A mother who had seven children in just eight years – and is expecting number eight in January – has explained how her family functions by home-schooling and spending £1,300 a month on food.
Amanda Sellers, 29, had always dreamed of a big family and convinced her husband, Chris, 33, to have a large brood when they started dating in January 2013.
After their whirlwind romance, Chris proposed in May 2013 and the pair were married by July of that year and immediately started trying for a baby.
Chris – who already had Logan, 12, and Ryan, 11, from a previous relationship – was apprehensive at first but converted to the idea as soon as the pair welcomed Liam, now eight, in February 2014.
Amanda went on to have twin girls, Mya and Mia, now seven, in May 2015 and twin boys, Asher and Brycen, now five, in January 2017.
The couple had Eli, now three, in November 2018, and Emma, now two, in July 2020. They are expecting another new arrival in January 2023.
The family home-school their children and have a 15-seater van to get everyone around. Amanda plans their meals for a month and does a single large supermarket trip, spending about £1,000 – before spending another £350 per month topping up the fresh supplies each week.
Amanda, a stay-at-home mother from Roanoke, Virginia, said: “I’ve always wanted a large family and as many children as possible.
“When I had Liam, having three kids was hard but after that it felt the same. Having the three young kids is much harder than having 10 children in my eyes. They all get along and are very outgoing.
“I try and teach them all to be independent so they can help out with chores and be able to sort their own breakfast and lunch.”
Chris, a structural steel detailer, said: “I was apprehensive at first of having a big family but now I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“If you’d have told me then that I’d have nine children and one on the way I would have said you were crazy. We’re trying to build a healthy bond with the kids.
“I don’t think we could ever have too many children that we wouldn’t have time or love for.”
Chris and Amanda lived in a three-bedroom house when they welcomed their first child together, Liam, in February 2014.
The pair took in Chris’s children, Ryan and Logan, and adjusted to life as a family of five. “This was the biggest adjustment,” Amanda said. “I thought: ‘If I can do three young children, I can do anything.’”
Now the pair have welcomed nine children together over six years and couldn’t be happier with their family life. “There wasn’t a year I wasn’t pregnant from 2013 to 2020,” Amanda said. “I think 2021 is the only year I haven’t been.”
To keep on top of their large brood, Amanda plans all their meals for a month and does one big food shop.
“I plan about 15 dinners and then double them,” she said. “I don’t plan out the exact days we have the meals but I make sure we have enough. We have a big chest freezer in the basement and fridge freezer in the kitchen. I’d love another freezer if we had room.”
To help out with the chores, she teaches the children to be independent as soon as they are old enough.
“Most of them know how to put the wash on, or make a peanut butter sandwich,” she said. I set a 10 minute timer most days to get them to all tidy up. It can be chaotic at times but so can any household.”
The older children each have designated tasks, which get changed each week, to help out with the upkeep of the house.
Chris works from home and all the children are home-schooled.
“They all get on with their work,” Amanda said. “And then once a day I’ll check what they have been doing with each of them.”
To keep costs down, they have a budget of about £45 per child for Christmas and birthdays and instead spend the time celebrating with each other.
The couple say they can’t wait to welcome their new arrival in January 2023. “I’m very happy with our family size,” Amanda said. “10 is a great number. We think this might be our last baby but we’re keeping an open mind for more.”