Julie Cole: The Baby Machine


What Not To Expect When You Have A Big Family


Love the idea of a big family? There are definitely many, many bonuses to having a big brood. But there are also a few things you just shouldn’t expect. For example:

Me Time:

This can be a great thing. Many mamas rely on some me time in order to maintain some sanity. There is no harder job than raising small children, and getting away from them once in a while is key. Here’s the thing, if “me time” is really important to you, than being a mama of many is going to be a challenge. Admittedly, I have the good fortune of not craving traditional “me time.” The thought of a day at the spa or poring over magazines in a coffee shop doesn’t appeal to me, at all. My “me time” looks more like doing an activity with only one or two kids. If “me time” was a sanity saver for me, I’d be in big trouble.

Date Night:

I know, I know, date night is important. Couples swear by their designated “date night,” so they can get out of the house and act like grown-ups. For many years, going out meant hiring two babysitters, because putting six babies and small kiddos to bed was too big an ask for any one person. The cost of two babysitters along with whatever evening activity we were doing just made the coveted “date night” not financially feasible. This doesn’t mean we don’t carve out time as a couple. Parents of many children are generally pretty strict with routines and structure. We ensure our kids go to bed at a reasonable time. Once in bed, there’s nothing wrong with cracking a bottle of wine and chatting on the couch. That’s just as enjoyable as going on a date out of the home—and certainly a lot easier on the bank account.

One-On-One Time:

A couple of years ago, we went through a contrived process of setting up “one-on-one” time with our kids. The decision was based on pressure I was feeling because people kept asking me how I could possibly have this “special” time with each individual child. In the interest of saving myself future therapy bills, I quickly devised a plan. After setting up an elaborate plan, I realized I could rely on my parenting instincts rather than what people told me my children need. Mama knows best and has to trust that. So, I ditched the ridiculous plan and now respond to my kiddos needs the way I know best. One-on-one time can be a chat in the car, doing the grocery shopping, or taking the dog for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a day of shopping or some other expensive excursion.

All of these times that are defined as “special” are important, but it can be a challenge for parents who have decided to have a big family. What kind of special time do you enjoy most? As a parent, what have you found the most difficult to do without?

For more from this Mama of Many, check out: "Do Your Kids Have a Love/Hate Relationship?" and "Do I Have a Favourite Child?"