Mum opens up about life with nine kids – including bath time with conveyer belt

A mum-of-nine says she completes three loads of washing a day and runs bath times like a conveyer belt.

Claire Ambrose, from Failsworth, Greater Manchester, was just 17 when she had her first baby Jake, but he was tragically stillborn at six months into her pregnancy.

Then at the age of 19, the mum welcomed twin girls Jessica and Leah, who are now 19 themselves, according to Manchester Evening News .

After separating from their dad shortly after they were born, Claire, 39, raised the twins alone until meeting partner Chris Boyle – who she had four boys and three girls with.

Claire and Chris are also parents to Alex 14, Alicia, 13, Kayleigh, 12, Lewis, nine, Marissa, eight, Leo, six, and Tommy, four.

She says it’s the love of that “baby phase” which kept Claire wanting to get pregnant and have more children.

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If it wasn’t for a breast cancer diagnosis in December – and the treatment she’s having now – Claire admits she would probably have had more kids.

She said: “We didn't plan on having so many. But we didn't stop it either. We were quite laid back really and the children always asked me to have another one too.

"I loved getting a bump and feeling movements. It was probably a bit of enjoying pregnancy and that baby, baby stage.

"I think as soon as the youngest starts to walk and talk and is able to answer back, that's when I want another baby – one who can't answer back.

"I would like another girl, because my youngest girl is now eight, but I can't because of the health problems."

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When managing a huge household, Claire, who lives in a three-storey, four-bed town house, claims it’s all about staying organised.

By the time the children come home from school, the mum has got the next day’s uniform hung on the back of the living room door.

Each day three loads of washing are usually done, with the children bringing their dirty clothes downstairs and separating them into darks, lights and colours.

Claire added: “They're quite good at helping out really. The older boys might just chuck it down but generally they all do their bit. If the washer breaks, which can happen a lot, I just want to cry.

"We do have to work as a team or else it just doesn't work. Sunday is the day when we pull everything out and do a big clean and it's the day we get the homework done too.

"Creative homework is the worst, it does get a bit messy and I've had to ask another mum for help carrying things to school before now if it's been a big project they've had to make."

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When it comes to bath times, the mum says it’s like a “conveyer belt” with the kids taking it in turns to jump in either the bath or shower.

And having a big family comes at a price, with £50 each for a pair of school shoes, the footwear bill is a whopping £350 alone.

But Claire is savvy with money where she makes the most of sales, offers and cash back sites.

She’s unable to do shopping in one lot either, because there’s nowhere to store it all as they go through 40 pints of milk a week, six boxes of cereal and endless toilet rolls.

The mum is also aware of the judgements people make about big families and is keen to change that stigma.

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She concluded: “There are people I know who don’t work because they don’t want to, they're too lazy or whatever.

"I could afford the kids when I had them. We had Chris bringing a wage in too, but even now I still want to be able to give my kids as much as I can. And I have tried to teach the kids that if you want money you have to earn it.

"There is slot of stigma that people have children for the benefits – and if they are capable of working and choose not to then fair enough.

"Don’t get me wrong, I love being home with my kids, but I know that if I’m ever going to be able to take them abroad on holiday, or give them nice things, I’m going to have to work for it. I’m not scared of doing that."

  • Parenting

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