Cheaper by the dozen: When life comes in bulk

With life in a big family, it seems we're always balancing the budget, comparatively shopping, weighing the costs.

How much is that gallon of orange juice? How much was that? We can get it cheaper at Walmart. If you buy a dozen, it's less than if you buy two of the 6-packs. How much gas did you put in your tank? How much time does it take? How much longer will you be? How much money is left in the account?

We're constantly trying to get more for less...always trying to squeeze in extra...always on this never-ending quest to save time and money. Heck, even I cashed in on the "BOGO" special with two of my pregnancies. Twins...twice! Talk about a time saver!

But are we really weighing ALL of the costs? Is life really cheaper when we squeeze all we can out of it without putting anything extra into it? Does life really come in bulk?

Recently, our world has turned into a real-life depiction of Cheaper By The DozenYou remember that movie. You know, the 2003 remake starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff and Tom Welling?

A little eye candy for the mamas! All right, that's enough!
A little eye candy for the mamas! All right, that's enough!

Ahem! Hello? Um...Hellooo??? I lost you at Tom Welling, didn't I? Dang, girl! FOCUS!

Anyway, in that movie, husband and wife duo, Tom Baker (Martin) and Kate Baker (Hunt), parents of 12 children, are both offered wonderful opportunities that could potentially take their careers to all-time highs. After a move to the big city, Kate and Tom forge full-steam ahead with their career goals only to discover they are on two separate paths. Drastic changes and a bulk-sized order of life prove to be too much for the family. Tom and Kate's inability to accurately weigh the costs shows what happens when we try to buy more out of life than we can afford.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering how life in my crazy household resembles that of The Baker's. Let me break it down for you:

  • We don't have 12 kids, but 8 is damn sure close enough...believe that!
  • Aastan is not a big time college football coach, but he is the Systems Architect for his company's IT team, which essentially means he plays a large role in "designing the plays" that will be carried out by his teammates.
  • I, like Kate, am a writer and the manager of this family's chaos.
  • Like The Bakers, we JUST moved.
  • Much like Tom and Kate, Aastan and I, both, have been making positive strides career-wise that unfortunately require extra time, effort and commitment on our parts.
  • Oh yeah, and our frog escaped, too! I'll tell you all about that in a minute!

With new and exciting things happening on the job front, Aastan has been away a lot. This has been challenging on the entire family. He's tired...the kids don't see him as much...I don't see or talk to him as much...we're a little grumpy...a little stressed...the whole nine!

But let's keep it real, for a moment. It's challenging on everyone, but it really presents me (the wife, the mom, the ringmaster of this circus) with a heavier load. And this heavier load comes at a time when several awesome career opportunities have presented themselves for me, as well.

I'm on the cast of Listen To Your Mother: Charleston; I'm about to submit my children's book manuscript to an agent; I just signed a contract to be a contributing writer on a major women's website; I've been asked to be a speaker at two events coming up in the fall; and I'm hammering out a few ideas designed specifically with women and young girls in mind!

But...timing is everything.

All of these wonderful things are happening for my husband and me...I am happy for him and proud of his achievements, AND I'm happy for and proud of myself, too. But of course, we have to think of our kids...they need us...BOTH of us!

I don't know that we've truly weighed the costs. Our family has been set on fast-forward recently, and it's become a wild ride. Awesome things are happening, but at what price? Our family's happiness, our family's laughter, our family's love?

Life in a family of ten is hard enough. Add in everyone's stuff and there are days when it's beyond difficult.

All of this has me wondering...Is life really cheaper by the dozen? Does a big box of happy and fulfilled life even come in bulk-sizing? And if it does, can we even afford it right now?

How do you deal with this type of balance? How do you weigh the costs of all of life's options? Please share in the comments below! These are discussions that all families--large and SMALL--can benefit from having.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot! The Great Frog Escape! Our albino African-clawed frog got out of his tank...TWICE! We had to hunt him down! His name has been legally changed to Froggie Went A Courtin'. The scene looked something like the following...pretty much!

8 thoughts on “Cheaper by the dozen: When life comes in bulk

  1. Kara Jones

    I get exactly what you are saying! You know I have four and with all the extra curricular activities it gets crazy. I would love to go back to work in a (real) zoo, but some of our kids have been struggling lately with serious issues. So for now, I'm saying no to my stuff and hanging tight on the front line in my crazy house! But when my kids are stable and managing I'm heading back to where the wild things are.

    1. Post author

      Oh Kara! I so get it! Your children are blessed that you have weighed the costs and have decided that they need you right now. That is hard to do sometimes, especially when you and I both have put our passions to the side to raise our kids. We mamas get tired! And plus, we're human. We have goals and dreams and aspirations. I think (and I could be biased, here) it is the biggest act of love to put your dreams and desires on hold so that the life of another can be more full. I can't wait until you're able to get back to the real Wild Things! I know how much you love that!

  2. Mia Espinoza

    Thanks Donloyn for sharing your family with us!! As you know, I have three children, a husband and a pet dog named Rene. Two of my children are in college and one is at home. One important aspect of keeping sane and balancing our daily tasks is communication. Without it, chaos happens! We also try to take one day at a time and include prayer in our lives.

  3. Melisa Soto

    Loved this and so happy for you and Aastan! One thing I'm sure you will agree matter how big or small your family is, teamwork is vital to making it all work! We communicate, are somewhat organized, we keep to do lists and calendars. This helps us stay on track and lead a more balanced, happy life. Oh....and one more important thing for a happy, well balanced life. Learn to say NO!

    1. Post author

      Thanks Melisa, and thank you for sharing your tips on weighing the costs. I completely agree with them all, especially open communication and the importance of knowing when to say No. I think those are two things that families can really struggle with. Thanks again!


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