PARENTS

Mum Of ELEVEN Says Children Are A Blessing

17/01/2012 17:18 | Updated 22 May 2015
Mum of 11 Tania SullivanTalk to the Press

Tania Sullivan is 37 and a mum of 11. The super-mum, from Hoo in Kent, appears on the Channel 4 programme 15 Kids and Counting on Tuesday (17 January) to tell her story.

Tania, who is married to Mike, 38, a joiner, had her most recent babies, twins Elizabeth and Anna, in October.

But despite getting up at 5am every morning and home schooling her children, Tania still finds time to work from home, writing her popular blog and a book about their busy lives, Larger Family Life.

She continued to work full-time until after the birth of her sixth child, when she was made redundant from her job as a recruitment consultant. At one stage, in order to make ends meet, Tania and Michael were working four jobs between them around the clock and sharing childcare.

Tania has two children from a previous relationship, Ben, 18 and Stephanie, 17, both of whom have left home. Still at home are Caitlin, 12; Harry, eight, Eddie, seven, Sid, six, Patrick, four, Oliver, two and Joseph, one, plus the four-month-old twins.

Tania says their home life can be "chaotic" but that she "wouldn't change it for the world." She and Mike were teenage sweethearts but split up and reunited again in their 20s. Tania and Michael believe "every child is a gift from God". Tania has suffered the ordeal of eight miscarriages during her marriage to Mike.

She says it annoys her when people "assume" the family must be on benefits, saying it is "simply not the case".

"We claim child benefit but the bulk of our earnings come through our wages. We pay our taxes and have never claimed any other benefits. We budget and live within our means. I'm adept at meal plans and always use cloth nappies to save money."

The family has bought a minibus to ferry their enormous brood around, and get through 50 pints of milk and 20 loaves of bread a week.

Smiling Tania says running her home is like a military operation, but admits her youngest babies are "very placid" and do not keep her up all night.

Even so, the mega-mum is up at 5am every morning, and by the time the rest of the family has risen she has put on a load of laundry, vacuumed and dusted the house and made breakfast.

Despite her obvious joy in her children, Tania says she never particularly planned to have so many children: "There wasn't some kind of light bulb moment when Mike and I decided we were going to have loads of kids, it was a gradual thing.

"I'd thought we would have a couple of children but having several miscarriages changed my perspective. I was utterly heartbroken every time - it never got easier. It made me realise how precious children are and how they truly are a blessing."

Wow! Eleven children and 5am starts. Could you manage it?

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