Mom Interviews

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Mary Ostyn, author, "A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family"

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Mary Ostyn has a work-life juggle that would leave most of us breathless. A writer who works at home while parenting and homeschooling 10 children, her first book, A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family, was released this spring (you can read a review -- and, for a limited time, enter to win a copy of A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family -- at Work It, Mom's Affordable Luxuries blog). Her second, Family Feasts for $75 a Week, is due out in September.

She also has contributed to Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul, and has written articles for Christian Parenting Today, Adoption Today, Adoptive Families, among others. Her articles for Work It, Mom!, on parenting and adoption issues, are some of the most well-read ones on the site. She juggles her many roles with grace, and writes about her daily life on her blog, Owlhaven.

Mary is married to her highschool sweetheart, John, who works in the medical field. They live in Idaho with their 10 children -- six girls and four boys -- who range in age from 21- to 4-years-old. Eight of them still live at home.

Want to know how she does it? Read on!

You blog about your life, homeschooling, parenting, frugal living, and much more at, and have a devoted following there. What inspired you to write A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family?  

When you're raising a big crew, you learn how to streamline out of sheer self-defense. My blog readers loved hearing my ideas, and I realized there was a niche for my book. Even though the book is geared towards large families, it has been interesting to read the amazon reviews and see how useful it has been even to smaller families.

Have you always wanted to have a large family? 

Absolutely not.   I grew up the oldest of eight, and when I was a teenager, I swore I'd never have more than four kids.  Getting from there to here was a gradual process, and was definitely influenced by growing up and gaining a new appreciation for the family in which I was raised.  I've been sharing stories recently on my blog highlighting our gradual move towards truly large-family status.

Your family is unusual not just because of its size, but also because you and your husband chose to add to your family via adoption. What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in deciding to adopt? 

My husband's first reaction to the idea of adoption was, "Are you nuts?  We already have 4 kids!" It took awhile for him to decide that we really could do this and that it would enrich our lives.  Once he decided to go forward, he never looked back. And the blessings have been greater than we could have even imagined.

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