Don’t get me wrong… I love having 3 kids. I didn’t always, but as they got older, I started to embrace the beauty of having 3 daughters. It’s part arguing, a pinch of drama here and there, and a whole lot of love. Still… there are some things I will never like about having a large family.
Traveling basically sucks when you have more than 2 children. Not only are airline tickets unimaginably expensive, there really is no good way to configure your seating arrangements on an airplane. There might be a 3-seat row across from a 2-seat row, but in my experience that isn’t the norm. Someone usually has to either sit alone or with strangers and we all know that strangers on a plane aren’t always eager to sit near kids. We would love to be able to take the girls traveling. I say… bring back the child fare. Anyone under 18 should be half price!
Hotels are NOT family-friendly. The maximum amount of people they allow in a hotel room is 4. When you have more than 2 kids, you basically are forced to lie. Yep… we lie because my kids are not only too young to have their own hotel room, paying for 2 rooms is completely out of our budget. We try and reserve two queen beds and then we bring an air mattress. Kind of sucks. Come on hotel industry… this is fixable. Do it. Say YES to big families!
Restaurants. Most restaurants have the deuce (2 seat table) or the 4-top. If you have an extra kid, they will be happy to pull over an extra chair, but that means that someone always has to get the lone end seat. It’s usually Dad because nobody wants to sit at the end of the table. Never mind that the table is actually made for 4 people and there is never enough room for 5 plates, glasses, utencils, bread basket, and salt & pepper shakers. More restaurants should have kids eat free. Just saying.
And don’t get me started on those giveaways or contests where you can actually win a trip. I don’t even enter those anymore. The trip is ALWAYS for a family of 4. I feel discriminated against. What am I supposed to do with the 3rd kid? Leave her at home?
There is no good way around this. When they are all young and in the same elementary school, you have to make some serious decisions. Do you volunteer in all 3 (or 4 or 5) classrooms, or do you just do one, ultimately disappointing a few kids. On Back-to-School nights and Open House, you kind of have to race around so you can hit all the classrooms in the one hour allotted time frame. You never have enough time to talk to any one teacher, so you just kind of pile up the handouts and art projects and hope you can figure out whose is whose when you get home. Or you toss it all before you even enter the house. You can’t possibly hold on to all that paper. Fire hazard, you know.
As they get older, you might find yourself with kids in multiple schools. Mine are in elementary, junior high, and high school. Of course, nobody coordinates with each other and you will most likely find yourself having to choose between Open House at one school and a Banquet at another. Cloning would be a really great idea.
For some reason, the schools all start and end around the same time. Luckily, my high schooler is close enough to walk to school. The other two both start around 7:45 so one of them ends up getting to school too early. Staggered start and end times… what a concept! How about syncing the minimum days/vacation weeks/last day of school?
Take a deep breath and be happy if your kids want to do nothing but hang around the house all the time. When they all want to do activities after school and on weekends, good luck with trying to fit in anything remotely geared toward you and your interests. Try figuring out how to get Child A to soccer at the same time Child B has to be at tennis at the same time Child C needs to be picked up from study group.
When the kids were small, I was forever in debt to hand-me-downs from friends and family. We went through so many clothes (kids grow up fast, ya know!) and I couldn’t possibly keep up with the laundry. Try figuring out which pair of underwear goes with which kid… especially when they kind of all fit the same size. Now that they are older there are no hand-me-downs… and they wouldn’t dare wear each other’s. Have you ever tried shopping with 3 daughters? Don’t. Just don’t.
Someone is always hungry at every given moment. Trying to keep food in the house for all those kids is a full-time job. One likes apples while the other will only eat grapes. They all like bananas, but one will only eat them cut up with milk. Which one doesn’t like mushrooms? Oh right… that’s me. The oldest doesn’t like her sandwiches smashed up in her lunch box, but the middle one doesn’t care. Are they too old for a juice box? There is something to be said for Lunchables.
I have trouble enough with 3 kids and I have friends with 4, 5 and 6 children. I don’t get it… it seems less businesses are family friends these days. Having a large family shouldn’t be such a challenge.
Those of you with large families, what have been your biggest challenges?