They Are Not My Slaves

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Those of you who follow Raising Arrows on Facebook know that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned I was facing an onslaught of negative comments on the blog.  Actually, not just negative, but downright rude.  Now, I have no problem with someone disagreeing with me, but ugly, hate-filled remarks are not going to get approved here.

Almost all of the comments were aimed at large families and the “trouble” with us.  One commenter went so far as to suggest my older children were raising my younger children.  Now, I’ll be honest with you…I’m touchy when it comes to people assuming things about my family.  Having lost a child, I don’t have to guess at what my world would be like without one of these precious blessings.  I know.  I also know just how very close my family is and how much fun we have together.  Suggesting I’ve got some sort of slave labor thing going on around here makes me want to spit nails (to borrow a phrase from my mom).

To the modern child-centered world, it probably looks as if our children are expected to do things that are too hard or too grown-up, but life here is Christ-centered and we aren’t raising children, we’re raising arrows!

That said, this particular comment does bring up an interesting topic.  One that I know can happen in large families and even in small families as well.  Because of this, I want to present you with two scenarios, directly from people I know personally. {certain minor details have been changed to protect the identities of these people}

Scenario #1: Krista is the oldest of 7 children.  As an adult with her own family to raise, she will quickly tell you how she raised several of her younger siblings.  In fact, as a teenager she was so bitter about this fact that when her parents announced another pregnancy, she shut herself in her room.  She felt used and undervalued in her home.

Scenario #2: Anna is the oldest of 12 children.  She recalls a period of several years when her mother was very ill and very pregnant.  She and her sister ran the household, but she feels no bitterness toward her mother for those years.  When I asked her what made the difference for her, she said her mother was always extremely appreciative.  She felt valued as an important member of the household.

Now, before I dig much deeper here, let me say that sometimes bitterness and resentment stem from perceptions of the way things were rather than a true picture of the way things were.  There is no way to know for certain what either one of these households were really like.

But, let’s suppose these women have true and correct perceptions of each of their childhood homes.  The lessons I have learned from the stories of these two women has marked my parenting for many years. These lessons are valuable and important whether you are raising one or twenty.

In Krista’s case, she felt undervalued.  She felt she was given more than her fair share of the workload and that the workload was “expected” of her.  She felt as though no one else in the family, parents included, pulled their weight.  What I took from her story is this:

1. Just because one of your children is ready and able to do a task does not mean that child should always be the one for the task.

2. As parents, whenever able, we should be right in there working alongside our children.

3. Remember to train the younger ones as well as the older ones to help out.


In Anna’s story, she knew she was given a weighty task, yet she never doubted how much her mother needed her.  She and her sister worked hard to help out their ailing mother “as unto the Lord.”  Their mother praised them all along the way and joined them once she was well again.  Here is what I learned from Anna’s story:

1. Always thank your children for their help.  Praise them and encourage them in what they do.

2. Let them know how important their “piece of the pie” is.  They are part of a team and their contribution counts.

3. If possible, make sure the bulk of the work does not fall on one child.  Give that child a helper.


Our children know they are each a unique contributor to this family, yet we are a family unit.  We encourage them to pursue their individual interests, giving them opportunities to use those giftings within the family unit as often as possible.  We praise their efforts (not nearly enough, I am afraid!) and we apologize when we are wrong (which happens way more often than I care to tell!).

It is our prayer that being a part of a large family helps our children to gain a sense of servanthood toward others.  We want them to perceive the needs of others and help out as they are able with a selfless, Christ-like manner.

Remember I said I was raising arrows?  Arrows are leaders. But, true leaders know how to humble themselves, defer to others, look out for those under them, and respect those above them.  They also know that life does not revolve around them, nor does it need to because the One whom life does revolve around has the whole world in His hands.  The sooner we learn to be about His business, the better!

Now, let me turn this discussion over to you, my readers…
Why do large families evoke images of slave labor?  What do you feel makes or breaks the testimony of a large family?  Those of you with smaller families who have implemented a large family mentality, do you find yourselves persecuted as “slave drivers?” What “attitudes” do you work hard to foster in yourselves and your children when it comes to being part of the economy of the household?  How are you encouraging servanthood in your family?

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104 Comments on They Are Not My Slaves

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104 thoughts on “They Are Not My Slaves

  1. I’m sorry to hear you’re getting rude comments, Amy. I know what that’s like and it can be terribly hurtful. It never ceases to amaze me how much politeness and common decency tends to disappear on the internet!

  2. I struggle hard with the task of keeping house because everything I do, I had to learn “on the job”. I do not want my children to carry this burden in their adult lives! After each meal, one child chooses some music to put on and we all do 15 minutes of work TOGETHER. One will work with me in the kitchen, the little ones will shadow me and the other will clean the dining area. Do we love it? Um, not really. We love being together though and my kids are gathering life long skills. I always try and choose the youngest child able to do jobs for me to relieve my older kids and encourage the older ones to teach the younger kids how to do the jobs (sub-contracting if you will!). My oldest is now old enough to spend a few days occasionally with her grandparents where she gets completely doted on and they report that she is always wanting to cook and clean and garden with them. For me, stealing a child’s childhood is requiring them to make adult decisions with adult consequences (i.e. what and when do I eat, when do I go to bed, who will I be friends with), not allowing them to be a vital and valued member of the family workforce!

    • “For me, stealing a child’s childhood is requiring them to make adult decisions with adult consequences (i.e. what and when do I eat, when do I go to bed, who will I be friends with)”

      I love that Jess! :-)

      • I agree also!
        Children learn by observing and mimicking our behaviour. Young kids love to “help” with adult activities. You are right that chores are not always “fun” but by starting when kids are young and not criticizing them as they learn it is just a part of the daily routine and not a major drama. They are so proud of themselves when they master a new task! To a toddler, being able to clear the table may be as exciting of an achievement as climbing a ladder at the playground

  3. I’m afraid I have a lot of work to do in this area, Amy. I would LOVE to have a large family, but God has entrusted me with just a small family at this point and while I try to always encourage and be thankful for the things my children do, I can be tough sometimes (which hurts me and provokes feelings of guilt afterwards)… I am trying to have less expectations and more enjoyment of the time I work together with the children on chores. I’m a perfectionist, and it is SO hard to let that go and let a child make mistakes and do things “messily” so he/she can learn!

    I think one thing that makes or breaks a large family is whether or not the household is always in LOUD uproar/chaos/circus behaviour. I mean it’s ok for kids to have fun and be a little “wild” from time to time, but when you visit a large family and the children are never asked to hush indoors and you leave the house with a splitting headache from the constant shrill cowboys and indians play, you know that something is just plain WRONG. I hope that doesn’t come across as too opinionated or rude. Games and noise have their place – but so does a sense of calm and peace – even in a large family!! :)

    As for attitudes and encouraging servanthood, this is something my children are finding hard to learn. I’m trying to teach them that their attitude is a decision they make. When we wash dishes (for example), we try to sing songs together, beginning with one based on the Bible verse “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it”. That is a good attitude adjuster!! :) Children tend to be so self-centred and I have no idea how to eradicate that and give them a servanthood attitude… I’d love to hear more ideas on this matter!!

    • I am always looking for ways to encourage children to think outside themselves! Everyone is selfish. In fact, the only real remedy for this is a relationship with Christ (even in that, we still aren’t perfect). I try to look at it as pointing them in the right direction. :)

    • I have found that an excelent remedy for selfishness is service. Serve the ones who are selfish (all of them, actually) and encourage them to serve others in a gentle and cheerful way. I believe this is a universal struggle… (teaching selflessness rather than selfishness). I hope that helps. 😀

      • Love this.

        So often we sort by ourselves. I am teaching my children to give to others — be it the bigger cookie, or toys, or collecting food — and gradually the need to have the best for self alone diminishes and an empathetic and compassionate heart emerges.

  4. I just found your blog via The Homeschool Village. Let me say I agree with you 110%! I feel as if many families today are just parents doing all of the work to provide for children who turn out spoiled and lazy. The greatest gift we can give our children is responsibility, and then praise for a job well done. I look forward to reading your blog.

  5. I think the problem is two-fold. First, and foremost, it seems most families are completely child-centered. Parents exist to serve the whims of the child, with no expectations in return. We’re now seeing the fruit of that child-rearing philosphy in the young adults who are irresponsible, self-serving & pleasure-seeking, still expecting their parents to take care of them. Second, so few large families exist that most people have to make assumptions about what life in a large family must be like. Don’t be discouraged by negative comments; the Lord will bless your faithfulness in following His direction for your family.

  6. What a great article! I think you explained it very well…the difference in the two families was the appreciation and praise. I have 5 children, and compared to most of my friends, they do a lot more chores! But, I try to value them and their time, I praise them as much as I can remember, and I always, always work alongside them. I also agree with you–just because a child can do a chore, doesn’t mean that they should do it.
    I have been blessed in times of sickness by my children. They will just pick up the slack and are happy to do so. My husband is a hard worker too–both inside and outside the home. We just all work together over here, but we also enjoy many, many fun times too!
    I know the negative comments can be very discouraging, but just know that there are many more people who love you and your blog. I learn something or I am encouraged every time I visit! :)

  7. When I saw the title of your post I thought, “oh boy, she’s been attacked because her kids actually do chores.” My 10 year old does a lot of chores. The next child is 3 and I’m working on her but she is 3. My other child is only 1, we only make her scrub the toilets once a week. JK. I think and this is only MY opinion but a lot of kids today are disrespectful to their parents and getting into trouble because they aren’t made to participate in the family and the running of a home. This should start very early, waiting until the teen years is too late. And you are right, you must appreciate them and let them know and work with them. So sorry you got hit with the rudeness remarks. I don’t know you personally but I love the way all of the children participate in the running of the home.

  8. Amy, first I’m so sorry that you have been attacked on such a personal level by people who know nothing about you or your family!

    We are one of the small families adapting a large family mentality, (in March/April we will have three little ones.) Ours are two and 8 months so we don’t have a lot of the “slave labor” comments. Our two year old is expected to do a few specific things, other than helping us clean up her room regularly. In the morning and the evening, she puts her dirty clothes in the laundry and throws her diapers away. She also helps by throwing the baby’s diapers away sometimes or fetching things for me, but with praise and appreciation of her “work”, she doesn’t seem to mind at all. We want the children to feel like valued and necessary parts of a whole, so we try to let her help in any way that she can, even if it really takes longer and is not quite as “helpful” as she might think; like cooking and helping in the garden or yardwork. We try to keep the attitude and atmosphere light and make the work fun, unless there is direct refusal of something that is a “normal expectation” (like putting her clothes in the laundry). We hope that if they enjoy what they are doing, they will be encouraged to want to help more, not just at home but elsewhere.

  9. As the oldest of six, I did do quite a bit of helping out, especially since we had, at one point, 5 under 7. This is definitely a hot topic for me because not only have I *been* the older sibling, we’re hoping to have a large family and I have heard those insinuations about large families many times.

    But you know what? I did (usually) enjoy helping out. I loved being turned loose to cook dinner. I loved knowing that I was needed and I definitely knew I was appreciated. I think you’re exactly right that kids need to know that their work has value and is important to the family. I know it gave me a lot of confidence as a teenager to know that no matter what others thought of me, I could make a good dinner, take three little kids on a grocery trip, do laundry, give a haircut, and clean a bathroom within an inch of its life.

    I think the perception is there because people assume that lots of kids are lots and lots of work. They don’t realize how true “many hands make light work” really is. For example, my family had a system growing up where, starting with the oldest, everyone washed a certain number of dishes that decreased as the ages decreased. Frequently we ran out of dishes before the youngest had to take a turn, but either way Mom finished up and took care of the pans, which had been soaking through everyone’s washing. *Nobody* had to wash a lot of dishes. Everyone took a turn and helped out.

    Being alive means working. Equipping children with life skills, like dishes, laundry, making meals, and cleaning, is doing them a favor in the long run… but really imparting to them the attitude of service requires the parents *having* an attitude of service, I think.

    Sorry you’re getting negative comments.

  10. I think this post is great! I appreciate that you included smaller families too. More shared responsibility may be more necessary in families that are large, but can be chosen by those that are small (okay, I’ll admit – some days it’s necessary for sanity). I think all families with expectations are to some degree looked down on by mainstream America. But, look at where mainstream America is. I try to keep a longterm focus anytime people gasp at the fact that my two year old picks up her toys, dirty clothes, etc.

    You have a wonderful blog and I appreciate your vunerability in sharing about your family’s life.

  11. As someone who grew up in a large famly (8 kids), I’ve heard this as an adult…directed towards me, as in, “You must have had to babysit a lot”. While I was not always happy when my mom announced she was pregnant, it had to do with the teenage desire not to stand out from my friends. Now I regret those feelings, and wish for a large family myself. But I never felt used by my parents. I knew my mom worked hard and I didn’t feel like I had to work harder than my friends. And like others have said, I’ve often been very thankful for the skills I had when I got married and started my own family!

  12. My goodness, im so sorry you had to have those hateful comments on your blog… slaves?? I have no tolerance for such stupidity!!! How horrid. Again, its people who are drowned in such a selfish, babylon-like philosophy that believe people or kids should be put on pedestals and worshipped, that wonder what went wrong with their family.

    Didn’t Christ come to serve?? Not to be served?? If the King of Kings had that mentality, should nt we? Your love for your kids shines thru the pages of this blog and you never ever ever made it seem like you “enslave” your children.

    Ugh, im still angry!!

  13. Mine is a small family – but I am blessed with two amazing children, ages 8 and 5. Both my husband and I work full time, my parents and grandmother have health problems and require a lot of my time and help with their households. Therefore, my children have learned that each person helps each other out – whether the task is large or small – because that’s what you’d want them to do for YOU! Each evening, they take 10 minutes and clean up their rooms before bed. They help set and clear the table. My daughter LOVES to help clean bathrooms – and while it’d be easier for me to just do it and be done, I allow the task to take longer because she WANTS to be a big-girl and help! She’s going to be one amazing mommy and household leader one day – she loves to help with laundry and cooking, too. And while my son doesn’t LOVE to do chores, he knows how much I appreciate and value his help – and I always, ALWAYS thank them for what they do (even if I then have to do it again after they’re in bed!). Families help each other – whether inside your home, or in the homes of other members of your family. I can’t imagine it any other way.

  14. Excellent post!

    I’ve been writing a great deal about the value of work and how we, as parents, need to recognize the entitlement that is rearing in today’s society. Just as Natalie wrote — many hands make light work. My daughters clean the kitchen, after dinner, and can get it spotless in 15 minutes. They are laughing, working, and enjoying each others company. We are a family.

    My kids know they are valued — for who they are — not for simply doing chores. They also know that we, as a family, work together — all of us. They are also learning valuable life skills. We praise them for work well done, I work side by side teaching them, and discovering what they need/want to learn. Honestly, it surprises them how many of their friends never have to do the dishes. Or fold clothes. I grew up working, and I am really grateful that I knew how to do these tasks when I had my own family.

    I’m sorry that you dealt with some attacking type comments. Having met you, and seen the beautiful relationship that you have with your family, I can certainly say that your children are blessed.

    Keep writing truth, my friend.

  15. I AGREE!!! I am the oldest of 5 and my mother was in a wheelchair for years. I was pushed to do every thing at an early age… and while I resent her for her attitude (Dragging me around by my hair and smacking me, telling me I’m worthless) I do not regret the lessons of running a house. Sewing, laundry, ironing, food prep, shopping, budgeting, home maintenance and repair, time management etc. There is very little about homemaking that I DIDN’T learn before going to college. I pray that my girls will have the same education… but with a better heart.

  16. The silly thing is, I, being the eldest of 4, felt the same way. My mum went through some problems and for a few years there I did raise my youngest two siblings through toddler and early childhood. My cousin had only her younger brother, but she raised him in a very practical sence as her mother became drug dependant while the children were still small. It’s not a problem seen only in large families. The real problem is too many people watching 18 kids and counting and deciding a half hour snapshot is all they need to know how all large families operate, and since they don’t operate the way most families operate, they must be wrong and setting their children up for failure, because there must only be one right way to raise a child, and it’s their way.

    I’m totally not bitter… hehe

  17. I’m so sorry to hear about the criticism. But if it is any consolation to you… there must be some very jealous people out there! Ha ha! Honestly, you are doing such a great job that some people just want to knock you down to make themselves feel better.

    Way to live and keep shining! ;D

  18. For me, it comes down to this. If we do not teach our children to work, to help, to know how to do wash, dishes and cook, how will they survive? By doing everything for them, parents are raising crippled adults. How can our country put a high value on “education” but then miss out on the opportunity to raise people who are willing to work for the greater good? My kids do not RAISE the babies. I nurse, change diapers, do all the littles wash, cook most of the meals or dh does, homeschool…but my kids are expected to clear and set the table, pick up the mess they made, help bring in groceries, and go-fer things. We all live in this home 24/7 and I should not have to do everything to ensure that others do nothing. We are a team and I always say “please” and “thank you” even when the activity is mandatory because I do want my kids to know I appreciate what they do. :)

    • Crippled is exactly the word. I even helped with some things as a teenager, like snapping beans, dishes, a little cleaning, mowing,… and still I feel crippled by my mom not entrusting me with more work as a young child–it was too much work for her to let me help, since young children make more mess helping than it is to just do it your self.

  19. We have four children and we all work together to try to keep things running smoothly. There is no way I would be able to do it all by myself without neglecting my family. Each child has assigned chores that they complete on an almost daily basis. They usually like to help and we try to have fun, while getting it accomplished. We spend 15-30 minutes, almost every morning on our specific chores. I don’t think that sounds like slave labor. They still have plenty of time for school and play. I was the second child of 4 and we lived in the country. We all had to pull our share and it was good for us. If I hadn’t had to help when I was young, I wouldn’t have a clue what I should be doing now.

  20. Great post!
    Sorry to hear of people being mean. :(

    I’m not sure why people want to sterotype others.
    I know families with only 2 kids and the older one has to babysit the younger after school…latch key- until 6pm when the parents get home. You know more money more happiness….right? lol
    {I let these kids over to play with my 6 kids.
    These kids love the LOVE and the outstretched arms. They love to stand and talk with me in the kitchen as I cook. If my kiddos are asked to do a chore…the neighbor kids willingly help. They often stay for meals and the company!
    Some of my oldest sons friends have no chore and there parent (single mom) don’t care where they are.
    These kids love feeling part of our family!
    Some do chores without being asked!
    (these are boys too)
    My older kiddos do sometimes babysit the younger ones if Hubby and I are going out for the night but we pay them as that is an extra chore.

    So true about what you said,
    making your children feel valued.
    I have learned that its differnt for each child.
    For some words are good enough, others need more.

    Peace and Love Amy….
    Hug the littleone for me!


  21. Amy,

    I hope it is not inappropriate for a man to comment on your blog. My wife showed it to me and I deeply appreciated what you had to say. I am the father of 8 children and my wife and I take our responsibility to raise these children up to be godly men and women very seriously.

    We have had many things said to us and about us concerning our family size. Simply coexisting with our children in the same house is not enough. When people begin with this a priori assumption about parenthood, then they will have a distorted interpretation of what the children’s responsibilities should be.

    When you begin with the proper understanding that the God-given responsibility to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, then you have a better perspective from which to interpret household responsibilities. We are in the process of preparing them to be fully functioning members of society. By the time they leave our home, they should be able to cook, clean, run a household, drive, manage their finances, vote, lead others, etc. We are not merely awaiting the time they will leave and we can “get on with our life”. When you take on the full responsibility of parenting, discipling, and mentoring your children, the responsibilities you entrust to them will be different than if you simply want to keep them out of trouble until they are out of your house.


  22. Having come from a family of three children in which I had to say clean the toilet (among numerous other chores), when I look at my family of six children I see division of labor.

    I’m sure that my kids would rather live and play with their best friends, and SHARE the chores cleaning the toilet every six weeks instead of every single week.

    Sorry to hear that people are giving you a hard time.

    I could think of a thousand things to argue back, but in the end none of them will make a person understand when another family is trusting the Lord with their family size. It’s such a foreign concept in this culture.

    I pray that you remain firm while you put yourself out there for the encouragement of other large families. :)

  23. I’m sorry to hear you had to endure some hurtful comments. As someone who both came from a small family (2 children) and who has a small(er) family (4 children), I think that people who have never been a part of a large family perceive that a mother of many can’t possibly give equal/adequate attention to each child and that older children are therefore too involved in the raising of their younger siblings by necessity. I even know some families who have decided to be done having children on the basis of the decreased individual attention that each child would get with the addition of another. Travis and I personally were letting God determine our family size until we found out when the twins were born that my body probably can’t handle another pregnancy. Since our mentality on our family size has had to change, we have admittedly become quite comfortable with the thought of remaining as a family of six. So, in a way, I feel like I’ve been on both sides of the large family fence, so to speak. However, just because I don’t necessarily desire a large family for myself (because of the health of my uterus and the dangers another pregnancy would pose) does not mean that I think having a large family is unjust or unwise. I get very uncomfortable when people say things to me like, “Why would someone want so many kids?!” or “What’s the point in having so many kids?!” or “There is no way those parents are really parents to all of them.” This topic is so not worthy of passing judgment on. Why do people have such an interest in getting angry over such a thing? As long as love is present in a home, how could anyone argue that adding more children to it is a bad thing? *Sigh* I don’t even know what else to say save that children are indeed a blessing and that it is a shame that something which makes no difference in regards to salvation causes strife and division in the Body.

    Large or small, your family is an example of living done well. Thanks for being an inspiration.


  24. This is a great post. In a few ways, I am “Krista”. Except the Lord has really worked on my bitterness over how I was raised. Instead of thinking large families are awful, I am choosing to have one but do things differently than my parents did.

  25. Those are greats tips, love your wisdom regarding this topic!

    I think that the society have low expectation regarding teenager and young adult so seeing young one actually do something is not the *norm* and if your are not the norm then their must be something wrong with you!

    I think people are scare of what they don’t know!

    Yes in all family we can have a rebellious child with a bitter heart, sin is in all of us after all large or small bitterness can be seen!

    Thanks for taking the time to write this post and sorry to read about the bad comment, rpaying the God will give you wisdom on how to show those people his love that they may see Him trough this blog!

    We ought to be the salt of the earth, and salt make you thirsty for water and Jesus is the living water, so go on and be salty!

  26. I love this post. My oldest daughter is 13 and 2 years ago she hated her situation.
    We prayed for her and explained to her that God put her in this family for a purpose.
    Last year we had a second trimester miscarriage and it really brought our family close together.
    I am again pregnant expecting number 8 in Feb. and the children have all pitched in to help mommy when she needs it. I believe it is hard sometimes for our oldest ones in a large family, but i also believe that prayer and love will turn their hearts back towards their family.
    I agree with you the kids that feel resentment are the ones who are told to do things but never shown any love.

  27. Hi Amy,
    I’m sorry you’ve been experiencing some ugliness on your blog. I don’t have a large family but read your blog daily, I’ve learned so much. I have one question, where does the term “Raising Arrows” come from? I love your definition of leadership and will pass this along to my Son.
    Keep up the good work with your family, remember the long term payoff.

  28. Great topic and information!
    For us we do chores together as a family for about 15m each morning. Everyone knows what eachother has (for feelings of fairness) and many times I let them choose what they see needs to be done. Sometimes they like to work in teams and the little ones expecially like teaming up with mom!
    For after dinner cleanup we used to do 15m everyone working hard and it was done! but as the family increased it just became too many people working unstructured in a small space. so now the oldest three 9,10,11 rotate there chore monthly (putting away clean dishes, loadiing dishwasher, washing what doesn’t fit in dishwasher). They also have helped in discussion on what they feel is balanced understanding the things that just need to get done. during dinner cleanup the adults also do the rest of cleanup and the 2 littler ones have a little chore too.
    Perspective is such a big thing- so we talk about how they view things in the house and any changes they think may help in runniing things smoother. I definately do not want my children to feel as slaves- so for me top priority is viewing the work as resposibilities to be done and being possitive myself, and working as a TEAM. The adults in this home should rarely be sitting down relaxing if a child is working. Chidren just don’t seem to grasp with true perspective otherwise…at least for us. Trying to explain that dad works all day or mom has so many unending resposibilities just doesn’t play out in a childs mind.

  29. I come from a family of six children. I am the second oldest. I thought it was tons of fun! One year, when I was sixteen, my mom was on bed rest, so I needed to take over many of the household jobs and child care. It was enjoyable for me, and a natural fit. My older sister helped too, but had a job outside of the home that kept her busy, and she wasn’t as “into” that kind of thing as I was. My parents never forced either of us to do something we didn’t want to do. Also, I can’t remember even one time that my mom made me miss an event in order to babysit. She was very concerned with making sure that I was able to participate in the activities that I was interested in. I think that what you said about feeling appreciated is key.

  30. I’m from a bigger family (7 kids). It’s interesting to talk with my siblings and see how they interpret the same parts of our upbringing e.g. how we were disciplined, how people outside the family were invited into the family, etc. We are all so different; what I remember with humour, my older sister remembers with resentment, and vice versa. I don’t really know how to interpret that, except to pray that God will help me to see just how much He blessed our upbringing. I have no grounds to complain about anything, because God is good. I guess as parents we need to pray that God will guide how our kids interpret/understand our parenting (when we try to be in His will).
    Regarding others’ comments – ooh boy! Those made me mad when I was growing up! Even the secular research wholeheartedly acknowledges the importance of involving kids early on in household responsibilities. Having chores contributes to healthy development.

  31. I’m so sorry that anyone said negative things about your family. I understand the protectiveness you feel for your family.
    I have four children and the age split between them is pretty radical. I have an 18 year old son, a 16 year old daughter and then our little blessings from God are 3 1/2 years old. My 16 year old daughter is very involved with the twins. She loves spending time with them and I know she will make an amazing mother some day. Now, I make a point of showing her my appreciation by doing a lot of one on one time with her. She LOVES having me to herself, even if its for an hour.
    I asked her is she resents having to help out around the house, etc and her words exactly were…no, that’s what family is about. Praise Jesus for an amazing child:)

  32. This is a good article. I’ve struggled with this subject myself. And it’s not even because of any comments made to me. I guess I’ve just assumed that if anyone sees my children working they’ll say we’re having them for slave labor. I actually have to force myself to have them work. My husband has no problem with it, but I struggle with it. I have been getting better, but there are still things I find myself doing that they could do or at least be helping me with. I’m glad you addressed this. :)

  33. Hi Amy,
    I’m sorry you have received rude comments. Not nice. :(
    I have a few comments to make. One is that my grandma had seven children, and she would never let my Mum help out with the chores.
    Mum remembers asking to help with the dishes and being told “No darling, you have all this study to do and I’m no use to you in that, the least I can do is do the dishes.” Which is a loving heart, but I believe a misdirected one.
    Anyway, when my Mum married at age 21, she knew how to cook a total of two dishes- scrambled eggs and caramel dumplings… it got old fast! And she is still learning and feels somewhat inept at the tasks of the household, even after all this time. It made it difficult for her.
    And in the next generation, I would have liked more training… I think before I was married (at 19), I cooked a total of three meals for my family! I really believe more responsibility in cleaning and cooking would have helped me.

    Next comment is that I read an article in Above Rubies (Christian magazine to encourage wives and mothers) about a lady who has a large family, saying that when a job needs to be done, she chooses the youngest child who is capable of doing, or learning how to do, the job. I thought that was an excellent way to avoid feelings of being used. That’s what I intend to do with my children as they grow up :)

    Also that I read a book by Kevin Leman (“have a new kid by Friday” -it’s excellent, I’d recommend it!) and one thing he said was that for a child, making a contribution to the family in terms of chores, pulling their own weight, etc, makes a child feel that they belong in the family… that they have an important role to play and are valuable and capable. I agree with that.

    My last comment is that people these days assume work is bad. We’re “stealing” a child’s childhood if we make them do work… “Oh, those poor children, let them just be children for goodness sake!” What does that show about our adult attitude to life and particularly work? In the Bible, work is not a negative. It’s just a normal, right part of life. If done well, with the right attitude, it is fulfilling and rewarding.

    I believe our lives should be a model to children of how a good life involves work, play and rest, all three in rightly moderated amounts. Any of the three in too much concentration to the lack of another brings a negative consequence.

    Amy you are such an encouragement, witness and inspiration to so many… it’s no wonder Satan wants to take you down a peg or two! Don’t let him :) We all love and appreciate you!

  34. Oh, and I just had another thought… work is not evil… it wasn’t Satan’s invention, it was God’s! It was part of life in the garden of Eden before the fall!

  35. I’m sorry you’re getting those rude comments. Truly, I am.

    We’re a smaller family right now. Just 2 daughters. So far. Our girls both have daily chores they do to help me out around the house. On a normal day, they don’t mind a bit. They’re glad to help!

    I do get people who don’t understand how I could have our children doing chores. Why they’re doing so many of them (um, they clean the playroom … pick up the toys in the living room … sweep the dining room and help clear the table. Daily. I really don’t think that’s a lot lol).

    In our home, everyone has their part. The housework doesn’t fall solely on my shoulders. Yes, I do quite a bit of it … but my husband isn’t afraid to pick up a cloth and do the dishes for me. Or vacuum. And the girls know they have their part to do as well. Mostly just picking up the mess that they make during the course of the day. We’re a team. None of us are burdened down with housework … we all work together to get it done.

    You know, when I was a girl, my dad stayed at home with us and my mom worked. She’d work 15-16hr days all the way up until I was in 8th grade. My dad figured if he had to stay home and keep house, he wasn’t going to do it alone. By the time I was 11, I could run a household myself. I knew how to make a budget, go grocery shopping and feed a family of 4 with a certain amount of money, cook dinner (including holiday meals), clean the house from top to bottom, and do laundry. *I* was my sister’s mother. I taught her things I learned in school — which is why when she was ready to begin school, she actually tested to MY grade level (2nd grade), but my folks didn’t want her to feel too out of place, so they placed her in 1st grade instead.

    In this world of me, me, me … and this children growing up thinking the world owes them something and they shouldn’t have to work a bit for it … and the parents who indulge that and don’t treat their children as the true blessing they are … I’m not surprised people are so worked up over a simple issue of teaching your children how to care for a home. How to pick up after themselves. How to help each other out.

    It’s something EVERYONE should know how to do. Not everyone gets married. Not everyone stays home with mom and dad. Yet we have a large percentage of young adults out there who don’t know the first thing about cooking themselves an actual simple nutritious meal.

  36. Hi Amy! I too am sorry for the hurtful things people have said. :(

    I grew up as the eldest of five children and the only girl. We were a ‘large’ family in the circles we moved in. I got lots of comments on being Mom’s ‘big helper’ and I loved the job – most of the time!

    I wanted to be a wife and mother and it was great to get to ‘practice’ under her supervision. There were times like when the fourth child was gravely ill for two years that I had to help out more – but it only made me feel like I was doing something to help instead of sitting by helplessly!

    My Mother also broke her elbow at the beginning of the summer holidays when my youngest brother was just 8 months old and I basically had to take over most of his care the the household chores for the next 12 weeks while her arm healed. It was great training and I shocked the midwives in hospital when I gave birth and new how to change diapers and bath a small infant! LOL! :)

    We were a close knit family with everyone having chores every day to do – that was part of being a family!

    I now have three kids and we still have chores for all and everyone helps out every day. Many look at us and are shocked at what my kids do! To us it is just natural and has nothing to do with being a ‘big’ family or not – it is about being a family who are raising ‘adults’ not raising ‘children’! (as you have said before)

    We also foster and every foster child from age two up is required to do jobs as soon as they arrive. This is being part of the family and training them to look at something and someone other than themselves – it also builds their self esteem as they become ‘good’ at doing things! So, it is a win/win situation!

    Keep up the great work Amy and don’t let ignorant comments affect you! Thank you for all you share with us and the encouragement you give to all!!

  37. Thanks for your insight. I had my 4th baby 8 weeks ago. Just after she was born, My husband was informed his dissertation must be turned in soon, so he has been working 14 hour days ever since, honoring Sundays by staying home and sleeping. I’ve had to ask my oldest two for lots of help. Every time I mention that I’m tired, my husband says, “Those boys should be helping out more!” I’ve felt horrible about it. I’ll be sure to be thankful and praise them as much as possible.
    Thanks, again.

  38. I very much appreciate your post and your blog. Right now we only have 1 son who just turned a year old, but we would love to have 4 kids and then possibly adopt a couple more (all God-willing). I was an only-child and my mom was as well. My parents don’t understand having lots of children. They worry that my son won’t feel loved b/c he has to share our love. While I can appreciate all the attention I got as a child, I also don’t think I was as well-prepared as I could be for a family and children. I never had any chores except to pick up my room every now and then. I think my parents did me a disservice in this area. When I first went away to college and shared an apartment with some friends I didn’t know how to clean house or do any of those other things that children with chores typically know. I don’t say this to disrespect my parents. I love them very much and always felt so loved. I had a great childhood, but I wasn’t taught much responsibility. I have determined to learn these things and now must say I cook much better than my mom and grandma, hehe. I want my children to know responsibility as well especially in our culture that now tells children they are entitled to every toy, meal, video game, etc. that they would like. I appreciate your blog and hope to learn some things about raising my (hopefully) large family.

  39. Very well said! I felt like I was undervalued and overworked as a child. I only had 1 sibling and hardly any work. Christ-like love makes a huge difference.

  40. Wonderful post. We are not a very large family, but we hope to be a little bigger one of these days. But I think regardless of the size of the family, your points are very valid. I have a friend who only has one sister, but was mostly responsible for raising her & is still very resentful about it, and I believe it’s exactly for the reasons you stated. I hope to keep these things in mind with my own so that bitterness does not spring up.

  41. We have 3 little ones and we get this A LOT. We have a small farm and are proud of the fact that our kids have “real” work to do and be rewarded and praised for, rather than made up chores. (A “chore chart” with stickers for brushing your own teeth? Really?)

    We try to make the chores routine so they can more easily finish them up and go on to playtime or something else. And we try to make sure they are age appropriate–but our kids are mostly proud of the “work” they do. And they really like that they see Mom and Dad doing the same work–we’re not just giving them busy work, they’re actually helping out with running the house and farm. How else would you train them up to run their own homes?

    I’m also trying to take a different direction than my parents took. They loved me and disciplined me, and I had to care for my own room, etc. But, other than laundry, I was not really taught or expected to cook or clean or help run the household. I’ve had a lot to learn and catch up on (DH’s patience in those first years is amazing, looking back!) and I want my daughter to have a different experience when she’s finally on her own.

  42. I think that large families endure criticism because they, out of necessity, actually require teamwork and responsibility. (I have a small family but am trying to operate with a large-family mentality in consideration of what the future may hold.) The new normal is that childhood = all fun, no work, self-centeredness. My question is, “If you desire your children to become responsible, hard-working, kind and caring adults, how do you expect them to learn this if they are not taught at home?” The Word of God is truth. Prov. 22:6

  43. Oh boy I’m enjoying reading the comments you are getting. Everyone has such good ideas! I didn’t see a lot of large family moms weigh in, so I thought I’d add my two cents. :) With 9 children at home, we all have to work. I always loved the Amish saying that a when a child is little they are a drain, then between 7 and 14 they break even and after that they should be making a contribution. (I may not have the ages exactly right, it’s been a long time since I heard it) Of course I love and value my kids no matter what they do, but for their own sense of who they are in the family and eventually in their own lives, they need to work. I know how great I feel when I put a good meal on the table or paint a room. They should have the opportunity to know that feeling too. It gives them a knowledge that they are necessary and important. I have never sensed any bitterness. I work right there with them and they see how much they are needed and they delight in it.

    I have been attacked on my blog too. I understand how hard it can be, but don’t let it quiet you. It’s the enemy. You are doing a great job!

    I also love this Amish saying, “No dream comes true until you wake up and go to work.”

    By the way, I’m not Amish. I just appreciate that they know the value of work. Lisa~

  44. Hi Amy! I’m so very sorry about the negative comments! :( People can be so rude and stereotypical. Great article though! I also like that you included small families.

    Please don’t mind others’ rudeness. For as many haters you have, you have many supporters (like me!) who love and are encouraged by your blog. I have found so many awesome posts I enjoy. Keep up the great work! :)

  45. I’m a few days behind here but I have some questions. I have 2 boys 5 and 7 and a stepson (who are homeschooled) who is 16 (who attends public high school). I sometimes struggle with finding enough work for them to do. We live in a small house with a moderately sized yard. There is no firewood to chop, no animals to take care of. I believe kids should work, have chores, feel like an important member of the family and not like his mother is crazy if he interrupts his play with a job that needs doing. But what? What chores do your young boys do? What chores can be the 16 year old’s responsibility even though he only spends half the week with us? (And I’m talking more than taking out the trash.)

    Any suggestions would be helpful.

    • Melinda,
      I’m hoping to address these very questions in an upcoming post b/c I’ve struggled in the same area since moving to the city. I will tell you that we find a lot of odd jobs around the house that he can do (handy-man type stuff) and he goes to his grands quite often to help out there. Manly work isn’t always all about heavy lifting. Think future husband, future dad type stuff.

  46. I am so behind on my blog reading.
    I have 4 kids, and my mother-in-law (who raised 5) was here the other day. She was SHOCKED when I asked my 6yo to get something for his uncle and my son actually got that item without complaint. She asked me, “how do you do it?” I don’t understand why it’s such a foreign concept to everyone. We are all members of this family. I am ill-equipped to do EVERYTHING around here. I would never sleep! I just expect them to help. Why is that so bad? Now when my kids (or your’s) go off into the world, they will know how to function. They will know how to wash their clothes, and food shop, and sweep a floor. I think that people, in general, have gotten too comfortable, and anything that resembles actual work just looks out of the ordinary.
    I love your blog. :)

  47. Honestly, I think people get this particular idea from the Duggars’ “buddy system.” (For what it’s worth, I do think that that family seems to rely too heavily on their older daughters.)

    I am ALL for having your children help around the house. (I was very disadvantaged when I went to college because my mother had never made me — I was an only child — do anything around the house. My ONE chore was to make my bed … on days I didn’t have school.) However, I think the fear that some people have now when they see large families — because of “19 Kids” — is that the older kids aren’t really kids but miniature parents. I know that’s not always the case, of course. My best friend all through school was one of seven kids, and her mom and dad were fantastic parents who did NOT just let their daughters act as mini-moms.

    That said, I know people have been saying nasty things about large families, for whatever reason, for a lot longer than the Duggars have been around. Maybe this is just their latest insult.

  48. I think you got those negative comments because there *are* large families that treat their older children as slave labor. You don’t sound like one of them. However, the Duggar family on television has frequently been criticized for the workload they give the older girls (and not the older boys). In the Duggar family an older girl is given huge tasks like cooking 3x a day for a family of 20, while keeping an eye on 2-3 small ones.

    Their friends, the Bates, follow the same buddy system. Their most recently newborn has been passed off to a 14-year old sisters. Recent vacation pics show the young teen carrying the infant, while mom and dad have fun.

    In these families, and others, younger kids become bonded to their older, teenage siblings, who are in no position to raise a child responsibly. This is done in the guise of “training”, but, in truth, it is done because mom is tired and burnt out.

    I like the careful, thoughtful way you seem to assign chores to your youngsters.

  49. beautifully written, I so agree… It was also a good reminder that I need to be praising my kids more often. They’ve REALLY had to pitch in a lot more over the past few months and while I certainly see it as beneficial I also think they need a tad more encouragement.

  50. I just found this blog via Jennifer’s “Conversion Diary” blog. Really enjoyed your post!

    Our oldest (17), often cares for our younger ones (3,6,8,9). Your post emphasized to me the need to show appreciation and be thankful!

    Also, this post showed me that I can raise the standard quite a bit on what I ask our children to do to help around our home! Thanks for posting.

  51. Hello! I just discovered your blog while looking for Fruits of the Spirit devotions for the pre-k age group. I have spent the last hour (and counting) reading your posts. When I came across this post I was very touched. As we wait for our own children (or not?) I am repeatedly discouraged by the attitude of others toward children doing chores- especially in large families. Helping with younger siblings seems to be a constant point of contention! I think you are right on pointing out the matter of perception. We work hard to present team work as a joyful opportunity and not a drudgery. Even yucky chores are important, and even small contributions make a big difference. I have read a great number of articles and studies related to why children grow up feeling unsatisfied, entitled, unable to follow thru, stick with it, or take responsibility. It always seems to come back to not learning the value of “work” (and helicopter parenting). I think you have a great philosophy! I am always looking for ways to make our team work even more positive and enriching and I have seen the kids grow more and more capable, confident, and also in Christ (which is where the search for the Fruits of the Spirit devotion started!) Thank you for your blog! I have truly been blessed by reading.

    • Thank you so much for being here! What a blessing to hear your family already knows the value of team work.

  52. I think God led me to your blog. I’ve cried and laughed and smiled and cheered and hoped. Thank you for writing and sharing your light… His light.
    As for the critics… society has changed so much. Children are raised differently now. Some of that change is good, but some of it is detrimental to both the child and the family.. and I have to include society.
    Learning to work is vital. Learning to work together is crucial. Learning to exist in a family and that we all have obligations in that family is moral and a deep foundation of all successful families in the world. Look around… all families in the entire world share this and in many cultures the entire family must work together if they are to survive. So we don’t have that necessity in our comfortable developed nation. or do we? I think we do– for if we are to survive our culture and if our families are to survive we must also learn to work, learn to pull together as a family (children too!), and have a strong foundation that can only be learned in a family environment. (Or best learned).
    Ignore the critics… like I remind my kids and myself… we only have to worry if we’re pleasing the Lord.

  53. I hope you don’t get discouraged. The negative remarks come from the world view which of itself tears apart families. The family was created before the church was created. So that should tell people how important it is! The devil knows that to destroy the family, destroys God’s heritage, and the future. I really believe that is where all of the theories on child training or un-training in my opinion come from. Keep following God’s word and training your children in the way they should go! The true make or break in your testimony will be the wonderful, respectful, productive members of society you’ve raised while those who mock and criticize will also reap what they sow. Sadly a life and an eternal soul is at stake but God is in control for that too. God Bless you and multiply you!!!!! Thank you for being such an encouragement and inspiration to me as I walk the path God is laying before me. I am really going through the thick of things at the moment and soooo many of your posts speak to the season of life i am in. Thank God for the ministy He has called you to. Keep up the good work.

  54. I am a mom of two boys; 1 and 3. Your blog and some other large family Christian blogs are such an inspiration to me. I am teaching my boys to have a servant heart starting now and to have fun taking care of our house and I eagerly look forward to the day that I can teach even more children to take care of our home & themselves. I believe that most children in today’s world are not taught valuable lessons of work-ethic and joyful attitudes. There are so many valuable lessons in learning to take care of a home and family at an early age. Those children who are not required to do so are cut short of blessings. For example, my parents required chores of me and being the oldest of 4 girls I was expected to help care for my siblings. I was well prepared for college and the working world and now my role as a mom because of the work my parents required of me. And I often still “hear” my parents saying “do all things without grumbling or complaining”. However, my husband was waited on by his parents and excuses were made for his laziness. They still believe that is the more loving way to raise a child, but I know through studying God’s word that is not sound doctrine. God has changed my husband and he is now a hard-working, loving and respectable husband, worker, and father. But that only came through God’s grace after some painful mistakes that his lack of work ethic led him in. I can’t help but feel that his parents cheated him by making to many excuses and allowance. I have never thought of your family as “slave labor” when reading your blog. I have only hoped that I can have more children some day to have a home that operates so beautifully united in Christ.

  55. My guess would be that some of the misconceptions are due to what appears to be taking place in the most visible Quiverfull family. (I don’t think I have to name names here.) When daughters are seen to have a much heavier workload than sons, and older girls appear to be raising their younger siblings, presumably to give their parents more time to negotiate book deals, television contracts, and the like, it’s not that surprising that some people might think all Quiverfull families are the same. Wrong, yes, but surprising? Not really.

    Along those lines, I’d like to ask you what your position is in regard to higher education. I don’t want to make the same mistake as some others and make assumptions based on a more visible family’s views. I asked the same question on another blog, but I didn’t get much of a response. (Or haven’t yet, anyway.) Then again, they do have eleven kids….

    • My take on higher education? My husband and I both have college degrees. Neither one of us regret those degrees, but I do not for one moment buy into the idea that all people must have a college degree. College degrees in many instances have become absolutely meaningless as standards have dropped considerably over the years. The cost of college is outrageous in my opinion and many, many people would be better off not going into debt and spending their money getting established in another way. It would be good for our entire country to rethink education and step outside the box for a bit. There has to be a better way. Our children are all so unique and I would not want to burden them with the idea that they have to go to college if that is not truly the case.

  56. I love your site! I so want to implement some of your homeschooling/modified workboxes ideas you have (I tried the work boxes too and found the whole mess in the flour, but that’s off topic!) We have a large family (well large from our parents’ perspectives) – me, my husband, and 4 kids. I grew up in a household of 3 kids – me, my brother and my sister. I felt like I was used as “slave labor”. Why? Well my mom would tell me and my sister to clean the kitchen while she sat in the den watching tv. Now my adolescent perspective didn’t at the time notice the vacuuming and picking up and scrubbing toilets and whatever else she did but I know we had weekly chores and then the daily chore of dishes/unloading the dishwasher/cleaning up the kitchen table/counter etc. I did resolve with my children to do something different which I think would have made the difference in my perceptions… that is to work with them. To make sure they see me doing work. At present, with two daughters (7 and 2), and then my two little boys – the girls will actually FIGHT over who gets to vacuum… I don’t know how this happened but it’s, to them… a privilege to vacuum. Or fold clothes. Or whatever. I am assuming its the unintended benefits of them seeing me do these things all the time.

    Also – kids make messes. It seems right to me they learn how to clean up. My oldest had the brunt of cleaning up for a long time. I had her taking care of diapers, putting up dishes, helping put up groceries, and … cleaning her room. Guess which one of those she hated the most? It wasn’t the diapers. She does not like cleaning her room! She’s gotten a LOT better about it though. I didn’t have her doing chores when she was a toddler though and I see already a HUGE difference between her and my 2 year old. My two year old has an amazing attention to detail and I don’t know if it’s because she’s just a different person or if it’s because she “gets” to pick up when she’s young enough that everything is a game.

    Large family does not mean slave labor. I think large family means more opportunity for learning how to raise your own families because with as much mess as a large family can make, there are plenty of opportunities to learn “home economics”!

  57. Great article! I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I don’t consider my family as “large”, though many do. My six children were always busying doing things around the home and outside in the yard. My goal was to keep them as busy using their minds and their hands as I could. ? The one’s who have a distorted view are usually the ones who are looking for justification in the way they personally parent. I do remember a few comments when visitors were surprised to see my daughters doing the dishes or serving the meal. Some would ask me what do I do all day…? Hmmm….. who taught them their skills?? And before those little darlins’ were old enough to do the dishes, Momma was doing it all. ? I am finding now that the majority of young ladies who are the ages of my three daughters do not know how to clean a house, fix a meal or tackle making a tree house for their younger siblings. The Bible tells us the be busy about our own business and that is what I enjoy doing. I agree with you that an appreciative and loving mom and dad will produce a child who is a happy servant. A parent who is more self-centered and complaining, will produce a child who is more self-serving and more complaining about everything in their life. Like produces like. ? I am so blest to have only six children and to have them all help out around the home and for each other. We weren’t perfect in our parenting, and I wish I could have some “do-overs”, but I have some precious children any way!

  58. Thank you so much for this post. As a mother of 5 children and the oldest child of 8, I know that moms, especially, deal with negative comments about the size of our families. There a lot of people who think that having more that 2-3 children is “socially” irresponsible and selfish. What they do not realize is all the personal sacrifice and financial struggles a married couple endures to follow God’s will. That many of us have had to put our dreams of lavish vacations and nights out to raise and teach our children. And that we put a lot of importance into teaching our children to be helpful and good workers. Socially irresponsible? Selfish?

    I, too, have learned by experience and watching what to do and what not to do. I want my older children to help with the little ones, since a family supports and loves each other, but I definitely do not want them to “raise” the little ones. That is not right. They are not equipped to do so and it fosters resentment towards the little ones. I love my kids too much to pit them against each other.

    Thank you so much for your stories. I pray for your continued strength.

  59. I appreciate your post so much! I won’t go into detail, but I would have liked to learn to work hard as a child, because now it is much harder to learn as an adult. As a result, I’ve trained my kids to do lots of chores, let them help in the kitchen/cooking from a young age, etc, without worry that “Its more work to let them help”, which was my mom’s thought. They are such a help to me, and are harder workers than I am…..(Your words ring true—i need to be careful not to let them feel they are working harder than I am). The other day I made a chicken that we raised last year, and my son ate it and said, “I don’t mind doing the chicken(broiler) chore, now:) We talked about how he helps with the feeding/moving/caring for them, his sisters do the hen chore by themselves so he is free to do that, and I cooked it–how everyone has their part. That is not all they do. I feel so happy that they are growing up feeling like they have important work to do. It is so much better for the self worth and since they feel capable, I feel confident that they will be able to be more productive and competent as adults than I’ve been able to be.
    Thanks for posting your posts, even if society disagrees. Most kids these days don’t feel good about themselves because they aren’t contributing to the household.

    • I wasn’t raised to work hard either. My mom asked me to do things, but nothing was required and if I didn’t do it, she did. She is this kind of person by nature, so it was easy for her, but I ended up at a loss as an adult. It has been a difficult road and I want my children to understand fully what it takes to run a household and pitch in where needed. :)

  60. I love your blog! I was never expected to do any chores except clean my room — I didn’t do that well as my mom really did no hold me accountable. It really hurt me as an adult. I was not raised in a Christian household and my mother did not (and still does not) set a godly example for me. Thankfully, God has blessed me with a wonderful Christian husband and MIL and after many years of prayers and infertility — not one, but TWO babies who turned 18 months old yesterday! How truly great God’s blessings are! I pray for more, but I am 42 y.o. and realize that it may not be in God’s plan for me. I do continue to try to have a relationship with my mother and pray that her heart will be turned to God. Thank you for sharing your stories and encouragement for moms on here.

  61. I have four children and I strongly agree that we need to allow them to participate in the running of the home, not only to gain a strong work ethic, but also so they feel part of what is going on.
    Let me clarify how that looks in our home: one of my sons loves to cook and gains great joy by serving us a home-cooked meal…so that is one of his chores! Our daughter loves to help me bake and fold laundry together. She may just do some dish towels, and we spend time talking together. My eldest loves to do outdoor work with his father. My youngest is always helping pick up little things around the house. I believe allowing them to help gives them a sense of confidence: yes, this is my family & this is my part to contribute.
    Thanks for sharing so many great tips with us Mamas :)

  62. I love this post. I love your blog. I am 28 and have 3 children, all boys.( 7,2 1/2, and 18 months). I would love to have more children. We are actually planning on having more and already I have noticed how rude people are. My last two little ones are 11 months apart and I’m sure you can only imagine the remarks I have experienced. ( it’s actually because he was a premie) and not to mention I am 28 and apparently look like I am 17. I wish I had the courage to say something but I am trying to teach to my boys respect. I really appreciate this post and your words

  63. I find this very interesting. It seems all in how you perceive it to be. I myself had a shift in thinking/parenting around my third child. I had been very permissive and child centered without realizing it. I was meeting their needs, and was having difficulty separating needs from wants. The shift came when I realized somehow I forgot that boys are really baby men, and girls are really baby women. They need to be taught how to be adults, not raised in a separate “child environment” made just for them. Part of this is learning about work. The life of an adult is work.

  64. I am sorry to hear that people do not understand and therefore, leave hateful comments. I a young mom of 3 girls of my own, who are 4 and under, and I also have a stepson who spends quite a bit of time with us. I love the part where to compare a family to an economy because it is so truth, even the smaller ones!

  65. Amy, I would love your opinion. How would you avoid resentment in our situation? I have an almost 10yr old, and due to separation and re-partnering, I now have a 2yr old and a baby due in January.

    My 10yr old is obviously physically and mentally more able to undertake household chores.

    I am cautious about not insisting he look after our daughter too much, at most its 5 or 10mins while I am busy doing a chore or showering.

    In terms of chores it is harder to balance as he is so much more advanced and capable than the 2yr old (its a win for me if she puts her toys away without wandering off and getting bored! 😉 )

    • Hi Jessica! I would work alongside him as much as possible and make it something special for the two of you. When you do ask him to do something that is helping you out and you are not there with him, make sure he knows you appreciate it and you are impressed by his leadership and responsibility. Have fun, be a family, love on him (no matter how old he gets 😉 ). And do your best to not separate him from the rest of the family. The 2 year old is his sister. They are family. You are all family. :)

      • thanks amy! I always try to be very thankful and appreciative when he does help out.

        I am curious also what your opinion is of say, keeping his room cleaned or his clothes washed. Is it unreasonable to expect that he take responsibility for those and him to do that all the time?

  66. I am an only child, both my parents worked full time, my grandparents lived about 60 meters up the road they helped look after me before the age of 12 when I could look after myself( only grandchild on that side), Mum has a cleaner to clean the house, I didn’t have chores, BUT they taught me the skills, even if I didn’t have to do them at home I still had to learn them, they where quiet strict ( secular standards) which made me learn to be sneaky, but I was also held accountable for my actions they worked hard so I could have a good life, I also know they had people say bad things to them, like, She will end up doing this because you work or she will end up doing that because you let her….. what I discovered is it’s not whether you work or stay home, it’s not about if you make them do chores or not, it’s not if you believe in God or not, It’s about teaching the child respect, life skills, compassion, tolerance and responsibility. And making sure the child knows that even if they disagree, or make mistakes that you love them and will be there for them, those where the greatest gifts my working, semi religious, liberal parents gave me..

  67. I am the second eldest of ten children. I completely agree with your philosophy of having children help for the family. They feel invested and attached and later down the road they will be so blessed as the bonds they have with their siblings. My little siblings are 12-16 years younger than me and I feel so blessed to be a second mommy to them. Our relationship is beyond precious and we are closer than I would’ve ever dreamed. They have included me in their graduation speeches, wedding acknowledgements, and have made my world a better place.
    Even if the older children feel overwhelmed at times, assure them they will enjoy it one day and miss those mornings of helping everyone at the table finish breakfast and start their day.

  68. I wholeheartedly agree that our children are not our servants. In my desire to just get things done, I sometimes rely one child too much. It is something I am working on. But, on the point of why others view a large family negatively, I think it is because there is a perception that every child’s childhood has to look exactly. the. same. When, in reality, there are many benefits that can accrue from having different experiences than other children. And, I can say from experience as an only child myself, that one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a sibling (1 or many). If that gift comes with responsibilities and experiences that other kids don’t have, then that is just part of the deal.

    • My 13 year old is very fast completing chores. She is my duplicate. I find myself teaming up with her too often. We can hammer out an entire room in 17 minutes. She doesn’t care for being on anyone else’s cleaning crew, since they snail-like. This morning we both have bronchitis, but still did more work than anyone else. You have to see much of it as a personality trait. We like organization or our happiness is hindered. I ask every hour to take a break or sit this one out since she works the hardest. She refuses saying the chore list will stare at her. I just gave her some cough medicine, and cleaned her area. I hope she will relax!
      I’m trying to train the other kids to achieve a better working pace. If you take two hours to do your area, there isn’t much point in your being there. I am keeping a journal of all her self motivated jobs this month. When I make the chore week, it’s a nice reference point on where not to write her name.

  69. I actually am the 3rd oldest of 8 and (1 on the way). I’m only 13. But me and my older sister help with the little children everyday. Sometimes it can be tiring. But what has helped me is knowing that I’m doing it for God. And because I know God will bless me with other things later on.

  70. I was wondering if anyone has advice for large families that are blended and in public school. My husband and have several children all from a previous marriage. Nine total, actually. His two oldest are grown and gone. And each have children of there own. (The older two); Janelle 24, David 22. Then there are Amanda 13, Rebekah 13, Ryan 11, Dalton 10, Jordan 10, Jayce 10, and Mackenzie 9. Not to mention that I would like to have four more (bring the total to 13) I like the number 13. Not for supersticious reasons, but because my birthdate is the 13th of may and my daughter Rebekah’s is the 13th of October. And my husband and mine’s anniversary is the 13th of December. So that would be a blessing to say the least.

    We are a Christ centered family, and put Him first in all things. Just need some pointers. Can I use the same priniciples for public school as home schoolers. And how about children that are not in the home all the time (my son Dalton and daughter Rebekah live with their other families for most of the time. Same with my husband’s daughter Amanda). I might start a blog called the ‘Jacob Family’ how does a Christ centered home manage and deal in a blended family. Scripture shows the pitfalls of a blened family, but there are blessing too I know it. We will see it in the kingdom of Heaven.
    God Bless and hope to see something soon from someone.

    • Absolutely the same principles apply! In fact, it is imperative your family see themselves as a team, working (and playing) together! I’m sure you are not alone, so if you ever do feel led to start a blog, I’m sure you would have many readers! :)

  71. Thank you for this post Amy. As well as the reminder to be more Christ-like, even when having to defend yourself and family against those who forget that when they don’t have anything nice to say ~ not to say anything at all!

  72. I appreciate your blog and your comments. My quiver was full at 6 – but that does not mean I expect everyone to have 6 children. Living a Biblical worldview will never be appreciated by those who do not consider the Bible their authority. It will never be understood by those who do not know the Author. Living life together with everyone contributing is God’s way – it gives value to every member. My children are grown now. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  73. “Walk a mile in my shoes”

    I love your blog. I am raising 7 smalls. I do most of the grit work, while the kids do a weekly chore list (thank you). How are child-center families going to cope with adults unwilling to take care of themselves? Kids must be taught life skills. When did we forget to hand down the skills of generations past? Hub and I have shared our collective knowledge, as well as them learning individual areas of interest. I have a two 17 year olds whom are remarkably mature, and well-rounded, despite both having disabilities. We also goof off with video games, make big living room beds for movie nights, and have a full outdoor summer. I don’t care what people think of us anymore. Follow your heart, because in today’s world there are few good people. I am saddened at times to think my LOs might struggle to find a partner in life.

    For all the other Big Family Mamas : You gotta check out the 5.6cu Front Loaders. We bought two so I could have a life. If you don’t have any weak bladders in your troop, you may get by with one unit. 😀 HUGS!

  74. Among the Mennonite families I know, it is completely normal and expected for the elder children (mostly daughters) to take care of the younger ones. I would expect that, as you said, the reason they aren’t resentful is that everyone’s work is appreciated and that they are raised, through modeling by the adults, to value work.