Everyone always says having a lot of kids is expensive. But yet every time I think of a big family I think of “Cheaper by the Dozen”. In the title it says “cheaper”, so then having a big family should be cheaper, buying things in bulk and so on. There is one family I babysit by, that is up to baby #12. I can’t wait for this baby to come, the family had been away in the summer, and just came back this past week. It was then that I noticed baby #12 is on its way.
This family is my favorite family in the whole entire world. From the day I met the kids when I was 8 or 9, I have felt a connection towards them. I used to play with the kids all the time when I was younger. I had “raised” 5 of them. Holding them when they were babies, changing their diapers, feeding them, playing with them, and everything. I love these kids so much. The oldest is 16, 9 girls and 2 boys. Each kid has 2 names or more, its amazing how they don’t run out of names.
What’s really amazing is, the kids are all so well behaved. When the kids would play outside, not one of them would go into the street. The parents would rest on Shabbos, and not one of them would wake them up, they all knew to be quiet. The kids received all the attention they needed. The mother would sit with each kid and go over parsha sheets and school stuff, and talk with them, and sing with them. They each got one on one attention.
For many years they had a one floor house, and had only 3 bedrooms. Then a few years ago they redid their house and now they have 2 floors, with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms. They have a big playroom where they have closets full of games and toys. Each kid has a different chore. One of them is to clean the playroom. When I go over there and play with the kids, I always offer to clean the room after I play, or more like I start cleaning up, then the kid who’s chore it is, tells me that I don’t have to do it, that its her job. These kids don’t complain about their “jobs” they have.
Also, with many of the families that I have babysat for a long time, the kids had started getting used to me and misbehaved. These kids I’ve known for the longest time, and yet they always behave and listen to me. Although sometimes bed time can be hard, as is normal with all kids, they don’t give such a hard time.
Now the feeling of love I have for these kids are mutual, which makes it all the more rewarding. When the 1 year old would see me, he would start running towards me. The kids always want me to come to their house on Shabbos to play with them. Although some times I want to talk with the older kids, I end up giving in and go play with the little ones.
Now back to the expenses issue, one big expense is tuition. The reason why they may be able to afford it, is because both parents are teachers. For many years the kids got free tuition, or at least a discounted one. But even by a different family where they have to pay for the kids tuition I don’t think it should serve as a factor to stop the parents from having many kids.
I think having a large family isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great thing for those that are able to do it. It takes great parenting, if you are a great parent then no matter how many children you have, they should turn out great.
I heard a great little dvar torah recently that I found applicable to this situation. It says “Ishto Kigafno” That a wife should be like a vineyard. Now there are different types of trees. There are the really strong ones with no fruit. Then there are the fruit trees with a lesser strength of wood. Then there is the vineyard, which is the weakest type of wood. The vineyard gives all its strength to its fruits. So when it says the wife should be like a vineyard, it means a great mother is one that cares for her children and gives all her strength over to them.
Which is why if a husband comes home and sees the wife sleeping on the couch with all the kids running around wild, he should know what a great wife she is. That she has given over all her energy over to her kids, like a vineyard. So the husband gets it good, when he comes home from work, the wife has already done all the work and cared for the kids, now he gets to enjoy them.