Do Moms with Large Families Have More Patience?

One of the funniest things I hear when people find out how many children I have is,

“You must have more patience than I do.”

I try not to laugh because in my head are flashbacks of every moment I have been short, grouchy, or loud with the children in the past week, reminding me that I have not arrived.

But to the outsider who has their 1.8 children and feels like they could never ever manage to have any more because they feel they are already failing at their current family size, I look as if I have oodles of patience.  Because I know what she is thinking, I humbly remember when…

When I had 2 children.

When I felt like an utter failure all day every day.

When I wondered how I was going to get up the next morning and do it all over again.

When I was fairly certain I was warping my children and why on earth would God give me any more…and why on earth would I want any more?

And then God handed me a passage of Scripture that changed my life:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
Psalm 127:3-5 (emphasis mine)

God gave these children to me and I was to see them as blessings and rewards.  I was to feel blessed by them!  The more I practiced (yes, I practiced) feeling blessed and being blessed, the more I realized their childish antics and interruptions were not personal offenses and were not worth the angst I was feeling.

When you feel blessed to have the children you have…TRULY blessed, there is very little room for impatience and irritation.

I’m a work in progress.  I still have my moments, but when I look back at the mom I used to be and the way I felt about my children then as compared to now, I see that feeling blessed has made all the difference.

So, the fact that I have a large family has nothing to do with my ability to be patient, nor does it cause me to be more patient than the lady at the grocery store with her 2 children.  I know plenty of moms who only have 2 and know what a blessing those 2 are and live it every day to the best of their human capabilities.  I also know moms of many who do not feel blessed and fuss and complain about their children all the time.  The number of children does not equal the level of patience a mom has toward her children; however, you will find that many large family moms do exhibit a different level of patience simply because they see their children as God-sent blessings and enjoy them so much that it only makes sense to have as many as the Lord will bless them with.

Lots of kiddos is often a result, not a cause of learning true patience…the kind that comes from seeing your children in the proper light.

So, I encourage you to stop asking God for patience and start asking Him to show you how to be blessed by your little ones.  The patience will come, my friend.

{Oh, and the little feet in the photo above?  They belong to the 3 year old.  Never a dull moment!}

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41 thoughts on “Do Moms with Large Families Have More Patience?

  1. We have three kids (plus one waiting in heaven) and no matter what the number would be, I know I would still need the Lord to help me sprout the fruit of patience. This weekend we had three other kids in the car and my daughter asked me what I would think about having six kids, and I said, “I would be blessed.” So, I agree with you. It’s important to consider the true gifts that they are. Btw, I love autumn too, but just not as early as you. It usually takes me until Oct. 1st (but I live in Seattle so summer doesn’t arrive until 4th of July!). And, I can’t believe the baby is up to a cantaloupe! :)

  2. Yes, it’s our mindset – our focus…on Him or the worldview….I often consider Moms with one child….I think that is a tough job….but, a blessed job, too!

  3. I love this post!!! So many people comment that I must have a lot of patience with five children. It is and always will be a work in progress. I am not a patient person by nature but God is teaching me patience through our children as we learn and are reminded daily what a blessing they are. Thank you for your post.

  4. Thank you for this Amy. I actually have 2.8 children…a two yr old, a one yr old, and one due in nine weeks. I needed this today. God has used you to bless me by once again reminding me how blessed I am.

  5. Oh I love this post!!! And I giggled out loud when I read the verse you chose to post today. That verse has spoken to us A LOT over the last 2 years. In fact, this baby in me is being named after that verse.

  6. Don’t you also think that practice makes perfect? I have one child and lose my patience constantly. But, I’m much better than I was at the beginning. You learn new things and find ways to cope. I’d also think that with a large family, you’d choose your battles because you’ve simply learned to know what’s important and what your kids’ personalities are. Hopefully I gain more patience since we are expecting another one in march ;).

  7. This is so very true. I hate to say it, but I had to go through several miscarriages before I saw just how precious my children are. That should not have been the case but it was. It really did change how I saw my children and that changed my attitude toward them. Like you, I still find myself responding impatiently or sharply at times. However, I try to repent quickly and tell my children how much I love and value them. Correction needs to happen but not with my flesh all mixed in with it.

  8. Thank you so much for the encouraging words and reminder to trust God and remember children are a blessing. I am a mom of a 4 year old and a 2 year old and I have a baby girl to be born in December. I am, however, new at staying home with them after working for the last 16 years. I am three weeks into my new arrangement and have just started homeschooling my 4 yr old. The last couple of days have been rough and I felt like a miserable failure. Thank you for the scripture and encouragement! May God continue blessing you and your family!

  9. I just had to re-post this on my personal FB page because I know that many of my friends and acquaintances think we’ve been given some supernatural love for children that they don’t possess, and that’s why we have 8.

    The truth is, God gently nudged and reminded us that these babies are a blessing, not a burden. That they are every bit as much a blessing as ministry He gives us, money he provides, family and friends, the Holy Spirit, a beautiful sunset, an abundant crop, rain, etc. When we saw them that way, how could we say no?

  10. I agree that seeing children as blessings changes your perspective. I also think that raising more children makes me less apt to care about things that concerned me when I only had 1 or 2. There is just less time and energy to freak out because someone colored themselves with magic markers or knocked over their glass even though I already told them 3 times not to leave it at the edge of the table…

    • This is so true. My two oldest (the only two old enough for school) go to Catholic school and I dropped them off the other day and my Kindergartner had colored her legs with a pen (don’t ask where she got it, I have no clue) on the way there. They were covered. I just kind of shrugged and said, well that’s probably not uniform appropriate, have a great day, love you! LOL Thankfully her teacher is a mom of many too and just laughed.

  11. LOL I didn’t even notice the feet! I thought you were taking a picture of an empty van! I love your post and I can definitely relate in my own life! Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. THANK YOU again for putting words to the stirrings in my heart that I can’t put words to! MANY, MANY times recently I have been told how patient I must be or how I’m a saint as people see me toting my 4 kiddos age 5 and under through the store. I keep thinking, ummmm…I USED to be patient! OR, “They are so much fun why would it grant me sainthood to have them?”

    • I get a lot of comments in the store too, 6 kiddos 7 and under, and the one I get the most is, “you sure have your hands full!”, I’ve started smiling and saying, “Yep! Full of love!”. I read that on a blog somewhere (it might have even been this one) and it tends to make people stop and smile and say something nice instead of the look of terror that most of them start off with. :)

  13. This is a great post. I often get told some version of this. One of my favorites is, I can’t imagine having six when I can’t even deal with my 2! I honestly tell these people I was a much more stressed out mom, impatient mom, etc when I only had 2 children than I am now. Even my mother commented on this fact recently. I find my 6 children to be much easier than my 2 were (and I’m sure it’s a mindset not a fact :D) and look forward to hopefully receiving more little blessings from God.

    • That is why I was sure to include this sentence: “I know plenty of moms who only have 2 and know what a blessing those 2 are and live it every day to the best of their human capabilities.” I had two children myself when I finally started seeing my babies as blessings. :)

  14. This post brought a smile to my face. Yes, I’ve heard that question (again) yesterday from a mom-of-1. Today was one of my classic failures – even a very patient mom can only handle so much bickering!!! But once they are reminded of who’s in charge and how we should treat each other we’re off to a better start again. What a blessing to share this journey with them! Thanks for the post – I think I should write my own on my blog!

  15. Thanks so much for posting this, I really needed to read this today. I have five children and I hear the same comment all of the time, however I don’t have tons of patience. Thanks for posting “real” feelings and experiences that you have had. I really enjoy your blog.

  16. I stopped praying for patience awhile back because I realised I was praying for the wrong thing. I wanted more patience of my own, so I could be more patient, so that I could be everything I needed for my children.
    But I don’t need more patience of my own. I need His Holy Spirit to give me grace. I need His strength for my weakness that He might be glorified.
    Your reminder to pray to feel blessed is something I need to do more too.

  17. Thank you for this post!!!! Came at a great time, as we just spent the past 6 or 7 hours with our first day home shooling with this new curriculum and it was tough!
    Glad I am able to home school this year! Blessed in fact! I can not believe that I am able to say that this year!!! 3 years ago, well I had a whole other attitude about teaching my children at home! So grateful the Lord has brought me to this place of joy in having my kids at home and being able to be the one who teaches them!!!
    Thank you and much blessings to you and your family!!
    ~~~ Claire

  18. I have 5 kids close in age and get this comment ALL THE TIME. Like you, I flash back to very recent moments of impatience and smile. Thank you for eloquently stating the truth and reminding me not to pray for patience, but for a change in perspective… to see my children as blessings!

  19. When we were using Sonlight curriculum for history/literature we read a book, maybe for Core 4 (when it was called that), called Cheaper by the Dozen. The dad in the book has great comebacks for when people comment on the number of kids he had.

    ie: Are they all yours?
    Yes, and the other half is at home.

    When we lived in Germany people would often count our kids. When we traveled to Ireland, nobody seemed think twice about how many kids we had.

    Sue

      • The Irish are mostly Catholic, which traditionally do not use birth control. My mom (Irish Catholic family) came from six and one of her dad’s sisters had eight, everyone they knew was Catholic and had huge families. My husband’s family was Baptist and Methodist and everyone had only one or two. So I have 22 cousins and he has one!

  20. I laugh too when I get that comment, mostly from having a few more kids than most or from homeschooling. Oh boy, great challenge you lay out for us all no matter what the number. Thank you for writing this. You articulated it well and gave us flustered mothers food for thought. Some of the comments by your posters are great too! Thanks ladies!

  21. At the age of 50, I am the mother of 4 children. 23 yo, 5 yo, and 4 yo twins. LOL Yes, when our daughter was in college we adopted three babies. I hear “what were you thinking” alot. But I realize we had so much to offer to someone with nothing. I get called there grama almost every day. Most of the parents in their preschool class could be my children. But this also makes me feel blessed when so many of them come to me for advice. Choosing your battles is definately something I have learned, Yes, attitude is very important, and to remember that children are not raised in a day. There is always a second chance to get it right. The goal is not to have a perfect day everyday, but to have more good days than bad. When a bad day does come, try to think, what will my children remember about this day and make sure that it’s a ray of light in the darkness.

  22. I have 8 children and I have always struggled with patience… .my whole life… I’d say I was extremely impatient when I just had one or two…. When people say, “Oh, you must have more patience than me,” I just say, “No, I have a very patient God.” LOL! Or I tell them, “I am MORE patient than I USED to be…. but if you ask my kids, they would probably say that I am not a patient person by nature…” And, my favorite line to say, “Patience isn’t a requirement to have a large family (or to homeschool,) it is the fruit…..” I love to tell young mothers, “God will give you the children you need to work on the issues you have in life…. I have a lot of issues…. I have a lot of kids…” LOL! ;-)