I Am Feeding the Neighborhood, Help!

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"I have 5 boys. Our family gets along better than I could have ever hoped for on that note, I've always taught my kids to step in and say something when they witness another kid being bullied, this includes their brother's, their friends or anyone at school making someone feel less about themselves. To call the bully out on it, respectively. “Hey, why do you feel it's necessary to make fun of “so-so”? You know bullying doesn't make you any more cool than you think you are in?” Etc. My boys have come up with their own renditions and it has served them well over the years. I've never allowed bullying in my home and I will not tolerate it, from my kids or their friends. If you can't be nice, then you just aren't allowed in my home end of story. Due to my kids standing up for other children that they witness getting bullied, the amount of friends my kids have is ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the friendships they are building, giving kids that may not feel like they have anyone in their corner giving them that sense of belonging and getting included and I love that they have that natural ability to just make friends with ease where as so many struggle to make friends and fit in; however, it's starting to get to be a bit much and it's getting expensive to feed all these teenage kids. At first it wasn't bad, there'd be one or two friends for each kid, occasionally throughout the week that would stay for dinner or would be invited to join our family-but last night, I realized just how far in over my head we've gotten with this whole friend thing. The entire varsity basketball team (20) showed up to hang out with my oldest. My 2nd oldest had 5 friends over, the 3rd child had his 2 bestfriends there and my 2nd youngest had 3 friends over. When the entire basket ball team showed up, of course the other boys were drawn to the noise and leave it to the 5 year old infront of 30 kids- he loudly announces that we are having pizza for dinner and says everyone should stay for dinner, becaues it makes it more special when we all eat together. My husband notices the look of unease and uncomfortableness on some of the kids faces when my 5 year old put them in an akward situation. Not all my kids friends come from “money” and I am glad these kids feel comfortable in my home knowing we don't view them any differently and they are treated equally in our home so my husband quickly jumps in and says “Impromptu pizza party? I dig it.” and starts delagating orders to the older boys to work with everyone on what pizzas we may need; (if costco pizza was an option, I'd have gone this route, because it's good pizza and it's not too expensive, but Costco wasn't an option. Not many places could put an order for 20 extra large pizza's last minute; by the time all was said and done, we had spent over $500 on pizza. This isn't the first time something like this has happened. A couple weeks ago I ended up making like 10 lazagnas and the month before that, I had 5 large pots of spaghetti- It's not about the kids, it's not about feeding them, it's not about the clean up because the kids all jump in and clean up everything every time without having to be asked. My problem is with the practicality and unrealistic expectations that we may be setting for our boys. My boys are not are the problem, yet. They never assume that we are just going to drop everything and feed whatever team they are on walks through my door, They are kind sweet boys and always ask before they offer an invite, but it's me and my husband. We are the problem, How do I go about easing back on this so that the kids still feel welcome and wanted because they are. I am well aware that I have created this problem. Any advice would be welcome."

RELATED: Mom Can’t Afford the Amount of Food Her Boyfriend’s Son Eats, But What Can She Do About It?


The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

"I would sit down with your boys and explain that it is very expensive to feed friends. Maybe have 1 night a week where they can bring a friend or 2 for dinner? Communication is key! They seem old enough to understand."

"I would stock up on cheap snacks in bulk and feed them that instead of full meals. One night per week plan a dinner for everyone. Keep it cheap though. Spaghetti goes a long way instead of lasagna with so many ingredients. Pasta salads, sloppy joes and other things like that are more affordable for a huge crowd."

"Involve other parents in the planning & execution"

"When all my nieces and nephews sleep over we make hot dogs, nachos, and spaghetti. What you are doing is kind but don’t be afraid to make ham sandwiches. The kids just want to be together."

"Talk to your boys and let them know that maybe once a month you will do a bbq or something that won’t costs so much or maybe a bring and share so not all the cost is on you."

"First, bravo mama!! Sounds like you’ve done amazing with your boys! I would suggest stocking up on cheap snacks at like the Dollar Tree or buying in bulk at Costco or Sams Club. That way they always have something to snack on. I would also invest in keeping some of those frozen pizzas on hand. You can keep pizza pockets, bagel bites hot pockets stuff like that which is cheap and usually can be bought in large quantities. And I would speak to your husband, and let him know that he can throw impromptu pizza parties when each kid only has a friend or two each over. Doing something like $500 in pizza is like a once in a great while type thing."

"I’d remind your 5 year old to remember to ask you guys first before inviting that Many friends to have dinner"

"Have a weekly pasta party! It’s big with sports teams! And it’s something where everyone brings something!"

"I think its wonderful that you are teaching your kids to be friends with the kids that probably need friends and to stand up against bullying! We need more parents like you. On another note, I would consider designating one day per week (or month) that the kids are allowed to invite others over for dinner. Talk to them about how you have to budget and why. It will be a good learning experience. Good luck!"

"It’s ok to set boundaries and limits on friends coming over. Take a few days a week for just family time. Make it known. Even as adults, your kids will NEED to know how to set boundaries or people will walk all over them!"

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