Here, Krechelle, 28, tells the story in her own words.
C￼lutching the positive test, I couldn’t believe it was happening again – and so quickly.
It had taken my husband Dave and I two years to conceive our first bub, Sylus, then four. To our amazement Noah, three, followed quickly; twins Paige and Olivia, two, came next, then we’d been blessed with Bailey, eight months. Now Dave was bathing three with one hanging off his leg and I had some more exciting news. We hadn’t even been trying! ‘What’s one more?’ Dave laughed.
Little Emerson completed our brood. With six kids under six, our home was so full of love. But at times, I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t doing a good enough job. When the house wasn’t spotless, I felt guilty. If I exercised, I worried I was being selfish. As a mum, aren’t I supposed to be devoting every waking second to making my children smarter? I thought.‘You put too much pressure on yourself,’ Dave told me. I just wanted everyone to think I was perfect though. Then one day, something snapped. I am perfect, I realised. My version of perfect. I was doing my best. It got me thinking about all the other mums who might be worrying they’re not good enough. So I decided to create a blog about what parenting is really like and encourage others to be proud of their efforts. I called it Eight at home. I wrote about tantrums and swore a lot! And I included tips I’d picked up along the way. Organisation is key!
With our tribe of tiny ones bathed, storybooks read and tucked up in bed, I prepare lunch boxes for the following morning. Dave usually leaves for work at 5.30am. Then one by one the kids climb into bed with me before the fun really begins. There’s 12 pieces of toast to butter, 12 little socks to put on. Breakfast is usually eaten with no tops on so they can’t get dirty! And I never close the door for the school run on a messy house, so I make sure the kids have made their beds while I do the dishes. To get out quickly, I take one at a time to the car – walk, sit, buckle, repeat! Sometimes when we’re out, people can’t hide their surprise. ‘They’re not all yours are they?’ a lady asked at the shops one day. ‘Do they all have the same father?’ ‘We’re fairly certain,’ I replied, shocked at her rudeness. People judge and roll their eyes. But it’s not okay to make someone feel like the number of children they have is wrong, if they are happy, healthy and loved. Others want to know if Dave and I still find the time for romance. Of course we do! Some of the best nights are when we turn off the TV, talk, listen to music and play board games.
We’ve had to learn to be thrifty. I made Christmas dinner for just $6 a head and I feed us all for $200 a week. We eat out on Mondays because kids eat free and when renovating our kitchen, we bought a cabinet line that was ending so it was cheaper. We don’t receive a pension. Dave works seven days a week and I sell unwanted goods on Gumtree. ‘If it doesn’t make you happy and you don’t use it, you don’t need it,’ I tell people. To survive school holidays, I always have one movie day. ‘It gives me time to mentally regroup,’ I laugh to Dave. The kids eat popcorn and wear pyjamas – so there’s no laundry! I also don’t use dishes – it’s pizza out of boxes or a floor picnic. ‘You must be a superhero,’ people say. But I’m definitely not. We’re no experts and we have our ups and downs. I want all mums to know ‘good enough’ is great, and perfect is what you make it.
Recently, Sylus, now six, patted Emerson, 17 months, on the head and said, ‘I love her so much, Mum.’ It was so out of the blue and so genuine. Moments like that, knowing all six of them have each other forever, are so special. I did that, I think. I’ve raised them to have good values and help each other. I’ve been patient, I’ve yelled and cried and I’ve counted to three more times than I’m proud to say, but it is all worth it. Having a big family is hard, it’s crazy. And it was the best decision I ever made.
Krechelle’s tips to saving $$$ every week
■ No buying takeaways or coffees out
■ Track and use points you’ve accrued on reward cards
■ Call around your utility and insurance providers and make sure they’re giving you the best rates – I saved $200 doing this!
■ Look for a side hustle – get crafty/use your talent to earn extra cash
■ Don’t drive – walk or ride if you can. (Not me though – can you imagine six kids on bikes? Heart attack!)
■ Sell things you no longer use online
■ Check what’s in your pantry and get creative using up everything
■ Buy home-brand products of anything else you need
■ Don’t buy any new clothes – check what winter clothes you have stored before buying anything
Read more in this week's issue of that's life!