Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Mystery of Socks

Welcome to our practical Saturday post of large family living.  
This is where and when we will address some of the helpful things 
that have helped us along the way to raising a large family, things I wish I would have known years ago, when I was struggling to adjust to a bigger family, like around child # 5.

When Grace came to live with us, one of the first things she noticed about living with a large family, 
is that socks disappear into some black hole vacuum and are never found again. 
 I think this happens in most families, but is double trouble for a large family, 
who has a difficult time keeping everyone’s socks straight anyway.

We have pondered the reason for this, and came up empty handed.  
We do know for certain that the more people in the family,
 the worse the problem.
  Perhaps there is some underworld where the creatures eat socks, 
so they nab them from us, unseen.
  Or, more likely, small furry creatures of our own  making 
[Read: "Miracle Max" (below)] 
have a great fondness for stealing them off the clothes line.

The little children who wear their socks outside with no shoes 
and then take them off when they get wet, 
leaving them there in the tall grass, 
 then have the worst time of all finding socks to wear to church on Sunday morning. 
 But that does not explain how Daddy’s socks come up missing.

I was talking with another mom of many about this dilemma, and she looked at me incredulously, 
You mean, you guys HAVE socks?”  
She was serious.

 We try to have socks, especially in the fall and winter.  
By spring they have wandered off and found other homes, 
so we go sockless through the summer, and when fall comes, everyone gets new socks.  
The best solution we have come up with thus far, is to alternate types of socks each person has, 
which works well for the girls, who have vast selections when it comes to purchasing "original" socks. 
 I should add that it is far easier for each person to just have one type (
i.e. one color, one style, etc.) of sock. 
Grace just purchased socks that are dark with wild colors, in hopes that she will be able to find them again. Rose has light colored socks.
 Anna has white,.
Mine are wool, (I only wear socks in the winter). 
Bethany has white and pink.

  Boys sock solutions are much more difficult, 
since their options are usually white, blue, black, and sometimes you can find gray. 
 But when you have more males than those few selections, things get tricky.   
 Once I happened upon 4 pairs of monkey socks at a thrift store that I snatched up for Ben. 
 Our excitement was immense.  
What could be more suitable to a little boy than monkeys on his socks?
 He wore them until they rotted right off his feet, and then, what was I to do?  
Don’t you think that all 5 and 6 yr olds should have monkey socks? 
  I spent all day in town looking for patterned little boy socks. 
 Only toddlers seem to be able to buy such items.  
Imagine his supreme disappointment when I came home from town with blue socks instead.

  I have tried the dot system,
where you add dots with a permanent pen on the toe of socks to keep who's who straight.  
It works well with underwear and shirts, but still, 
we have sock issues. 
 I have thought long and hard about just transitioning into moccasins for everyone 
and avoiding socks altogether, which has it’s advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, 
we are keeping the system that has worked the best for us so far, in hopes that one day, 
we will have successful sock order in our home. 
 If only we could get Rhinohide for the kids feet, then, life would be so much simpler.


  1. I always look forward to Saturdays. A chance to sit down with my dear friend, and read one more area where you have figured it out before me. :-/ Imagine my delight today, when I find that you too are still stumped by socks! HAHA!! :-D (Are you *sure* we can't rhinohide their feet????)

    We *must* have tea soon, I miss you!

  2. For washing socks...get the special garment washing bags for nylons and such. Label with a ribbon or perm. marker. Have the kids put their dirty socks into their garment bag and wash. There doesn't have to be any sorting of socks afterward. I am not sure how to keep socks from being lost out side but there are websites that have fun socks for sale. You might be able to get them in bulk. :0)Barb

  3. I wonder if every large family is thinking about socks right now! I was just writing about the mysterious disappearing socks at our house. It's cold here and our toes are freezing! For a long time I bought all of my boys white socks in two sizes and all of the girls pink socks in two sizes but now our family dynamic has changed(age, sex ect.) so I'm trying to think of a new system to keep track of socks. If you come up with anything good let us know:)

  4. I have just recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying reading through your archive as well as your new posts. I'm a mom of six with our seventh on the way. We live in St. Maries and my oldest son went on the Dying to Live Tour with your son. I've been so thankful to find a mom with so many of my convictions and the Lord has used your posts to prepare me for some hard issues that came up in the last two weeks.
    As far as the socks go, my son read your post first and was laughing his head off cause it made him think of us too! I've finally put a basket in the laundry room that holds all the socks that are missing a match and quite often kids just go through and pull out mismatches to wear.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and what God is teaching you.

  5. I was thinking about socks recently. I was thinking we could break socks down to small, medium and large and pick a color for each size. Socks are always fit at least 2 to 3 different shoe sizes.

    However, that does not solve the disappearing sock problem. And you could have three or more kids wearing the same size. We don't have that problem yet. I am sure it is coming though.

    I found your blog the other day and it is a true inspiration. You have helped me in more ways you may ever know!

    Christian, homeschooling, quiver-full, off-grid mama. I used to think that this was impossible. Now I know better!

    You have such a beautiful family!

  6. I am a mother of 5 children 6 and under. I was struck reading somewhere in your blog that around #5 you found organization difficult. I am there right now myself. In addition to homeschooling my older 2, my husband is a youth and music pastor and attending seminary. I was just wondering what verses or friendships or comments particularly helped you during that time. Thanks for you input!

  7. I am a mother of 5 children ages 6 and under (no twins:)). I was reading somewhere in your blog how #5 caused some organization gliches. If that is true, I am there right now. In addition to homeschooling my older 2, my husband is a youth/music pastor and attending seminary. I was wondering if you had any verses, prayers, friendships, or other comments that gave you encouragement on the long days. Thank you!

  8. Hi Julianne, I love your blog! We have 6 children now. Our oldest is our only daughter and the 5 of boys are ages 7 and under. Socks are one of the few things I buy name brand on - we always get Hanes because they are color coded by size ("Hanes" sewed on the toe in red=small, in green=medium, in blue=large). We put all of the kids socks in one drawer and the kids know to fold their socks so that the toes are sticking out (so that the color of the "Hanes" is easy to see when digging through. We used to do colored socks for the boys for church, but gave up on that a long time ago! I also do something similar for under wear for the boys. I alternate white and colored underwear by size - our 4yo is wearing colored, 5yo wears white, 7yo wears colored... Thanks for all the Saturday tips in your blog and even more for sharing your heart for God on the other days. You have been a blessing to me!


Your comments and input are very much appreciate
- Blessings!

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