Family a blessing for Hibiscus Coast mother of 10

Posted at 10:21am Tuesday 07 May, 2019

Mother's Day is bound to be a big one for June Waith of Stanmore Bay.

The 63-year-old mother of 10 says she loved being pregnant, and giving birth – which was just as well, as she says no contraception that she tried seemed to work.

“Eventually, when I was due to have my tubes tied, I said ‘you'd better do it quick or I'll fall pregnant again' – which I did!” June says.

June got married early and had four children, then later re-married and had seven more with husband Norman, including a stillborn girl.

Her oldest child is now aged 44 and the youngest 28 and she has 30 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Money was tight on one income when the children were young but the energetic and bubbly June says she is “a doer” who enjoys sewing, re-purposing and fixing things.

Cooking was a chore, she admits – having to think of what to put on the table for such a large family every day was not her favourite job. However, she says no one went hungry and there were no fussy eaters – “what you got, you got, and ate it up real quick”, June says. “These days I don't eat mince – I had enough of that.”

Takeaways were a treat that were made possible by looking for the best deals, such as the $1 Georgie Pies.

Grocery shopping was another tricky one to manage – at one stage, with two sets of twins, June was allocated home help and used this so that the children could be cared for while she did the grocery shop by herself. “Otherwise I had two trolleys to push around – one full of kids and the other with the shopping in it,” she says.

The whole family couldn't fit in a single van, as seven-seaters were the largest available at the time, so when they acquired a motor home it was “a blessing”, making holidays a joy.

They also got a small, 18ft sailing boat, which they all managed to cram on board.
“We had so much fun – we were good at finding fun that doesn't cost much money.” Along the way, June learned many things including the art of taking 15-minute ‘power naps' so she could keep going all day and virtually all night when the children were babies. There was a time when she and Norman shared their bedroom with five of the children, as they were all waking up at different times during the night.

By nature, June likes to be prepared and organised. One of the most important things, she says, was setting a good example as a parent. “Children imitate you, from a very young age.”
The family is now spread all over the world – although a few are still at home, including in the granny flat and campervan.

A major family reunion is planned for January 2020. “We'll have to hire a hall!”
June has more time to spend in the garden these days – and plans to retire from fulltime work in a year.
She was also top of her school in art, and says one day she will pick up her paintbrushes again. The garage is being converted into a workroom/studio.

“I'm always taking photos and thinking ‘one day, I'll paint that',” June says. “I think that time is just around the corner.”


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