Challenges Faced by Families of Six

Challenges that come with having a family of six | Penelope & Bella

My husband has an enlarged photograph of our family on the wall, behind his desk in his practice.  It seems to bring him a certain amount of entertainment on a daily basis, watching the facial expressions of his patients while they are gazing at the photo.  Some say nothing, but others can’t help but blurt out, “Four children!” I’m assuming these are the parents with unruly kids… Hehe!  But seriously, for those who ever wondered, I thought I’d outline the challenges that come with having a family of six.

The grocery bill is astronomical!

Actually, wait, all the bills are astronomical, so let’s just assume that everyone has accepted that point into the record.  Have you ever noticed that most meats at the supermarket are packed in fours?  A pack of four chicken breasts is not enough to feed my family, I normally buy two packs with all good intention of freezing the extra two pieces but this never happens.  I have two teenage boys who are more than willing and able to help me dispose of any leftovers.  One pack of bacon also doesn’t do it for breakfast.  Oh no, my scavengers want two pieces of bacon each, and cutting pieces of bacon in half is just plain wrong.

We don’t fit into a three bedroom house.

I believe that each child needs his / her own space, especially in a large family.  I believe they need a place to call their own, a sanctuary of sorts.  Big families can get quite crazy you know!  It’s sometimes essential to just take a bit of time-out to breathe, and us moms aren’t the only ones who need space from time to time.  Two years ago, shortly after we became one big family, we found the perfect house for our needs, a grand old lady with five bedrooms.  I’ve since discovered that she’ll never have enough bathrooms, though!

The family car needs to seat 6 people with seatbelts.

Now, if you hadn’t noticed, there aren’t many options out there as far as large family cars go.  And one also has to bear in mind that having a big family car also means you’ll inevitably be carting extra kiddos around – it’s like everyone wants to hitch a ride in the ‘people-mover’!  Although, a car full of kids does make my heart happy.  We eventually found the perfect family car, our Bella Bus has transported us all over the country in style!

Sleep-overs are challenging.

When the children have friends sleeping over, the grand old lady is bursting at her seams.  Four kids plus four friends is eight children, guys!  Normally we sort of “allocate” weekends to our children, which seems to leave the least amount of emotional scarring for us parents.  That being said, I really do love a house full of happy kids.

We have more than one Casper!

Have you met Casper yet?  A sneaky little bugger, that one, he’s well-known for leaving the milk out of the fridge, messing cool drink on the lounge carpet, eating the last cookie or using the last toilet roll without adding it to the grocery list, amongst other crimes.  He never owns up to anything and leaves a trail of destruction behind him.  I can never catch him because he’s always in two places at the same time.  I’m sure each child comes with their own Casper… which essentially means I have four Caspers.

Sports matches always happen at the same time.

We’re blessed (or cursed, whichever way you look at it) with active children, so weekends are manic for us, driving between schools for sport, first-aid duty, dancing or music.  Since the art of cloning humans hasn’t been perfected yet, I can’t be at every event.  Hubby is also on call some weekends, which might mean that one child has none of us supporting him / her.  I missed my youngest child’s first ballet solo four years ago because I was out of the country for work commitments, that probably upset me more than it did her.  I guess that’s life, I just hope they all realise that we wish we could be there for everything.

There are six very different personalities living under one roof.

We really could not be a more diverse bunch of people.  The children all bring their own personality traits into the home, and no two are remotely alike.  This presents its own challenges in various areas of parenting, like discipline, motivation, and general communication.  Just when I think I have parenting down to a fine art, I’m harshly reminded that what works for one child does not necessarily work for the others.

Me-time is rare.

A happy mom equals happy kids, they say.  I know I really should take more time for myself, sometimes we as moms take on so much, and at the expense of no one else other than our own.  At this point in my life I don’t enjoy too much downtime, but at least I’m having fun while I’m up!  The sad thing is, one day I’ll open my eyes and they will all have moved out…

OK, I realise you could be thinking that it appears as if I live in a zoo, and there I would have to correct you.  It’s a circus.  But it’s MY circus… and these are MY monkeys 🙂




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