15 Unexpected Benefits of Big Family Living

The Unexpected Benefits of Big Family Living | Loving Life at HomeI love children and have wanted a bunch of them for as long as I can remember.

Not surprisingly, this fact significantly narrowed the field of potential marriage partners back when I was in college.

“Want to grab a cup of coffee?” an interested classmate might venture.

“That depends,” I’d answer matter-of-factly. “How many kids do you plan to have when you get married?”

Subtlety has never my strong suit.

This line of questioning quickly scared off most would-be suitors, but I didn’t want to risk falling in love with someone who didn’t share my desire for a big family.

So I held out… and my patience eventually paid off. Mr. Right finally showed up a few weeks before graduation.

Not only was he interested (in me!), but he gave the desired response to all of my questions — and didn’t seem intimidated by my asking them.

The rest, as they say, is history: I married him 16 months later, got pregnant two weeks into our honeymoon, and spent the following quarter of a century either pregnant or nursing (or both).

Life as the mother of many has been every bit as blissful as I imagined. Sure, there have been lots of unexpected challenges, but there have also been plenty of unanticipated rewards. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Expanded Options
  2. There are so many beautiful names with wonderful meanings out there, it’s difficult to narrow down the list of favorites and pick only one. Having a big family completely solves that quandary — you can use them all! (Or in our case, almost all — we’re still hoping for a Hannah).

  3. Boredom Busters
  4. There is never a dull moment in a home filled with children, and there is always somebody to play with. Neighbors and schoolmates will come and go, but siblings are friends you can keep for life.

  5. Conversation Starters
  6. Big families invite all sorts of inquiries: “Are all these kids yours?” “Don’t you know what causes that?” “Are you going to have any more?” “Do I need to buy you a TV?” In our experience, most of the people asking such questions aren’t trying to be rude — they’re genuinely curious — so we answer as graciously and amicably as we possibly can. What a great way to meet people!

  7. Group Discounts
  8. A really big family can qualify for discounted group admission rates without even trying. And do we ever get our money’s worth on those annual zoo and museum memberships — especially the ones that offer reciprocal benefits at sister sites!

  9. A Deeper Admiration
  10. The love and affection I felt for my husband as a spouse, great though it was, increased manifold when he became the father of my children. I still enjoy watching him teach and train and interact with our preschoolers, adolescents, teens, and adult children, but there is something so specially endearing about the way he cuddles and cootchy-coos our babies, it makes me glad that for so long we’ve had one in the house to draw that tenderness out of him.

  11. Household Help
  12. A wise man once observed, “Many hands make light labor.” He was right. Of course, many hands make bigger messes to begin with, but when everyone pitches in to help clean up, household chores are knocked out in short order, and kids learn responsibility and other important life skills from an early age.

  13. No PMS
  14. Between pregnancy and breastfeeding, you can literally go for years without having a monthly cycle. I’m not gonna lie — that has really been nice.

  15. Pick Your Sport
  16. Depending on the size of your family, you can field your own basketball team. Or volleyball. Or baseball. Or soccer. The physical exercise does a body good, and the games give ample opportunity to practice good sportsmanship among other players who are held to the same standard.

  17. Social Security
  18. Contrary to what “Zero Population Growth” proponents will tell you, demographic declines are causing deeply troubling problems for societies worldwide, which is why many countries (Germany, Japan, and Austrailia, to name just a few) are now actually paying people to procreate. Big families are simply ahead of the curve.

  19. Youthful Beauty
  20. While pregnancy keeps you looking young (think thick, glossy hair and glowing complexion), the children themselves keep you feeling young. It’s a wonderful thing to see the world through the eyes of a child, so filled with awe and excitement over each new discovery. Their energy, enthusiasm, and laughter are infectious.

  21. One Less Excuse
  22. Being open to pregnancy allows couples to enjoy intimacy as God intended. No frantic search for a misplaced diaphragm. No mad dash to the drugstore when you run out of condoms. No having to compensate for the fact that the Pill completely decimates a woman’s libido. Just blessed spontaneity (although regularly scheduling time for said spontaneity is highly recommended).

  23. No Sour Milk
  24. In a house full of kids (especially teenaged boys), food seldom lasts long enough to go bad. That’s a plus! You can buy in bulk without fear of spoilage. And as an added bonus, dinner conversation never drags with so many different personalities contributing to it.

  25. Built-In Babysitters
  26. Our kids absolutely love babies and are always clamoring to hold our newest addition. As a result, they can all handle infants very comfortably and capably — experience that will come in handy someday when they start having kids of their own. As an added bonus, our big guys have discovered that nothing attracts attention from the opposite sex more effectively than toting around a new baby brother or sister (otherwise known as a “chick magnet”).

  27. Best Foot Forward
  28. Not only do children help refine their parents’ character qualities, but they polish one another, as well. Siblings have a way of knocking off one another’s rough edges, so they’re less likely to make fools of themselves in public. Corny jokes and lame pranks can be tested (then reworked as needed or altogether abandoned) at home, where the stakes are lower and the audience more forgiving.

  29. Empty Nest Postponed
  30. When you are blessed with many children, you don’t have to give up all your favorite things about one stage of life to enjoy all the great things about the next. You’ll still have little ones at home to cuddle even after first ones move away. That’s a happy distraction during what would otherwise be a bittersweet time. Also, studies show that the older a couple is when their last child leaves home, the more likely their marriage will survive the transition.

I could go on (and on and on), but I’ll stop there. What are your favorite things about having children? Do you plan to have any more? Don’t you know what causes that? Do I need to buy you a TV?

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20 thoughts on “15 Unexpected Benefits of Big Family Living

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  3. amanda

    I am a single mom to one bio (age 7), three adopted (ages 5, 4, 3) and two foster (ages 8 & 9). Never thought I would do it alone, but my heart pulled me and I followed. I feel so blessed every day for where my life has led me, and for my children. I can’t imagine my life without them. This article is so true. Thank you for reminding me of the many lessons my kids are learning now that will help them later on.

  4. Pingback: Children are a Blessing | The Flanders Family Website

  5. Heather

    I have five children and I love family pictures. I just love family pictures of large families. I don’t know why but they are so beautiful to me. Since my fourth and fifth children have joined the family I love how our pictures have a group feel. Also I love meal times with a large family. All of us eating and talking and laughing. You have a great list, but these are just two more that popped into my mind. 🙂

  6. Heidi

    A twist on #8 is music. We have nine children (13-29) and we can sing 4 part harmony and have several instruments to play. Love that! And come tax time, it’s nice to have that many dependents to claim 🙂 I also get so much joy when I see the great friends my older children and their spouses are with each other.

  7. Shannon

    As a mother of ten, I whole-heartedly agree! Thanks for reminding me of all the positives as I sometimes tend to focus on the negatives… the never-ending laundry and dirty kitchen/house syndrome, feeling like I’m not getting it all done excellently, etc. We moms of many must remember that God gave us these children, and HE KNEW OUR FLAWS when He gave them!. He blessed and continues to bless us as we seek to raise up our “tribe” to glorify Him.

  8. Courtney

    I love this! We have a two year old, an eight month old, and another on the way. My favorite of the ones I’ve already experienced is #5. Nothing like the tenderness our babies draw out of my husband. Looking forward to more children and experiencing more of these unexpected benefits in the years to com. 🙂

  9. May De Jesus-Palacpac

    that’s a really great list! i want to take this discounted group rate for a marketing class but it’s so hard to get 25 people in. and i’ve seen the babysitters in big families…it’s economical really, i have to pay for our babysitter and she’s worth quite a lot of money! 😀

  10. sonia

    This article is so refreshing. Everytime I tell people I want to have a big family I get that blank stare and then its usually followed up with reasons why having a big family is not practical. Its always nice to reminded of the many benefits!

  11. rachel

    Loved this! We have one eight month old and I’m expecting my second in August. We hope to have many more. I grew up in a big family and loved it.

  12. Steve Witherspoon

    Jennifer, marvelous article. I especially agree with #10. Not many people agree with me on that when I tell them that a woman is the most beautiful when she is pregnant. For some reason, Dorothy and I have not suffered from the ’empty nest’ even though our last left in ’96. God has been our nest filler.

  13. Karen @ Pieces of Contentment

    Wonderfully written. I agree with all of these points. Point 15 is particularly pertinent to us right now as our eldest two leave for uni in the next 10 days, yet with 6 younger ones still at home, including a 5 year old, we will thankfully be far from lonely empty nesters.

  14. Happy Father of 11

    As a father of 11 children (now ages 11 to 34) I can attest to the fact that you are right in your observations. We miss the baby stage since our last one was out of that stage for years but now with grandchildren form 0-7 years old it is just more of the same and we enjoy it. Great article and what a blessing large families are! Can’t think of a real good reason to add to your list, but maybe one would be that theres nothing like child to keep you humble and help me in understanding my relationship with the Heavenly Father!

    1. Grace Christopher

      Hi, am 18 years old. well, as you can see I’m obsessed with the idea of having many kids. I’m the only child, my mother had a lot of miscarriage over the years until she gave up. well, am happy that it’s always people like you to encourage the next generation. thank you very much.


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