18 kids, one on the way: how do they do it?

The Radford family.
The Radford family. 

I'm fascinated with large families. Not the kind that have three or four kidlings, but those that reach double digits - and then keep going.

Reading about these families always fills me with questions.

So when I read that the Radfords - the largest family in Britain - have just announced their 19th pregnancy, I was curious to know more details.

Mum Sue told The Sun, "It has come as a huge surprise. We were adamant that we wouldn't have more. But it is a brilliant start to the New Year."

Sue, 40, fell pregnant for the first time at age 14, but she and her now-husband Noel, 44, wanted to keep the baby as they were both adopted as babies. 

The Radfords claim no benefits, and support the family with a small bakery they run near their home. They also run a blog to share their stories and give tips on family financing

I must admit, I like hearing about the amount of food they consume. (In case you're interested, the Radfords apparently go through 21 loaves of bread a week and 14 boxes of cereal. They also chug down 18 pints of milk - which is roughly 8 litres – Every. Single. Morning).

While these numbers are mind-boggling (8 litres of milk just for brekky!), I'd love to know more about what it's actually like having that many offspring.

So, if you happen to know any uber-large families, this is what I'd like to know ...


1. How do they get out of the house in the mornings?

I sometimes struggle to leave the house with three kids. This is because my children's agendas ("But Mum, I have to draw a picture now!"), rarely align with mine ("No you don't; you need to brush your teeth").

So how does a family with that many kids ever leave the house? Or do they just find it easier to stay home? Which leads to my next question:

2. What about playdates?

When my kids have friends over, I find that life gets a little hectic.

I realise that kids from large families have built-in play-dates available 24/7, but they're bound to want friends coming over too, right?

And if only half your kids want playdates at the same time, that would mean having over 25 children under the same roof. (Hold me).

3. And what about sleepovers?

If only a few of your kids want friends sleeping over at the same time, you could easily have 21 or 22 kids sleeping under the same roof at the same time. I can't even.

Talking about sleep …

4. ... Do these parents ever sleep?

One of my close friends, a mother of four, calls sleep in her house a 'lottery'.

She says she never knows which of her four kids will be up on any given night, and it's an absolute gamble to assume all four will peacefully sleep through.

Add another dozen or so kids and my head hurts just thinking about all the possible combinations of night-time waking that could occur.

Which leads me to (perhaps) my biggest question:

5. Between all the dinners, and bath-time, and reading, and teeth-brushing, and tucking in, and requests for water, and needing one last kiss, and having to sleep with the sheets that are in the wash, and having a sore tummy, and actually being sick, and wanting to sleep with mummy, and not wanting to sleep at all….

… How do they, ahem, have the time (let alone the energy!) to even make another baby?

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