I have three older brothers, an older sister and three younger sisters. Yes, that is quite a big family. Although it is big and crazy, it is also great. I always had someone around to have fun with and always someone to blame things on (whoops—sorry girls!).
While people with smaller families can try to understand where we’re coming from, they just never quite get all that being a part of a big families comes with. Here are 15 truths that only people from big families can fully understand.
1. Your clothes are hardly ever new
Hello, hand-me-downs. Hardly any of your clothes were new when you were little, and when you got older, none of your clothes remained yours because your siblings would steal them anyways.
2. If one person is awake, everyone is awake
There is no such thing as sleeping in when you have a big family because if one person gets up and starts making noise, it’ll wake another up, and the process continues until every single person is awake at 7 am on a Saturday morning.
3. You eat a lot of pasta, potatoes and other cheap, filling foods
You eat this at least three to four times a week. For my family, it was spaghetti. It was cheap, quick and we all scarfed it down like we hadn’t eaten in weeks. You were raised on cheap food that you could make a lot of.
4. Secret Santa!
Big families have too many people in them to buy a gift for each person individually, so having a Secret Santa gift exchange is the only way to be able to fairly provide a gift to another family member. At least it saves you some money!
5. Significant others never remember who is who
I can’t tell you how many times I have had to rename all my sisters to my boyfriends. They never remember who is who and usually leave before they actually get it down anyways. No complaints here!
6. One sibling takes the role as mediator
At any family function, there is always one person who is automatically the one who takes the role as a mediator. They break up the fights that inevitably break out, calm everyone down (usually with booze of some sort) and keep the peace in the house.
7. You have maybe two pictures of the whole group
It’s so hard to get everyone to stand still long enough to get a picture! There might be a couple of good group photos of you and your siblings roaming around, but that’s about it. As you get older, it becomes even rarer since you’re not always around each other.
8. When you’re older, holidays require you to bring a dish
Mom and dad have officially given up trying feed your entire family by themselves. So, whenever you have big holiday events, everyone brings a dish and your parents provide the main dish. No complaints about this because it means more food!
9. Sharing seat belts is the ultimate torture
Some cars just aren’t big enough to accommodate big families. This means that some of us are subject to intense torture in the form of sharing seat belts. Sitting that close to my sibling wasn’t bad enough, but then you have to secure me there? No thanks.
10. You can never hear the radio in the car
There are too many people talking above each other and the radio. There is no way, on any car ride, that the radio will be audible unless the drive is long enough for everyone to fall fast asleep.
11. Going out to eat always requires a reservation
There was always eight or more people whenever we went out to eat, and that meant that there were no spontaneous outings because we always required a reservation—and gratuity in most places. This meant that outings were also very infrequent and expensive.
12. Competitiveness runs deep
You may not even be that competitive of a person, but the second your sibling say that they’re better at something than you, you immediately have to throw out some sort of argument and prove them wrong.
13. Alone time is a no-go
Alone time? What is that? There is always someone in the room with you no matter what room you’re in—except for maybe the bathroom…sometimes.
14. Showers are 5 minutes long
If you have to squeeze six people into the shower before school starts and not run out of hot water, then your showers are 5 minutes long. If you go beyond that time, you had better be ready for an onslaught of hateful comments.
15. You can never have friends over because there are already too many people there
If each child has only one friend over, you have already created a party—and your parents probably do not want to feed that many kids in one night. This means that you spend more nights at friends’ houses than they spend at yours.
Having a big family sure has its drawbacks. However, there is a lot of happiness to be gained growing up with permanent friends. Share your experiences of growing up in a big family!