What number of children makes a family large anyway?

Even though my blog is called “Larger Family Life”, and I claim to blog about living life the larger family way, I really am not sure whether I have a large family or not. I mean, how many children must you have before you are classed as a large family?

I suppose one indicator is thinking back to when people chose to become more vocal with their comments and opinions. I’ve been trying to pinpoint when the comments started. Perhaps when we had Harry who is the fourth child, I think it may have been.

When you are parents of a single child you may find yourself often asked if you’ll be having any more, along with “only child” comments. Two children seems to be society’s accepted number of children, moreso if you have one of each as you are then considered to have the perfect family set-up. Three children is where you’re starting to step over the line. I mean, why a third when you already had the “perfect” two? Surely this has got to be it, right? So if you do get to four, well, that has got to be it.

It just does.


Anyway, I digress. Like I said, the comments, I believe, became more noticable after number four. But when Eddie was born we seemed to have stepped into new territory, where the remarks would begin to come through thick and fast. And when we found out we were expecting number six, when Eddie had only just turned four months old, we were officially labelled insane.

I’m not going to go into the comments side of things too much in this post. I’ll be saving that for you for another time so you have something to look forward to, you lucky, lucky people ;-). My reason for this post is to say that personally to me, seven (or eight) doesn’t seem particularly large. I know of several families much larger than my own. I feel like a bit of a fraud when I write out my posts on this blog, which claims that I’m blogging about living life the larger family way because, quite frankly, it doesn’t feel like I do. The Duggar’s with their eighteen children are a large family but us, we’ll we’re tiny in comparison.

Even with the whole family in one room it doesn’t feel like we’re all there. It feels like someone isn’t there. Always. And not just to me, but on different occasions and at different times one of us will comment on how “It feels like somebody’s missing!”.

Yes, we’ll count heads. Then we’ll count again. And go through the names. But it feels like there are fewer people present than there are meant to be. To us, a real large family isn’t us. It’s more than we have in our family. We don’t feel particularly large, but we are to others because that’s the reaction we get from people. The comments, the looks, the people trying to discreetly count how many of us there are as we walk or drive by all indicate that we’re a little… unusual, for want of a better word.

I’m sure that when I had two children, or even three for that matter, I would have thought that any more would have definitely been classed as a bigger sized family. I knew someone who had five children and saw the “How many?!” reactions she would get, and even that I had given myself when I found out. That was certainly a big family in my eyes and something I couldn’t imagine myself being a part of. Until I got there. And then it didn’t seem such a big deal. It didn’t seem any kind of a deal actually. It was just my family.

What is the magic number then? How many children would a family have to be considered a large family? What do you think?

This has also been posted at the Lots of Kids: 4 or More Blog.

13 thoughts on “What number of children makes a family large anyway?

  1. Over here in France, there’s an “official” number – as there is a special reduction card (the carte famille nombreuses) – it’s only THREE!!!
    So, three becomes a large family, but I think to me, it was four that really cinched it!
    No-one missing in our household – four is just right, so I know that my family is complete – quite a nice feeling in fact!
    Each family is what feels right to you – I find it funny though that I saw a news article saying how one-child families were becoming the norm but I seem to know more and more who have 3, 4, 5 or more – I think 9 is the biggest I know, and that had specific reasons (yes, the triplets have just been born!)
    Stuff what people think – be happy!

  2. My husband comes from a large family (8 children) and I’m an only child. For me, when the kids outnumber my hands (or the number of parents) then it’s large! We have two now and I’d like at least two more. We’ll see after that!

  3. Five, that’s two more than I grew up in, and one more than my mother grew up in except that apparently her father went places and brought back spare kids (usually ones which didn’t speak much English and looked harrowed – this was the early 40s) making their family up to eight kids at a time (the spare kids occasionally left as well, rather more able to speak English and hopefully less harrowed). I guess four could be considered large given there are only three seats in the back of a standard car, but then you can usually only get two booster seats in and a lot of “family” tickets are for two adults and two children, so maybe three is considered large by manufacturers and retailers.

  4. I sometimes feel like i have a big family… and we only have 3 right now… #4 is due in July. A lot of my friends only have 2 and i feel like when we are out or in a store people look at me funny, 3 kids and pregnant. I try not to let it get to me but some days it does. It probably doesn’t help that i am young… but who cares. I think i’ll know when we are done… and as of right now we aren’t. I do have a friend who has 7 kids and love them to pieces! Also there are a good amount of families in our church who have 5,6,7,8 and 9 kids. I think it is all on how you look at it.

  5. Hi there I just discovered your blog! I am so with you on this!!! So many people look at us like we are certifiable and yet when we are sitting at the dinner table my husband and I look at each other and say: Is this all, this doesn’t feel like a lot of kids to us!

  6. I think its about what the parents can handle.

    For me, I cannot handle more than two.

    You are an amazing woman! =)

  7. Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest"

    I have 3 children…you made a lot of valid points…but in the end labels are just that labels…this is societies doings and it is a darn shame that parents that have any number of children are 'grouped' per say…

    My thoughts embrace your family be proud hold your head up high and bask in the glory of knowing you will one day have bunches more love through what we call grandchildren-

  8. Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

    My mom was one of 6 kids, so bigger families don't seem that odd to me. I think once you start getting into the double digits you're in a pretty large family. I don't think it really matters though, whatever number makes you feel like your family is complete!

  9. I think it's four around here.

    Three kids is not at all uncommon for military families, (the system tends to encourage the creation of that traditional breadwinner/housewife coupling that makes childbearing fundamentally possible for average people.)

    But when we announced we were expecting a fourth, people seemed to regard it as strange sort of a political statement. :p

    Which is doubly weird, because we're probably more "liberal" than a lot of folks we hang out with.

  10. I have eight. I think we are just on the verge of large. I would say anything five and under is small. Six, seven, or eight, is probably more like Medium. Nine to 12, getting large, but over a dozen, now that's my idea of large! LOL So, I'll give the Duggars a large family, but not many others. LOL I crack up that people think four is large. I crew up in a family of four and NEVER did anyone say we were a large family. We were spread out over 15 years!

    What's funny, though, is that I'll see a picture of a family and think, "Wow, now there's a big family," and then count and find they only have eight like me. Then I kinda understand why others see us as a large family! LOL

  11. We have two girls 17 months apart and are expecting our first boy in just a couple of months (19 months after our 2nd). People assume that now that we are having a boy we'll be done. They don't understand that we aren't trying for a specific gender or a certain number. We don't try at all. The Lord blesses us in His timing and we'll have all the children He chooses to send our way.

  12. I agree with all comments. Who really cares what others think anyway! Last time I checked, we weren’t in the business of trying to live our lives according to what other people approve of. I have 5 right now and my children can’t stop watching “The Sound of Music”. They love being around and seeing other children, and I love watching them do it. I especially try to love it now, since EVERYONE in my family tells me they’ll be gone before I know it.

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