Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We'll Be That Crazy Family

You know you all have a family that you think of when your own family seems out of control, and you think "Well, at least we're not as crazy as so and so.  They have 10 kids!  They wear sandals in winter!  They eat fast food once  a week! {Insert other judgmental stereotypes here}"

For me personally, it always made me feel a little better when someone is shocked by MY family size to say that I know other families with EVEN MORE kids.  I was talking to a guy who goes to the same parish as me, and has three little ones.  He told me that he came from a family of 11 kids.  ELEVEN, I exclaimed??  That's awesome!  And crazy!!  And he looked at my seven darlings and said, "Well, yeah, but I wasn't the one having that many!"  Oh right, between the two of us, I'm the crazy one.

That family that will bathe kids together for as long as possible...that's us.

I realized that somehow, year by year, child by child, we have become that large, loud, chaotic family that I used to compare my little family to.  We are that crazy family for other families now.  How embarrassing on some levels, I mean how did we get here exactly?  It seems like just yesterday I was buying treats in a four pack for my kids and now I either have to buy a six pack and leave Brendan out of the treat or an eight pack and have one extra.  We're the crazy now.

That family that lets their eldest pick up a baby squirrel...that's us.

The math just doesn't add up quite as nicely anymore.  I can fit all of the kids plus myself in my Honda Odyssey, but if we want to include Mr. Martin, then we have to take the BIG VAN.  So if we have another baby, that means I will need to start driving a BIG VAN just to cart around myself and all the kiddos.  That is nuts!  We're the crazy now.

That family that thinks the baby squirrel might enjoy some peanuts...that's us.

A couple of years ago, we were looking at a house for sale from an an older couple who had raised their 9 children and were looking to downsize.  They had 8 girls and only 1 boy.  I remember thinking how rare that was to have so many of the same gender in one family, and then I popped out my 6th boy a year later.  We're the crazy now.

That family that makes the cheesiest of cheese faces...that's us.

My mom used to recall her mothering days as being so draining when she had teenagers and babies and all ages in between in the same house, and now I've arrived to that same point, and it IS draining!  I literally talk about pimples and puberty and poopy diapers and spitup in the same sentence.  I don't even know who needs my attention more sometimes...the teenager whose problems can seem huge...the middle child who might be getting lost in the shuffle...the only girl in need of special attention...the toddler who's become obsessed with me...the baby who is completely dependent on us to live?  It takes a lot of mental energy to keep up with the current events in everybody's life and still remember to feed the fish, you know?  And we fail at it lots!  We're the crazy now.

That family that gets a puppy at the same time as having a newborn...that's us.

When Phil and I were dating, I would often remark to him that I couldn't believe children would be calling for their mom or dad and the parents would ignore them.  We would never do that, we vowed.  Hahahaha, that was funny because we do it all the time without even knowing!  Mom!  Mom!  Mom!!  It usually takes another child telling us that someone wants us.  We're the crazy now.

We have been pretty confident in our get babies to sleep mindset.  I've written about it before, and I could not understand how some families could not just get their kid's sleep schedule under control!  Then we had our 7th baby and realized that the struggle is real with certain bambinos.  We would do anything to get him to sleep and keep him asleep and we were breaking all our "good parent" rules.  The same thing has happened with clothing, video games, and meal times.  All expectations have been lowered, all levels of need adjusted. We're the crazy now.

That family that has so many busy boys always concocting sports games...that's us.

Soooooooo, if you've been thinking about having another baby but don't know if you can handle it, if the world will judge you, or if you're even called to it...well you can, they will, and that's between you and your spouse and God.  Babies come with bread and grace.  Let me just assure you that we can be the family that's way crazier than yours, the one you can look at like a bad reality show and think "They're entertaining, but I'm so glad my life is less chaotic!" and I'm okay with that.  We'll handle that role for you.  We're leaning into this crazy and learning to love it alongside each other.


  1. Love this, Colleen. You made me tear up with "well you can, they will, and that's between you and your spouse and God." It's so true.

  2. The BIG VAN... We just got one last week or two weeks ago maybe? I feel slightly foolish for driving around my 4 kids plus pregnant self around for now because we could have gone with the Odyssey for another month or so. There was no way we could fit 5 carseats in the van and me maintain my sanity about having to crawl through and buckle up the 3 yr old so we just said what the heck and got the big van. We traded in our Odyssey and I really felt like the sales guy was driving away my 'normal' when he left after we signed the papers. My normal van that made our slightly bigger family. normal.

    Here's to embracing the non-normal!

  3. I am one of 7 and went to a public school. We were the crazy big catholic family, but I loved being different! And I loved my siblings! You are doing a great work! And oh my goodness, the BIG VAN! we had one that didn't have enough seatbelts so on car trips I was in the back with two siblings and we had do duck when a police car drove by because we didn't have seat belts! Looking back that cracks me up! Can you imagine families doing that now?!!? haha! Great post!

  4. What a beautiful honest post. You may be the 'crazy' family, but you are the family so full of love. Love of each other and of God.
    Angela, Australia

  5. Oh man...I hear you on dealing with puberty and babies at the same time. The other night, my 15-yo arrived home after a 4-day long 4-H trip at midnight. It occurred to me that it's sorta crazy to lose sleep because of waiting up for a teen and a baby at the same time. LOL And made me SO thankful not to be a single mom, so my husband could go pick her up when they got back.

  6. Thanks for being that family, Martins! The world needs more people like you embracing the crazy chaos of welcoming children, and I'm so glad you share some of the ups and downs.

  7. I'm one of ten and we were definitely that crazy big family- esp. among our relatives! But then we switched schools where big families were pretty run of the mill. ;)
    Oh, and I remember graduating from Kindergarten and being in a huff because my brother graduating from HS was getting more attention- I feel so bad for my parents now!
    It's funny seeing how things change, though. My parents still have a mini-van but the big van is long gone and lots of my siblings live out of state, so holidays and get-togethers are "small"!

  8. I love this post! I have only one daughter because of fertility problems but I gravitate towards big crazy families like yours. I would have liked nothing more than to have my family be the same way but it's just not possible. So, know that there are many of us out there with few children who see your big crazy family and think how blessed you are. Thanks for sharing your wonderful family with us strangers.

  9. YES! I love this. You may be "that crazy" family to some, but please know you are also "that beautiful, big" family tof many! Thank you for sharing your crazy beautiful life ❤


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