(This is from the Fourth of July. I don't usually (1) match their outfits or (2) have such a FLAG thing going on.)
If you and I were talking, and you expressed equal parts fear of and interest in having more than the standard 2-3 children, you would on most days find me an encouraging person. It's my experience so far that larger families are not as intimidating as they can look, and that five children is not two-and-a-half times harder than (or two-and-a-half times more expensive than) two children.
But in the interest of fairness, I will mention some of the downsides of five kids:
1. There are days when correction and discipline and basic maintenance take up so much time, there is little or no time for playing and affection. Or at least, sometimes it feels that way after their bedtime: like I spent my whole day giving baths, making meals, saying "no" and "just a minute," correcting manners, administering time-outs, and being increasingly stern about homework needing to be done NOW, COME ON, DO YOUR HOMEWORK, STOP DAWDLING!, and spent almost no time at all cuddling and reading and praising. Sometimes crowd control takes up too much of my available parenting time. ...On the other hand, I remember feeling this way with two kids, too.
2. I can't imagine going on vacation with them. I know some people do it, but the idea is overwhelming to me. Also: some hotel rooms only allow two children per adult.
3. In fact, I don't even do shorter trips, like to the pool or to the park. There are just too many children. I know other people do it, but it's too much for me.
4. Babysitters are a problem. Who can take care of FIVE children? And if you DO find someone, imagine what it would COST.
5. It is really, really boring making that many sandwiches every day.
6. The sheer space taken up by all those winter boots and coats.
8. Can't keep their names straight. No, really.
9. You need a big car.
10. Certain reasonable expenses are no longer reasonable when they're multiplied by 5.
11. The noise! The noise! OMG, sometimes the noise!
12. Baths. So many.
13. Let's say on Monday morning you bake a double batch of muffins: 24 muffins. That's no small task, and you feel like some sort of superhero for managing it. You'd think you'd be ALL SET for breakfasts for awhile. And yet the next morning after breakfast, a mere 24 hours later, there are only three muffins left.
14. You can use up an entire container of something in one sitting. Yogurt. Cereal. Strawberries. Ice cream.
15. Sometimes everyone talks at once. Or two talk, and then as you're telling them you can't listen to either of them when they both talk at the same time, two more start talking and one more starts crying. This can make your head explode.
16. Nobody gets much one-on-one time. Even a child who's BLEEDING usually has to share the spotlight.
17. Playdates are challenging. For younger kids, I'd like to accompany them to someone else's house---but I have such an enormous uninvited crew to bring with me. And anyone who comes to our house drowns in a sea of children.
18. People don't feel like they can complain to us. Like they think we'd say, "You think TWO is hard? TRY FIVE!" Unfortunately there ARE people who say crappy things like this. Not us, though: we remember how it felt to have two. (Hint: it did not feel easy.)
Well, and that's a pretty daunting list. But I'll bet we could make a similar-length list for ANY size family: the downsides of one, the downsides of two, the downsides of three, etc. ...OH! uh, and the upsides! Yes, upsides. Just as long a list, I'm sure.
Incognitus Scriptor has a new contest up.
Living Yellow is showing the giftie she got, and starting a new contest.