Ramifications of having a large family


Hi, I just happened to be wondering about the ramifications - good and not-so-good - of having a large family. I am an only child, but most of the women I’ve dated come from a large family and want a large family of their own one day. Personally, I’m perfectly fine with it. However, before I jump into anything, I’d like to find out what the ramifications are, in terms of financial planning/stability, of having many kids and having the wife being a stay-at-home mom.

On top of it, my parents are against the idea of stay-at-home moms, and I’ve had more than a few “discussions” with them on this very topic. They think that it would be way too much pressure on me, and that the quality of life would be reduced. They tend to think that a two-income family is the way to go. They also think that the SAHM will become detached from society, and so wouldn’t have much common language with the husband.

I haven’t talked to my parents about homeschooling yet, but I’m sure they’ll have their fair share of objections on that one, too. The good thing is that they ultimately just want me to be happy, and they will be accepting and supportive of my decisions once I make them. I know they do want the best for me, but it makes it that much harder to talk to them about it.

Anyway, your input would be great appreciated. Thank you in advance!


Some “ramifications”? Well, large families are taught that it is very necessary to “get along” with each other even though each person has a different opinion or personality. They learn to help each other (and their parents). Less work for mom and dad since there are many hands to make work light–from “built in baby sitters” to light housework to shopping to cooking to yard work. Oh, and we can’t forget that priests and religious too often come from larger families.

Oh, and here’s something I learned as an only child after my mother died the other year (father died years before.) Just as since there is no one to “double” the joy with in times when she was living or even help out during the times she was needing help in old age, there is no one to share the grief after life is over. One of the grief cycles is feeling alone, and when you are the only child, you are alone. No amount of a sole inheritance can take that away.


My input: once you’re married, start putting your wife’s opinions and beliefs above those of your parents. The marriage will involve you, your wife, and God. Your parents do not factor into a sacramental marriage. Yes, family of origin is important and it’s great to be on good terms with your family (who will hopefully be supportive). But if your parents undermine your wife and marriage because you don’t do things they way that they think you should, then either you cut ties with them or risk your marriage. Your parents had their chance. Your wife comes first.

I wouldn’t even talk to your parents about things like SAHMs and homeschooling right now. What’s the point? It will make everyone unhappy, and besides, these are not matters for them to decide. It’s not like they have experience in either and it sounds as though they have some rather derogatory prejudices against SAHMs (detached from society? what does that mean?).


I would have to agree with this one. I lost my dad when I was in high school and lost my mom when I was 25. For the last 5 yrs I have been having to deal with a very real sence of loneliness and this is with having a great set of inlaws.

As a SAHM I do not feel at all seperate from society I accually am more able to give to my community. I am also not wore out with caing for my children and job. I can still give to my marriage. Speaking for myself I am not the type of person that can give 100% to job, 100% to kids and 100% to husbandAt least one of the three would of suffered and my biggest fear was that it would be my husband or my kids.


I think the best gifts you ever receive are your children. The isn’t anything in the world I would prefer to have than my children. We don’t have a lot of money but so far we have everything we need and I wouldn’t want more thing and less children. I have had two children die and I know my entire family would trade all they have to be able to spend a day with those little ones. In my house we truly believe that people are more important than things.

My in-laws don’t share our beliefs and it is very hard. I home-school our children and they are always hinting that our children are missing out on so much. My mother-in-law, while I was pregnant with our first, pulled me aside to explain that she would recommend only a few children because we would have the hardship of raising children. My husbands Grandmother pulled me aside to tell me that I was waisting the the degree I have by staying home with my children. I have been told that God is trying to tell me not to have any more kids after two of our children died before birth. I could write you a book. I don’t hate any of them and they are always in my prayers, but I would be lying if I said they haven’t broke my heart on more than one occasion.

You would save your future wife a lot of grief if you spoke to your parent about how you feel before you even began to date a women. That way they totally understand that these are things you value and once your married they can’t blame some women for somehow blinding you of what they believe is reality.


I agree. Its important that a husband and wife be as close as possible to being on the same page related to beliefs on how a family should be run and children should be raised.

I dated a girl and we got engaged. It was not until after the engagement that we started talking about these issues seriously. Big mistake. We both were sort of guilty of wanting to do things the way our parents did. At times, these things clashed. I will say I was willing to discuss things but she was about as flexible as a steel rod, her way or no way. This eventually lead to the end of our engagement (along with other issues)

You are your wife have to see eye to eye, but also have to be willing to listen to each other and each other’s perspective.


Thank you for your responses so far. I apologize if I wasn’t clear, but I had really wanted to find out about the financial ramifications/realities of having a large family. I would want to give my future children a good life if I can, and my question is how many children can one have and still be able to provide that, with the wife being a SAHM.

For instance, how much would a husband have to make in order to support a family with 3 kids and a house in a mid-sized city or in the suburbs? What about education? Would it make more sense to space them out, so that they’re not all in college at the same time?

Thank you!


:rotfl: I have to laugh at this one. Using NFP, we planned on having 2 kids about 3 years apart. We had 3 kids within 3 years. What this means is we will have 3 in private Catholic high school (to the tune of $10,000+ PER KID per year) at the same time, and will have 3 in college at the same time.

What you plan and what God plans may not always be the same thing!:wink:


Financial ramifications? Well, without the help of a large family (built in babysitting, less work for mom and dad because children do have household chores, children helping each other in school work) you’re going to have to pay for these services (day care, child care, maid, handy-man, gardener, tutor, etc.) And of course, that goes for the care of aging parents too. No one to share the cost of caring for mom and dad. That should count too. A person simply can’t make it all alone.


It is hard to say how much it cost financially because it really depends on where you live and what you consider to be comfortable. My family lives in the midwest. We live in a small four bedroom house that we have done a lot of work to ourselves. Both our vehicles are nearly ten years old. We do most repairs ourselves. Our children get new clothes every once in awhile but only those that are on sale. I don’t buy name brands of anything from clothing to groceries. Our car transmission just went out and we are currently using just one car until we can save up money to fix it. Our only debt is a suburban payment and house payment. We have three children that I homeschool, I am pregnant right now. We aren’t on any government assistance. We have a small saving account, retirement accounts, small college accounts for kids, and life insurance. We go out to eat twice a week once for family night and for breakfast after church. We do all this with about 48 thousand a year. I doubt we will pay for our children’s college. I put myself through college and I believe it is good for kids to make that type of commitment to their own education.


My husband and I raised two daughters and then became Catholic. We wish we had had more children, but we went along with the crowd and “limited” our family.

Your question about finances depends on a lot of variables. For example, certain parts of the country are a lot more expensive than other parts.

My husband and I live in a small city about 65 miles away from Chicago. 25% of the people who live in our city work in Chicago. Housing is so incredibly cheap here that their income buys a whole lot more house than they could ever buy in the Windy City or the suburbs. So they move here.

So choose a city that has cheap housing and you will have a lot more money to spend on your family.

Another variable is what your kids get involved in. Some activities are cheaper than others.

Our daughters were figure skaters. VERY expensive sport, as are almost all of the ice skating sports (hockey, speedskating, etc.)

But other sports are fairly cheap. E.g., track and field clubs are not expensive, and the kids are participating in a sport that will possibly earn them a college scholarship someday, unlike figure skating.

Of course, you can always say “no” to all of it, and your kids will work and play around your house and neighborhood. Nothing wrong with that, and it’s a lot cheaper.

As a parent, though, I really enjoyed being able to afford skating and other interests for my kids, and now that they are grown up, they still enjoy this sport. (One daughter coaches and makes more money per hour than I do.) It’s good when kids have something that is “theirs.”

One more variable is the homemaking skill of your wife. A good wife truly is valuable, as Proverbs 31 says! I came into marriage not knowing how to cook, sew, decorate, do various cleaning jobs, grow a garden, or do any of the homemaking arts. My husband didn’t really mind. But I often regret my lack of skill, as we always have to pay for all these things (except cooking, but we do eat out a lot, about 5-6 times week because the restaurant food tastes better than my cooking.)

It may sound like some kind of “business” for a young man to seek a woman who is skilled in homemaking, but I guarantee that you will save a fortune if you marry someone who can cook well, sew, garden, and take care of her house (wallpaper, painting, simple home repairs, etc.).

I hope some of these suggestions are helpful.

And BTW, I agree with the poster who said that it’s YOU and YOUR WIFE, not you, your wife, and your parents. A young man should LEAVE his mother and father and cling to his wife and they should be one flesh. It is a misery for a woman to be married to a man who has not cut the ties with his parents. I grew up in such a household and it was awful.


Okay . . . First and formost GOD WILL PROVIDE for the needs of all the children he gifts you with. As a SAHM married to a construction worker we havw seen layoffs and survived. I did have to go to work part time some times but we still survived. We have one vehicle payment one house payment and one credit card payment and that is it. He is able to enjoy his hobbies of hunting and fishing (not cheap) and I enjoy mine of quilting ( also not too cheap) all of this with 4 kids. We are lucky that our diocese doesn’t charge tuition for schools you just have to be tithing members of your parish which we do.


Well, three children are really not a large family.

As far a finances go, as a financial executive & a farmer l will tell you that no matter what you make you will spend it!

We spaced our three out so that they are not in college at the same time. College is very expensive and we choose to do what we can to put our children though it with a minimum of debt.

When you are young and concerned about the future, money seems to be a very real reason to limit your family. As you get older and realize that we live in a culture that thrives on consumption and acquisition of stuff you begin to think that in some very real ways you & your family might be better off if you had less.

In 100% 20/20 hind site we would have had more children and been less concerned about the costs. There are ways to stretch a dollar further then you think. Some of the previous posters have listed ideas they use.


My husband and I together had four children when we married. We had two incomes. He lost his job two weeks after we married.

I won’t go into the horror that was our first year together. But, I gave birth to OUR first child three months ago. I am a SAHM. My parents were against us having a child. (We are 39 years old and the parents still try to boss us around:D ). Ultimately, the grandparents are totally on board. They love their grandbaby. My husband makes enough to support us. Will we have more? I do not know. That is very much in the hands of God.

But I will say this. If a woman is going to have children, she should stay home if possible. It is the best model for the family. Is it always easy? Absolutely not. I cannot go shopping for shoes and handbags anymore whenever I want. We moved to a less expensive neighborhood, etc. But, our children love each other. Our home is a place of love, blessing, and contentment.

If you and your potential wife want a big family…then boo to everyone else. Work at it. Make it happen. I’ll be praying that you follow your heart and God’s guidance.


that is the truest thing said. I know people with one child living paycheck to paycheck, from a two income family. And I know people with 8 kids living just as well. You make due.

the other thing I would like to point out is that discussion about how many kids is good before marriage but don’t get locked into it. Leave it open. My husband and I initially thought we wanted a large family and we were all prepared to handle that. Then after my first child was born and I had a serious case of PPD that nearly killed me, it took me many years to even want to have another child. Then after child number two left me also with a severe case of PPD that again nearly killed me and my child, we decided that a large family wasn’t in the cards for us. I am not ashamed of that anymore. So please I don’t want anyone to judge it, I had my own share of guilt. I’m just saying that when you have your first child and things go well that’s all well and good. But when things don’t go well, please do not think that this is a failure to “only” have two children - or one child. When the time comes you will know what is right for YOU and YOUR wife. and no one else.


That all depends on where you live, “mid-sized” means different things. I know cities smaller than mine up North that would require 3 times the income for the same standard of living and 5 to 6 time out in CA.

I agree with the some of the other posters who said, you and your wife worry about that and discuss it. Some people can and want to stay at home. Others want a career and others would like a little of both. See how it works for you guys. Together you guys must decide things like Do I want to drive a new car every few years? Do I want a big house? Do we want multiple toys (TVs, Computers, ATVs etc…) all of those things cost money. You an get by on a lot less if you do without some of those. When deciding that though also factor in if those toys are going to take away from or add to your family? I’m big on at least 1 new vehicle with the latest safety features and a nice house with enough room for everyone. Again that goes back to where you live though.

My wife and I both went to college and she has an advanced degree and thus we have student loans. While we would like for her to work part time or be a SAHM now that we have 3 boys with another on the way (maybe a girl this time) we can’t. However we made that choice together.

Look at the job market where you are at then at housing prices to see how much you will need to make. For instance, where I live (in Arkansas) a recently built 2300 sq ft house with all the nice features (alarm, hardwoods, tile, crown molding) will run you between $210-$240K with annual taxes of about $2000. That same house in a Chicago burb would run you about $600K plus about $14K per year in taxes, in Northern CA it would be between $900-1M and I have no idea on the taxes.

Of course if you make enough to buy a million dollar home, car prices don’t really matter right? However it’s worth making a note that car prices really don’t change no matter where you are so they definitely take up a bigger percentage of your income if you live somewhere with cheap housing. (because the salaries are usually lower as well).



Sounds like you are repudiating mom and dad’s choices and everything they stood for. They will see to it you come around. Because they know your opposite choices are a contradiction of their choices. Prepare for a fight till they prove their own decisions right or you tell them the subjects are not open for debate.

As someone who grew up in a very large family, we all went to college. We found ways to finance our own educations. Mom was a SAHM. We didn’t have the best of everything, but we had what we needed, most especially our faith and a good education. And siblings. I don’t look back and wish we had had more toys. I look back and am glad I had all those brothers and sisters. I feel sorry for my own children who have two of everything in each household and only two siblings. They don’t even know enough to miss it. Having more was taken out of my hands by my only-child xh.

And here is where you need to know something, being an only child: If you marry someone with siblings, you will always have their lives, drama and business as part of your life. Do not resent it, fight it, or demand your wife turn herself into a pretzel and reject her family because it’s inconvenient for you. They’re likely to be somewhat protective of her, and if you try any of that nonsense, you’ll find yourself outnumbered.

Become one of the brothers and sisters. It will make your life much fuller and happier. Don’t be the glaring outsider resenting these people who loved your spouse long before you even met her. They’ll just wait you out until you go on your way. YOU will have to grow in a way you never did as you grew up and everything won’t center around you. If you can accomplish that, you will find a sense of belonging you may never have felt as a singleton.

If you don’t think you can accomplish that, leave the poor girls to marry guys who understand the big family dynamic. Please.


Yes, have lots of children so you can legally exploit them for free labor! If you have even a Third World nanny, you can’t force them to work for you without paying them at least minimum wage, otherwise you can be arrested for enslaving another human being. But you don’t have to pay your kids and you can work them as hard as you like!

My older sister and I used to be referred to as “built-in babysitters.” Both of us also decided to go to college hundreds of miles away from our families, too.

My older sister never helped with my schoolwork, and I had too much of my own schoolwork to ever help any of my younger siblings. My mother actually used to pull me away from my homework to make me do chores around the house.

I find the above attitude incredibly cold and exploitive. I don’t think it’s fair to have children just so you can have babysitters, maids, etc. They’re children, not serfs.


No one is talking about endentured servitude here nor about having children “just” so they can help out. We’re talking about being a PART of a family and we HELP each other out–that means household chores, watching siblings, helping with homework, etc… I’m sorry your experience of being part of a family was so negative. Certainly we shouldn’t overwork children, however, children need to learn the value of hard work, they need to learn to take care of themselves (cook, clean, mend clothes, etc), and they need to learn the value of taking care of others.

God bless


Yes, children need to learn how to be productive (how to cook and clean as well as other necessary skills they usually learn in a family) and need to be given responsibility. The need to learn that it’s not all about them. They need to have age appropriate chores (setting the table, washing the dishes, sweeping the foor, all the way up to helping with the shopping and budgeting to cooking to meal preparation to childcare to sewing to working alongside dad to…) And yes, before being able to babysit for outsiders for money–the children need to learn how within their own families–hence the term “built-in babysitters”. My own grandchildren are lovingly nicknamed that before they reach the age where they can be trusted with childcare for strangers.

I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but that shouldn’t prevent others from learning life skills (or even keep me from pointing out the obvious–the family benefits financially from the very fact that children usually learn these living skills in their families and then practice those same skills until they make them their own.)

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