The Courier-Mail

It’s all the loves and chal­lenges of par­ent­hood … just mul­ti­plied a lot

- JACKIE SINNERTON

THEIR five-bed­room house on the hill may be packed to the rafters but the Thom­sons wouldn’t have it any other way.

Han­nah and Grant are mum and dad to 10 chil­dren, aged be­tween five months and 20, all liv­ing un­der their roof at Mudgeeraba on the Gold Coast.

To make it work, five of their seven daugh­ters sleep in the con­verted garage.

The weekly gro­cery shop is more than $700, they drink nearly four litres of milk and eat two loaves of bread per day and their wash­ing ma­chine is on an end­less cy­cle. The fam­ily ve­hi­cle is a 12-seater van and watch­ing their kids play sport is an all-day event.

This is not your av­er­age Queens­land fam­ily.

“Peo­ple ask me that all the time – if I own a TV – when they hear that my wife Han­nah and I chose to have 10 chil­dren. Many are sur­prised that we are not a blended fam­ily,” the 50-year-old Gold Coast busi­ness con­sul­tant said.

“It is a bit like The Wal­tons, it takes me a long time to say my good­nights at bed­time.

“When we pile out of our van at the park or out for the day – we cer­tainly at­tract some at­ten­tion.”

While the fam­ily is one child short of cre­at­ing a cricket or football team, Grant and Han­nah, 42, have fin­ished hav­ing ba­bies. “We thought we would stop at five but then it was a case of let’s just have one more and we kept do­ing that un­til we hit 10,” he said.

“The hard part of rais­ing a large fam­ily is in the early years, but hon­estly as the older kids grow and are happy to help with younger sib­lings things fall into place more easily. And of course Han­nah is the back­bone of the fam­ily and is highly or­gan­ised and has trained the kids beau­ti­fully to be in­volved in house­hold du­ties.”

He ad­mits that rais­ing the brood needs a hefty bud­get.

Han­nah has al­ways been a stay-at-home mum and the cou­ple has had its fair share of fi­nan­cial prob­lems.

“I have made mil­lions and I have lost mil­lions. We were very un­lucky a few years back when we lost busi­nesses that we owned back in Christchur­ch af­ter the earth­quake. We were liv­ing on the Gold Coast at the time but we are orig­i­nally from New Zealand,” he said.

“Things are look­ing up again and I am work­ing re­ally hard to re­store solid fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity for my fam­ily.

“It is dur­ing the tough times that you re­alise that your riches are un­der your roof. My fam­ily mean more to me than any­thing.”

At one time the Thom­sons had seven chil­dren in pri­vate school but it was a big fi­nan­cial strain.

“I spent a lot of money on ed­u­ca­tion so we de­cided as a fam­ily to try home school­ing. The kids have re­ally ex­celled and Han­nah has been in com­plete con­trol and does a great job. It makes things a lot eas­ier than the lo­gis­tics of get­ting ev­ery­one to school,” he said.

Han­nah and Grant get up at 5.30am to pre­pare for the day ahead.

The fam­ily all sit down at the ta­ble for break­fast, usu­ally pre­pared by Sum­mer-Rose, 10, be­fore ev­ery­one heads off for their day.

“The lit­tle kids are not al­lowed to leave their rooms be­fore 7am,” Mr Thom­son said.

“That is the rule. It gives Han­nah and me the chance

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