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In Defense Of Big (I Mean REALLY Big) Families

June 15, 2021

My signature block at the bottom of this post says that I have 13 children. That’s absolutely true. Not everyone is comfortable talking about large families. I’m sure there are some of you reading this post who just shake your head in disbelief.

I mean, Rodney seems like such a normal guy in other ways. What’s with the over-sized family?

When we were getting ready to add the 5th child to our family, a friend at work was shocked.

It takes a million dollars to raise a child!

No, it doesn’t take a million dollars to raise a child. But, his attitude isn’t surprising.

I have a friend who’s a professional comedian. He’s not afraid to talk about uncomfortable topics. He has a bit where he talks about the reality tv show, “19 and Counting.”

I mean, when you have enough for your own softball team. . .to play your OTHER softball team. . .and the last kid can be the umpire

My friend thinks large families are selfish. Mostly, because of the cost of raising those kids. He’s afraid that society, the rest of us, will have to make up the difference in the cost of raising kids.

He’s a good guy. And he was mostly going for the joke. But, he’s wrong about large families and especially planning for large families.

At one point my family had to go on food stamps. We were in Wisconsin. I’d made a bad business decision to go into partnership with a guy who turned out to be a crook. I found myself with 12 kids, a stay-at-home wife and stuck in a part of the country where I didn’t know anyone and my computer/IT skills were not particularly marketable.

The church helped, but it was a small branch. The state of Wisconsin decided that my family required $2100/month for food. We typically bought about $800/month in food. But, the extra helped us build up our food storage.

Now, you could look at this and think I was exactly what my friend was joking about. I had a family that I could no longer support and I was asking the rest of you to make up the difference.

How irresponsible!

Except, that children are not like other stuff that you buy. If you buy a house that is more than you can afford, you sell the house and get something smaller. Get into a car and find you can no longer afford the payments? Sell the car. Reduce expenses.

You can’t do that with kids.

And here’s the thing. The year we went on food stamps I made $23,000. Not nearly enough to support any sized family let alone one with 14 people.

But, the previous year I made over $100,000. In fact, when we were adding to our family I was making between $150,000 and $250,000 per year. That’s clearly enough to support that sized family.

The issue is that when you take on a child, you are committing to an 18 year lease with no opt-out clause. Do you know anyone who can project their earnings for the next 5 years let alone the next 18? I don’t.

After that year at $23K I went back to making $100,000 or more each year. Plenty to support my family.

So, when you see a large family, realize that while it might not work for you, it does work for a lot of people. And if they are in a down period, understand that they were probably not always in that spot, and they are likely to get back on their feet.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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