Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family” as Want to Read:
A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  224 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
A SANE WOMAN'S GUIDE TO RAISING A LARGE FAMILY is written from the practical, experienced perspective of a mother of ten and has thoughtful, helpful answers to important questions, such as:
Can a mother meet the needs of multiple children without drowning in sheer neediness?
How can a moderate income stretch to include more children?
How can you make space in your home
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 18th 2009 by Gibbs Smith
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family

A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary OstynWhat Your Explosive Child Is Trying to Tell You by Douglas A. RileyTeaching Children Empathy, The Social Emotion by Tonia CaselmanVerbal Judo by George J. ThompsonCooperative Learning in the Classroom by David W. Johnson
1st out of 55 books — 1 voter
Birthing from Within by Pam EnglandThe Continuum Concept by Jean LiedloffOur Babies, Ourselves by Meredith SmallEnlightened Pregnancy by Luisa MagarianThe Anthropology of Childhood by David F. Lancy
Natural Parenting
32nd out of 32 books — 2 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 27, 2009 Mindy rated it really liked it
Since I only have one child, it might not make sense that I choose to read this book. However, I read Mary Ostyn's blog and really enjoy her parenting advice/stories, frugal living tips, and more. Mary is the mother of 10 children and has filled this book with extremely practical advice about living frugally, teaching kids how to respect other people, sibling relationships, activities for different ages, how and when to teach kids household chores, etc. She not only shares her own experiences, ...more
Jun 16, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing
In the world's mindset, any more than 3 kids is considered a large family. When I mention that I have 6, I often get a look asking if I am insane! Nope, completely sane and in love with each one of them! I was so excited when a friend introduced me to this book by mother of 10,Mary Ostyn. Insight from a mom of many is always helpful.

"Not only is it possible to raise a large family without going broke or crazy, it can also be a joyous, deeply satisfying adventure"

Just how broke are we going to be
Scooping it Up
Apr 15, 2010 Scooping it Up rated it really liked it
Shelves: adoption-reads
This book is not just for moms of "large families." Heaven knows, plenty of people would not consider my 2010 jump from 2 children to 4 large. I am still in the minor leagues compared to Ms. Ostyn's brood of 10.

But her insights into how she successfully manages to meet her children's needs, nurture them, teach them, run a house hold, prepare meals, deal with schedules and activities, budgeting, priorities are full of golden nuggets of inspiration and ideas. For one child families to 12 child fa
Jun 19, 2012 Aprill rated it really liked it
If I could rate it 3 1/2 stars I would. The book was good, it just wasn't the kind of book I was looking for. I felt like it was reading her blog, in the paperback form. For me personally I was looking for more specific and detailed information to help organize and balance our family before it expanse more. It had a few good ideas, but that's about it It was a very quick read. I read in less than 2 days. I'm going to try and read Large Family Logistics, in the hope it gives me the information ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Emmie rated it really liked it
Shelves: homemaking, womenhood
I really enjoyed the practicality and straight forwardness of this book. Mary Ostyn gives you a view into her life raising 10 kids and discusses how it works for them. She also shares others stories here and there to show different ways of doing things. I like that it is short, though in some respects I wish there had been more, particularly in the chapter dealing with money. I would have liked to have known a little more about her recipes to keep grocery costs down, but that is because of what ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012, family, goal2012, home
I am a firm believer in books. I don't even like e-books (yet), but unfortunately I think self-help, how-to books will soon go the way of the dinosaur because of blogs, pinterest and the internet. This was a good book, but very basic and nothing new for me. I was hoping for some new ideas on household management, but this was more an overview of how a large family is a blessing and so worth the work. She touched on laundry, chores, homeschooling, kids activities, etc. but only briefly. So, while ...more
May 22, 2012 Kerri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Since I have 4 children, I already fall in the category of "large family" to most people - and Ostyn generously includes all those with more than two, although she herself has 10, several through adoption. This book is well written and well organized. It is succinct but thoughtful. It covers pretty much every aspect of family life. It refers to other books that go in depth on particular topics such as Love & Logic and Love Languages. I found it a refreshing review of what I am doing right, w ...more
Nov 16, 2013 Heatherhh rated it liked it
I found this book to be best suited to someone who doesn't yet have a large family, or at least only has a slightly large one (like 4 kids) and might be considering having more children. As someone who already has 7 children, I found a few stray suggestions that might be worth trying in our household. But, this book isn't really that in-depth. A better book for ideas on how to function as a large family would be Large Family Logistics.

This book is better suited to just getting you thinking outsi
Jan 03, 2013 Angela rated it it was amazing
As an overwhelmed mother of 6, this book is just what I needed. I feel validated, encouraged, enlightened, and more at peace in the day to day challenge of raising children. Upon reading each chapter I found tips and tidbits that improved, and will continue to improve, my parenting skills. "A Sane Woman's Guide" is not just for large families; parents of any number of children will benefit from this book. If a large family isn't your thing, skim the parts that aren't applicable and glean from ...more
Apr 09, 2012 JoMama rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. I think Mary and I would be friends in real life. This book is not just for women with big families though. I felt it had such good wisdom and tips for every mother. I loved reading this, it was as if she and I were having a conversation. She is funny, and down to earth and to ally human, and I love that about her. The only negative I can say, is on quite a few of the topics, I wanted her to expound more. I wanted more detail. GREAT read!
May 03, 2015 Daphne rated it liked it
Shelves: reference, parenting
My kingdom for a book on parenting that doesn't reference God and Jesus every three sentences. That aside, this book has plenty of practical information about managing a household and multiple children. There's nothing new to be discovered for anyone who's already done any reading at all, but it's not bad as an introductory primer. It's well written and concise, worth checking out from your local library, for sure.
Not bad, but not too interesting for me. I stumbled upon the author's blog and thought I'd thumb through the book just to see, especially since I definitely wanted to library-order her other book (on frugal meals). If I had children, I think I would be a little more into it, but perhaps after years babysitting/teaching so many children and also having lots of experience being thrifty/poor, there wasn't much I took away to file for later use.
Jan 04, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mothers
I'm not raising a large family (only three kids) but I thought I would read this anyway. I used to read Mary's blog (Owlhaven)so I thought I would enjoy the book. Any book about motherhood is helpful to me and this book didn't focus a lot of only large families. It had a lot of good advice for any mother. A lot of it wasn't new information, but she has some good ideas. Worth a read if you're raising kids.
Jan 10, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I love and look up to this blogger and mother of 10. Her compassionate, practical, warm-hearted approach to mothering lots of children is majorly inspiring. This book is filled with perspective and valuable no-nonsense tips. In this day and age, it feels like even 4 kids is a "large family," so highly recommended to many. You'll feel encouraged and inspired.
Ruthie Nebeker
May 21, 2011 Ruthie Nebeker rated it really liked it
My family is not necessarily "large" (I have 3 kids, the author has 10), but it still sounded like a worthwhile book to read. It was! It contains a lot of great tips on many aspects of parenting: organization, budgeting, managing children's activities, teaching kids to work, improving children's relationships with their siblings, etc., and I found it very helpful.
Christy Comstock
Great book on a variety of topics

Mary Ostyn does a wonderful job of offering ideas and suggestions, inspiration, encouragement, and perspective on raising large family. She brings in many "real life" examples that help expand on each area.
The book was well written and a quick and enjoyable read!
Jessica McCauley
Dec 28, 2011 Jessica McCauley rated it really liked it
This is a really good book for those who are overwhelmed by their large family. Sadly, or maybe happily...not sure which, I have already implemented the vast majority of her suggestions into our own family. Was hoping for lots of new ideas, but I guess I'll settle for just encouragement that I already am doing many things right...
Missy Wade
Jun 22, 2013 Missy Wade rated it liked it
This book had some good tips, but ones that I've discovered already through my own experience. It probably would have been more helpful for me to read a few years ago. I did gain some "nuggets" though... Particularly in the last few chapters.
May 29, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it
Practical information on how the author runs her family. While not anything necessarily new, still a good read and full of useful tips I will be sure to keep in mind. I would absolutely recommend it to families with only a couple of kids too.
Apr 04, 2012 Terra rated it it was amazing
Awesome book with both practical and spiritual application. I don't side with every little detail of her prefences but all in all, it's fantastic! A must read for parents of large families or with a desire for one. Even for those that don't want more than three, still many great tips!
Ashley Wells
Jan 03, 2014 Ashley Wells rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, best-of-2013
This book was a super quick read stuffed full with practical, real life tips for parents! I would even recommend this book for families with one child, there is sure to be helpful information for any parent, and encouragement for the road!
Mar 19, 2011 Saraelizabeth rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed the practical, common-sense advice given in this book. Things like not over-scheduling your kids (for their sake and yours), tips for making time for each child, and appropriate chores for each age group. I loved her conversational writing and friendly advice.
Jun 26, 2011 Holly rated it liked it
Sound sensible advice applicable to any parents and not just large families. A worthwhile read, but hard to find as I had to get it through Inter-library loan. I would have liked something more comprehensive with more specifics as far as discipline goes.
Apr 24, 2015 Kris rated it liked it
As a mom raising five kids, I didn't find a lot of practical advice in this book. And I think the author and I have very different personality types, so a lot of it was hard to relate to for me. But I did appreciate her attitude of finding joy in the chaos and relating to each child individually.
Mar 13, 2014 Stacy rated it it was ok
I had hopes that this book would contain tons of practical advice for our family, and while there were practical ideas within these pages, most of them were not new to me, which is why I rated this only a two.

Anne Bean
May 19, 2015 Anne Bean rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting, own
It was an easy read, with some very helpful tips, but not life-changing. I read the author's blog and enjoy it: .
Budd Dwyer
Jan 03, 2010 Budd Dwyer rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: mormon fools
Sane women don't have big families. The title is an oxymoron. Abortion is easily available to anybody with brains!
Jul 04, 2012 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Good tips-- a little too much info on homeschooling and Christianity for my purposes. Overall, She seems to have a good system.
Dec 11, 2012 Evaly rated it really liked it
Good advice and encouragement. She is very open and real about the challenges of having a lot of kids.
Jan 18, 2011 Xaka rated it really liked it
This is the book I haven't written. It was fabulous reading that someone else parents like I do. It was validating. And, I learned a couple new things to try.

Good read from beginning to end.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family
  • Mrs. Sharp's Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort & Joy
  • Passionate Housewives Desperate for God: Fresh Vision for the Hopeful Homemaker
  • A Mothers Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul
  • Mindset for Moms: From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 Days
  • A Mother's Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother
  • A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make it Work
  • Seasons of a Mothers Heart
  • Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life
  • Helper by Design: God's Perfect Plan for Women in Marriage
  • Peril and Peace: Chronicles of the Ancient Church (History Lives #1)
  • Don't Make Me Come Up There!: Quiet Moments for Busy Moms
  • Spiritual Mothering
  • Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches
  • Honey for a Woman's Heart: Growing Your World through Reading Great Books
  • The Organized Heart: A Woman's Guide to Conquering Chaos
  • The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling
  • Real Learning: Education In The Heart Of The Home
Mary Ostyn shares encouragement with mothers through her books, speaking engagements, and her blog at She lives in Nampa, Idaho with her husband and the youngest six of their ten children, including four daughters born in Ethiopia and two sons born in South Korea.
More about Mary Ostyn...

Share This Book