This week’s Large Family of the Week is the fabulous Pollard family from Devon in England.
Mum Jules and I could quite easily have been separated at birth, even though they are far further along the self-sufficiency route than we are! Read about her wonderful family here…
Introduce us to your family (names and ages & tell us a bit about yourselves):
I am Jules, the mama of the family, married to my wonderful husband Lee who is a plumber by trade. We have 6 beautiful children. Our youngest is Amara Rose, at 6 months old. Then we have Taisia aged 3, Callum aged 8, Tiegan aged 12, Joseph aged 16 and Chelsea at 18.
We reside on a smallholding in a beautiful part of rural Devon, trying to replicate the ‘good life’. We share our days with goats, chickens, and ducks, along with the more usual range of small critters, cats and dogs.
We have been home-educating our children for 11 years. De-registering the two older ones from their primary schools in 2003 was the best decision we have ever made. Our lifestyle has been completely overhauled, our priorities dramatically changed, and our family transformed.
Do you consider your family to be large? If not, what do you think is the magic number which turns an average sized family into a large one?
I consider us to be a large family – certainly the household bills dictate that we are! The comments we get whilst out and about, and the reaction from my close family members when I have shared pregnancy news has certainly instilled the fact that we are a larger than average family – and not always in a good way sadly.
Did you ever think you would have a large family?
I always wanted many children – I really wanted 8. However, I feel now that my body is telling me that 6 is my limit and I have to listen and respect that. I am extremely blessed to have the children that I have.
What is your best moneysaving tip?
Meal plan and shop online. We save a huge amount because I plan meals in advance and by shopping online I don’t get caught up in all the ‘special offers’ and tempting displays that the supermarkets hope to trap us with. Meal planning also means very little is wasted. I also try to grow as much of our own fresh food as possible, have chickens for our eggs, and forage for seasonal berries.
What is your best tip for organisation?
To-do lists and teamwork!
What is your favourite recipe?
Anything that is simple and cheap! We love slow-cooker meat-free chilli (my meat loving husband didn’t realise it didn’t have meat in as it is so filling and bulked out), and chicken curry made with condensed mushroom soup.
Do you cook the same meal for everyone or cater for different tastes?
I’m afraid I’m very much a get what you are given mama – we couldn’t possibly afford to cater for individual tastes financially. However, all the meals are planned as a family, everyone has their say as to what meals they want on the list and no meals are chosen that we know a person doesn’t like. At times we may adapt a meal to make something more to someone’s liking – for example Tiegan doesn’t like salmon but will happily eat a fish in sauce, so we will swap the fish but keep the rest of the meal the same.
What is the best thing about having a large family?
The love. The relationships the sibilings have with one another (particularly helped by our home-educating status I personally feel), the busyness, the no two days the same, the fact the children always have a playmate or someone to confide in. The list could go on and on and on…
And what is the most difficult?
Ensuring that everyone has their needs met, ensuring everyone feels connected to their mama and that they are ultra important.
If you could offer one piece of advice to parents, what would it be?
Relax. Don’t stress the small things. Pick your battles; make sure it’s only absolutely necessary things that you enforce. Say YES as often as you can. Let go of control and trust. Ok, so that’s more than one piece of advice but I have learnt so much on my parenting journey, one piece just isn’t enough!
Don’t you have a television?
LOL, oh yes we do, and we also have a bed…
Do you know what causes it?
Yes, love and a big heart.
And finally, will you have any more children?!
As much as I would love to answer this with a yes, I will be sensible and say no. My last pregnancy was much harder than my previous ones with my body screaming at me to slow down. My home-birth (my fourth much loved home-birth), was a little scarier than previous ones and I know the time has come for me to take stock, appreciate my beautiful blessings, and say enough is enough. The lifestyle we have here with the animals to care for and the land to tend to really needs all hands on deck to be truly fruitful and successful; pregnancy isn’t really very conducive to that.
And my younger ones are running me ragged, I feel old!!
If you loved reading about Jules and her family as much as I did, you’ll be pleased to know that she writes over at Classroom Free. Do go on over and have a read!