Many people are fascinated by how things work in a large family--especially one that is as busy as ours. If you have ever worked in any large group situation, you may have discovered the importance of everyone having a job, trust, and committment between the group members. Delegation, obedience, and teamwork are also important components to making sure that things are accomplished. We also have to watch out for each other's needs and set priorities without selfishness. So how does this work in a typical day or week in our family household?
First of all, each member has their primary assigned duties that are priorities for them.
For dad, it is running laundry through the wash, taking trash to the curb, helping mow the lawn, bills/finances, shopping, car and household maintenance, cooking dinner, planning and coordinating the teenage daughters' home-school, band gigs, and other extra-curricular. With his fibromyalgia, we also have to watch to make sure dad is not doing too much to overexert himself.
For mom, it is working a full-time teaching job, working on her doctorate, reading with and monitoring schoolwork of the school age children each night, keeping her and dad's room and bathroom clean, putting her and dad's laundry away, and overseeing weekend chores and break-time organizational tasks around the house.
For the oldest daughter, it is her schoolwork, band gigs, music practices and lessons, daily breakfast/lunch cleanup and cooking,her room/shared bathroom and laundry, and weekend kitchen clean-up.
For the second oldest daughter, it is her schoolwork, band gigs, music practices and lessons, weekly putting away of the laundry, her room/shared bathroom, and cleaning of the family room and nursery.
For the third oldest daughter, it is her schoolwork, music practices and lessons, extra reading/writing practice, feeding and watering of the pets, weekly laundry, her bedroom/shared bathroom and cleaning of the living room.
For the fourth oldest daughter, it is her schoolwork, music practices and other extra-curriculars, her bedroom/bathroom, her weekly Awana memory verses, putting away her own laundry,picking up toys, and daily dinner clean-up.
For the fifth oldest daughter, it is her schoolwork, picking up toys, soccer practice, her bedroom, taking out the household trash, putting away her own laundry, and cleaning off the kitchen table.
For the sixth oldest daughter, it is her schoolwork, bedroom, picking up toys, and the weekly organization of the shoe closet.
For the seventh oldest daughter (four years old), it is her bedroom, picking up toys, and helping the sixth oldest with the organization of the shoe closet.
The toddler's job is to be good! LOL
Now beyond those individual priorities, every one does one of the most important components to making a large family work: delegation and tag teaming!
Childcare of the babies and toddlers, as well as seasonal cleaning and organization, fit into this category. When one person is done with a job, TAG! They watch the toddler and/or baby while the previous family member does what they need to do. When other big people have to be gone to extra-curriculars, work, or school events, TAG! The teenager or adult at home does childcare. When seasonal cleaning time arrives, delegation happens with childcare tag-teaming at play. It is a constant interplay of back and forth work to make family life balance.
Finally, how do we make sure family members are not tired and burnt out? Sundays and select vacation days take on a relaxed and laid back approach with built in rest/nap times, family time, and scheduled days for family members to go out with their friends or have some alone time. Life in a large family can work well when everyone works as a team!