know I'm going to be in for some serious adjustment.  A newborn and a toddler together are trouble, haha. 

I definitely agree that having siblings helps with learning to deal with conflict.  That is one of my major concerns with my boys...they just fight so much.  Not physically most days, but just constant nagging.  Ugh. 

I think there's good things and bad things about being a child in a large family.  I try to watch out for the pitfalls, but I am sure I miss a whole lot.

LW:  Thanks!

on Sep 16, 2008

I thought it was funny.  But seriously, when my brother and sister and I were little and wanted something to do, my mom would think for a minute then say, "I know, let's vacuum the carpet!" She said it with such enthusiasm that we'd always cheer.


Of course, we did grow out of it.  Eventually.

on Sep 16, 2008

Sounds good for when they are still little but God help you when you've got two teenaged girls!  The thought of just one teen girl scares me enough!  The drama is going to be at a max in your house when those hormones start kicking in.  Boys get some hormonal issues too but nothing like the girls.

I think there are so many great things about big families.  You're more likely to have one that cares enough about the family to plan get togethers too.  Probably one of the girls will take up the task of keeping family history like photo albums and such. 

You've got your work cut out for you but it should be a lot of fun and a lot of love.  I always watch Jon & Kate Plus 8  when I need to feel better about my life

on Sep 16, 2008

LOL!  This deserves to be framed!  I love it!  Nicely written and if only your stragies works for me, I need lessons!

on Sep 16, 2008

Great article, Tex.  Very amusing.  I'm looking forward to the day when there is someone else to empty the dishwasher!

But seriously, when my brother and sister and I were little and wanted something to do, my mom would think for a minute then say, "I know, let's vacuum the carpet!" She said it with such enthusiasm that we'd always cheer.

that is brilliant -- I'm going to have to remember that.  Enthusiasm is the key!

on Sep 17, 2008


that is brilliant -- I'm going to have to remember that.  Enthusiasm is the key!

Yes, enthusiasm is the key.  However, and this is crucial, remember this 20 years later and mock the kids by saying, "And I can't believe you fell for that!"  The first time you hear the mocking, it's not so funny, but after the next 10 or so, one starts to see the humor in it.  This completes the child's training and allows them to use it on their own children with a certain post-modern panache.

on Sep 17, 2008

My 8yr old, Ryan, does a good job with my swiffer slippers   Ashley likes to help as long as we're singing the clean up song as we go.  The only thing that seems to motivate Alex these days is payment.

on Sep 29, 2008

Being the eldest of 5 children, I know exactly what you mean about using your children for domestic maintenance.  I was trained to wash and hang clothes, prepare meals for 7, vacuum, sweep, make beds, dust and polish all before I was 12 years old.  Besides, you only have then for the first 20 or so years so you might as well take advantage and use them while they're around

on Sep 30, 2008

Bring on the child slaves!  WOO HOO.  I'll never scrub a toilet god as my witness I will never....hahahaha