A young mum who has nine sons and is pregnant with her 10th baby has offered a glimpse into what her chaotic daily routine looks like – and the budgeting and organisation tricks that keep her sane.
Kirsty-Anne Randell, from the Northern Territory, had her first child with her now-husband at 18 and told FEMAIL she never wanted a ‘big family’.
‘I’m the oldest of five and was determined to only have two, but then life happened and more came along,’ the 35-year-old said, adding they won’t know the sex of their baby until birth.
The first born is Tristan, 16, followed by Daemon, 14, Blaire, 12, Chase, 10, Logan, 9, Zander, 8, Elijah, 6, Phoenix, 4, and Jamie, 1.
In the Randell household, routine and planning is key so all of the boys head to bed at 8.30pm to help ensure the home runs smoothly.
Kirsty-Anne Randell (far right), from the Northern Territory, Australia had her first child with her now-husband at the young age of 18 – but admitted she never wanted a ‘big family’
The oldest son is 16 and the youngest is one but all of them head to bed at 8.30pm to ensure the home runs smoothly; in the Randell household, routine and planning is key
There are three bunk beds for the younger kids, but the eldest son has his own room and the youngest sleeps in a cot.
In order for the days to run to plan, Kirsty-Anne follows a regular routine.
She starts the day by getting her young children ready for school and prepping breakfast and lunches. The older boys are asked to pack their own lunchboxes.
‘I always check what they pack, but it’s important for them to learn about responsibility,’ Kristy-Anne said.
The first born is Tristan, 16, who was followed by Daemon, 14, Blaire, 12, Chase, 10, Logan, 9, Zander, 8, Elijah, 6, Phoenix, 4, and Jamie, 1. The family also own a 14-seater bus for events and outings
After dropping the kids off at school, she makes all the beds, cleans up the kitchen, and has a quick morning meal before continuing to tidy the rest of the house which includes vacuuming and mopping the bathroom.
About an hour before bedtime is the household’s ‘rest time’ where everyone is free to do what they please such as watch television, read a book or play on their iPads.
While taking care of her children, Kirsty-Anne also works three days a week volunteering at the Australian Breastfeeding Association and the Families and Schools Together (FAST) group helping other new mums connect with their babies.
When it comes to buying for Christmas presents, Kirsty-Anne sticks to a strict budget of $3,000, or $300 per child, and plans ahead
Having a larger family comes with hefty costs including the weekly grocery bill, Christmas gifts and birthday presents.
Kirsty-Anne spends an average of $500 at the supermarket each week and buys ingredients in bulk if they’re on sale, such as meats and staple items. Fresh produce hikes the price up.
‘I can’t usually do all the shopping on my own because I buy more than one full trolley load, so I often shop online,’ she said.
She rotates between different meal ideas including spaghetti bolognese, lasagne and tacos every Tuesday.
The children all go to bed at the same time of 8:30pm because it would be ‘impossible’ to do any other time
‘I usually ask the kids what they would like for dinner and they sometimes help out with the cooking,’ she said.
When it comes to Christmas presents, Kirsty-Anne, who considers herself to be a ‘tidy, minimalistic person’, sticks to a strict budget of $3,000, or $300 per child, and plans ahead. Each child only receives one present.
‘We always ask them what they would like for Christmas and often grandparents pitch in too,’ she said.
‘We try to avoid toys because we noticed we were buying so many but they would open them and never play with them.’
Throughout the week Kirsty-Anne keeps on top of the dirty laundry and on Tuesdays she dedicates the entire day to folding and putting away clothes
This year Kirsty said Christmas will be a ‘quiet one’ as their extended family live interstate and would need to quarantine due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Every year they have the same set menu of pork, beef, prawns, chicken and a potato salad followed by cake for dessert.
‘We always make too much food but hey, that’s Christmas, and it never goes to waste as we eat it for leftovers,’ she said.
Kirsty has one rule when it comes to the holiday period – no-one is allowed to wake-up before the sun rises.
‘The kids always need to have breakfast before we sit down and open presents, then my husband starts cooking the meat,’ she said.
– Create a routine and stick to it
– Shop online for groceries or make sure someone helps you with the supermarket shopping
– Buy sale items in bulk (meats, bread and staple ingredients)
– Plan what you’re going to cook for dinner for the week in advance
– Always make sure the kitchen is clean
– Tidy the house when the kids are at school
– Plan for the week ahead every Sunday
– Make sure to schedule time for yourself and take breaks to relax
During the year Sunday is known as ‘clean-up day’ where the entire family helps tidy the house, put toys away and prepare for the week ahead.
‘We pull out boxes, put everything away, clean up under beds and start the week over on Mondays,’ she said.
The busy mum keeps on top of the dirty laundry during the week, and on Tuesdays she dedicates the entire day to folding and putting away clothes.
The children all play together and get along, with the oldest, 16, often helping out with the youngest, 1
Kirsty-Anne’s only word of advice to any parent looking to have plenty of children is to ensure you spend quality time with each of them
The family own a 14-seater bus for events and outings as well as a smaller car for quick trips to Darwin.
Although many have speculated whether Kirsty and her partner are ‘chasing’ a baby girl in the family, she said this isn’t the case.
‘People always think we’re just after a girl, but it has nothing to do with gender,’ she said, admitting she’s tired of the questioning.
‘I just want all of them to have a friend and someone to grow up with – and I like round numbers.’
Her only advice for any parent looking to have lots of children is to ensure they spend quality time with each of them.
‘It’s so important to make time or find time for your kids and make sure you connect with them – ask how their day was, what happened at school and what they learnt,’ she said.
‘Quality time doesn’t have to mean an hour or two a day, you just need to have important, meaningful conversations which can take as little as 10 minutes.’
Kirsty-Anne also ensures she makes time for herself to relax and take ‘time out’ as needed.