Uniforms laid out, check. Cereal boxes on the table, check. Lunches on the kitchen counter, check!
As a mum to eight boys,
I have to run a very tight ship. I’ve got Darcy, 10, Monte, nine, Leion, seven, Archi, five, Elias, three, two-year-old twins, Berti and Huego, and finally Rohan, five months.
It means every morning is an intense workout to get them off to school!
‘Archi, have you brushed your teeth? Monte, can you help Elias pour the milk? Leion can you retie your laces?’ I’ll say.
I have to stick to a strict schedule to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Then, when the clock hits 8am, it’s time to head out the door and jump into our 12-seater minibus.
The older boys hold the hands of the younger ones and hop into the car, two at a time.
After buckling each child in, I do a head count before
I take off to make sure I’ve got everyone!
I never saw myself with so many children, let alone all boys.
‘Were you trying for a girl?’ people always ask.
My husband and I were at one stage. After the third we thought it might be nice to have a girl, but I’d become so comfortable with having all boys that I thought a girl might throw me.
Plus, the boys’ clothes got passed down and they liked similar things, so it made it all a little easier.
Every time I went for a scan, I had a strong gut feeling that it was going to be a boy.
The sonographers tended to always be sympathetic when they revealed it was another boy. It didn’t upset me at all, but the kids were often disappointed!
‘Oh really, Mum, another boy,’ Monte sighed after finding out.
But they did come around to not having a sister eventually, after I promised that we would eventually get a female puppy.
The most noticeable thing about living with boys is their appetite – they go through so much food!
During the week, I make big batches of curry, pasta, or meat and vegetables for dinner.
When we have taco night, I have to make a platter of 24, which is gone in seconds!
During the COVID-19 restrictions, it was a nightmare. While I was doing my usual food shop,
I had a lot of people staring, assuming I was hoarding.
But with eight kids, it’s normal to spend $300 on groceries in a week.
My trolley will be filled to the brim each time, with at least three kilos of apples, another three kilos of oranges and three kilos of carrots – and that’s just for their afternoon snacks!
Their favourite at the moment is celery sticks with a side of dip, so I always have vegetables cut up and multiple containers of dip ready to go in the fridge.
Not a day goes past where I don’t get stopped in the street and asked about the boys. Most of the time,
I have the younger four with me, as the older four are at school during the day.
Depending on whether I’m in a rush or able to have a chat, I’ll say, ‘These are only the youngest four and I’ve got another four at school!’
Most people’s eyes pop out of their head, followed by a silent pause.
‘No, you’re lying to me!’ they’ll then gasp.
I get an equal amount of positive and negative comments. A lot of people call me crazy, but some say lovely things.
‘Oh wow, you’re a saint,’ I get regularly. Or, ‘You’re a superhero.’
After my marriage ended, it was tricky to have time for myself as well as find individual time with each son, so I have introduced a new routine.
Now, the older ones have one night a week each where they stay up for an extra hour and we get some one-on-one quality time.
We either read a book together or watch a movie, but they also love doing the puzzles in my that’s life! magazine.
Leion’s favourite is finding the treasure chest.
Recently, he quietly asked, ‘So Mum, if
I win do I get to keep the prize money?’
To encourage everyone to do their bit around the house, there are rewards such as toys and money for chores completed, and
I have a points system.
It helps the family to function and teaches them about responsibility.
And it works, as my good boys raise their hands to wash up and dry the dishes or vacuum the living room.
Of course it’s always loud and busy in our home, but I love it.
I’m constantly laughing and smiling because someone’s always doing something silly or cheeky.
I love watching all of them grow up and go through the different stages of their lives.
It feels like someone hits a milestone every week, whether it’s one of the twins taking their first few steps and learning to talk or one of the older ones losing a tooth.
The older boys are so understanding of the younger ones too, and they help me a lot.
Recently, three-year-old Elias needed to use the toilet but as the handles on our bathroom door are too high, his big brother Monte took him for me.
Little things like that put a smile on my face.
Another time, while at the shops, Darcy was helping me with the pram and a lady complimented me on having four handsome boys.
Even before I could thank her, Darcy jumped in and exclaimed at the top of his lungs, ‘No, no, there’s eight of us. I have seven of the best brothers in the world.’
Like any family, there are times when they’ll fight, but at the end of the day, they are best friends.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.