As some of you may know, we’re hoping for a large family. I say “hoping” because we have chosen to leave the size of our family in God’s hands. That means that we do not use birth control…and we do not use fertility drugs, either. If I were unable to get pregnant after #3 is born, then three children is what we would have. That is where our convictions lie. I won’t say that’s not hard: I think I’d struggle if God thwarted our plans to have more children, but I’d pray for the peace to accept it.
Anyway, since we want a large family, we are doing things to prepare for it now. Having a large family is a serious responsibility. We believe strongly that we should not have more children than we can care for and provide for financially. Many large families share this view. Even if you don’t have or don’t want a large family, you may be interested to learn more about the mindset of one — I know I’m constantly fascinated by it even though I’m not there yet!
Here are some of the things that we are doing now to prepare for having a large family “someday:”
1. Paying off all our debt – When we got married, we had a fair amount of debt. Some on credit cards, a lot in student loans. It was pretty typical. We made it a priority to pay it off as soon as we could so that we’d be in a more financially secure position to afford all our children. At this point, four years into our plan, we are just about to pay off the last of our student loans, leaving just our mortgage!
2. Saving money — We’ve also made a commitment to save money for a variety of purposes. This means for our retirement, our kids’ college (yes, the two already born have college funds, and the new baby will by the end of the year), and emergencies. Saving up money allows us to prepare for a rainy day without relying on credit, which we no longer use. We were also able to buy a few larger purchases that we needed, like our mini-van, with cash.
3. Shopping very frugally — It is important to us to buy things at low prices when possible. Although, at this time, we “could” afford to spend more, we’re choosing not to. We usually shop thrift stores or clearance sales for clothes or shoes (for us as well as the kids), we almost never go out to eat, I buy groceries very carefully and cook a lot from scratch. We consider purchases very carefully and decide if we can use something we already have or do without. For example, when I was setting up my garden last week, I used a broken under-the-bed storage box for my lettuce instead of buying something new.
4. Do It Ourselves — Whenever possible, we do things ourselves. That means that I cook almost all our meals, my husband fixes most things around the house (he’s even done electrical and plumbing stuff; so far we haven’t had to call any repairmen!), I sewed all my kids’ diapers and many of their linens, and someday we plan to have our own farm. On our farm we’ll raise both animals and crops, so we’ll have our own supply of milk, eggs, meat, and produce. (I am so excited for this and so is my husband!) This is also why we garden and preserve food now, it’s kind of “farming” on a small scale.
5. Teach our kids “family thinking” – This means that we teach them to think of the family as a whole first. We work together on chores, they’re expected to be obedient (allowing, of course, for normal developmental behavior!), we teach them frugality and money management early on, we encourage cooperation, and so forth. Larger families don’t run well if mom and dad are shouldering all the work, so we’re teaching them to help and be proud of doing so.
6. Saving everything – A lot of people get rid of their baby items because they’re done after baby #2 or #3 or whatever they’ve decided is right for them. We don’t; we save everything! We don’t know if we’ll have boys or girls so we keep all the clothes and toys. We save other items too (lamps, beds, sheets, etc.) for future use. If we already own it, it’s free! Both my kids got their beds because we saved my husband’s childhood beds.
Are all these things necessary now? No. Would they work for every family? Of course not. They’re not exclusive to large families either; some smaller families are doing the same things! But these points are often how larger families “make it work.” They’re frugal by necessity (which some smaller families are too).
If you have a larger family, what else do you do to “make it work?”
Top image by caswell_tom