Minus One

There’s a question you get a lot when people like Tracey & I meet other parents and start up a chat.

And that question is often asked with something of a confused frown burrowing its way out from the inside, primarily because, as is typical with parents, a conversation has weaved & tumbled from one topic to another with anecdotes of each of our respective kids.

Suddenly, maybe fifteen minutes or half an hour in, the person we’re talking to will realise either we keep changing the names of our kids, or…

“So how many kids do you have?”

“Seven,” tends to fix that confused frown right up. Now we’re staring at someone who you’d think has just witnessed a cattle truck rollover. And for some reason, “Oh, but there’s only five left at home these days,” doesn’t seem improve things.

Whereas you ask any large family and they will tell you – only five kids left?!? – we are living the dream right now.

In fact, it’s an odd phenomenon I think deserves a university grant or two to investigate. We have three kids and we’re struggling to find time for ourselves and out pops another baby, so we’ve got four (yes, we might have been tired but we could still cope with basic maths) (unless we ran out of fingers). But then! One kid trots off to Grandma or Nanny’s for a night and we’re back to three and it feels like we’re on holidays.

And I can assure you it’s the same going from four to five kids, and then one has a sleepover with their cousins. From five to six kids, then one is away for a school camp. From six to seven, and you ‘only’ have six kids to feed and answer inane questions for.

It makes not sense. We know that. Before the last kid arrived this one less than the current total of kids was hell. But it is a thing.

All this we worked out a decade and a half ago when Miss16 entered our world with a heartwarming cry which we didn’t manage to locate the off switch to for well over a year.

All this we’ve been chatting about with other big families who get it and smaller families who think we’re completely off our tree.

What we didn’t work out until this weekend was our kids understood it too.

“It’s right what you say,” Miss12 mentioned to Tracey on the weekend. “It is sooo much calmer and easier around here when one of the kids is away.”

On the one hand, it’s nice she’s listened and taken in something we’ve said.

On the other hand….I was the ‘kid’ who was away for the weekend.

Stopped over in Jericho for the night. We were the only people in the pub that night so I made sure to help keep the tap lines from clogging up. Ahh, the things you can focus on when you don’t have kids with you 😉 More on my trip in the next blog. You won’t want to miss it – amazing eye-opening journey.

Raising a family on little more than laughs


  • Too true! Here in the states, we moved from one side of the country to the other, and I have 5 kids, and no clue that almost no one has more than 2 kids, 3 if you are crazy over here… I get shocked statements all the time… rather tired of it so now I answer: “yes, there are many other parts of the world where people have even more than 5 kids.” *Insert eye roll*

  • Hi, good story. I do not consider large families to be unhappy, and children of them unsuccessful. I also do not consider my family problematic – we are very happy, I repeat – this is a powerful resource. I’m too proud of my family for this. I also do not think that my experience describes all the possible scenarios of families. I saw literally 3 large families, they were very similar. But, of course, this is a very small sample, in addition, these are families who raised children in the nineties. If you are a mother of many children, wait a moment to be offended – re-read the pros. I am for different elections – but, if possible, deliberate. Good luck!

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