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Raising A Large Family Is Hard Work!

Raising a large family is hard work. So why have a large family? For some, having a large family is a religious choice. While for others it’s a cultural decision. But for us, it’s been a calling that God placed in our hearts since the beginning of our relationship.


Do you want a large family? Many of you have asked “how do you do it all?” I’ll let you in on a little secret…I don’t do it all. So how do we both work full time jobs, pastor Strong Tower Church, and homeschool our children? Before I give you some tips for raising a large family, let me tell you a little story:


One day in a faraway land, in the beautiful mountains of Virginia, a young Prince charming fell madly in love with a Princess. Before long, they were joined in marriage and God blessed them with a baby girl. And then another little girl, and before long the Princess had six beautiful healthy children. But with little ones in diapers, homeschooling, and housework the Princess began to feel overwhelmed. But neither the Prince or the Princess had any idea what they could do with their little growing family.


Years passed and God sent the Prince and Princess to another country. They returned home to their castle with four more children. Suddenly, the Princess knew that things had to change. She and her handsome Prince came up with a plan.


Our large tribe requires me to plan ahead so we can enjoy time together.

I get so many questions about life with ten children and how we “get it all done” so I came up with some tips for raising a large family.

Let me begin with sharing our monthly chore list, followed by some explanations.


  • February-Captain: Caleb-the Captain of the “ship” is ultimately responsible to make sure all chores are completed in a timely manner and as expected.

  • Daily-Everyone: make own bed, keep own bedroom clean and organized, make own breakfast

Caleb's Monthly Chore List:

  • clean boy’s bathroom 2 times a week

  • vacuum basement weekly (boys living space)

  • breakfast dishes and kitchen clean up

  • sweep all wood floors daily

Artur's Monthly Chore List:

  • sweep and mop the kitchen and sun room every Friday morning

  • start a load of towel in the morning

  • keep laundry room organized and clean

  • take out garbage daily and weekly to the road

Vlad's Monthly Chore List:

  • sweep and mop kitchen and sun room every Monday evening

  • wash dinner pots and pans nightly

  • walk dogs in the morning

  • keep porches and yard cleaned up

  • lunch clean up and dishes

Victoria's Monthly Chore List:

  • feed and water all farm animals (Peyton to help)

  • keep school room straightened up

  • help with dinner prep

  • sweep kitchen floor after dinner

Anna's Monthly Chore List:

  • clean girls’ bathroom two times weekly

  • clean out the van weekly

  • fold and put away the towels daily

  • dust the living room weekly and keep it clean up nightly

Peyton's Monthly Chore List:

  • keep sun room cleaned up

  • help boys with yard and garbage

  • collect chicken eggs daily

  • feed and water the dogs and cats

  • set the dinner table


Our children do chores daily. Chores are a part of life and make one feel that they are important and needed in the family.

I change the Captain and the chores each month. This allows the children to learn to do a job and to learn to do it well. At the end of the month, after chores are completed and checked for the last time, they hand the chore over to another child.


During the month the Captain is ultimately responsible. If I noticed that the floor is dirty I go directly to the Captain. The Captain will address the issue with the child who the floor was assigned to. That person must complete the chore according to the Captain’s expectation.


If not done correctly, the Captain will complete the chore. It’s tough being at the top! Dad does surprise ship inspections…taking the chore list and the Captain along with him. Since we rotate Captains they all learn responsibility, accountability, and submission.


Caleb and Vlad attending the Harford County Sheriff Youth Training Academy. They had to learn to work with others, competed in team building activities, and learned leadership skills. We were so proud of them!

Laundry


A large family brings that subject to a whole different level. I assign one person to start a load of towels in the morning. After that, the children are assigned a laundry day in which they wash, dry, and fold their own clothes. Anna, Victoria and Peyton put their laundry in together, with Victoria operating the washer, Anna the dryer, and Peyton unloading. Team work at its finest!


About every 6 weeks we have to call a “work day.” With this large family we need to do our daily maintenance, but also some deep cleaning or yard work every now and then. As for cooking, the teens are taking turns helping me each day. My boys love to cook! We have also instilled a buddy system where each older teen is assigned a younger child to encourage, train, and assist when needed.


Kyrsten and Elizabeth are best friends...like sisters are suppose to be. Don't allow your children to be nasty to one another. They need to spend time with each other to cultivate a relationship.

How do we cultivate an atmosphere of love? We encourage kind words and good manners at all times. So how do we do that?


We Teach our Boys to Put Women and Children First


We eat buffet style most of the time. My husband requires that the girls and I dip our food first. He has explained to our boys that as men they need to make sure that the woman and children are priority, even before their own needs.


My boys show preference to the girls, opening doors, carrying in groceries, and even helping Elizabeth with her car. My husband feels strongly that this is good husband training.


We Teach our Girls to be Godly Wives


My boys treat the girls very well like a princess should be treated. But we also ask our girls to be respectful and honor their brothers.


There are times that we ask them to serve the boys dessert, obey their brothers when left in charge, and speak to them with a soft voice. We are training them to be Godly wives.


We assign them a Pray Partner


Let me explain: we have some children who live in our home, while others are married or off at college. So each child is assigned a person to pray for, send encouraging text messages, and reach out to in love.


For example: Artur is assigned to Jesse this month. I often asked him, “how’s your buddy doing?” This system encourages our children to think of others.


Character Training in the morning.


We LOVE LOVE LOVE the character booklets from the Institute of Basic Life Principles. They are simple, and yet we learn so much. Each character trait is explained by giving an example with using an animal. Just today we had a dozen deer run through our field.


Peyton was so excited as he watched from the kitchen windows. Later, he said, “Gram, those deer must have heard something and it scared them.” Me, “Yes, you are probably right Peyton.” Peyton, “I know because deer are attentive-they “give ear” remember? YES! In our study of Attentiveness we learned about how deer listen and that we should “give ear” to God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 30:10).


He remembered! As we studied this character trait for the month of January we read the story of Daniel in the Bible. Our February character trait is decisiveness and we are learning about hawks and Esther in the Bible. Oh, how I wish I had found this stuff earlier in my parenting years!

Your tribe will only be as strong as your relationship together. Your children NEED to see you hold hands, kiss each other, and laugh together. They need to hear you pray together, see you worship together, and watch you grow old together.

Are you still thinking of raising a large family? Remember, it may be hard work but many hands make the work light.


Work together, pray together, and play together.

Raising and training our large family takes work. It's not always easy. It can be very exhausting at times. We have learned through trial and error and a system that works well. Feeling frustrated? Give it a try! Let us know how your tribe is doing.

What are your thoughts about large families? Are you raising a large family? Do you have any tips for raising lots of kids? Let us know in the comments below! We want to hear what you think!


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#parenting #bigFamily #donnellyTribe #parentingIsHard #AMothersGuideToParenting

About Me

Welcome to our home, my name is Michele. My husband, Walter, and I have been happily married (most of the time) for 28 years. My husband is the Pastor of Strong Tower Church while I work as a Critical Care Nurse. Together, we have been blessed with 10 beautiful children.

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