The Beauty of a W I D E Family

by | Sep 15, 2015 | Babies, Parenting | 52 comments

I’ve been sold for some time on the benefits of a big family: many hands
with which to share the work, plenty of folks for games and

But, really, the benefits I
appreciate most in my big family, are actually because it’s also a wide

Having a baby when your eldest is one and a half or two is what you’re “supposed” to do. It’s also, um, super-duper

Having a baby when your eldest is seven, or ten, or . . . a teenager,
well, folks are going to look at you funny. But that’s just because
they don’t know how awesome it is.

Having done both, I’m here to tell you that the former is good, but the latter is even better. It is awesome. For me. For the little kids. For the big
kids. It’s awesome all around . . .

1. Having a wide family is lovely for moms.

My older kids are able to be actually, no kidding helpful. Not the kind of “helping” that gets a third of the batter slopped over the side of the bowl by adorable enthusiastic little mixers. Not the kind of “helping” that actually kinda makes every task take twice as long and then have to get quietly redone by me once they lose interest.

No. No. No.

Being the mother of a wide family means I now get the kind of help that lets me stay in my glider nursing while dinner gets made by someone else.

Having older kids AND babies and toddlers means we can divide and conquer. At nap time, I get the baby, and the big kids can take care of story time for toddlers.

‘Tweens and teens in the house means there’s someone to watch the baby for me so I can bathe regularly. It means I can run errands without loading all the kids in the car. It means the husband and I can have a date night without hiring a babysitter.

Older kids mean I’m not overwhelmed and isolated like I was with my first couple of babies. Of course, I have more experience as a mother now, so that helps. But mostly, it’s because of my older kids. We work together to keep the house running and the little ones looked after. We have each other for company.

So much of mothering with my first babies was just survival. I didn’t have the luxury of being able to enjoy their babyhood. But, now, with a wide family, I really can. I have NEVER enjoyed my babies like I have these last two. I get to stare into their little eyes and sniff their little heads like I never have had the time to do before. With my first, I was too stressed out, and with all the babies in between I was just too busy. Having older kids and a baby means I have the experience AND the opportunity to relax and appreciate babies being babies.

2. Having a wide family is fun for little kids.

My little kids get blown off WAY less than my big kids did when they were little.

I make a point of doing stuff with them and for them, really I do. But there’s only one of me. And I have a lot of obligations around the house and a limited tolerance for multiple readings of The Poky Little Puppy.

My big kids are willing and able to do all the things I can’t, like get a cup of water for the toddler when I’m nursing a baby. Or won’t, like figure out how to get the last piece of the train track to connect.

My little kids get love and attention from their mom and dad, but they also get nearly the same level of devotion from their oldest siblings. There are more people to admire their scribbles, and laugh at their not-quite-jokes, and pick them up if they skin a knee.

3. Having a wide family is good for big kids.

A little hero worship is a wonderful thing. And that’s what my big kids get — hero worshiped. Their much younger brothers and sisters look up to them in a unique and beautiful way.

Sure, they can occasionally be . . . pesky. But, mostly, my kids’ frustrations with their siblings happen with kids within three or four years of one another. Beyond that, they just don’t have that same rivalry. They’re not in competition for the same toys, or for the same type of attention.

My thirteen year old son makes obstacle courses in the yard for his three year old brother. He swipes his dad’s iPhone to record backyard dinner parties with his one and a half year old sister (no sticks).
Folks talk about what a blessing it is to be a grandparent. How you get all the fun and adoration of kids, but when it all gets to be too much, you can hand them back to their parents. My big kids have the same thing going.

My eleven year old daughter and her little group of girlfriends like to spend parties toting around their various baby brothers and sisters, grudgingly returning them to their mothers only as a last resort. They bounce them and pat them and show them off and shift their positions when they get fussy, just like old pros.

A friend told me that she heard a Kimberly Hahn talk in which she
posited that many teen pregnancies might be avoided if more teen-aged
girls had baby sisters to dote upon.

Tween and teen girls with babies at home get to experience just the right amount of that joy of caring for a baby, but also get a realistic picture of how much responsibility is required.

Betty was there for the births of both of her youngest sisters. She and Jack can change diapers and kiss boo boos. They can negotiate with hostile toddlers for the release of objects held hostage. If necessary, they can speak in that low, firm voice that lets toddlers know you mean it when you send them to sit in the corner.

Empathy, authority, compromise. These are life-skills many kids their age haven’t had the opportunity to learn.

For my bold, demanding son, having much younger siblings has helped him grown in gentleness and compassion. For my quiet, nurturing daughter, having much younger siblings has helped her grow in confidence and responsibility.

And none of this is limited to families that are both big and wide. The husband grew up as one of three, six years older than his sister and ten years older than his brother. His almost paternal relationship with them as a teenager helped prepare him to be the awesome father he is to our kids. And, as they all became adults, they grew into a relationship of equals.

I just have one sister, who is three
years younger than I am. So I never got to experience that, myself.  But it’s been
amazing for me, as a mother, to witness those relationships between
my biggest and littlest children. It truly is a thing of beauty.

not all mine. there are a couple cousins in there.

You might also enjoy . . .

Are Older Siblings Overburdened by Responsibilities? Or Are They Empowered by Them?

To Moms of Only Little Kids: psst, the magic number is ten

Before I Had a Seven Year Old



  1. Rosamutabilis

    I couldn't agree with you more. The sweetness of the experience (for me and for the siblings) blew me away. My youngest came 10 years after the bunch of them and what a blessing! It kept our family close. Just as the big ones might have ventured into the teen realm of peers and away from their family here was this adorable baby who they were so good at helping. The toys, dress-ups etc were never stored away but continued to be used. As you say it developed responsibility in some and tenderness in others. It triggered their creativity and they made up wonderful games, brokered ingenious conflict resolutions and were basically all-round live-in heroes. Such a joy for me! Time and space to enjoy everyone. (A wonderful outcome after comments such as " you're brave" and "was it a mistake?") Little do they know…

  2. Theresa

    Kendra, I loved this! I wrote something a couple years ago about how having our fourth helped us see a wonderful side of our oldest (another demanding, domineering choleric πŸ™‚ ) that we might not have seen if he didn't have a baby to love and cuddle and care for. He's been the same way with our fifth. It seriously has been one of the biggest blessings of having babies to see how they bring out the softer side we never knew existed in my oldest. It baffles my mind to think that we might have missed it if he had never had (significantly) younger siblings to dote on πŸ™‚ I'm so grateful that we've been able to give the gift of siblings to our children, and appreciate the gift that older kids are to me (my boys are already helpful, and are on the cusp of being the kind of helpful that makes complete dinners and changed diapers, but we're not… quite… there… yet……….. But they can make breakfast, lunch, and super heavy jumbo size boxes of diapers, so I'm not complaining!!)
    Again, lovely post! I hope I get to meet you and your family some day πŸ™‚

    • Theresa

      sooo… I see that my comment got posted twice. (I'm really that cocky πŸ˜‰ )
      I tried to delete one, not sure if it worked. Sorry.

  3. Christine

    I was just talking with a couple, who are debating whether to try for a third child with their youngest of two just starting kindergarten, about how marvelous it is to have babies when there are older siblings in the house. It is a completely different experience than when the first babies were being born.

  4. mel

    agreed! my oldest is 19 and my youngest is 3. They are sooo close, those two. Of course, there is the humbling experience when we are all out in public and someone thinks my oldest is the baby's mother, which of course means they think I am…sigh…the grandma….

  5. Amelia Bentrup

    I couldn't agree with this more. In Catholic circles, I don't have a big family (just 4 kids) but we do have a wide family. There are 10.5 years between my oldest and my youngest. Having big kids with a little kid is awesome. It's so much easier and the both the big kids and little kids benefit so much. The relationship is different different than between siblings closer in age…there is less competition and more cooperation.

    I definitely do think that a lack of general babies in teenage girls life is a small contributer to teenage pregnancy. Some people (and girls especially) seem to have a compelling need to care for someone or something else. Before I got married and had kids, I met that need with pets…and while I still like having a pet, I don't have the compelling need to have one, now that I have kids.

  6. Michaela Visovatti

    As the third child, and oldest daughter, of a family of eight siblings that spans 18 years, I could not agree with you more. Getting to care for and learn about babies as a child and teenager was definitely one of the greatest blessings my parents could have ever given to me, and gave me a real love for life and appreciation for the littlest among us. I also like to think I was pretty helpful to my parents, especially when I got very interested in cooking and baking around age 12, and even now as I continue to tutor my high-school age siblings with their calculus homework.

    As I prepare for the arrival of my first child in January, I can't help but feel so thankful that this will not be the first diaper I've ever changed, and pray that I might be blessed with a wide family as well!

  7. Amanda

    This makes me want more kids even more πŸ™‚

  8. Ally

    This is so great.

    My siblings and I are all fairly close in age- my youngest sister is 6 years younger than I am- but I was surrounded by little ones for a lot of my life. And my husband, the baby for 10 years, got a baby brother (and learned all of his baby-entertaining skills with him, I'm sure).

    I get to meet 70 young adults every summer, and it's becoming clear that we'll have to teach them things we didn't have to years ago– like how to rock a baby to sleep, how to change diapers- because they don't have siblings, have very-close-in-age siblings, or they weren't exposed to children at all. Sad, really.

  9. Shari Loback

    This is so timely for me. I just had my 5th baby three weeks ago. My first four were all within 5 years of each other. I couldn't enjoy them, just as you described…it was just about surviving. Now everyone is old enough to help out, as my now 2nd youngest is 7. It's different. I'm older and can appreciate how fast it will go so I will cherish it more. And my older children will learn how to nurture and protect. Thank you, I really enjoy your posts.

  10. Elizabeth Chapman

    Thanks for this post! Sam and Nora are almost four years apart and I have LOVED it so far. However, because I think of that as a wide gap, I often limit myself to thinking we can't keep doing that big of a gap or can only have so many kids because I don't want the oldest and youngest to be too far apart. This was GREAT perspective and encouragement to that end. πŸ™‚ ALSO, and I hope this isn't weird to say, but I'd love to hear some perspective on being an "older" mom – in pregnancy and beyond. Thanks, as always, for a great post! Love to see how great your family is doing! (

    • Kendra

      Thanks a good idea E. I feel like pregnancies have been tougher but births and mothering have gotten easier. But I'll have to file that away in the posts to do list.

    • Cassie Williams

      I have only have one sibling who is 5.5 years younger than me. Our relationship was never great and I always thought it was because of our age difference. The last few years I've been thinking about our relationship (and seeing that perhaps age difference theory was wrong) and then today after reading this post I've determined it was not our age difference but how we were raised. It was mostly our mom's fault. ; ) Good parenting is key to success in sibling relationships not closeness in age like I always thought!

    • Elizabeth C

      At the wonderful age of 43 I had our 5th child. The pregnancy was one of my easiest and the birth was so quick we almost had a fwy birth. But, as Kendra wrote…having a w i d e family has made mothering this one the easier for sure.

    • Joanne

      Our six children are spread out over 21 years! Our oldest was about to be a senior in college when his sister was born. It isn't always easy, but it's been wonderful seeing how the children r relate to each other. Bonus…our grandson is 19 months younger than his aunt and they are so cute playing together.

      I was 45 when I had my last. I thought having a child at 40 was a piece of cake but I admit that I've definitely felt my age more with at 45. But, having children later in life really does keep you younger!

  11. Carrie Archual

    Thank you so much for this post. I am that young mama, in full-on survival mode every. day. So far we have a 3 yr old girl and a 5 month old girl, and I want so much to enjoy every moment…but I am dang tired and worn the heck out…from being the sole playmate to the 3yo and the sole caretaker to the 5mo (while husband is at work). Help me, help me, help me get some perspective. I always hear things like, 'when you have more it's easier, when some are older it's easier, etc' which is all great, but I am tired of feeling like I'm scraping up bits of myself off the floor on a daily basis to offer the two sweet girls I DO have right now….What did you do in THIS stage? Thanks for all your writing; I recently discovered you and it's been such a gift!

    • Grete

      You are in the trenches! I've been there, too. We have six kids under 10, so at one time, not that many years ago, we had 3 kids under age 4, 4 under 6, etc. As for perspective right now…keep on doing what your doing. Help your 3 year old develop good behavior habits. (Kendra has some great tips on that). Take care of your baby just how you are now. BUT, in some way you have to find something that fills you up emotionally and spiritually. Are there hobbies you could do during their naptimes? Are there groups you can be involved in with/without kids?
      What about date night with your hubby? When we just had littles who went to bed earlier we had some great date nights in our own living room- movie, bottle of wine. We still do that, but it just ends up being a later night since our kids stay up a bit later now.
      Hang in there, Carrie.

    • Carrie Archual

      Thank you so much for the words and ideas…definitely trying to work on all of this, but it seems that there's so much that 'needs' to be done that there's sooo little time for things that fill me up. Just trying to hang in there and enjoy it as much as I can rather than grit my teeth and wait until this 'season' is over. Thank you for the encouragement =)

    • Kendra

      Yes to everything Grete said. The only thing I'd add, is that I know I felt embarrassed asking for and needing help or a break when I "just" had two kids. But that's the time to do it. Two and three little kids is hardest on mom, so if you have family who could help, ask them now. If you have friends in the neighborhood who could do childcare swaps, do it now. If you can afford a housekeeper or a mother's helper, get her now. Cash in all your favors now. You won't need them as much later, even if you end up with more kids. Even if you end up with WAY more kids.

  12. Jenny Cook

    Thanks for this post, Kendra. I'm the oldest of four kids. The first three of us were roughly 2 years apart, and then we had our caboose sibling who was born when we were 12, 10, and 8! My mother has been heard to say many a time that it was the best! My brothers and I were absolutely goo-goo-ga-ga for our baby sister, and I can tell you that there was nothing cooler than being a 6th grader with a brand new baby sister in the family!
    There were some downsides: for instance, my parents never (in my memory, anyway) hired another babysitter again, because they had a 12 year old, and sometimes that was a pain…but mostly because of my brothers not being too interested in listening to their not-that-much-older big sister. And I don't have a very close relationship with my sister because she was always in a completely different stage of life, and it will probably still be a while before she "catches up" enough for us to have much in common. I feel more like her aunt or cousin than her sister.
    Overall, though, I wouldn't trade our situation (obviously, since I'm pro-life, and to trade it would be saying that my sister was some kind of nuisance).
    And your post does give me hope for our family. We're trying to take a break before trying to add more kids to our family so we can have time to get a bigger car and maybe even a bigger house (500 sq ft for 6 people might be pushing it a wee bit, although I'm sure we could make it work), and I feel a bit sad that our current plan would have our kids being 7, 5, and 4 years older than a new arrival. Then again, it might be the nicest, easiest transition ever, because the whole "3 under 3" thing was pretty rough!!!

  13. Amanda

    Love this post! With kids ages 13 down to 6 weeks we have a wide spread and it's lovely. My 13 year old adores the babies and toddler. And nothing tames a wild 4 year old heathen (ahem, I mean boy) quite like a baby sister πŸ™‚ My 7 year old adored the now-2.5 year old and the 4 year old, who is basically Frankie's evil twin, adores the newest baby. He makes up a new song to sing to her every day and shares his beloved blankie with her. And when we found out the 7 year old had been reading a chapter of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to the 4 year old every night from his top bunk bed I was pretty sure my heart would melt! Really, nothing beats siblings and I love watching the varied relationships between the close-in-age and the far-apart-in-age kids!

  14. Emily Finn

    I come from a wide family as well, and another blessing (I think) is that my sister, who is 11 years older than me, has her younger siblings to help HER with her babies! As the second youngest in the family, I have LOVED taking care of and helping her with her kids, just as she and my older brothers took care of me. She had teenaged siblings to babysit whenever she needed them. Now in my 20s, I'm currently on call to watch all of her kids when she goes to the hospital to have her newest baby any day now. When your oldest start having babies, they will probably really appreciate your youngest kids, who will get their own chance to adore and dote on little babies, and the cycle will continue!

  15. Francine

    Well that was about the cutest video ever! I loved reading this post, especially since I don't have a wide family (yet) but still a lot of (possible) child-bearing years ahead of me. I know it's hard adding to a family, but it won't always be as crazy as it is right now with all little ones!

  16. Paige

    This was a beautiful post! I am the oldest of five children. My brother is only 18 months younger than me, but then the last three are 11, 13, and 15 years younger respectively. I'm 25 now and the youngest is 9! I just got married this year and so my husband and I are starting to think about kids (actually, we just miscarried…it's been tough) and spacing, etc.

    For all of the reasons you mentioned above, I would love to have a wide family. Looking back now, I can see how good, true, and beautiful it was and is to be a part of a wide family! And I wouldn't trade the relationships I have with my much younger siblings for anything in the world. On the other hand, I also remember hating when my mom would refer to me as "the built-in babysitter," feeling, at the time, that that was the only value I brought to the family (oh, so much angst) and that my presence wasn't otherwise enjoyed/valued/whatever. Eventually, I asked her to stop referring to me like that which she did πŸ™‚ It's just a small thing I want to bear in mind with my own kids one day – that older kids are not just helpers, but, like you said, also people with whom to enjoy spending time and having conversations with!

    • Jessi Ann

      This is a really good point to keep in mind– I had cousins who were (understandably) really bitter about being the "built-in babysitter"
      (and God bless you, I will pray for your family)

    • Kendra

      Thanks Paige, this is really good to keep in mind.

      And I'm so sorry for your loss.

  17. Jessi Ann

    I loved this. Thank you so much for sharing. I loved being so close in age to my two brothers and have always thought how great it was (albeit not without trials) that we grew up so close, because now we are very close friends. I always thought I wanted our children to have the same luxury. My husband and I are infertile, and we have just finally been able to adopt our first. We really would love to give our daughter siblings, but financially and realistically I have come to realize that unless it is really in God's will, they will not be close in age. Your perspective really is quite nice to read.

  18. Schafergal (Ashley)

    Oh Kendra – I loved this post so much!! I think about these kind of things a lot, as I wonder what's in store for our family. After all our fertility struggles, adopting twice (over 4 years apart) then our surprise pregnancy giving us babies 9 months apart, we've been all over the place with kid spacing! I've been surprised by how much I'm currently enjoying this stage, with two 1 year olds (23 months and 14 months) and I truly think it's because my oldest is 6 and is such an awesome helper! So the thought of more babies as our current kids get older? Sounds like perfection! It makes me very excited to see what God has in the plans for us.

  19. Nanacamille

    When I ask 13 yr old Jack to translate Lulu's nap time song request of "Wabba wabba woo" and he knows that it means "The 5 Little Ducks" song you know that he has been putting her down for a nap any times before. How nice!

    • Amanda

      Haha, love this! My brother is 8 years younger than me and when he was 2 and a late talker I was his constant translator to others. I always knew what he was saying even when my parents were perplexed πŸ™‚

  20. Unknown

    Thank you! Needed this this today — I got some odd looks as a very pregnant mom at middle school back-to-school night!

  21. Britt Fisk

    This is so beautiful, Kendra!! I look forward to the days of many of your posts πŸ™‚

  22. Anonymous

    Carrie Archual – I can't seem to post a reply to your post – but just wanted to say that I hear you… we had 4 in 4 years (and 2 days…) and it was darn hard. It still is sometimes even now that our youngest (so far) is 3.5 years old. I think the best things people could do for me is actually to empathize! Really. So, I empathize with you and I know it's hard! Some stuff just is what it is… you can't change the ages of your children, and what they need (or demand or want) from you, but you can work on things like setting aside some quiet time if you can, and otherwise, please feel like asking for some help. Ask hubby to watch the kids while you take a bath, or go for a walk. Asking for and feeling that you do deserve some "you" time really is key during this time, I think. People tell me "wait til they're older… then you'll have bigger problems" yadda. But, when they're older, they'll wipe their own bums and cut up their own food and get their own drinks!!! πŸ™‚ Buckle themselves in the car! When you're doing all of that for 2 (and more!) kiddos, it IS tiring. You DO need a break. But the rest of it really just is what it is, and if you can offer things up, even the little things, for the conversion of others or for souls in purgatory… every diaper change, every book read, every game played, etc…. it gives an even higher meaning to what you do. Being with your children at these ages and stages is so wonderful for them! For you it's a nutty, nutty world! But for them, how wonderful to be with their mommy! Looking at the situation from the kids' perspective helps me a lot. But then I still do holler and throw pillows at the beds at times too!! It's not easy that is for sure. Getting help when you can is a great thing. When you can't, just get through the day loving your children and picturing how much they love and adore their mama πŸ™‚ I hear you and what Kendra said I think is true – our 7 year old is a huge help – she and my 6 year old can help my 3.5 year old get dressed, and put toothpaste on her toothbrush, and get her drinks. That is HUGE. My 5 year old boy can buckle and unbuckle her in her carseat. Another HUGE thing. But see… it took almost 8 years to get here!!! Hang on πŸ™‚

  23. Munchie Mommy

    Love this because I am seeing it in my own family. My 8 year old totally dotes on his 2 year old brother. I also have a 5 year old, and baby #4 was born 2 weeks ago. I couldn't have foreseen this back when I had just a baby and a toddler. I think the exhaustion that comes with having only little kids is one of the reasons why women decide have only 2 children. Because most people have a small family of children close in age, many of us have never really seen how different it is to have a new baby when there are bigger kids in the house. Having 4 is easier than having 2 was.

  24. Anonymous

    My family is small (only three kids) and wide, and I very much agree with the point about teen girls. My oldest is 17, and my youngest is 5. Oldest was able to play and dote and love, but she also got a very up close lesson in just how much work babies are. My middle didn't do do quite the same amounting of doting, but she seems to have gotten a similar lesson in waiting for babies (I hope).

  25. The Southern Peach-Girls

    Ah, a lovely post! We have a wide family as well. We have 4 girls in a row, ages 18, 16, 13, 11, then three boys, ages 9, 7, 4, and the baby girl who is 19 months. Definitely a wonderful time! Though I do like to make jokes that there are no books out there that talk about the dynamics of such a wide family πŸ™‚ Getting the 16yo to drama class, when the baby didn't take a nap, but the 13 and 11 yo are at a friends house….hmmmm. Ha, ha! When I had only 5 kiddos, and the olders were staying with someone, it was sooo much work taking care of the younger two. OH, my…how did I actually live like this every day? But now, even if I take the younger two out, the 4 yo knows he is a big helper and it isn't the same amount of work as my first two were (though I am not doing it everyday with only two littles either!). Needless to say I am loving, loving having a large wide family. It was great seeing someone I know, my age, expecting their 8th. I was able to be *happy* for her and NOT looking at her with surprise that she was dropping her highschool daughter off at drama class.

    I would love to have more children, but not sure if my body will cooperate. It saddens me to think that our little girl will be our last. I knew that this day would come…but, oh, how hard it is.

    And to the mamas with just littles, I would stress, stress, stress….please get some help. Even if from a mommy's helper who is a preteen. They can at least play with the kids while you get some rest, or do something for yourself, or get some needed things done. I did not have that, and really wish I could have made that work! But, I know what my life calling will be after the children grow up….to be THERE for my children when they have their children!


  26. Miss Jill and Mister John

    Love it… I don't think a wide family is God's plan for me πŸ™ Right now I am just hoping to be able to adopt a fourth child πŸ™‚
    My question– what do you say to the critic who says it's not fair to the older children? I have lots of friends both Catholic and non-Catholic adoptive families that have six and more children. My friends w/two always remark "it's just not fair to the older kids".

    • Hannah

      I was an older kid of a wide family (3rd of 9, I was 14 when my youngest sister was born), and I did a lot of helping out. Starting at 10 I was responsible for changing number 7's diapers, helping in middle of the night etc, especially as my mom was pregnant with number 8.
      It was literally the best thing that happned to me. Yes I whined, as I had to take a break from the playground to change a toddler's poopy diaper,etc, but he taught me what love was. And to this day, all my other siblings remember how I was kinda insufferable ("if you wont' play my way, I'm not playing at all") before I was 10. "Micah changed you" they say, and it was true. I'll never forget the moment he put his little arm around my neck when I held him. Or at 2 yrs old, how he fed me blueberries, beaming at me with so much gratefulness after I changed his diaper. I remember crying, as a 12 yr old, being so moved by it.
      Micah taught me that love doesn't always feel good, that life takes hard work and self sacrifice, but its so worth it.
      Then when I hit my moody teenage years, he cheered me up more than any patient parents listening, or friends, etc could. He would see me crying, and just sit in my lap, and hold my nose with his little hand (it was his thing, as a baby).
      I went through some pretty rough years emotionally as a teen (13-16) depression and all, and it was the little toddler kids that cheered me up the most. Parents and friends listening to your torrents of angst, and trying to reassure you are going to be ok, can be blown off or argued with. But its hard to resist a little person plopping down in your lap, demanding snacks, and giving you hugs.
      I think they worked better than meds for depression πŸ™‚ I can't imagine how I would have handled depression and all in my teen years without them, always pulling me back to reality and their little needs and their little joys etc.

      To this day, I don't regret any of the time and work I had to put in to help out. My little sibs taught me the most important lessons from my childhood. They also made it so much richer.

    • Hannah

      btw I just looked at your blog, and your kids are incredibly cute πŸ™‚

  27. Elizabeth

    This is very heartening for me since we've struggled to conceive and have what will be a pretty big gap between kids if we're blessed to have more. It's a blessing, too, to know wide families that include my kids in their home and coming to ours from time to time to give them and me a taste of that team work and companionship of getting kids of a wide age-range together.

  28. Unknown

    Yup, yup, yup. Our ten kids are spread over 20 years and I see soo many benefits. In many ways my life is easier now with ten under 22 than when I had three under 4. Well actually having teen and adult children is a whole new ball game, and actually it is harder in other ways but I get what you are saying.

    • Erin

      Apologies Kendra, that was me, not sure why blogger wouldn't let me comment as such

  29. Unknown

    8 kids. The oldest is 31 and the youngest is 10. Now there are 4 grandkids in the mix too. It just keeps getting better! (And busier!).


  30. Kris

    Love this! We have 5 kids – ages 26 down to 10. I'm the oldest of 5, with my youngest brother being 10 years younger than me. I'm close to my sisters, but I vividly remember caring for my brother when he was a baby and toddler and loving it. We are close to this day. And I completely agree about the difference in having babies when you have older kids. I definitely enjoyed the "babyhood" of my two youngest much more.

  31. Lindsay

    My family has the exact same spacing as your husband's! I'm the oldest, my sister is 6 years younger, and my brother is 10 years younger than I am. I am like an odd third parent to my brother. He mentioned just a few years ago that, since you usually can't remember much before you reach about school age (7-ish), he doesn't remember me as a child. To him, I've always been a grown-up.

  32. Elizabeth

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I'm the youngest of four, and my oldest brother is ten years older than me. And boy did he and my sister at eight years older dote on me! Even at a young age I knew I was loved by my big brothers and sisters. A big, wide family is a gift.

  33. Lauren @ Here We Geaux

    This is beautiful! I'm starting a little later than traditional for "wide" families (though normal for this generation), but it sure would be great if we got there with our family! Another benefit I could imagine from wide families – your oldest MAY have a family of their own before the youngest are all grown up. Aka: Babies forever!!!

  34. justin wade

    The ancient art of henna painting originated from India, and is largely used in traditional and cultural events and festivals in countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sudan, the Middle East and even some of the Western nations as well. Created as a ceremonial art that is performed through henna painting, the art of henna design is also known as mehendi, mehandi, al-henna, henna and a variety of other names all across the globe.

  35. Chris

    Wow! An amazing set of comments but really seems very one-sided. Anyone have any negative experiences, especially as an older sibling providing the vast and never-ending need for assistance with the younger ones? As the oldest, and female, in a family of eight kids (born over 15 years) and Catholic, yes, I was expected to do a remarkable amount of babysitting, diaper changing, cleaning, laundry, cooking, other chores, etc. etc. etc. at the cost of experiencing my own childhood. All this started at age seven when I was assigned bathroom cleaning duties and escalated from there. Could not participate in after school activities, had to come home and start chores. By the time I left for college I felt that I had had three or four kids myself and so have had no desire for my own children. Much more interested in starting my own, unencumbered life and enjoying it! Fortunately I’ve done just that.

    My request is that, if parents choose to have many children, make certain you have the means to hire help to prevent turning your own older children into indentured servants (so you can “remain on the glider nursing while someone else – an older kid – makes dinner”) Alternatively, know that the children you produce are yours, and yours alone, to care for and make arrangements to have the number you can, indeed, care for yourselves. Let all your children enjoy their childhoods.


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Hi! I’m Kendra.

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