Kate Ball, founder of Mini First Aid is mum to six children – Alfie (8), Grace (6), Emily and Olivia (2) and
Poppy and Amelia (7 months).
Hi, Kate! Let’s talk about your typical day? We’re guessing there’s a lot going on! What does a day in the ‘Ball’ household look like?
Depending on what sort of night we’ve had with the youngest twins, the day has a varying start time! We are all downstairs eating breakfast by 8am, our super Nanny, Lottie arrives to help us with the mayhem of cereal requests, attempts to get teeth brushed, hair sort of tidy and everyone dressed. The biggest leave for school before 9am, all the twins are with Lottie and me. If it’s a working day for me, the babies are with another childminder for a few hours whilst I join my husband Matt in the office. The office is in our converted garage, so the commute is nice, but the interruptions are many!! Work officially stops for me at 3pm, however unofficially being my own business it’s constant. After school, we often have more children to play (I mean, why not add more to the madness) or the biggest two are out doing clubs and activities. Tea looks more like a busy café, and the floor is covered in bits of food afterwards. Bath time starts at 6pm and all are through the bathroom by 7pm. Milk, many stories, endless cuddles and the four smallest are in bed by 7:15pm leaving the older two to watch TV, announce that they have a school project due tomorrow (!) and eventually leave us in peace by about 8:30pm. We eat, wash baby bottles, fill the dishwasher and collapse in front of Netflix. We should go to bed by 10pm to survive but often find ourselves up talking work, sometimes even doing work at midnight. Night feeds. (decreasing at last) And then it repeats.
You’ve got two sets of twins, Emily and Olivia, and Poppy and Amelia. Is having multiple sets of twins unusual?
Being nearly (ahem) 40 I count as a geriatric mum. From about 37 women can release more eggs as they are near menopause. That’s what happened to me. We wanted a third child and got a bonus baby – 2 eggs, so non-identical. What I didn’t realise is that once this has happened once for you, your likelihood of a 2nd set of twins goes up if you get pregnant again. I confess babies 5 & 6 were not planned. We were shocked that there would be a baby 5, and even more, shocked when number 6 was there too! Last year, I was only the 2nd mum in Yorkshire to have a second set of twins – there are just a few of us in the UK in the double twins club!
We’re all well aware of the lack of sleep that comes with motherhood, so we’re intrigued to know how much sleep do you get? Or shouldn’t we ask…
In the beginning, any twin mum will tell you that sleep is virtually non-existent. I breastfed my babies so they didn’t go very long between feeds and didn’t always feed together at night. But it’s getting better. I get about 4 hours in a row now, with another 2 hours after feeds. I’m hanging on for 8 hours one night!
With six children and two adults in the house, that’s a lot of cooking and washing. Talk us through it…
Milk, bread, pasta and cereal consumption in our house is through the roof, and the teeniest 2 are only just weaning. We rarely have leftovers, and if we do they get mushed up for Poppy and Amelia. Our Nanny Lottie helps me with the washing, it’s about 7 loads a week and a LOT of vanish!!
We all know how important it is for first-time mums to have support from friends and family. Do you feel you still need support as the number of children you have grows? And if so, how could other mums help support a mum with multiple children?
People often call me ‘Super Mum’ but frankly there are lots of days where I don’t feel like super mum and I need my friends and family as much as I did when I was a first-time mum. The best bit is when you don’t have to ask for help. Friends and family just get on with bringing dinner, taking the kids out, feeding the babies. I’m still not great at asking for help but if someone tells me they are borrowing my children for a few hours or dropping off tea, I will never say no!
Here at Mummy Social, we believe motherhood is better when you’ve got mum friends to vent to and share experiences with. How important do think mum friends are and what do they mean to you?
I have lovely friends and getting together with them and their children (and once or twice a month without them!!) Keeps me sane. Never underestimate the power of Mum friends.
Interview by Danni.