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Old 05-27-2009, 11:54 PM   #1
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Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

Hi! We have four children ages almost 2, 4, 6, and 9. I would love to have 1 more child (okay, maybe even 2 more) and in his heart DH does too (well, just the 1 more child part--can't fathom having 6 altogether, although when we had 2 he never would have thought we'd eventually have 4!) However, while I am one who can do a pretty good job of not really caring what others think and trusting that the Lord will provide, DH is much more practical than me I guess! Though he has a strong faith as well, at the same time he thinks a lot more about how we can possibly fit more children in our 1960's 1700 sq. foot ranch home (3 bedrooms) on a city lot, how we will afford to feed them all, space in the vehicles, paying for college, etc. If money and space were no object, I would gladly have several more children if the Lord blessed us with them. As trying as it can be, I love being a mother. Our children talk frequently about how they want tons of brothers and sisters, etc. Financially I can't imagine ever moving. I find a lot of comfort in knowing that our mortgage will be paid up in 10 years just before our oldest starts college. I don't want to start over with a mortgage as much as we would enjoy being out in the country with a larger lot and a larger house rather than right in the city. However, while we do okay financially (husband's school teacher salary is sole income), things are extremely tight and projects around the house that most people would deem necessary for cosmetic reasons just don't happen around here. We are frugal in all areas of our lives though we are able to do occasional splurges and eat out, go to a waterpark hotel, go bowling, etc. We don't feel at all deprived of fun, etc. and are quite happy with our lifestyle. (Well, if I could get my house clean and organized I would be even happier, but that's a whole 'nother topic. Although, it does play into the child thing too. My husband feels like we have such a hard time keeping the house from getting messy, etc. and fears that another child will make it worse!)
Okay, another issue is that I get a lot of "vibes" from my parents, particularly from my mom too that she hopes we're done. She's joked with my husband that she thinks that he should see the doctor. I try not to let it bother me, but the thing is that they are extremely generous with us (though we don't ask for it, they willingly help us out with many of our needs and will not let us turn it down.) I am grateful for it, because honestly, things would be extremely difficult without it. I have a great relationship with my parents and they are extremely supportive of the way we're raising our kids, homeschooling, etc. They expect absolutely nothing in return, they just truly help us out of love. At the same time, sometimes it makes me feel guilty if I have more kids, like here we're adding to our financial burden by having more while already they know things are tight, and so we expect like they'll just continue to help us out. Again, she never comes out and says it directly (that we shouldn't have more), but my mom drops hints about how much more expensive things get as kids get older, etc.
I'm really rambling! So I guess to sum it all up, I'd love input from those of you with many kids who may not be blessed financially, do you just trust it will all work out in the end? In our society nowadays, we hear so often that people didn't have more kids because they couldn't afford them. I think it's sad but at the same time I'm wondering if sometimes I'm sort of ignorant with my thinking of not really caring about income and size of house. Just would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Old 05-29-2009, 06:38 PM   #2
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

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Old 05-30-2009, 12:12 AM   #3
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

Hmmm.... so now I'm starting to think that since I haven't heard otherwise, all the wonderful mamas out there with 5 and more kids really do tend to be financially blessed and have large enough houses to not have to be concerned about these things. (I'm not even sure what I mean by financially blessed because our family has definitely been blessed! I guess as a means for comparison, perhaps having an income of closer to $100,000 than $50,00.)
Curious if I'll hear from anyone who said they just trusted it would all work out the end (affording lots of kids and finding space for them) though they had trepidations and in the end everything has worked out well.
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:04 PM   #4
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

I do not have experience that it will all work out in the end. I have four children right now and would welcome any more. We are in a very similar situation. I trust God even though I haven't seen this all played out. I trust Him.
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:20 PM   #5
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

I might write more when I have time, but for now will say that we have 7 children in a 1640 square foot house (3 bedrooms). The 4 boys have a hand made set of double bunks (full on the bottom and top.) I pare down the boys' clothes so that they all fit in one closet. Maybe I'll take pics sometime and post them.
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:07 PM   #6
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

We have 8 children in a 2400sqft house. We're out of space. *But* we have a double car garage that is useless to store cars (have to make a sharp 90 degree turn to get from driveway into garage).

The current plan is to use next spring's tax return to put in a dual zoned geothermal heat pump and turn the house into 2 zones. The current system is 14 years old and significantly undersized (sized for just the main floor and not the finished part of the basement). Once we do that, we can start converting the garage into house and eventually expand our sq ft to around 3200sqft. That should fit us even accounting for the fact I just emailed in inquiry about a little girl available for adoption last night.

As for income, I can't help you there. We've been really blessed that our income has grown with our family size. But, I have a friend on here with 7 kids and a household income less that $30K living in a 890 sqft house. She says they are packed in like sardines and are pursuing an opportinity to buy a bigger house on 15 ac right now. But, they continue to trust the Lord to meet their needs just the same.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:38 PM   #7
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

We have 2300sqft as the owner before us remodeled to garage into a family and open office room they also built a new garage. Our problem with our current setup is that we have 3 bedrooms and they are pretty small. Our 5 boys will eventually be in one 12x12 room together and my dd will have her own room or we may adopt a girl or two if we can. DD's room is only about 9x10 so if it works out that we adopt 2 little girls dh and I will move to the little room and the girls can have our room. The bedrooms are all upstairs and the only thing we do in them is sleep and get dressed so nobody needs a bunch of space since there aren't toys in them.

Dh's income is under 50,000 and we are very blessed to buy our house from a foreclosure sale as we have 3 acres of land that has been wonderful for the kids to run on.

We are also working on having a big garden and canning our produce. I also buy beans, rice, oatmeal, and wheat in 50lb bags and we eat simply. No boxes and very few cans.
I shop clearance racks and thrift stores for clothes and take any hand me downs I'm offered. I use Sears KidVantage program for my boys' jeans and it is wonderful to be able to exchange their holey jeans for brand new ones!

My dh is always thinking about whether we are going to have enough money, but the Lord always provides and we have never gone without anything we needed!
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:47 PM   #8
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

Thank you so much for your replies! They were very reassuring to read. This weekend I read Love in the House by Chris and Wendy Jeub, who had 13 children at the time they wrote it. (They now have 15!) It was very inspiring and they have truly trusted God to provide, and He has done so! (I read it as we were traveling so my "captive audience" husband had to listen to me read several parts aloud to him. This was actually a blessing because he really did enjoy the parts I read to him and I think the excerpts got him thinking.)
I've read other books about large families before, such as the Duggars' book, but this one was definitely the most inspiring for me because their life circumstances are so normal, unlike the Duggars who have a commercial kitchen, three washers and dryers, a rec. room with lockers for every child, etc.
Anyways, no way we are looking at having a family THAT big (would have had to start when I was a little younger and have them much closer together), but I am feeling very trusting right now that God has a plan for us and so I really don't even need to be concerned about it!
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:57 AM   #9
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

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Originally Posted by TestifyToLove View Post
We have 8 children in a 2400sqft house. We're out of space.
Bwwwaaa hhaaaa! No you're not!

I HAVE got to measure this house for ya'all. We lived in an approximately 1300 sq. foot house before this and I KNOW we have less square footage on the lower level here. Ya'all will have me calling the County to find out the exact square footage later this AM.

Okay, well, there's never enough. Period. I know people who have their 2.1 children, who make $100+ K, and who don't feel they make enough $$. I know another family that makes approximately $30K/year, they have four children, they have paid off all their debts (NOT that they never had them, but that they paid them all off!), and only owe about $30-$40K on their house. It's new too, they built it about 5 years ago, and no, it's not LAVISH, but it certainly is comfy and they love it, on an acreage to boot.

A lot of "comfort" depends on what area you're in. You might make the big bucks on the east or west coast, but I'll GUARANTEE you won't be able to buy as much (housing, food, gas, etc.) as we can here in the Midwest. Here you can buy a NICE house in a NICE neighborhood for $125K. And a gorgeous house, newly built for less than $200K and you'd have a REAL yard, unless of course you'd like acres, and then you could do that too.

Having a large family is NOT affordable. I'll say it again if you'd like. A lot of people want to know that it is easily affordable and you'll be able to have all the toys and all the frills that a family would have if they only had one child. Well, you won't. A long time ago, when I first started on Quiverfull digest, I latched onto this saying, "Children aren't expensive, lifestyles are." I think that's an awesome saying and I think all young couples should latch onto it. Because by the time they find out it's not true, lol, then they've figured out what's really important.

Yeah, that's right. It's not true. Lifestyles are expensive. So are children. No, they really are. If you have seven children, I can almost guarantee at least 1-2 trips to the ER per year. Not to mention paying for a delivery every 18 months. It's true. While little ones don't eat much, let me tell you, by the time they start to hit pre-teen, teen years, you're left thinking, "But I DOUBLED that recipe? Where'd it all go?" No matter what your lifestyle is like, six children eat for six children, not for one. That's a fact.

Let's go onto the "but" though - C'mon, you knew there would be one.
We won't be paying for our childrens' college. Evil aren't we? But the Army paid back $64,000 in student loans of dh's and then put him through over $35K in more school and we took on another $30+K in college loans while we were in. We found a way. And our parent's didn't pay for it. Let's take our own children for example. When they're little you have visions of doctors and lawyers dancing in their heads. But as you have a half dozen, you'll see, hopefully, that they are VERY uniquely gifted. As a rule, U.S. couples have 1-2 children that they just KNOW are little geniuses and even if Little Junior doesn't "apply" himself, they're still willing to fork over $40K to send him to get the paper degree in Dances of the Northwest Cultures. As parents of a large family, we are in a unique position. We can see that some of our children are going to be very academic, some are very industrious, more than academic. I know in our culture we prize academia over every other thing, but it only leaves kids feeling short. Why would we do that? Is not a happy, hardworking child's worth valued as much as a bitter, sour child who always fell short of their parents' goals? Our oldest is VERY academic. She knows she is expected to get scholarships. She gets up in the AM and she is very devoted. She is going into the 8th grade is narrowing her focus already. We've geared her schooling towards her PSAT with the goal being a National Merit scholar. My goal isn't to pay her way. It's to EQUIP with her what she needs to succeed. That can't be bought.
Our second son is not academic. But the child has a heart a mile wide and two miles deep. His love for his God and his country is pretty awesome in a 10 year old. He wants to serve. He has no academic goals, but of course our duty is STILL to equip him... both by building him up with strong character, his academic abilities still need to be strong, and he needs to be willing to serve.
Our third child only wants to act. It's been that way since she was three. We really are at a loss what to do with it - It's a gift, I have no doubt. I'm just a little clueless how we can use it for good instead of evil. Sigh.

And the rest, we're waiting to see. But my point here is not only should you NOT pay for your child's college, but that NOT every child SHOULD go to college. We, as a culture, consider it the end all be all, and it leaves an awful lot of kids, who could be hard working, happy, and strong and feeling good in their unique GIFTS, feel stupid, worthless, and short changed. And those children who have vision, know where they want to go, what they want to be, are driven, and are academic - well, they'll get scholarships anyway.

As for house space, we're working on stacking them. Ana (13) shares a full bed with her "beloved" Abigail (3) and while there were some shortfalls (while we potty trained) they get along VERY well when Abby doesn't pee on her blanket, lol. Truth is, Ana, if given her own room, would be hyper-protective, and rude about it to her sisters. This is a built in character builder for her. On the other side of the room is a set of bunk beds for Rebecca and Elizabeth. Underneath that is going the trundle for Miss Sarah who will be moving up there in approximately 5 months. Now, if we need to, we can switch the full bed AND the twin bunks to twin over fulls and put trundles under each of them. The girls room CAN hold at least eight, reasonably, lol. We hang and color code almost all of their clothing. And we don't keep extra. Ana has learned that good clothes are for good and you take care of your things. If all girls had to share a room (AND BE NICE) with their little sisters we'd see girls who take care of their stuff and assign value to them. And it's good for the little girls to learn that things are special and belong to someone else so they can't treat them badly and can't touch everything they'd like. The boys share twin bunks. There are two bedrooms upstairs, one is more like a glorified large hallway. The boys don't care. I love boys. My goodness they're easy.

DH & I share a cubby hole that was meant to be the computer room. There is enough room for our bed, for our dresser, and he can even walk on his side of the bed! Since it's our bedroom and we SLEEP there, we're not too stressed about it. Our living areas are huge. But see this all changed with the culture of America. This was an old farmhouse. The people congregated in the kitchen, which of course, was eat-in. This is where they lived essentially. The living room is modest sized. The bedrooms are small because children and parents didn't retreat there... The family stayed together, worked together, and played together. And then SLEPT in their bedrooms.
DH mentioned to me the other day, I've been morning sick and the house isn't exactly spotless. Well, that might be an understatement. But, he mentioned, with the chaos, that maybe this house WAS too small. It's not. As a matter of fact, I feel we have more space here than we did in town. Because I can cook a huge meal and have elbow room. Because the kids go out and run and jump and scream and then come in and sit still. (I like that part of living in the country.) So, living space isn't very relevant.

Yes, money is tight. It always is. Mostly because we're bad with money. We always have been. But, we're listening to good 'ole Dave and we're getting there. This last year I really wondered if it would be responsible for us to get pregnant before the end of the year. Due to the year change, our surgery will be in 2009, but the baby won't be born until 2010. Which means we'll max out our deductible this year and then turn around in January and max it out all over again. Sigh. But you know what? I'll bet you in 20, or 10, or 5, or EVEN 2 years from this January, I won't look at that little face and see the hospital bill. I bet I just see the face of a child, a blessing, that I'm so grateful to have that I don't even notice the cost.

So, I'm pregnant. And it's going to cost us a mint. Did I mention I HATE being pregnant? Hate it. I hate that I have to have surgery every single pregnancy. I hate that I throw up from the anesthesia. As a matter of fact, delivery is WONDERFUL compared to week 14.

Things that are precious have a cost, a high cost. If they didn't cost a lot, monetarily, emotionally, or physically, they wouldn't be considered precious. If you could walk out in your backyard and pick up a handful of diamonds, they would be worthless. Afterall, they're just shiny rocks.
It is their COST that gives them value, that makes others consider them precious. The U.S. does not appreciate their children. The years gone by from disease and poor medical care has made children fairly easy to raise.
They are no longer precious. But ask an infertile couple what they would give to have a child.

In 2001 we gave birth to our daughter, Hannah Elizabeth. Unfortunately she was 26 weeks along and less than 2 lbs. She had decent chances, statistically speaking and did really well for a little while. On Day 12 we held her while she died. It wasn't a short death. It wasn't a painless death. It was long, and they gave her several morphine shots. You know your life has been changed forever when you stop praying for your child to live and instead pray for her relief through death. Life is precious. Her life was all of 12 days long. Sometimes it is not the length of time you live, but the impact of your life on those around you..... And if that is so, her life had true meaning.

Housing, space, money, college, it all means very little. If you have a house, it is enough. If you have space, it is enough. If you have food, the money is enough. If there is a will to get to college, it is enough. These things are very much not relevant compared to the preciousness of one life. And if you have the opportunity to give the world one precious life, it is a trick of the mind (and more as I know many Christians would believe and attest) that it should be denied because they might have to share a bedroom, or you can't pay for four years of college.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:15 PM   #10
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Re: Mamas with many--Housing/space issues and $ questions

Kelly,
I just finished reading your post, and I'm not even sure what to say but Thank You. It was wonderful, very thought-provoking, and just another piece of the puzzle as God continues to drop in my lap books, conversations, etc. that are guiding me more and more to surrender to His will. I pray that my husband also starts to feel the tug at his heart.
For him, college funding is a big thing. My whole life has been very academics-based, and a few years ago, I absolutely could not fathom a child of mine not attending a four-year college (and they'd better graduate with highest honors too! ) However, while I still certainly hope that they want to pursue that path if that's where their talents lie, I recognize that I have no idea what the job market will be like in 9 years when my oldest is college age. I'm sure many new careers will have developed by then and who knows what sort of training will be required. So perhaps a different path will be what one or more of them takes and I'm not going to let the college dilemma hold me back from having more I guess. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a full academic scholarship to college, so I am very aware of how blessed some families can be in that area in that God completely provides for that need! I sure am thankful that my parents decided not to have me just because they perhaps couldn't afford my college education, because in the end the worry would have all been for nothing since my education cost very little.
So many things to think about in what you wrote. I got teary-eyed when you started talking about how precious are little ones are and that precious things do cost! The analogies with the diamonds were right on! Thanks again!

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