Saturday, November 6, 2010

Successful Outings with a Large Family- Part One

Wow!  Are they ALL yours?

Boy, are your hands are full.

I don’t know how you do it- I never could!

At least they’re so well-behaved; You’re sooo lucky!!!

We got the stares occasionally when there were only 3 kids.  After that, we had the twins (and everyone finds twins fascinating), so we were stopped regularly with 5 children in tow.  But now there are SIX!  Now, I mentally prepare myself for the craning-necks, the bulging-eyes, and the extra ten minutes devoted to talking to folks about our family when we make an outing.

Ready for the truth?…I love it! 

We’ve all seen ahem…heard the other families in the store.  You know, the screaming children, the screaming parents, the whining children, the placating parents.  Normally, you see that occur with families of 1-3 kids.  Can you imagine if you had 6 children?  Absolute madness!  Now, I understand all kids have their bad moments, but you can tell the difference between bad moments and bad parenting when you walk all the way around the store, meet up with that family again 30 minutes later, and the kids are still screaming!

A large family cannot afford to have that kind of chaos going on.  Not only will we be unable to accomplish anything, we will be displaying a horrible example, and we will open ourselves up to all sorts of comments and judgments that ought not be said of us.  Believe me, carting 6 kids around opens us up to enough comments already- we don’t need to give them more fuel for the fire!  I’ve learned a few things by now that help us to have successful outings.  For me that means no whining, crying, or yelling…on my part :)

I’m going to assume that proper training is going on at home, so I’ll be mentioning practical things that have to do with the outings themselves.  Since most people feel free to make comments about my family, the types of comments I receive are good indicators of how the trip went.

Only once have I gotten a truly rude, ‘it’s none of your business, buddy’-type of comment.  I find that most people are genuinely fascinated and curious, would like to make conversation, and don’t even realize that they sometime make comments that could be considered rude, nosy, or offensive.  I mean, let’s face it- large families are not the norm, and people don’t even remember the days that they were the norm.

While I find the ‘large family comebacks’ that you can find on the internet hilarious (if you have a large family, you’ve read them!), I would never actually say any of those things.  The above comments are the most common I get, and they are perfectly fine with me. I believe a merry heart and a friendly countenance go a long way.  After all, strangers can only go by what they see, (since I’m not likely to take any of them home with me), and I discovered a while ago, that if I look like a tired, haggard mom of six, unruly children, I will be looked upon and treated like a tired, haggard mom of six, unruly children.

Tip Number One for a Successful Large Family Outing:


When I am preparing to take the kids out, I prepare myself, as well.  This means I am wearing nice clothes, my hair is brushed neatly, and I at least have mascara on.  I don’t wear my ‘it’s seen better days so I don’t care if the baby rubs her snot-nose all over me’ T-shirt.  I don’t wear my ‘I just rolled out of bed and threw my hair into an elastic’ hair.  Neither do I get myself into my ‘Sunday best.’   

I find that if I feel put-together, other people see me as a put-together mom.  And it’s a whole lot easier to talk to folks and steer the conversation toward the Lord, if I’m not berating myself in my head for not bothering to wash breakfast off of my face!

The same goes for the children.  Everyone needs to be presentable.  I certainly don’t dress them in trendy, designer clothes unless I found them at the thrift store :)  Sometimes the boys’ pants have holes in the knees (isn’t that trendy?), I don’t iron their clothes or shine their shoes, but the point is that we don’t look like we aren’t taking care of our children.  In case you’re wondering, I have allowed Sweetheart Girl to go to the store in dress up clothes.  That’s cute……right?

No, we aren’t always at our best, but, honestly, I can tell a difference in those trips- even if it’s just in the way I feel.  Quite frankly, if I feel a trip has gone horribly, then it has gone horribly!  And don’t we all know that the one time we go out looking sloppy is the time we see people we know?!

So let me encourage you fellow moms!  Don’t allow yourself to play the sloppy mom card!  Take the 5 minutes you need to make yourself presentable.  After all, we say that the Lord has given us our large family.  Some say that everyone should welcome many children into their own families.  Let’s not give them one more reason to disdain that thought.  Let’s show them that it can be done, and with joy!


  1. I so wholeheartedly agree! The number one thing I'm always telling people is that I will NEVER go out looking like a tired, haggard mom of 8! I don't have to look "in style" but I need to be presentable! My kids can't go out looking sloppy either! I keep hearing it doesn't matter what other people think but I think that I get enough stares and comments just on the size of my family, I don't want to be a bad testimony of what a large family looks like! I don't want to have the "God-gave-me-all-these-blessings-to-wear-me-out" look. We need to be a testimony showing that kids ARE a blessing!

  2. I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You :-)


  3. Found you through RH I couldn't agree more. We are expecting our 6th and get the looks. I remember when we were grocery shopping after our 5th was born, one of my older kids said, "Mom I don't understand why everyone keeps saying your hands are full all your doing is pushing the shopping cart??" Now we get even more stares as our 5 year old has lost all his hair. It doesn't phase him as he used to people looking at us. :D Oh and you have a beautiful family!!

  4. With 9 of our 10 children still at home, I totally agree with this post. I had a friend who would take her six children to the store dirty and wonder why people would suggest she not have any more babies. It isn't just our reputations on the line, but rather the Lord Whom we serve.

  5. Cheryl at On the Old Path: I LOVE your son's comment! Too funny :D