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Question to Dads of large families....


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A little background on me:  I came from an only child household......and absolutely hated it as a kid.  The rest of my family on both parents sides had at least 2 kids each, with the most having 4, so I had lots of cousins, but other than holidays or special occasions noone around.  

Fast forward to now, I've always wanted an active house so we had 2 kids right off the bat being married a year and week apart.  While that was slightly challenging, we just added a 3rd 16 months after the last on the 15th.  I'm blessed I'm able to be around a large amount of time for awhile, but quickly that has to end.  Our families all live less than 15 mins away.  

So, my question to other hardworking dads on here that had a situation such as mine, how do/did you balance your time?  Dont want to be "that dad" who always works, but cant be Mr. Mom either.  Dont get me wrong I LOVE my kids and couldnt be more blessed, but I have to provide as well......

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I have 5 kids the oldest is nine and the youngest just turned 3 this month.  It is very challenging at times but we make it work.  I work a full time job during the day and farm at night my wife works nights so it gets hectic at times, but anytime you can spend with the kids no matter what you are doing they will look  back and remember.  Sometimes its not always good memories, but hey we all have those.  Biggest thing just always try and set aside time each day to do what the kids want to do and everything seems to workout.

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To find that balance is hard, for sure.  Lots of guys can't, and their family suffers, some more, some less.

That being said, I'm certainly no expert, but I have some guidelines I try to follow these days.  My priorities are faith, family, work, farm, in that order.

1.  Nothing else added.  I say no to some good, worthwhile activities, because I know that I don't have time for what I am already committed to.  I used to have a hard time saying no, especially if it was something good/useful/fun.  I got overbooked.  So no more committees, boards, etc.

2.  Simplify the farm.  I am not making my living from the farm.  If I was, it would be different.  But when we first started farming, I would try anything to make a dollar. I was into everything, in every season.  Now, I try to do one thing, and do that one thing very well.  For me, that one thing is produce quality hay, round and square.  All that other stuff, I really liked, made a little money, but it was keeping me away from my wife and kids.  So now we do one thing.

3.  No new debt.  A few years ago, we looked at buying a nearby farm that would have set us up good to get into raising beef cattle.  It was a good farm, fair price, and I love fooling with cattle.  But we didn't buy it.  And I'm thankful.  Because if we had, I would be on the go even more taking care of a cow herd, and would have A LOT more debt load to service.   So as it stands, we have about 90 acres to care for, no big farm by any definition, but its plenty to keep me busy.

Are there times I am seeing to the kids when I need to be out doing something?  Sure.  Does it slow me down to take them with me for things they can safely help with? Of course it does.  Do I make time for them the priority anyway?  You betcha.

Its great that you recognize that you need to find balance.  Many don't, and they pay the price.  You only get one go around on this thing, and you can't get time back.  Those cows, crops, and these old tractors don't need you all that much, but those kids do.  Make the time for your wife, your kids, parents if ya still got em.  If you can't do that, work, and farm, then rent or sell the dang farm.

 

And I love my farm as much as anybody, I promise you.  

 

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Well, there is 2 here 10 years apart..................I spend more time with the 2 year old since I watch him all day, but because I watch him all day I spend alot of time in the evening with his 12 year old brother.  They both happened by accident, the first one wasn't planned, and because of a faulty IUD my wife wasn't supposed to be able to have any more then about the time #1 started running over to his grandparents on his own, #2 showed up.  Like dumbies we decided two was enough so they tied off the works..............Now one or two more would have been ok, but such is life.  Heck, you never know, maybe by the time #2 runs over to his grammys by himself a #3 will happen with our luck:lol:.  I guess we should take the RPF advice and watch John Goodman movies instead????:blink:

Either way, they are sure alot of fun, and a headache, and a headscratcher all in one!

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Ok I don't fit in your large family query, but we had two kids, boy and gurl, mother worked in management for a bank, I was fortunate enough to work a job where I could work two jobs until the third income wasn't needed anymore, between our jobs and homelife and kidlife we didn't get much sleep and to that point we made it so the kids never were left out of growing up experiences, sports, school, preparatory jobs and the bain of any parents existance the infamous "wrong crowd". The last scenario we had to fight tooth and nail to make sure that road did not end bad, and it didnt.

As it turned out both kids turned out to be assets to the community, my gurl works as a full fledged union member in the movie industry, and my son works heavy equipment for a large trucking company, so the end all was the kids had vacations, life interactions, and what I hope is classified as a decent foundation to grow up and mature with, I do have one regret and that is the drinking habit that I picked up at a very young age and I was able to keep it at a functional level but being dry for over eight years I wonder how much more enjoyable life could have been without that monkey on my back.

That all being said, your mention of being a singleton and you dispised it, I found it to be the exact opposite, I never had a reliance on anyone else to go somewhere, do something, or sitting down and just hanging with myself, hey we're all different, that's what meeting new people and even making friends on a forum such as this enjoyable.

Great thread!

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I don't have a clue what to tell you. I wasn't around enough for two. I did the best I could with the time I had but it wasn't as much time as if should've been. 

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I have 4 kids amd 1 is special needs, and my wife is a stay at home mom so I bring home all the bacon, ive learned that I would rather spend less money and make less so I can be around the family more, and I don't have any hobbies that I do by myself, everything I do I can do with the family or at least a few kids. Be fruitful and multiply

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3 kids here. First two 18 months apart then 10 years until youngest. All three have their special concerns but if it was up to me 5 kids would have been nice. But Drs. Strongly advised no more after youngest. So he is the baby.

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I have 4 from 5years old to 16. I work a day job for PA inspecting wellpads and making sure the pipelines  are growing grass like they should.  I then come home and weld. The kids and I do vegetables for a roadside stand and next year were going to do some pigs and lambs to sell. The key for me is I try and involve the kids in everything,  boy or girl,  welding,  shooting,  hunting,  farming,  whatever.  I have them help me with the metal fab work,  and I pay them. We don't miss Church,  and do our best to use Christ's teachings the rest of the week.  It's hard to balance family and work but the biggest thing is keeping your family in the front of your mind. Involve them every chance you can.  Faith, family, work farm as others have said before me.  Pray. That always helps. 

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I have 3 - 6.5, 4.5 and 3.  With both their mom and I working it’s a challenge especially in the current COVID environment.  I’ve been working more hours lately and we have been trying to find a part time nanny to help out, but can’t find anyone even offering $15 to $20 an hour.  
i don’t want others to raise my kids, but I also have to work.  I try to put the kids to bed every night and usually do any night time child care as my wife is taking on a bigger burden right now since I’m long gone in the morning before any of them wake up. 
Honestly I’m more concerned about my wife’s sanity than my kids.  A little worried about the oldest in first grade and school work but I think she will be fine (smart, just doesn’t listen very well).  I try to help her with homework at night also (why do 1st graders have homework?).

Enough rambling on my part.  Kids are tough and resilient as long as you can spend some little time with them daily, weekly, etc and know where they can turn when they need something.

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My wife and I were both married before.  We both brought kids to the marriage.  I had 2, she had 3.  I am 6 years older than her, and her oldest is older than mine.  3 boys and two girls. 15, 14, 13, 11 and 9.  Now, they don't all live here full time, which is both a blessing and a curse.  Far more of a curse than a blessing though.  Regardless of who's blood is pumping in their veins, they are ALL my kids, and treat them as such, and have to support them.  That's my God ordered responsibility, to be the provider.  My wife's job is to be the care taker.  I work, she does not, except for some baby sitting in our home.  We decided that our roles as parents are the most important thing.  Family comes before work, but that doesn't mean that I don't have to work, and sometimes I work a lot!  What it meant to us was, we forgo a lot of amenities and live on nickels and dimes if that is what we have to do in order for me to be home most every night.  We eat supper as a family every night, except a few days in the spring and fall when I'm in the fields.  I help the kids with homework when needed, play with them, talk with them and take turns spending extra time with them when allowed, like taking one at a time for a day in the tractor or whatever job I'm doing that day. I have to have the "tough talks" with the boys when they disrespect their mamma, or step mom, whichever the case may be.  I'm proud that her kids call me "papa".  My kids choose to call my wife by her name.  All the choice of the children, nothing forced on them by us.  

I had a good paying job, but it didn't last.  As with a lot of corporate jobs, a new boss came in and "cleaned house" to make room for "his people".  I'm happy to report that new boss was later dismissed from the company.  I learned something at that job though..... although the money was awesome, I was never home.  When I was, I was asleep.  I did have weekends, but I had to do all my other duties then.  Yard, cars, garden, household repairs ect, ect.  When I lost that job I went back to a farm.  I make less than half what I did.  But I'm home now.  Like not just present... I'm home.  We cut expenses.  We balanced the budget and we make it work.  It's tight.  VERY tight.  But I'm here.  It's your job to raise the kids you wanted, but it is also your job to feed and cloth them.... but they don't need to wear name brand, or even brand new clothes or ride in a new car.  But they do need their dad.  It's up to you to find the balance, and set the standard.  All that said, we are blessed.  I give 10% of my income to tithe, and whatever the government asks for and we live on the rest.  You know what?  We have plenty of money every month, sometimes more than we needed.  The kids don't know the difference.  

Good luck CD.  Life is kinda tough, and so is raising kids. Do what you need to do, but make the family priority. 

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I have four daughters, 12 to 19, and an amazing wife (as I've said before, one wife for life!) We do what we can as a family. Some things like a Jamaican cruise aren't in the cards, but other things are. We drive the country side, we go to local barn dances, we hit the shooting range, attend their sporting events, etc. My kids aren't poor, they're being raised in a "fiscal way". I love to see four strong, highly educated, aggressive, financially responsible, God-Fearing ladies in my house then a group of spoiled, pampered babies. Just my 2 cents.

 

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To the extent you can, get involved in what they want to do.

I've spent a lot of time as a Cub/Boy  Scout leader, my wife as a Girl Scout leader, and both of us on the Band Booster board....but that's what our kids were/are into, and we try to support that.  You get to help them grow and succeed,  and get the added benefit of watching them interact with their friends, seeing who the spend time with etc. (All while working the food stand or merit badge activity to help support their interests).

I'm not always the best at making time, nobody is, but when your HS kid comes up to you and says "Thanks for building that prop for the band show, my friends and I all really like it"......or, "thanks for being our Scout leader".....you realize how much they appreciate your involvement. 

 

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Take them with you. So they tag along with you when you go for parts, stop for a candy bar. Make a plan your not doing projects every night after work. Make plans for a family vacation that you do every year Like camping on the Fourth of July (Christmas on the beach has been good for us).

I have not done as good as I should have, maybe not a regret but I sure wish I could change it 

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Being in a family that was busy and as a busy father now, I have the same thoughts as my dad. Get them involved with your work. Take them with as long as safety permits them to. Spend lunch with them at least and talk to them about what they have been doing. We all wish that we have had more time, even me. But, if my kids grow up to know and understand why you were busy, and they still have respect and love for you, what more could you really ask for?

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In any size family structure is important.  Meals together at a regular time. Church services.  Homework and bedtimes. This falls on your spouse as well(unequally to often). Especially if you work goofy hours/days

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Great question. just having a 3rd kid to the bunch 4 months ago I find myself asking this very question to myself. Never thought of asking here. (What was i thinking) i seem to be looking at ways to streamline the farm like TN HILLBILLY said. Instead of doing at all I do fewer things better or at least I'm trying. 5 years ago I bought a bunch more cows and rent a place partnered with my buddy and have since regretted it. Its doubled my work load especially during the winter. Theres times I just want to sell those cows and keep the ones on my family farms. Having cattle strung out on 5 or 6 different places becomes a task. Now that my family needs me more than ever that becomes apparent. So, no advice from me but I'm listening to all those that answer. Thank you 

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4 hours ago, Missouri Mule said:

Having cattle strung out on 5 or 6 different places becomes a task. Now that my family needs me more than ever that becomes apparent. So, no advice from me but I'm listening to all those that answer. Thank you 

I find it funny...................Everyone says cut back when they are little, once they get bigger and start helping, you start looking for things to do.  I didn't have cows with the first one, was with crops then, wasn't home much................Did some career changes, bought another place and then got cows.  Then #2 showed up and everyone was saying the same thing, back off.  Well, the older one stepped up and really enjoys them.  I am glad I didn't listen and it gives him responsibilities.  Heck, between him and my nephew, when we have feed to grind, I just watch anymore, they go right at it.  They want me to start putting up our own hay again...........we can make it happen they say, they are probably right.

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Sorry I've been absent on this thread, been a busy 2 days but this has been an enjoyable thread to read how some of you guys tend to your most valuable crop: your family.  It's also a bit calming to know I'm not alone in some of the mental panic that can occur.  

I've noticed a common denominator is don't take on too much.  Not sure if it's something hardwired into me, or it's a genetic thing with men wanting to "do more".  From a young age I always admired many of the self made men who did more than just cash a paycheck.  Unfortunately as a young fellow you didnt understand what they went through or what they sacrificed to get what they had.  

For me the age is quickly coming when big decisions have to be made.  Do you want  to take part in what your family has? Do you want to "go for it"?  Do you want the headaches that come with it?  Should you just let it go and take the bi weekly paycheck and bury the "coulda woulda" angst?  

I pray on it, and take solace that I'm not the first or last who has done so.  

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2 hours ago, TP from Central PA said:

I find it funny...................Everyone says cut back when they are little, once they get bigger and start helping, you start looking for things to do.  I didn't have cows with the first one, was with crops then, wasn't home much................Did some career changes, bought another place and then got cows.  Then #2 showed up and everyone was saying the same thing, back off.  Well, the older one stepped up and really enjoys them.  I am glad I didn't listen and it gives him responsibilities.  Heck, between him and my nephew, when we have feed to grind, I just watch anymore, they go right at it.  They want me to start putting up our own hay again...........we can make it happen they say, they are probably right.

One thing that makes me sad is seeing kids who never get to partake in what dad does.  The countless hours I got to spend with my dad and uncle are probably ones I'll never forget.  I think one great thing for kids to do is feel like they're helping.  It gives them a buffer against the crappier things in life.  

 

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I am like Jmech, maybe others too, got 5 total, 3 from my first marriage and added two bonus daughters with my now second wife. Mine, 16G, 21B, 26G, 2 bonus daughters 27 and 30. I grew up in a family of 4 kids, 3 sisters n I. Dad worked full time, mom stayed home till 2 of us had graduated and the other two were old enough to drive and be home alone. 

Kids? Love them all but there is a difference in BIO kids vs non. I dont care what you say blood is blood and while you may not treat them different it feels different. 

My dad was there for everything he could be around work. We didnt do much together, he was an only child growing up and I think that impacted his actions. Mom played catch with me. Dad was hard and rarely in a good mood. I think he was very stressed. We struggled financially. I contributed as soon as I could to be able to do extra things like sports and band. I did it on my own. I have tried to be more available and supportive for my kids. My first wife stayed home and we home schooled. I didnt contribute much to that other than science projects and field trips and outdoor teachings. 

I am a dad that tries, I am a dad that thinks about the things my dad missed and try to do it better. If its on your mind you are in a place where you are thinking and trying. I have missed out on so much with my kids due to the divorce. It broke my heart and I still grieve it missing so much with my kids. We had/have joint custody but still its not the same as the time you get with an intact home. Kids arent stupid they will navigate to the easy house with the fewest rules and financial handouts. I dont believe in that, its cost me in the short term but hopefully in the long term it pays off. 

I have good relationships with my kids. I chase them, I try to have lunch with them every week. I pray with them every time we are together. I try to lead them and serve them and teach them what the bible says. I fail all the time, I am not a perfect parent, there is not such a thing. Remember this, We are just stewards of Gods Children, same as our blessings/gifts/finances. 

I will answer for All of my decisions as a father, husband, steward. Do all you do with a heart in the right place. That is what Christ is looking at. 

You are doing great.......keep up the good work 

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