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Table for Eight: Raising a Large Family in a Small-Family World Paperback – October 2, 2007
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About the Author
Meagan Francis is the mother of four and a full-time professional writer. Her articles have appeared in such publications as Literary Mama, Salon, Brain, Child, Parenting, and Baby Talk. She is the writer of Mama-Rama, a weekly syndicated column that takes a fresh look at modern motherhood, and her essays have been reprinted in the anthologies Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined and The Best of Brain Child.
Top customer reviews
But this book wasn't as great as it could have been.
First, I expected with a title like this that it would be about families with 6 or more kids [I have five, and was looking for advice from those "experts" with more than I have!]. The author has 4 children, and many of the mothers she quotes through the book have 4 [or even 3 children - which might seem humorous to those with mega families to think of a family with 3 kids as "large"]. She did have some mothers of larger families contributing in some places, but their advice was fewer and farther between.
Second, I felt like the book had a negative tone. Like "yeah, having a bunch of kids is exhausting, noisy, hard...but you CAN live through it" [which it certainly is like that some days :) ]. But there was not much counterbalance - having a bunch of kids is also FUN, exciting, entertaining, and wonderful in a way that is totally unique. There are GREAT reasons some of us choose to have a lot of kids. I didn't get any sense of that reading this book. In fact, if I read this book when I only had 2 kids, I might just stop there! I would be afraid to add more children!
The author has an awkward chapter in the beginning of the book about "how big families happen" and she goes into an explanation of her own big family that seemed kind of defensive - according to her, she didn't "plan" to have all those children, they just sort of kept happening by accident. Which is just fine - many of life's greatest blessings are "surprises" from God. :) But I also had the feeling that maybe on some level she didn't necessarily WANT a large family and that she tended to see the negative side of it a lot more than the positive.
Third, I found most of the advice in the book to be pretty much "common sense" stuff that most moms of more than a handful of kids have probably already figured out on their own. Maybe my expectations were just too high, but I found very little in this book that was new or helpful to me in managing my crowd. She covers a lot of different topics but covers them all very superficially. So, I'm not sure how useful this book will be to most moms of bigger families in general.
But I WANT to like this book - it isn't a bad book by any means, don't get me wrong. It is well written, easy to read, and it does have some interesting and helpful parts. I found the section on vacationing with a large family to be particularly helpful. I just would have liked to see the *great* aspects of having a large family covered a bit more and I would have liked to see more in-depth coverage of the challenges we face with a bunch of kiddos.
You can find my comprehensive review here: [...]
Oh, I know, many moms, especially those of us with lots of kids, know it all and don't need any advice, but my take on life is that until you cease to exist, you're learning.
Of course, I headed straight for the food chapter: Feeding Your Flock, and all I have to say about this is that the advice there is sound, sound, sound. There's info there (and all over the book) from real moms with many children who have been there, done that. There are also menu planning and pantry charts (click here for more of that type) to help keep your food stores and tummies full. The only thing I would add at all would be ALDI.
I really like the chapter Having Fun, since we tend NOT to have enough of this. We did go camping a few years ago and had a blast for very little cash, but that's been it. This chapter has websites and ideas I never thought of.
I also like Keeping the Household Running, not just for the great tips, but also for the fact that one of the Additional Resources is the URL to Lots of Kids, where I am on staff.