1. Your toilet paper and trash cans permanently sit on top of the counter, out of reach of little hands.
2. Laundry has overtaken the house.
3. You have a sock basket. No more putting 11 people’s socks away in dressers. Half of them wear the same size socks anyway!
4. Over the years, you have transitioned to a family closet. No more putting clothes away upstairs! In the laundry room, each family member has their own basket of folded clothes and spot on the rack for hanging clothes. What a time saver!
5. No matter how hard you try, your house is never clean. Ever.
6. Most days you choose to shower, exercise, or fix your hair. You can only pick one. Brushing your teeth by noon is a miracle.
7. Anything brown splattered on the wall is assumed to be chocolate.
8. You only clean your ceiling fans right before your next home birth. Because, when you are pushing out a 9 lb. baby, the first thing you and your midwife will notice is all the dust on the ceiling fan.
9. Your van is huge, but there isn’t any room for extra friends.
10. If your monstrous van broke down, you’d be up a creek. Majorly screwed.
11. From 3-5:00 p.m. each day is frighteningly loud. In fact, you enjoy the “peace and quiet” during the day while the 6 big kids are at school and the 3 littles are at home.
12. Everything in your house is broken, will be broken, or is so old that it doesn’t really matter if it breaks.
13. You intentionally wait longer than you should to replace furniture or flooring because you know you will be disappointed when someone destroys it with a Sharpie. (See ugly couch below)
14. When you go grocery shopping for the week, the checker asks if you are having a party because you are buying huge amounts of food.
15. You no longer bother with fancy bedding for the kids. A bottom sheet and a fuzzy blanket—that’s it! The top sheets just end up wadded up and thrown in the floor anyway.
16. You switched to cloth diapers several kids ago to save money and love it!
17. You encourage your kids to eat the food they drop on the floor. Don’t want to waste food!
18. You have learned every natural remedy out there for colds, coughs, earaches, and other infections. You avoid the doctor at all costs (that’s where sick people with germs are!) and only go the ER for stitches and broken bones.
19. Your chiropractor, however, is your best friend for keeping everyone healthy. Thank you, Lord, for our chiropractors!
20. The thought of everyone getting the stomach flu brings you to your knees, begging God to spare your family this year.
21. You kind of hate snow days, not because the kids are off school, but because it makes 5 extra loads of laundry.
22. However, wiping up melted snow off the kitchen floor counts as mopping. Silver lining?
23. When a stranger at Target stares at your large (yet well-behaved) brood and condescendingly says, “Better you than me!” you smile. It’s a genuine, warm smile, and you respond, “Yes, I’m SO glad it’s ME!”
24. Those comments used to sting, but now they make you smile. God gave you the grace to know that it is your special, God-given vocation to spread the joy of having a large family. Children are a blessing!
25. Did I mention it’s really loud?
26. You never have enough toilet paper. Or food. Or shoes that fit everyone.
27. Sometimes, when it feels like you are failing miserably, you wonder what God was thinking making you responsible for raising so many of His precious children.
28. These on-your-knees moments are blessings. No one can raise a child, let alone 9 of them, without acknowledging that God is in control. Look at the big picture and surrender it all to God!
29. You would be rich if you had a dollar every time someone asked when the next baby is coming! Your answer (a vague, puzzled shrug paired with an “I don’t know!”) bewilders many. That’s OK.
30. You can’t remember the last time you slept 5 hours in a row.
31. Every now and then, you pray The Rest Of The World isn’t right. What if my kids do grow up and resent me for making them share toys, clothes, space, even parents? I must have made a mistake.
32. Seeing 6 of your children playing Lego’s for hours, 5 of them jumping and giggling on the trampoline, or the preschooler gently comforting the baby makes those thoughts disappear. After all, St. Therese of Lisieux was the 9th child, St. Gianna Beretta Molla was the 10th of 13 children, and St. Francis Xavier Cabrini was the 13th child in her family! Think of what the world would miss if we hadn’t been open to even one of our children!
33. Daddy wrestles. A lot.
34. You have entered the double digits in family size, which makes it funny when people ask how big your house is. (Hint: not very big)
35. You can’t remember the last time you decorated the bottom half of the Christmas tree.
36. You wonder how many grandchildren you will be blessed with. And hopefully lots of priests and nuns!
37. It shocks you when you fill out intake paperwork at your midwife’s office. 185+ months of breastfeeding? That’s crazy!
38. Your doctor does not give you parenting advice anymore—you know, the unwanted opinions of crying it out vs. co-sleeping, when to introduce solids, or how long to breastfeed. He asks you what works for your family, genuinely curious to learn how your family runs.
39. Your family pictures cover up any statue or landmark you are trying to include in the photo.
40. You offer up every bout of morning sickness, labor pain, and sleepless night with sick kids, asking the Lord to use these small sufferings to help other women desperately praying to become a mother.
41. You stay up waaaaaay too late at night because it’s so quiet. Peaceful, sleeping babies are a beautiful thing!
say yell, “Leave the baby alone, he’s happy!” a hundred zillion times a day.
43. Life is full of sacraments. Occasionally you have a Confirmation, First Reconciliation, First Communion, and Baptism all in the same year!
44. When you pray a family rosary together, it sounds AWESOME! Lots of little voices participating. Well, unless rosaries turn into weapons. Then it gets loud again. Sigh.
45. Now that you are getting…ahem, older…you appreciate every baby kick in utero, every newborn snuggle, and every request for a back rub at bedtime. Who knows when it will be the last one?
46. Your family fills an entire pew at mass, and it still feels crowded.
47. When the kids leave out their shoes for St. Nick’s feast day, they have to make two rows! Every holiday celebration is fun….and loud.
48. With every Christmas or birthday gift that enters the house, another toy of equal size must be donated. We just don’t have room!
49. You no longer hate video games and TV shows. They are your best friend.
50. You really miss alone time with your husband. The best present in the world is free babysitting for a date!
Bonus #51. You can’t imagine a better life. Quieter and less crowded, maybe, but not better! Thank you, Jesus, for knowing exactly the life I needed!
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure….You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:10-11