June 10, 2019 | News | No Comments
10th Jun 2019
I have seven children. Everyone is surprised when I tell them. And people always ask if everyone in my family has a lot of children. I don’t think it’s genetic. I only have one sister, who’s currently pregnant. My dad has six brothers and sisters and my aunt has eight children, though. But really, I think it’s about whether you enjoy having children or not.
I had my first six kids with my ex and my youngest with my current partner. I have five boys and two girls. The eldest is 12, then 11, 10, eight, seven, five and the youngest is three. I love the bond the children have. I love watching them play. They all run into school together. Inevitably you get one or two who are closer, and some are chalk and cheese – they’re all individuals.
I was 27, about to be 28 when I had my eldest. When I got pregnant with my second, it was literally three months later. We had a scan and we just couldn’t believe it. Our attitude was always, if it happens, it happens. I’m lucky in that I didn’t need to worry about whether I could have children or not. We did think about contraception though. I was on the mini-pill when I was breastfeeding my second, so for our third, I was more careful about everything.
The more kids you have, the less time you have. I’ve split up from the father of my first six; we had just fallen out of love. It’s different with my partner now though. We’re still in a new relationship, so I do wish we could have some time together, but I say to him, we are just having to do things backwards. Once they’re grown, we’ll have our time. They’re not children for very long.
I’m always reminding myself of how fast time goes. Because I became pregnant so quickly after I had my eldest, I never got to enjoy him as a baby. He was 11 months old when I had my second – before I knew it, we were having his first birthday party. It’s only now with my youngest that I can enjoy things like swimming lessons. You can’t just go swimming with your kids if you have more than one below a certain age.
The plan was always to go back to work, I was a teacher before having kids. My mother is the matron of a nursing home and she wanted me to take over from her too. But then I kept getting pregnant. I still hope to go back to work eventually, to be a supply teacher, something that’s flexible as I don’t have time for lots of marking or planning. I definitely feel that teaching is part of my identity and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice that part of me, but nor do I want to miss out on watching my kids grow up.
There is a tendency to hang out with other parents, but it’s good to talk about things other than children sometimes. And it’s nice to find the space to switch off for a bit. I started going to the gym to just have a minute to clear my head.
Do I remember what it was like before kids? I remember the day before I had my eldest, lying out in our garden thinking, “I can’t wait for this baby to arrive”. I think back on it all and I really value the time I had before they were born. I used to spend a lot of money on myself, I worried about my appearance a lot. When I look back now, I think what a selfish lifestyle it was to an extent. All I did was focus on myself. Now I have my children, I have to be everything to them.
I guess if my daughter came to me and said she wanted to have kids when she was 18 or something, I would want her to be aware of all the things she could do in life before becoming a mother. I don’t want her to miss out on certain life experiences, though of course, you can do things at a later point. But forging a career for yourself, getting that independence when you’re out of school, travelling. She should live a little first.
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I know there are some things we just can’t do with seven children. Like leaving our kids with family while we go off for a grown up holiday. There’s just too many of them. My ex seems to go all the time, but I just wouldn’t feel right doing it. They’re still so young – it will come, that freedom for me, when they’re older.
I don’t worry about things like finances, the future, all of that. I’m lucky, my parents are always there to support me, what’s going to be will be, and I just have to hope that my partner and his dad can chip in and help out too. I want to make sure my kids have everything they need. They shouldn’t miss out, just because we chose to have seven kids.