How do we cope with a family of 9
Updated: Jun 7, 2020
"Haven't you got a television?"
A question myself and my husband are asked so often, "how do you cope?" Whenever we meet anyone new and start with general chit chat, i always get the dreaded feeling that the conversation is going to turn pretty quickly.
“Have you got kids?” Queue horrified look "Did you say 7?" they think they've misheard me "OH MY GOD!" yes "Really" no i'm lying "wow don't you have a telly" yes i do "do you like sex then?" very rude!!! "you need a hobby" "do you get loads of money then?" "bet your house is huge"!!!!!
The questions you experience when you have lots of children can vary from stunned curiosity to quite personal at times, but we try and answer honestly and politely to whatever beauties people think of to ask. Its common for people to then grab a friend and expose you like a circus clown stood in the middle of the high street , all the attention is then on you, another barrage of endless questions that 99 percent of the time you have answered before countless times.
The truth is we do have a telly, im very partial to Coronation Street and Emmerdale so as attractive as i find my hubby, im afraid im not giving my daily soaps up for no one. We also have lots of hobbies between us although as for making babies being one of them, i wouldn't call that a hobby as such more like a life choice.
We don't get lots of money as people may think, as you can imagine just food alone for a week is an expensive do, packed lunches for school, snacks and meals for the week is a lot of food and it all comes at a cost no matter how savvy we are with our shopping.
We both work hard to pay for our children and give them the life we think they deserve, we are not extravagant with them but we do make it count on birthdays and Christmas, which is something we save for all year. Our children dont go without and always get what they ask for every year, we see that as our responsibility as their parents for them not to miss out, so if that means putting away money each week to do that then thats what we do, trust me our living room is a sight to behold on Christmas morning, we use roughly 15 rolls of wrapping paper to wrap their presents and that takes a lot of clearing up, its a "all hands on deck" kind of situation for that one.
We don't claim umpteen benefits as some people presume is the norm for big families but we do have our fingers in all the pies so to speak to pay for our family. I'm a beauty therapist and my husband is a tattooist, but i also make cakes and the hubby is currently barbering to bump our income up, we pay for our own rent (just a standard 3 bedroom, nothing flash, certainly not a mansion) and we pay for our own bills, we really do work at keeping our family together and we wouldn't have it any other way.
As i mentioned before our weekly shopping can be something that does take a fair bit of planning, loaves of bread, toilet rolls, juice and milk are replaced the most throughout the week, at least one loaf of bread is used before we even get to 9am, toilet rolls are bought in bulk, teeny bums especially are responsible for most of the loo roll that seems to disappear in our house. We use at least 4 pints of milk each day between coffees and bowls of cereal as well as bed time drinks means that on some days we have to go out and buy even more.
I can buy a bottle of shampoo and conditioner at the beginning of the week and before it gets to the end of the week it can be gone, items such as yogurts and boxes of cereal are a luxury, as they would last literally 2 minutes by the time we all have our share, these items can be expensive and don't go far in a family like ours.
Meal times are carefully planned out and we do make a lot of meals that will suit us all, spaghetti bolognaise, stew, sausages, fajitas, pasta dishes are all the norm. Summertime brings BBQ weather so its great for us, outside eating and buying from the local butcher means we grab some great bargains.
Items for a sweet tooth come in the shape of home made cakes and biscuits, waffles or donuts, and whoopsies from the supermarket, whether that is danish pastries or reduced birthday cakes either way it keeps the kids happy and it saves a fortune, making our own popcorn is also a cheaper way to keep the kids happy on a movie night, it takes 10 mins to make and can have any flavouring added to it, also can be a lot healthier than endless bags of crisps.
Although our shopping and meals sound a little regimental we do have takeaway a couple of times a month, Saturday nights are a perfect excuse to visit the local pizza place and take advantage of their bigger meal deals that you will find on offer, plus when you become a regular most will always throw in some freebies which is even better for our bank balance and a house full of hungry sprogs.
Food aside i always say to people that an empty wash basket and a strict bedtime are the biggest pointers in keeping a large household running smoothly, myself and my husband are very rarely budged on the kids bedtimes, although special occasions are always an exception. I find with my children that no matter what time they go to bed they still get up at 6 o clock on the dot every day.
People ask me how all my kids are so good at going to bed and go asleep straight away and stay asleep through the night, i usually ask them what it is they do that makes their children not do this. For us a set early bedtime, a quick story and being tucked in is the routine, its as simple as that, its just repetition, not every night is easy sometimes there's a rouge child hiding in a cupboard with a Barbie doll, or one that just has to have that big poo they've been waiting all day for; but for the most part going to bed at an early time and without the help of a television, (they dont have tvs in their rooms) works and we get a better version of our little ones the following day. We do what works for us, i love my husbands company and we like to have time together where we are not just mum and dad, even if thats just having tea together, it helps.
If i was to leave our washing basket alone for even a day it would be overflowing, pyjamas, bedding and school uniforms are the main culprits. It sounds silly but if i have a full washing basket it clouds my head and i hate having to have my washing machine on 3 or 4 times a day just to get rid of it. Also putting the washing away straight away once its washed is also a must, there's no point tidying up and cleaning your home to have washing laying about everywhere, plus nothing worse than finding a pile of freshly washed clothes put back in the washing basket because someone left them lying on their bedroom floor. I have a technique where i wash the clothes by the person who wears them, once they are washed and dried i then fold them and give them to the person who they belong to. So for example my 3 year old likes putting her socks away so we carry her washing upstairs and we do it together, i have everything in their drawers etc laid out so its easy for them to access and they can just pop them away, hangers are like gold dust in our house so they are left to my and the hubby and the older kids clothes, makes the job easier for me as well as the smaller children.
Its not an easy job having so many children, some days it can be stressful, whether its running late for the school run because one of the children wouldn't have their hair brushed, or a stand off at the dinner table because one has decided they no longer like stew but said it was their favourite last week; either way for all the little stresses the amount of happiness our family bring outweighs it all.
Our recent baby will sadly be our last addition to the family and that makes me so sad, i would have liked more but due to complications and the fact that believe it or not its a struggle for me to give birth one way or another, but im also so excited to see what the future holds for us and our family and watching our little ones grow and explore the world is an amazing thing and to know that they are a result of my and the hubby's hard work makes us all the more proud.
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