How many children is too many?

With 6 children, I usually feel as though my family is on the large side (and most of my friends and family would agree).  However, after watching ’16 Kids and Counting’ recently, I found myself feeling that my family is small and it isn’t often that I say that!

So, how many children is too many?  I know some would say that I have too many.  Afer all, six is not the average number of children in the UK.  In fact, only 14% of families with children have three children or more (according to the ONS) so I must be in a very small minority that has six or more.  Does being in the minority mean that the majority feel that I have too many children?  Or do they feel that six would be too many for them?

And that’s the point.  What number of children would be too many for one person would not be too many for another.

Personally, I feel that the number of children who the Radfords have would be too many for me.  But could I state that 17 kids is too many for the Radfords?  No, because the children and parents are clearly happy with their large family.  Noel and Sue work hard to support their children financially and emotionally.  Their children are well-mannered, well-adjusted and confident.  They may not be able to take their children on luxury holidays or expensive restaurants but is a happy childhood based upon financial expenditure or love?  So long as children are not living in poverty and have the essentials, surely love is more crucial for the emotional needs of a child than the latest gadget.

Thinking about the emotional needs of a child, some would view that having a large number of children would mean that each child would get less attention and therefore, not receive the individual care and love that they need.  I’ll admit that I often feel guilty for not giving as much attention to my children as I feel I ought to.  It sometimes feels as though I am focusing on a few children while doing other things, such as the cooking/cleaning or making a phone call, and not really giving anyone my full attention.  However, having spoken to many friends of mine, who have a number of children between them (from one child to four children), I know that I am not the only parent to feel like this at times.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that all parents feel that they could give their child more attention and feel guilty for trying to juggle children with the other aspects of their lives.

Of course there are differences when you have a large number of children compared to one or two, such as:

The washing never ends

The washing never ends


The dishwasher is always full

There is a large amount of food shopping each week

There is a large amount of food shopping each week

And finding holidays that can accommodate 1 adult and 6 children as well as being in price range is a challenge.  But caravans and tents tend to solve that one.

Our last caravan holiday

Our last caravan holiday

Although I am sure that the children would much rather a warmer more exotic place to stay!

No, there is not a huge amount of money to go around but I am proud that I am working and supporting my children, rather than relying solely on benefits as some suggest that large families do.

We may not have the perfect life.  My children will bicker and fight sometimes.  My house may be a mess most days.  But, that would be the same no matter how many children I had.

Personally, I feel that six is enough for me but I would not judge a family who decided to have one child or one who decided to have twenty.  If parents can support, care for and provide for their children, who are happy and secure, then ‘how many is too many’ is up to them.

I have been blessed with six amazing children.   A larger number than many families but a number that I am happy with.

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13 Comments on How many children is too many?

  1. UmmBaby
    January 24, 2015 at 5:04 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Janette,

    This is an amazing post. I have 3 babies, and they were born very close together and my husband and I have never felt like we have too many babies, even if life for us is very different to other’s when they have just one or 2 with bigger age gaps. Most of the questions around whether 3 is too many comes from other people, who seem to think that we have too many kids already, without even knowing how we look after these children, what we do to give them the best care and upbringing we possibly can or if we are happy or not. They always assume we have been stitched up or something, I don’t know. It is hard work, especially right now but I know that this stage isn’t forever, and actually your post is making me think back to when I always wanted lots of children, and no. In my books 3 or even 6 isn’t actually lots if the kids have an amazing childhood and if you as a parent are happy 😉

    Sal xxx | UmmBaby
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  2. Heledd
    January 19, 2015 at 9:25 pm (4 years ago)

    Congratulations to you! Sounds like you have six wonderful kids who are a credit to you as a mother. I have two amazing daughters who I love more than anything. Is that enough for me? Not sure yet but what I do know is that I wouldn’t judge anyone for having more of less children. Great post!

    Thanks for linking up to #SundayStars x
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  3. You Baby Me Mummy
    January 19, 2015 at 8:05 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow! I don’t know how you manage 6, I struggle with one! Major credit where it’s due. I think it is down to personal choice and having the funds to support the children. We are just having one child due to health and financial reasons. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…Baby TalkMy Profile

  4. Jenna
    January 19, 2015 at 11:57 am (4 years ago)

    I would love to have a large family but could I do? I don’t think so.

    I think people should do whatever works for them – 0 kids, 1 kids, 8 kids – whatever. So long as those people can afford a large family.

    Fair play for working hard to support your own large family.

    Jenna recently posted…My Baby Travel EssentialsMy Profile

  5. Lisa (mummascribbles)
    January 18, 2015 at 10:00 pm (4 years ago)

    I completely agree – I think as long as you can support your children, you can have as many and as little as you want! I’d love a big family but to me big would be three!! We’ll hopefully have one more to make two as that’s probably all we can afford.!
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…I don’t know why I do it!My Profile

  6. Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life
    January 18, 2015 at 9:45 pm (4 years ago)

    totally agree how many children you have is such a personal thing and noone should judge. I have three children and i never have an empty washing basket either. I am sure that being one of six means your children always have someone to play with and your house is full of love and laughter xx #TheList
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  7. The Reading Residence
    January 18, 2015 at 4:47 pm (4 years ago)

    I absolutely agree with you. I have two, which is perfect for me, but I’d never judge someone with 1 or 10- each to their own! x
    The Reading Residence recently posted…Word of the Week 16/1/15My Profile

  8. Ali
    January 18, 2015 at 11:57 am (4 years ago)

    I agree, its more important children feel loved than the material things. I’ve got 3 and would love more but I’m getting on now and I don’t think my washing machine will cope with any more! I think the life experiences of having a sibling is something money can’t buy.
    Ali recently posted…Teenagers – The Chrysalis YearsMy Profile

  9. Jenni - Baby Chaos
    January 17, 2015 at 7:29 am (4 years ago)

    Great post, I think it is a question that all parents ask themselves. It is something me and my hubby are dicussing at the minute, we currently have 1 daughter Boo.
    I think you have hit the nail with you post, it’s what works for the family. Love the picture of your children they look so happy 🙂
    Jenni – Baby Chaos recently posted…When Boo naps…My Profile

  10. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)
    January 17, 2015 at 5:57 am (4 years ago)

    Firstly congratulations on your gorgeous family! Having children is such a personal decision and it’s different for us all. We struggled to have our first child and were surprised by the miracle of our second. We stopped there for all sorts of reasons but I agree with you that as long as there is love, support and provision for your children, the number you have is really up to you. x
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  11. Sarah
    January 17, 2015 at 12:11 am (4 years ago)

    I love this post. I’m possibly pregnant with number four and I think that’ll be enough for me. Its such a struggle to give each child the one on one attention they deserve. I have to applaud you for having six! Good work! Xx
    Sarah recently posted…Saturday is for sharing (links)My Profile

  12. Natasha
    January 16, 2015 at 7:04 pm (4 years ago)

    I totally agree, it’s such a personal thing. So often on local mummy pages I see moms asking other mom’s if they should have another child and I always think to myself…how would anyone else know?! It’s such a personal thing, no one can tell you how many is right for you. I guess these mom’s are just looking for advice?!

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