More often than not, when people hear that I have seven children, they look at me like I’m crazy, or say something along the lines of, “Better you than me.” Once in a very great while a stranger will actually acknowledge that my children are blessings. I appreciate that because it’s what I want my kids to hear and believe. Each of them is a gift I would not trade.
Most people want to know what it’s like to have seven kids, so I thought I’d share a quick glimpse.
My most challenging task is feeding my family healthy, satisfying meals on a small budget. Currently, six of my children live at home with Atticus and me, and my three step-children join us on weekends. So I’m feeding between eight and eleven people regularly. I’ve learned to stretch meals, and some nights are meatless, but still healthy. I utilize in-season produce and we are currently celebrating the return of ‘salad season’ and strawberries. I had to learn where to shop because there isn’t just one store with the greatest deals, but I know where to buy canned goods, who carries paper products at a good discount, and where I should never buy fresh meats. I do a good job with our grocery budget and I never hear complaints from Atticus or my kids. One month our budget was so tight, we ate pasta almost every day. When it was over I thanked my family for eating without complaint and Atticus said he was impressed that I’d come up with so many pasta recipes. I thought I’d burst with love and appreciation for him!
Clothing is the second biggest hurdle, so I rely mostly on thrift shops and end-of-season markdowns. People used to give us clothes by garbage bagfuls when we were first out of the shelter, but that has slowed down quite a bit. Shoes we purchase new, except for the hand-me-down sandals Scout received two years ago.
Beds were an issue when Atticus and I first married. We brought the bunkbeds he already owned to our house and then only needed a bed for his daughter, so we would move Jem out of his bed every weekend and back onto the toddler bed so that she would have a place to sleep. My sister gave us a beautiful set of bunkbeds she no longer needed, which provided us with the rest of the beds we needed. Now everyone has their own space and it feels even more like home.
Family isn’t just food, clothes, and furniture. We also have lots of love, laughter, laundry, bickering, and chores. We have days where everyone is on board, and willing to work together to get things accomplished, and we have days where some or all of us are seriously lacking motivation. We are loud. We have fights. We have game time. We play video games together. We watch movies. We talk. We have our family jokes nobody else would understand. We have lots of hugs and kisses and snuggles.
Being a part of a large family can be overwhelming at times, but it also brings tremendous happiness! It’s a blessing to love and be loved by so many wonderful kids. I’m thankful God sent my seven hearts — I can’t imagine even one of them not being a part of this family.