The flip side




Isobel is 16 days old today and despite the joy of welcoming a new baby into the family there have been quite a few instances of experiencing the not-so-great flip side of life.

I should have known it when, a couple of hours after my arrival home from hospital Ben mentioned that his bedroom ceiling was leaking.  Mike went off to investigate and discovered a broken ball-cock in the upstairs bathroom.  The nine month old tumble drier we had fixed for the second time only the week before had developed another fault, and the washing machine packed up.  Then the following day, the independent midwife we had hired for our ante and post natal care dumped us by text.

To top it all I have found myself really not enjoying filming this time around.  At first it was okay, but in the last couple of weeks I have noticed more and more odd lines of questioning occurring, and requests to say things to the camera that I wouldn’t normally say.

Yesterday, for example, I was asked to say the line, ‘I am a disciplinarian’.  The original question was something along the lines of who is stricter or something like that, to which Mike answered that he was the fun parent and with which I agreed.  I do tend to do most of the telling off and nagging.  You can imagine how they would cut me saying ‘I am a disciplinarian’ into the programme and given the last ’15 Kids and Counting’ debacle, I am already extremely wary and worried.

Another line of questioning they have been throwing out is regarding Mike’s ‘return to work’ next week.  Now in reality, Mike had finished off the job he was on the week before Isobel was born.  Knowing that I would be going into hospital in a few days he scheduled his next job to begin a couple of weeks after her birth – wanting to have some kind of ‘paternity leave’ and get to know his new daughter.   The flexibility of working around family and events and to our own schedule was one of the reasons we’ve worked to create self-employed incomes for ourselves, so why not use that flexibility?

The line of questioning was repeatedly along the lines of how I was going to cope when Mike ‘returned to work’ – the repeated implication being that I was pretty darned useless at looking after us without his help.  Let’s remember that two weeks ago I had a c-section.  I had two 13 month old twins that I couldn’t lift.  The first couple of weeks would have been terribly difficult without Mike’s help to lift and carry them, as well as the help he provided in general.

Mike is great.  He does help out and one of the main reasons our family life works so well is down to our ‘tag-team’ parenting where one or the other of us can pick up whatever needs doing in respect of lessons/baby/kids/home and get on with it whilst the other gets on with whatever work comes in.  Being self-employed we need to work when the work is there!

Let’s also remember that not only do I look after my family but I also run this site and write for other sites/clients for a living.  I work from home.  I’m at home but I work.  I have done so for several years whilst simultaneously looking after my family and running my home… all whilst Mike was working outside of the home.  By no means do I consider myself useless.  Yet it seems that is the impression that they were after.

I worry about meltdowns occurring when mealtimes are later than the children’s body clocks can take.  Our routine is such that we normally avoid such times but when the crew are filming I find myself having to stand firm at times, and coming across as seemingly unreasonable, I’m sure.  But I am all too aware that meltdowns are what they’re wanting to film.  Editing can portray a far different story to the one that is actually happening.  Remember the home-educating scene from the last show where it was a case of ‘cut to Oliver having a tantrum, cut to Cait looking bored, cut to someone else seemingly not paying attention…’?  Yep, editing tells a different story entirely.  And when you are asked to say certain things in a certain way – well, that just adds to the mistrust and suspicion, you know?

I’m feeling rather low.

We’ve taken a gamble and given them a second chance.  My gut feeling is that maybe we shouldn’t have.  Once bitten, twice shy and all that.

So I am wary and worried and, truth be told, having second thoughts about agreeing to it all.

We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.


5 thoughts on “The flip side

  1. Hi Tania! I’m so sorry you’re feeling low. I can imagine how unsettling it would be for a crew to ask you to say things that don’t properly represent your family, and then edit in an unfair way. I have 10 kids, and our 10th arrived just before your Isobel. I’ve been having a rough time (trying to find our groove), so couldn’t imagine being filmed in addition. We’ve had several things break down as well, which is no fun right before Christmas.

    Anyway, I hope things get better, and that the show will film and edit with integrity! By the way, is there a way for us to view your show here in the states? I tried to find some episodes on Youtube, but only saw a couple of other families, not yours.


    1. Congratulations on your new baby! I hope things settle for you too and that no more things break down for either of us!

      Who knows how the final edit will be? I guess we just have to wait and see as we can’t do anything else at the moment.

      I’m not sure if you can see it on Youtube at all. I haven’t looked but we were on the first episode with the Radfords, just in case you thought we were in our own one.


      1. Thanks Tania! Our baby girl is Grace, and she is 4 weeks old. She’s so sweet! Congrats to you too! Isobel is absolutely beautiful!

        I’ll check Youtube again. They weren’t full episodes, but short clips. But I’ll look for the Radfords…the name sounds familiar. Thanks so much and good luck!!! 🙂

  2. Hi Tania,
    I just want to give you a massive hug…..
    you are a fantastic mummy and you are a fantastic family. The media are very good at portraying the large family as ‘disfunctional’. Lord knows everytime i mention that i am having an issue with one of our brood, be it teething to weaning or sleeping to tantrums, one of the first things people say is ‘well, its cos youve got so many, they all just want some attention!!!!’ i usually reply- ‘oh yes of course why did i not think of that, none of the families i know with one or two children ever have sleeping or teething issues- silly me!’
    We all know you guys on this site, we watch your you on your journey to have a child, care for your children, educate them and guide them in faith all with careful planning and occasional chaos but what family does not have this- ???
    TBH- i found parenting far harder when i had 2 kids, now we have a 6th on the way its a blooming doddle.
    You and Mike should be so proud of yourselves- you are what family is all about, and between you and the Radfords, Hanns etc you are living proof of just how fantastic it is to have such a large family.
    I belive i speak for everyone when I say how much we adore this site and the inspirating you bring to us.
    This site and forum is our wee sanctuary to celebrate the ups and downs of having large families- without prejudice and this media storm will blow over.
    Who care what the spoon fed watchers think, if they are only watching it to see the manipulated side of the story then it really is irrelevant.
    YOU know who you are and so do all the poeple that respect you and I truly believe that people will become bored with a constant downer and will want to see the positives in your family not just the rubbish you can tell they have chopped .
    Sending you lots of Love and prayers from or growing family.
    The ganners xx

  3. Hey Tania,

    Sorry you are feeling low and that life has thrown some obstacles your way over the last couple of weeks. I am sure that things will pick up soon and a sense of normality will resume ( do we ever have such a thing with large families?!).

    You have a beautiful family and it is very apparent from your blog how happy and loving you all are. I enjoy reading your blog because you are refreshingly honest. You do not try to portray the ‘perfect’ family life, instead allowing us to see what it is really like raising a large brood. I come here when I need some inspiration or a ‘feel good’ moment.

    I hope that the programme is an honest portrayal of your family and that other people can see what we do.

    Kelly x

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