What’s an average family size?

FB: I love the picture of that little cranky boy in the front on the left. LOL! The little girl up by her mom’s shoulder is adorable!!

I don’t know if any of you are losers like me, but when I was in the hotel room last month, I caught this show many times on TLC Jon and Kate + 8, about this family that had twin girls, and then decided to have a third child and ended up having sextuplets (6 kids).

Now, they say it’s a touchy, sensitive issue to talk about whether they did in vitro fertilization (IVF), but …. I’m sorry, twins and THEN 6 kids? That has to be a hell of a coincidence, or she’s just.. ridiculously fertile. So fertile that if he looks at her, she gets pregnant.

That’s another discussion for another day.

Anyway, they are this incredible hit on the show and how could they not be? They are ADORABLE! Look at that family. They ooze cuteness.

What I find interesting about the entire thing, is that in today’s world we find 8 kids in a family to be national news. Barring the fact that they are twins and sextuplets (which is amazing on its own), to have 8 kids in a family is the REAL news. Can you imagine raising 8 kids? 6 of them being babies all at once?

They must be Super Parents, that’s for sure. And they are sure to have gotten a lot of help from advertisers and companies wanting them to feature or use their products.

But in the past, 8 kids wasn’t a lot. I guess that was a normal family size. I remember my mom being part of 18 kids, and my dad being part of an 18 kid family.

They had HUGE families back then, and no one blinked an eye. But with the rising costs of childcare – it apparently costs a quarter of a million to get a baby fed, clothed and raised all the way to out of the house at the end of high school. This does NOT include college tuition!

I don’t know how they do it, because they’re a modern family with a modern home and they send their kids to school.

The reason why I say that is because the Duggars for example are an extremely religious family that just keeps having kids like bunnies because the parents decided to have as many kids as God was going to give them. That means no birth control or stopping sex… it means.. constant sex, which means constant pregnancies.

It’s also because Michelle, the mom, was on birth control before, and when they finally decided to have children, they lost their first child. They blamed the birth control (very plausible) and decided to never use any form of birth control ever again.

Here’s their family photo.

I heard they were up to 19 kids by now, so I may be missing a couple of young’uns in there.

I had so many questions going through my head when I heard this, and here are the answers in short form.

They were out of debt completely by the twelfth child (WOW!).

The older kids take care of the younger ones on a Buddy system, which is brilliant. Leaves mom a chance to get knocked up again.

They do NOT send their kids to school, they are home schooled by mom (something I’d never want for my kids because they have to grow up around kids who aren’t blood just to learn what ‘life’ is about… again, another topic, another day)

They clearly sew their own clothes and do everything the frugal way like buying en masse, to even building their own massive mansion (featured in the background), which I can bet was furnished for free by advertisers who just wanted to get in on the action. The inside of the home is GORGEOUS.

They hold their own masses inside their home because there is so many of them.

Their oldest boy is already MARRIED, and he’s.. what, 20? He’s super religious too.

They are ridiculously polite, well behaved and they kind of look like dream kids who do their chores around the house when mom asks them to. They seem pretty darn perfect in terms of family dynamic to me. Sure, there’s no privacy between each of them but they love being with their brothers and sisters so much, it’s incredible.

Especially when you consider how far apart my siblings and I are…

THAT, my readers, is amazing.

You then look at the stats for today’s family and you see that we’re averaging at 1.5 kids (er.. the half is a baby I think), 2 maximum. When you mention you want 3 kids or 4 kids, people give you the eye like: ARE YOU MAD?

I personally like big families because I grew up with 2 siblings and I would’ve liked a sister to play with when I was younger. But the minimum family size for me is 3 kids, just because it’s what I grew up with.

And people are always giving me stats about how a First World baby will cause THIS much pollution, THIS much waste, and on and on and on.

Well, the Duggars are a prime example of how they may NOT be causing so much waste. I bet you they thought about using cloth diapers (or have used them), but I do know that the big corporations have been sending them lots of free disposable diapers.

But most importantly, they don’t fall into the trap of buying things like makeup for the girls, or fancy iPods for everyone… Not every First World child has to be a huge footprint on the earth.

We have choices in how we live our lives, and if we live it a little greener, consume less, buy less and live with less, we could make a difference.

On the flip side, no kids at all is an option for a lot of couples.

I totally respect couples who don’t want to have kids at all.

They can save SO MUCH MORE money, and live such a life that we could only dream of – like jetting off to Thailand for a week just on a whim. And if they’re happy without kids, I don’t see why society has to pressure EVERY couple who’s married to have kids.

That’s the worst. It’s almost like being single at a family function and getting asked: So, have you met Mr. Right yet?

You almost want to turn around and slug them because they just ruined the turkey and stuffing basting in your belly with such a rude unwarranted question about your love life.

For those childless couples, they get questions like: Now that you’re married, where are the kids?

Uh, not EVERYONE that gets married has to have kids at all, or right away! Chill out! We live in a world where we can freeze eggs and buy sperm from a bank.

Having children is not for everyone, but those who have them and choose to have them, say that having kids change their life. I can only hope that those kids grow up well-behaved and polite instead of being those little brats I see in the malls sometimes.

So, what do you think? Do you like big families? Small ones? Or no kids at all?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.