5 Minutes for Books:
A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family

by Jennifer Donovan

It’s not too late to enter the 5 Minutes for Books Mother’s Day giveaways. You have until April 30.

Should I start this review out with the disclaimer that I have two lovely children — the “perfect family” one boy and one girl, and I plan on keeping it that way. I reviewed this book because I know a lot of you out there either have large families or are exploring the idea of having a large family (I wrote a bit more on my blog Snapshot about my love for large families, and why I only have two children. Check it out and let me know your thoughts about family size). I also know Mary Ostyn** personally, and wanted to help her get the word out.

Because I know Mary, when she told me the title A Sane Women’s Guide to Raising a Large Family, I thought it was absolutely perfect, because she IS perfectly sane. She seems “normal” — not like someone who would choose to raise ten children! Okay, now that I’ve perhaps alienated all of you with a large family, and maybe piqued the interest of those of you who do not have or want a large family, can I move on to the official review?

I found this book completely delightful. Mary’s sense of humor and love for children came through loud and clear. If you are familiar with her blog Owlhaven, you probably would have expected this.

For those of you who don’t “know” Mary, or who don’t think that a book about raising a large family would have anything to offer you, let me give just list a few of the bits of information that were helpful or encouraging to me:

  • What do you do if you and your spouse don’t agree on family size?
  • “Frugality is not deprivation. Frugality is freedom. Frugality gives options” (page 23)
  • How to handle children’s activities
  • Children’s Chores
  • Encouraging Sibling Friendships

The reason that this book is so readable and so helpful is that Mary manages to write about the way she does things — what works for her — without alienating those of us who make other choices. She’s a co-sleeping, homeschooling mom of many. I’m a “babies-in-their-cribs,” public-schooling, happy mother of two. We disagree on many parenting philosophies, but I know that her choices are right for her, and she doesn’t presume that her choices are right for everyone.

Enter to win your own copy of A Sane Women’s Guide to Raising a Large Family by leaving a comment here. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s column.

Read Mary’s tips about How to Raise a Reader in our On Reading column at 5 Minutes for Books.

**Mary was my roommate in the Dominican Republic when I went last November with the Compassion Bloggers. A new group just arrived in India today. Please follow their journey. Pray for them. Learn more about the country and the children in need over there.

The grand prize winner of the Welcome, Little One $149 is #79 Marlena U.

The winners of the Welcome, Little One book are #51 Karen, #111 Krystal, #104 Kathy D., #86 Adrienne Gordon.

The winners of Things I Want My Daughters to Know are #30 Deborah Wellenstein, #33 Mozi Esmes Mommy, #51 Barb.

If you didn’t win, you can still enter to win this novel and a bunch of other books over at the 5 Minutes for Books Mother’s Day Giveaway (open for entries through April 30).



Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 107 comments }

1 Stephanie April 27, 2009 at 6:25 am

Ooh I have been eyeing this book for quite some time! I would LOVE to win it!

2 Melissa April 27, 2009 at 9:04 am

I have seven children ages 13 to 8 months and would love to win this book–even though I think I’m still pretty sane…

3 Cindy April 27, 2009 at 9:11 am

I would love to have a coy of this book. I have heard there is some great information in it!

4 Lori Pierce April 27, 2009 at 9:19 am

We all need a little more sanity in our parenting. I would love to read about Mary’s philosophy.

5 raych April 27, 2009 at 9:38 am

I plan on having many bebes, whether I have to birth them or adopt them. This might give me a look at what I’m up against.

6 Charlene April 27, 2009 at 10:01 am

Thanks for a great review. You have me interested. We have seven but it does not feel “large” yet.

7 Lee April 27, 2009 at 10:35 am

I’ve had this book on my reading list for awhile. I’d love to win.

8 Maddy April 27, 2009 at 10:40 am

Very tempting…..I wonder if she’ll bring out a sequel on how to manage when you elderly relatives move back in with you as well as adult children returning with their spouses…….now that would be my kind of a book.
Cheers

9 Jessica April 27, 2009 at 11:04 am

I’m definitely interested in this book. My husband and I want to have a large family, at least six children. And my husband says he can see himself actively fathering into his 60′s!

10 Jen April 27, 2009 at 11:16 am

I would love a copy of this. Thanks!

11 Jen April 27, 2009 at 11:17 am

and I subscribe to the feed.

12 Jen April 27, 2009 at 11:19 am

and the newsletter…

13 Jennifer3 April 27, 2009 at 11:26 am

This looks very interesting. I would like to read it!

14 Bev April 27, 2009 at 11:40 am

As a mom of 6, i’d love some ideas on how to make this easier.

15 The Gang's Momma April 27, 2009 at 11:41 am

I could use a dose of sanity around here. Especially since I’d love to explore the idea of another adoption.

16 I'm The Mom April 27, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Love to win this!! As a mom of 6 ranging in age to almost 19 to almost 4 months I sure could use a dose of sanity!

17 Tiffany M April 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I would love to win this book. I am currently pregnant with my 5th child. I am the oldest of 12.

18 Tamara (AK) April 27, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Sounds like a wonderful read! Tossing my name in the hat…

19 Jessica April 27, 2009 at 1:27 pm

This book looks ah-ma-zing! I’ve always wanted a big family… It’s tough to help people understand why!

20 LisaMarie April 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm

We are expecting our 6th child this June. Never did we think we would have a large family. LOL This book would be great!

21 Michelle April 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I love her blog and would love to win this book! :)

22 Christin April 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Ok I really need this book, LOL!!! Might as well take a shot at it!

23 Michelle April 27, 2009 at 2:34 pm

This book sounds delightful. I’m worried about how I will handle things as my family grows, so I could use some advice. :)

24 Shelley April 27, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I’ve only got four, but I’m sure I could find some useful information. Thanks for the chance to win!

saz AT chainreader DOT com

25 Jody April 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm

My 4 kids definitely keep me busy and I can always use advice for those who have “been there.”

26 Charlsie Swadley April 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm

i would love this book!!!

27 1stopmom April 27, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I would love to check this book out. It really sounds interesting.

28 Marla T April 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Sounds like a book I could use. Thank you for the entry.

koinonia572001@yahoo.com

29 Marla T April 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I subscribe to your feed. Thanks!

koinonia572001@yahoo.com

30 Marla T April 27, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I also subscribe to the 5M4M newsletter. Thanks again!

koinonia572001@yahoo.com

31 Victoria April 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Would love to win!

32 Victoria April 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I subscribe!

33 Victoria April 27, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I get the newsletter!

34 Victoria April 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm

I have your button!

35 Kim April 27, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I’d love this book!

36 Kim April 27, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I subscribe too

37 MaryBeth April 27, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

38 MaryBeth April 27, 2009 at 8:41 pm

I’m a subscriber.

39 MaryBeth April 27, 2009 at 8:41 pm

I get the newsletter.

40 Eve April 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I would love to read this book. I have seven children between the ages of seven months to nine years old. A large family is an amazing blessing, but sanity can seem to be a hard thing to find on some days.

41 Faerylandmom April 27, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I would love a copy of this. As a mom with four children, I have recently found out that I have a “large” family. :-)

42 Krista April 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm

I know someone I would love to give this to!

43 Krista April 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm

I am a subscriber!

44 Denise April 28, 2009 at 9:06 am

With five kids I could use this!

45 Darcey April 28, 2009 at 9:34 am

I would love this book. Though my family isn’t that big, 3 kids, I consider it big since we also have 2 kittens and a dog. (Do I get to include my husband?) I also love to read about how big families deal with everything.

46 Darcey April 28, 2009 at 9:35 am

I am also a subscriber. Love your Blog!!

47 Maureen April 28, 2009 at 9:47 am

I grew up the oldest of seven siblings. We are all pretty close in age (10 1/2 yrs is the age spread).
My mother was also one of 8 siblings.

48 Susan Heim April 28, 2009 at 10:00 am

I *only* have four sons, so I’m not sure if that’s considered a “large” family, but I could definitely use some sanity-saving tips! I’m sure this book would be very helpful.

49 Katrina April 28, 2009 at 10:23 am

great giveaway

50 brandlyn April 28, 2009 at 11:01 am

I dont have that big of a family but this book would certainly be interesting with the kids I do have.

51 Michael Capp April 28, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I’d love to win!

52 Shirley April 28, 2009 at 2:34 pm

This book looks interesting and I will have to read it. I think being that I am only a mother of 4 who is homeschooling, I don’t think I qualify as much as many of the other moms. It can be challenging being a mother, but for me it’s been hardest being alone the last 14 months with two special needs children. My husband comes home next week and I cannot wait! I think I will be much more SANE when he gets here. Good luck to all of you hoping to win! Thanks for sharing the book. :)

53 christopher h April 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm

this sounds like a good read

54 shannon Baas April 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Looks like a good book.

55 Shelly Nissley April 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I love to read and this book sounds great!

56 susan varney April 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm

love to have this one mverno@roadrunner.com

57 kygirl April 28, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Sounds like a book I need to read.

58 Erin April 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I just had my fifth boy, and the #1 question I get is “Oh… were you trying for a girl?” because everyone assumes that’s the only reason someone would dare to have 5 kids ;-) I’d love to win this book!

59 MRS.MOMMYY April 28, 2009 at 7:52 pm

would love to read

60 MRS.MOMMYY April 28, 2009 at 7:52 pm

subscriber

61 MRS.MOMMYY April 28, 2009 at 7:53 pm

newsletter

62 Heather Diotte April 28, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!! :)

Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:
CoolCanucks.ca

63 sherry nickerson April 28, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Thanks:)

64 Rebecca April 28, 2009 at 8:44 pm

We are adding #6 to our family. We have two birth children, a daughter from China, two boys from Ethiopia, and a daughter waiting in Ethiopia. Most of the time I am pretty sure I am not sane but that’s OK because I love my life.

65 Andria April 28, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I would love a chance to win. Thank you.

66 Emily C April 28, 2009 at 9:55 pm

I would LOVE to win this book.

67 renee April 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm

please enter me in the drawing for this book.

68 renee April 28, 2009 at 11:18 pm

i subscribe

69 Serena April 29, 2009 at 12:48 am

Oh, I so want to win this! I’ve been trying to get my hands on a copy for the past few weeks!

70 warillever April 29, 2009 at 7:54 am

I would *love* a copy of this book

71 Sweetpeas April 29, 2009 at 9:08 am

I’d love to win this. I have 3 kids now, and have been feeling very convicted to let God decide our family size, but my husband doesn’t feel the same, so I’m leaving it in God’s hands to work on my husband’s heart if it’s His will.

72 Miranda April 29, 2009 at 9:17 am

I could really use this book and would read it!!

73 shannon prophitt April 29, 2009 at 9:39 am

Looks like a good book!

74 Stefanie Hartman April 29, 2009 at 10:34 am

I definately need to read this book right away. We have an extra large family and will be adding more soon. Blessings to all mothers and grandmothers for their Mother’s Day!!!!

75 Leah April 29, 2009 at 10:40 am

I’ve been following Mary for a while and would love to read her book.

76 beth shepherd April 29, 2009 at 11:47 am

Thank you for a great giveaway! I would love to win. Thank you
tatertot374@sbcglobal.net

77 Angela J April 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I raised six children, this would be interesting to see her take on a big family.

78 LaVonne
Twitter:
April 29, 2009 at 4:00 pm

I’d love to win this book! I need some sanity. :)

79 Linda Chaput April 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Looks like an interesting book.It could change our minds on large or small family.

80 Betsy April 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Just had my 4th son and I’d love to read this!

81 Renee G April 29, 2009 at 9:40 pm

I would love to read this. I’ve always wanted a larger family.

rsgrandinetti@yahoo.com

82 Stephanie April 29, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I would LOVE to win this book!! I don’t think I have a large family (only 4 kids) but from the reactions I get in public most people think I do. Maybe it’s because they are all under 6 that people feel overwhelmed by them. :)

83 Karen (from Our Deer Baby) April 29, 2009 at 10:54 pm

I would love to win a copy!
I have seven kids, so not super large, but it is not small either ^^

Karen

84 mindy April 30, 2009 at 9:27 am

sounds great thanks for the giveaway

85 Tawnda April 30, 2009 at 11:53 am

I would love to have this book… I am one of 10 that my birth mother had… I can’t even begin to imagine it… lol

86 Rebecca April 30, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I would love to win this book!

87 Erin April 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I’d love to win this! We have 3 so far, and we’re hoping to add several more in the next couple of years.

88 israel y April 30, 2009 at 9:57 pm

We are working on kid #1, expected to arrive this summer and I would love to read this book!

89 Gabriel J. April 30, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Great read, make me a winner!

90 Jennifer Hedden May 1, 2009 at 9:57 pm

enter me

91 corrie clemens May 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm

i love to read and want to win this.

92 Christina May 1, 2009 at 11:56 pm

I agree with the quote from the book that Frugality gives freedom! The more money you save, the more you’ll have to spend! This is a wonderful giveaway book, and thanks for the chance to win!

93 Kelly F May 2, 2009 at 5:36 am

This is looks like an excellent book! Great giveaway :)

94 Erma May 2, 2009 at 7:41 am

I would love the chance to win,thanks.

95 Molly Capel May 2, 2009 at 12:33 pm

As a mom of a kind of big family (5 boys), I would love the chance to read this book.

96 Heather May 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I would love to read this book. We are a family of six hoping for more.

97 shawna f May 2, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Would love to read this.

98 Cynthia Mercado May 2, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Would love to read this book! I have 7 children from 28 years to 5 years.

mercsmercado at yahoo dot com

99 Susan Smith May 2, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Sounds like a good book

100 Amber S. May 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Sounds like a good book – thanks for the chance to win a copy!

101 Heather Goldsmith May 2, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I come from a large family. We could all use this

102 Jessica May 3, 2009 at 1:51 am

This sounds like an excellent book for me to read and pass along to my mother.

103 Barbara Rawe May 3, 2009 at 9:53 am

Raising children is no easy task! Might as well laugh yourself through it! Happier healthier kids….saner parents

104 Barbara Rawe May 3, 2009 at 9:53 am

Raising children is no easy task! Might as well laugh yourself through it! Happier healthier kids….saner parents

105 Melanie D May 3, 2009 at 11:02 am

I would love to read this!

106 Gianna May 3, 2009 at 11:56 am

I’ve got 5 and counting.. Please enter me :)

107 Genevieve Larson May 3, 2009 at 12:11 pm

just had my 4th baby and I have been contemplating a 5th. I so need to read this book.

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