- 6 Children and a Business
“He’s had the snip now so we’re alright” Today Carla is joined by Kate Ball, founder of Mini First Aid. Kate talks about her life as a mum of 6 children, including 2 sets of twins, and how she balances it whilst running her own company with her husband. From quad buggies to feeding time, she speaks honestly about its challenges with several laughs along the way.
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Here is Kate’s business link:
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[00:01:32] Hello, and welcome to 50 shades of motherhood, uncensored, unhinged and unapologetic, guilt-free real raw mum chats with me, your host, Carla Lett over-sharer and founder of My Bump 2 Baby. The UKs leading pregnancy preschool directory.
[00:02:03] Today, we are speaking to the lovely Kate Ball the founder of Mini First Aid. And we are talking to her all about what it’s like being a mum of six children, two sets of multiples and running a massive business. So I’m really looking forward to sharing this episode with you guys. And I hope you enjoy it.
[00:02:43] Hello everybody. And welcome to this week’s episode of 50 shades of motherhood. Today, I am joined by the lovely Kate Ball, the founder of Mini First Aid and we are talking about. Pregnant, well, pregnancy, multiples having a large family and we’re just covering everything. So, hi, Kate, how are you?
[00:03:07] Kate: I’m fine. It is so nice to be sitting down. I’ve got a hot cup of coffee and which is a luxury in itself and I’m sitting down minus any of my children. So Carla you’ve got me for as long as you want me today.
[00:03:20] Carla: That was great. That’s a high five right there isn’t it just a bit of alone time with a hot brew. Yeah, I love it. I love it. So Kate, tell us a little bit about you then.
[00:03:32] Kate: I’m 41 and a half. And so I’ve got, I run a business called Mini First Aid, which, uh, I guess is my, my main, my, my baby, my first baby. Um, And it’s the business where we teach first aid classes. And I know we’ve been featured through yourselves, et cetera. Um, but we run a lifesaving first aid classes for parents who’ve just had a baby. Um, but sort of going on behind the scenes. And I can’t even say it’s behind the scenes really, because the reality is, is that it takes over the scenes is that I’ve got six children, including two sets of twins and probably for our sins, Matt and I, my husband, Matt, and I run the business together as well. So we’re very much family, marriage, business is all muddled in together. Um, and it’s just, its life is pretty mental. We make people feel tired when they see us.
[00:04:26] Carla: I’m tired already. Kate.
[00:04:29] Kate: Well, it’s, it’s quite nice to be able to chat about it because I think sometimes people would look at me and go, gosh she must be invincible that woman and I’m not, um, and also just how do we do it? So, yeah, so I’m well up for a natter about it.
[00:04:42] Carla: Oh yeah. Honestly, I have George don’t, I just the one and I struggle, you know, I have, I can’t believe it cause you’re, you’re very similar to me in the sense of your business, you run that with your husband as well. My husband helps me a lot with mine too. Um, but it’s um, it’s. I just, I don’t know how you actually manage everything. So I’m really excited to talk to you about this anyway. So should we go back and, and, you know, obviously you and your husband, um, are together, did you pan for a big family?
[00:05:13] Kate: So I always wanted three children. That was the magic number for me. Um, I was one of two, my husband, Matt was one of three, so he was fairly indifferent to number. We just knew we wanted to have kids. Um, and we had our first two children, Alfie and Grace, boy and a girl. So a lot of people said to us, Oh, you’ve got one of each stop. That’s just, you know, that’s cool. Um, and, but there was always like an itch that I needed to scratch really. That was like, I just need that third. The extra seat in the back of the car? Um, not that you can have a, get a car seat to fit in the middle seat.
[00:05:50] Carla: Yeah.
[00:05:52] Kate: That was always our plan. We certainly never set out to have six children. Um, and I think to be honest, if we watched documentaries on large families, I think there’s one on channel four at the moment. And there’s obviously the very famous families where they’ve got sort of 20 odd kids, is that I’ve always looked to them and thought, crikey, absolutely no way. Couldn’t think of anything worse, but six, but you know, it was now never a plan for us to have six. We wanted three that was our number.
[00:06:22] Carla: Wow. That’s quite a jump. So you’ve almost doubled what you’ve actually wanted which is fantastic. I love a big family. Um, so with, with your third pregnancy then, so that was obviously pre planned. I’m guessing. Because you wanted your third baby.
[00:06:37] Kate: Yes. We bought, we bought a, we bought a house, we bought a doer upper because we, there was a particular road that we wanted to live on. Loved it, thought it would be great. The only property that we could get or really on this road, was it Doer upper. So we moved in and lived in it. Literally like a bomb site. And lived in one room I look back and think, I don’t know how we did it. We had an outside tap. We had to go to the gym if we wanted to shower and taking the two little ones and at the same time, because we are lots of people say, we’re crazy. We thought we tried for a third baby and actually got pregnant. It was quite straight forward. You know, I was, I was in sort of keeping an eye on my ovulation. Um, and I had an ovulation calendar running on my phone. And I think, you know, when you’ve got a few kids, you sort of start to go actually making a baby becomes a bit of a, a job to do.
[00:07:26] Carla: Yeah.
[00:07:28] Kate: Right. Um, so we got pregnant with our third baby, like just as planned, really. So we were like, Oh gosh, you know, why aren’t we lucky? This is great. Um, and then when we went for a scan for our third baby at the scan, the sonographer said to me, can you just confirm how many weeks pregnant you are? And I was like, okay, why? And she just was very quiet and having had two babies before. There was just something that said. There’s something not right here, because they’re very, they very quickly turn the screen around and they show you yours a little tiny embryo and that wasn’t happening. What, she said I’m going to need to do, um, an examination with a better, a different scanner. Um, Which was an internal examination. And I was just, my mind was racing and it, and I didn’t have Matt in with me in the room because he was in the waiting room because the kids were with him. So, um, so we, I’m glad actually, some people do get to take their kids and it depends on the hospital, but we didn’t. And I’m glad because then I had time to sort of just sit there in this moment of, Oh my goodness. What’s going on? Huh. And what they discovered was that I had what’s called a fetal sack and they could see the embryo in the sack, but there was no heart rate. No. Um, there was no heartbeat and they said, so at some point in the early stages of your pregnancy, this baby has passed away. And, um, we’re very sorry. And I was like, well, what happens now? And they said, all we know, refer you to the, um, early pregnancy unit where they will, I need to scan you again, just in case. Uh, it’s just the, we’re missing the heartbeat today. Um, and then they’ll talk to you about what happens. So I got sent home. We were supposed to going out for lunch. We got sent home and I said to him, yeah, I got back in the car. And I said to Matt, I don’t, I don’t want to go out for lunch. And he was like, why? And I was like, It’s not right, things aren’t right. Um, and wouldn’t say anything in front of the children and, and the other thing that made it just even more sort of emotional for us was in the waiting room where our neighbours who will also having a scan at similar time to me with photographs, whaheyy, here’s our due date. And I was. Just thinking, Oh my goodness. I’m walking out with absolutely nothing, but I am, I’m walking out with a scan photo, but it’s to show that I’ve got a, an embryo that isn’t viable. So
[00:09:53] Carla: Thats so sad.
[00:09:55] Kate: It’s awful. And I went to the, um, I had to go in the next day. So there was a little bit overnight where I thought, please, you know, maybe you’ve just, maybe you were being lazy, you get your heartbeat, whatever. And you sort of wishful thinking and they scanned me the next day and said, uh, no, unfortunately there is no heartbeat, but my baby. For whatever reason, I hadn’t naturally miscarried. So my body was holding onto this pregnancy. So they think the baby died at about nine weeks, but it was 13 weeks before I was, I had some surgery and that was the surgery basically to remove the embryo. And it just, um, it was just really sad.
[00:10:36] It was, yeah. Horrible. And the doctors were lovely because it’s a pretty grim job, you know, in the sense that the it’s just so much sadness and there’s so much hope around a pregnancy. And I, so I had, I had an operation and I chosen to have an operation rather than to take medication because I fear to be frank,. I was petrified of miscarrying at home because I didn’t want it to be so painful and drastic in front of the other children and everybody, every woman chooses different ways to miscarry, but, I chose to have the, have the surgery. Um, and I had a cuddle with the midwife afterwards. Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. She said, you know, and she wasn’t saying, Oh, just you’ll get pregnant again. There was nothing at that because obviously they don’t know that do they, but she did what they did say was this happens. Um, and I said, well, what’s the stats cause you don’t check really do you. And it’s one in three. And some of those miscarriages are you miscarry maybe very early and you don’t even realize, and then there’s some that are missed miscarriages where something happens in the body retains. I had a bump because it was my third pregnancy.
[00:11:45] Carla: Awww.
[00:11:45] Kate: And I had all, the pregnancy hormones. I was eating like a machine, you know, all those things. It all started to kick in because all my pregnancy hormones were still there. So, um, yeah. So that was the sort of, uh, that just was grim and decided to just take a break because I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to go through it again, whether I wanted to be pregnant again. So we decided just to take a break and just go, do you know what? We’ll see what happens. A few people knew that we’d had this miscarriage, not many, but a few people, closest friends and family and things new. Um, because some of them had already known I was pregnant because I looked pregnant. So it was quite obvious. Yeah. And then we fell pregnant about four months later.
[00:12:29] Carla: Oh, that’s lovely. Lovely. Yeah. I mean, no one it’s so difficult because that scan going back to your scan when you’re there, it’s like, it’s just that silence, isn’t it? And it’s like, it seems, I mean, I don’t know about you, but it stays with you that moment. It feels like it lasts a lifetime. It probably was only 30 seconds, but it feels a long time. Doesn’t it?
[00:12:54] Kate: And I think working in. As a sonographer. When you think about the stats one in three, that must mean that they do a lot of scans where the, where they have to tell the mum that this isn’t going, go ahead. And it’s just tragic. And just, and I think the other thing is, is that because in your first trimester, generally women don’t announce it. People don’t make a big announcement, Hey, I’m having a baby. Everybody waits for their magic first scan before they put the scan picture on social media and tell people. But because you’re waiting in that time, there’s been so many women that must miscarry, perhaps a hospital treatment or be in and out of the GP or with a midwife miscarrying at home dealing with all that. And people never know, and then they’re on the school run and somebody goes, Oh, how are you?. And you go oh fine. But actually, and what was it surprising for me? It’s the number of friends that I know really well that came up to me and went what happened to me Kate. And I was like, what, when I had no idea because you know, if they’ve not gone public with an announcement, then they’ve gone through that and so many women trawl threw it on their own.
[00:14:04] Carla: Oh, its so sad I know. And do you know what it’s true that like, even that, that. 12 week that 13 week scan, although people do mark, that as that’s, you know, it’s safe. It’s not because obviously what happened to me as well, you know? Like, so for me, I think, um, telling people sometimes is, is a good thing because then you’ve got people you can lean on afterwards, but then also it’s. If everyone does know, then it’s like, you know, you can’t really get away from it either. So it’s a fine line. Isn’t it? I think what, like you said, with just a few people, knowing you’ve got those people there that are your support network, haven’t you?
[00:14:43] Kate: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And, um, and I, to be honest as well, I think the other thing that happened with us is because we had the two children and we also had a house that was like a bomb site. There was a little bit for us and everybody’s experience is different, but we also just have to get on with it. So mine sort of mental health recovery, was it. Actually initially very quick. So I actually felt better quite quickly. Good. When it played out for me was actually when I was, was pregnant and the next time, and it was when I fell pregnant with my first, the first twin pregnancy that that’s when all the anxiety of, Oh my goodness, this isn’t going to go ahead. I’m going to lose the baby. That’s when it started to play out. And I can say, as sad as it sounds, I’ve not enjoyed going for a scan since then, because every scan had, has always got this anticipation of what they’re going to tell me what they’re going to tell me and the negative, rather than the positive. Um, so yeah, that’s where it’s played out for me in, in sort of how I. View just in it, just in general as well, just in life that things can be going really well. You can be sailing really well long, and then you can have tragedy when you least expect it.
[00:15:58] Carla: I know, and it’s sad because it should be a time that people are excited, but I would be exactly the same. I’d be scared to go for a wee. You know, like I just, anything I think, um, I just would not want to kind of move out the house at all. I’d be terrified. So I think, um, you know, pregnancy after miscarriage is, you know, something that a lot of people, unless you’ve been through, what you don’t realize, how scary that time can be. Um, so yeah.
[00:16:26] Kate: And everybody’s experience. It’s very different. So some people are so buoyed up by it. Some people are very, very nervous. In fairness the midwives in my experience were very, very good that I’d had a miscarriage before that they were, you know, and obviously I appreciate also that I only had one miscarriage and there are many women that have countless miscarriages and deal with huge anxiety, but my midwives were brilliant. Yeah, really, really good looked after me looked after my anxiety of, of this pregnancy.
[00:16:57] Carla: It’s scary because it’s just something that you can’t, you’ve got no control over whatsoever and you know, it’s, it’s frightening. So, so on to the good news now the twins. So when did you find out that you were having twins then?
[00:17:13] Kate: So week seven pregnancy,
[00:17:16]Carla: Did you go for nearly scan?
[00:17:18] Kate: I did go for an early scan. That partly was because of this anxiety of, Oh my gosh. Things are gonna go wrong again. Um, and so we went for a scan and in fact, we, we got the same sonographer, we got the same lady. Um, And I don’t know whether she remembered me, cause I’m sure that they see countless people, but I reminded her that we knew her. Um, and then she’s, she started, um, she started doing the scan and there was no pause this time she went and looked at this, look at it. Yeah. Oh, I’ve got two heartbeats. And there, they were in, they were non identical. So in two separate sacks. Um, and we, there was a little bit for us where we just thought, right, this is our new pregnancy, but this is also like a gift from the last one.
[00:18:08] Carla: Oh yeah.Beautiful. Oh my goodness, you have twins in your family, either you or your husband?
[00:18:15] Kate: Well, no. So my, so the, uh, if you have identical twins, let me get this right, because twin mums will be all shaking their heads out there about how the genetics, so twins don’t run in my family, apart from my auntie has identical twins.
[00:18:30] Yeah identical’s don’t run in the families do they?
[00:18:33] They don’t run in the families. So yes, there are twins in my family and there’s also some IVF twins in my family as well, but they, um, they’re so, so there’s no genetic link for me to have twins. In fact, my auntie who had identical twins found out that she was having a second twin during childbirth, like, can you imagine it was a long time ago but just imagine. My lovely cousins. Yeah my aunty thought she as getting one and got two of them.
[00:19:00] Carla: Oh my goodness.
[00:19:01] Kate: So no there is not, and actually what they said to me, or I’ve read more now is that as you get older, so you’re plowing your way towards that magic 40 is that you get called, I think from 36 or 37. I think you get called on old mum or a, it’s not called an old mum, is it? But it’s called a geriatric. Theres something for older mums. And one of the things that can happen is, is that as you become peri-menopause, is that your body is almost like going right. I have got these ovaries full of eggs there, and we’re not going to need them soon. Let’s just chuck them out. Um, so, um, that’s my, my body just went into overdrive, checking out egg, and so when I was ovulating, un benowed to me, I was ovulating with two eggs at a time.
[00:19:48] Um, and so yes, and because with the actual pregnancy side of stuff has always, or it has always worked. We’ve been very blessed that that bit’s always worked. Yeah. Um, so Matt goes round with people patting him on the back.
[00:20:01] Carla: Oh yeah, strong swimmers, strong swimmers.
[00:20:07] Kate: Yeah, yeah. So these eggs were just there for the picking really? So, um, so yes. So twin pregnancy.Non identical twins in their own sack. So actually from, um, a risk factor, we were told there is still a high risk with having twins, but we were, we were told that we had the lowest risk, if that made sense, because they weren’t sharing any, they weren’t sharing a placenta. They weren’t sharing a sack, et cetera.
[00:20:29] Carla: That’s amazing. Oh, I love that. So, so were you anxious the whole way through this pregnancy? Or did you start to relax?
[00:20:36] Kate: Yeah, the beginning I was, I think. Certainly until you get movement, you don’t, you’re not really sure what’s going on. And then when you do start to get movement, you have this added challenge, which is that you’re supposed to identify, which one is which, which in the early stages is really hard. As they get bigger. You can sort of go, right. I’m being kicked down in my groin and I’m also being kicked under my armpit. So let’s assume that there’s two different. Um, but even then I would just say to a midwife before a scan. I think there’s one here and there’s one here. I’m moving my hands around. You can’t see me, but there’s one here and there’s one here and then they scan and go. No, no, that’s just hands and feet of one so. Um, it is it’s nerve wracking. And also you get, so you get more midwifery care, the care pathway, they are different, depending on the, the hospital county that you are in, but in Leeds, um, you see a specialist twin midwife, and you see them at home right from the beginning, which is lovely. So they come to the, you don’t even have to go to the doctor surgery, they do everything at home. And the only time you have to go in is for a scan, but unlike a single pregnancy where you would have a scan at the beginning, I think. 12 and 24 weeks. And what have you, uh, or 20 weeks sorry, at a twin pregnancy, you have a scan every four weeks. So I’ve got reams of photographs of them. But actually, because I have these regular scans, it was also quite nerve wracking because that meant the night before each of those scans, I was really like, please. And then I was thinking, well, what happens if this something, something not quite right with one, what happens to the other one and you know, and all that sort of stuff. So it wasn’t, I can’t say. It was a relaxed pregnancy, but actually the excitement of getting two of them helped.
[00:22:18] Carla: Did you find out what you were having?
[00:22:20] Kate: Yeah, we did. So we find out we were having two girls and broke the news to Alfie who would then be the only boy and he’d have three sisters, he was hoping to get one of each, so bless him. And, uh, yeah, so we, uh, we told him and I think, did we use, I’m trying to think what we use. I want to say that we use little Macron biscuits, like pink and blue one. I’d have to check back on my Instagram, what we did to say that, uh, yeah, it was, that Alfie was going to be the blue and then we’d have three pinks. I think there’s something like that.
[00:22:51] Carla: Oh, I love that.
[00:22:55] Kate: Yeah. So we were getting these girls and, uh, yeah. And it was and, the plan was, was that they wanted me to get to 37 weeks. That was, yeah. Yeah. That was the gold dust is to get to 37
[00:23:08] Carla: And did you?
[00:23:09] Kate: I did to the day.
[00:23:10] Carla: Oh, wow. That’s amazing, gosh, you must’ve been, were you quite big then?
[00:23:16] Kate: Enormous, so I had a condition with my pelvis where my pelvis pushed out and was painful, so I could only go up the stairs, women, get it in singleton pregnancies as well. I can only go up the stairs sideways. Um, and I ended up towards the end of the pregnancy on crutches having had physio. Yes. I couldn’t because I had the other two kids. I couldn’t just go. Right. Okay. That’s me. I’m going to put my feet up now. Um, because I had the others to look after one was at school. One was a preschool and then,
[00:23:47]Carla: Wow. And were you running your business at the same time, is this Kate? Mini First Aid?
[00:23:53] Kate: Yep
[00:23:53] Carla: Oh my goodness.
[00:23:55] Kate: At this point, the business had really taken off because originally I had started running the classes in Leeds. And by this point now we started to franchise the business and we had about 15 franchises. When I found out I was pregnant with the twinies we’ve now got 70.
[00:24:11] Carla: Oh my God. Wow. I don’t even know how you find time for it all. That’s amazing. Um, so, so obviously, the girls arrived safely and that’s exciting. And then how did you, I mean, God, we’re going to go onto another one in a minute, but how did you cope with just twins even?
[00:24:33]Kate: Um, just so the one thing was is that there, there is in Leed’s a very good IVF unit, a very successful IVF unit. And as a result, there’s quite a large number of multiple pregnancies in Leeds. So therefore there’s a lot of twin mums about, so it meant that there was this huge network. So there’s a Facebook group, which was just like my Bible for the Leeds twins and multiples page, but also that just locally, I knew four or five mums of twins whose twins were all older. So it meant that they’d been there, done it, got the tee shirt and could say it from what they could remember, this is what you want to do. So I had everything from one friend saying you literally need a jar full of dummies. You’re going to need that many, and then I had some people saying buy this, don’t buy that that’s rubbish. And so it was really, really helpful. Um, just to like work out what I was doing, but it was, I was breastfeeding and, um, it was quite a challenge.
[00:25:33] Carla: Oh my goodness. I bet your boobs were huge.
[00:25:37] Kate: Well. This is the thing normally, but chest is normally like an ironing board. So boobs were like, yes look at these. And feeding twins is quite an act when you’re out in public, because you know, you can’t just discreetly lift one edge of your top up and get boob out. You’ve got to literally flash your top up and then get them both on. And newborn babies when they’re going all over the place, trying to latch on it. Yeah. I look back and I think, Oh, god the number of people that must have walked past going. Wow. Yeah. Well, two baby’s feeding there. I managed. I think I’m just trying to think. Now, I think we got to about six weeks where there was the odd top up, because they’re so tight on weight of, I mean, they are for all babies now when you have the three and the five day checks, about how much weight they’ve gained. But they were really specific with the twinies. Cause they were obviously low, lower birth weight babies. They were small babies. So we ended up having to do some formula, which. Uh, I struggled with, as in a sense of, Oh I can’t, do it. I should be able to do this myself. My body should provide. Um, but actually it was the best thing because it meant that any, any friends could come and help me and sit and feed a baby for me. And it meant Matt and I could take it in turn. So it meant that I could get a gap. Between feeds because the nights are just this horrendous, because you know, that whole thing has three hourly feeds is pretty grim, but if your babies are not in sync, which most twins aren’t born in sync, you might have to get them in sync they are certainly not born in sync that you end up with this. Every hour and a half.
[00:27:16] Carla: Oh my goodness.
[00:27:18] Kate: And you feed for an hour. And you just shutting your eyes and the next one starts crying. So there was a lot of sobbing and a lot of me curled up in a ball saying to Matt, I just can’t do this.
[00:27:30] Oh my goodness. Yeah. I don’t blame you and with all this business as well. Like, you know, it’s all. Oh my goodness. Yeah. That’s amazing though. So, so obviously you did well, did you want another one because you ended up pregnant again. No. Is the answer and it’s funny, actually, I think in years to come, my girlies are going to play these back and go, mum you said you didn’t want us. And it’s like, no. It’s just that they weren’t planned.
[00:27:59] Carla: I didn’t know them then, you didn’t know them then did you.
[00:28:03] Kate: No thats it. That’s a good, that’s a good thing to, say actually didn’t know them. That’s a good thing to say. Yeah. So would I have the world now without my six kids? Absolutely not. Did I plan them? No. And I sort of , so we, we had a woopsie, a few too many gin and tonic a bit of a woopsie. And, uh, and I, um, I actually went initially I panicked and we went to get the morning after pill because I was like, we’ve got four kids. This is, this is crazy. And we’ve got some fairly littleish twins. Um, we just, I think it had a first few nights off sort of thing, where we were only a year in.
[00:28:43] Carla: Oh was you only a year in as well?
[00:28:46] Kate: Yeah.
[00:28:46] Carla: Oh, wow. Wow.
[00:28:47] Kate: Yeah I think so I’d have to remember all the dates, so I went and when I went to see the pharmacist, the pharmacist said to me, um, I’m afraid I can’t give this to you because when I gave her my date, she said, there’s a chance that you could be pregnant and therefore I’m not allowed to give. And I said, well, Isn’t that the point of the morning after pill, she said but with your dates, you could already be pregnant. I said, I can’t be, it was midnight last night. Yeah. So they basically said, she said to me, I can’t as pharmacists.
[00:29:18]Carla: I thought that how it works? I mean, it’s blooming expensive, you know, I’ve had to um and ahh it and think, Oh, I dunno. Well, goodness, me. I thought, I mean, how soon could you go.
[00:29:31] Kate: So, well, this is, this is, I think it was because my dates of my cycle, meant that I could have been pregnant before then. It was all a bit complicated. Yeah. I came up the pharmacist Matt was like, did you get it did you get it,? I was like, no, she said, no. Um, and what she’d said to me was, is I needed to go to a and E and then I could have the morning after pill through A&E, and because they would do some other checks on my dates and my cycle. And what have you. Um, it’s all a bit wavy my memory because it was a while back, but we sat in the car and I just said we were on the way to a birthday party. And I was like, we haven’t got time to go to A&E and I’m, there’s nothing wrong with me. So I’m going to get to A&E and knowing my first aid background I was thinking I will literally on a Saturday sit there all day because everybody was a sprained ankle from football is going to get in, in front of me. And then, so we said, Oh, do you know what? Let’s just leave it. We’ll see what happens. I’m sure we will be fine. Famous last words. And. Then I missed a period.
[00:30:28]Carla: Oh my goodness. Oh, wow. So were you, how did you feel when that happened?
[00:30:34] Kate: Just a bit, like part of me, I’m a broody girl. I still get broody now. So actually part of me, even though I was like, Oh my goodness, I’ve got four kids. Part of me was still like, yay. I’m having another baby. I love, I love the idea of newborns. I think when you’re in it, you hate it. But actually you love the idea of it and the smell of them. And so I, um, Well, I was just, so I sort of had this visual in my head of me with a sling, with a tiny baby and then holding twins one in each hand, and I thought oh cool.
[00:31:04]Carla: And also. I bet your husband was like, see it works, you know again? Yeah, yeah. Was he shocked? Was he like. happy or?
[00:31:15] Kate: So when I said to him, I need to have an early scan again, I’d got a bit addicted by this point to knowing that things we’re right and this, this anxiety about things being right. And, um, and I, on the way there, I said to him, I’m just worried that things won’t be right and we’ll have spoiled it for the others. You know, like I’m going to be ill or something’s not going to be right. Or there’ll be a problem and I’ll have ruined it for the four of us.
[00:31:37]Carla: Probably because you had, you were lucky enough to have four, well, healthy children. It’s like, you know, somethings got to go wrong.
[00:31:45] Kate: Yeah something’s got to go here. Yeah. And then, um, and then Matt said to me, so do you know what I’m worried about it? What you worried about? I’m worried it’s another set of twins. And he said well, because I’ve been reading online that once you’ve had one set you’re more predisposed to another, I was like, you didn’t tell me that. And yes, it was, it was the second set of twins.
[00:32:05]Carla: Oh my goodness. Oh, wow. Were you like really shocked, excited, scared ?
[00:32:11] Kate: This time, Matt was very matter of fact. Okay. Right. Fine. Right. We just, you know that this is it. We’ve got to manage it. What have you and I sat there afterwards. Uh, in a bar, a bar next door, that was open going, I don’t know what I’m going to do, how am I going to do this? Because the girls were really little. So there’s 22 months between them.
[00:32:32] Carla: Oh my God.
[00:32:34] Kate: Yeah. So they’re really looked. So they were still, the first twins was still babies. Really? When I fell pregnant. And what and idiot? I mean, I just, I just look back and just think, I don’t know mad, we became the pillow talk for so many people in our area going make sure you have to snip. Cause this is what happens.
[00:32:56] Carla: That’s amazing. So the, the pregnancy again was all fine. Were they the same type of twins? Again? Like eggs?
[00:33:05]Kate: To eggs, non identical. Um, pregnancy actually physically was better because this time round, I was like, I cannot, there is no way that I can be disabled and be on crutches. I’ve got the other twins. So I had, I did pilates and had physio all the way through the pregnancy, right from as soon as we find out. And, um, I always say to my pilates, teacher in Leeds, I always say to her, you know, Claire, you kept me up straight. Because I genuinely think if I hadn’t done it and haven’t kept working on my function as my muscles and my body, then I wouldn’t have been able to do it again.
[00:33:42]Carla: Yes. Yeah. So, wow. That is, did you find out what they were then?
[00:33:48] Kate: So we did again and then bless we had to then break the news to Alfie again he was getting another two sisters. So now he’s now he’s head count is five sisters. Which meant actually from a baby stuff, point of view, we were pretty set. We had everything. The only thing we’d done is cause we weren’t planning to have any more. Is that up until a year I’d given everything away. So we didn’t have any newborn twinie stuff anymore, but all the stuff then I was just like, we’re just going to keep it and recycle it. So the girls just one wears, it and then the next one down, wears it.
[00:34:21] Carla: That’s amazing. So what on earth do you do with prams? Like, you know, like, cause they were quite young, so like is there a four away pram?
[00:34:30] Kate: There is, there is. There’s a company called adventure buggy that make four quad prams, triplet, and quad prams. They made them in Australia and generally they get multiple mum customers, but they also get a lot of childminders as their customers pushing around lots of toddlers, et cetera. So you have two in the bottom facing forward and then two on the top facing towards you. And. We read on the website, it was expensive, but we were just like, we’ve got to do this. We’ve got to invest in this because we’ve, I have got to be able to leave the house on my own. So we decided we’d invested in it and we thought we’ve got everything else. That’s the only thing we’re gonna have to spend any money on. So we decided, and then I sort of missed the bit on the website that said that you needed to be five foot six to be able to see over the top of it. And I’m only five foot two.
[00:35:21] Carla: Oh my goodness.
[00:35:24] Kate: So basically I spent the whole time with it, pushing it with my head, hanging out to one side so that I could see people coming towards me and people would laugh. Cause they’d be like, Oh my God, we could just see this pram coming towards us. But nobody pushing it. Just like a self propelling vehicle coming towards them.
[00:35:41] Carla: With babies on.
[00:35:44] Kate: It weighed a tonne. Yeah, but it was great. We wouldn’t have survived without it.
[00:35:49] Carla: No I was going to say, I don’t know how you’d actually get out of the house without it. So, so I’m guessing then with your, you pushing this pram and everything, and you’re going to kind of get a lot of attention.
[00:36:02] Kate: Oh yeah. Massive.
[00:36:04] Carla: What are the kind of comments that you find, you get mostly?
[00:36:09] Kate: Well, you gets some with just your first set of twins, but it gets maxed up when you’ve got four. Um, well, two sets of twins that you get. So you get the typical stuff, which is all double trouble. Well, uh, you know, twice the work. Um, and then you get some people that are just lovely that like, Oh, aren’t you blessed? Aren’t you blessed? I’ve always wanted twins. Yeah. It’s really unusual. So for anyone to walk past us, without making a comment. People feel they can make a comment and some twin mums, I know, find that really hard because they’re just like, why are you allowed to comment on my babies? You know, it’s not, and sometimes you’d see a mum with a singleton and you’d sort of envy the fact that they could just go through a crowd and people might look at a new baby and go, Oh, cute.
[00:36:53] But, but not actually feel that they need to make any comment. I constantly get. And I mean, it’s funny. Cause you can get t-shirts. Say no, they weren’t planned. No, they’re not identical. Yes. It’s one of each, you know? Yes. I know the father, you know, all these things and , but the comments are that the comments are generally positive, but you do occasionally get people going, Oh God, like, wow, I just couldn’t do that. That is just. And then sometimes you think actually you’re talking in ear, you know, my, my kids are sat there listening to you saying that you couldn’t do that and how awful, you know? And I, yeah, I would always, yeah. If somebody says something that I think is a bit negative, I’ll always go if I’m in the right mood, I’ll go. No, we’re all right with this. This is good. This is okay.
[00:37:42] Carla: Yeah. We might get some more as well. Might do it tonight and end up with another set
[00:37:48] Kate: and then I’ll get a train. You know, I was out with four of them yesterday. So, obviously they’re all toddling now. They’re all.
[00:37:54] Carla: Aww I bet it’s amazing . I’d love that, I’d be a bit stressed, but so beautiful.
[00:38:05] Kate: Thank you. Thank you. Oh, but it’s just, it’s sort of like when you get, when you’re out and about and you, um, yeah. Now I do dress them, each set of twins the same and which looks quite quaint. Some twin mums hate that. I love it. One of the reasons I love it is because I can see them because I just know that cause they’re not actually, they all look like they’re from the same mould, but they are all quite different looking. Um, so yeah. It because I dress them the same people will go, Oh, have you got so I think probably if I didn’t dress them the same, people might assume that I was a childminder.
[00:38:39] Carla: Yeah, yeah,
[00:38:41] Kate: yeah. People do look at me and go, are they all yours? Are they all yours? Like, yeah. And then I have to say just cause I feel like I don’t do the others a disservice, I’ll say. Yeah. And there’s two more and they’re at school. I have just not got them with me today, but through lockdown. And when we were doing like the daily exercise and stuff, I would go out for a walk with all six. And you’d sort of see people looking and going. Wow.
[00:39:04] Carla: Well, I think it’s absolutely amazing. I love it. Absolutely love it. And how do you manage juggling your business then? And being a mum of six then?
[00:39:14] Kate: Um, so we are, we have a sort of, the routine is ridiculous in the sense that it’s got to be almost regimented. I frightened myself with how organised we have to be, and we have to, the two older two are in school and then the middle two were at a preschool and then the youngest to have a childminder and. When everybody’s in childcare or of some sort I work and those hours are between nine and three each day. And then some afternoons. I have the little ones at home with me, so, well, I do some sort of work every day, Monday to Friday. And in fact, I also do a lot of work in the evenings. So if somebody looked at our lifestyle, they’d probably say, say wow. Like you’re a bit maxed out. I know I am. And I always feel work-wise that I’m a bit on the edge, you know, I’m always, I’m always a little bit close to tears. Um, if somebody happens to say, how are you doing? Um, I’m always very quick to lose my temper, particularly with Matt. Um, I get stressed about stuff. Um, and so I don’t think we’ve got it perfect. I think we’ve got room for improvement.
[00:40:21]Carla: Who has Kate? Do you know what? I’ve only got George and I haven’t got it perfect. You know, we still have ravioli at night for tea. It’s like. No, one’s perfect. You know, so I think that’s the thing. Sometimes we all like, you know, we only see what people want to show with us, don’t we, and it’s all, we’re always kind of comparing ourselves, but I just think, you know, I think you’re doing an amazing job. You’ve got a fantastic, you know, a huge business, you know, that’s doing really well and, you know, first aid, obviously a very important subject as well, helping families. And then you’ve got your children at home as well, which is just. Beautiful. I love it.
[00:41:01] Kate: I think it’s, you have to go, you know, the overall, you know, whatever comments you get by a passer buy or what have you, people are really kind to us like genuinely I’d run an Instagram about the family, just because I think, but people are interested in how you do it and what have you. And I always do my absolute best to write very honestly, on there, because I don’t want people to look at us and go, Oh my God, she’s amazing. She does all this because actually there’s a lot of the day that I am shouting at the kids or we are having jacket potato with cheese and beans for the third night in a row, you know? And actually, you know, I’m just going. Will you just go to bed. Mummy shouted at me. You know, all of that. That’s the reality of it. And, um, and I’m very aware of that, particularly with social media as well, is that there’s a lot of perfect ,doing the perfect sign, you know, the perfect families out there that if you’re a parent who’s struggling, whether you’ve got one baby or 26 babies that you could look at others and go, gah they seem to be doing it like really, really super well. And actually the reality is we’re all just clinging on by our fingernails.
[00:42:08] Carla: Definitely we are. And, and it’s, it is just that finding that. You know, being real like that. Cause I love your Instagram as well. And it’s just a case of, you know, showing that it is hard. It’s hard, whatever you do, God, it’s hard just being married to a husband, isn’t it? Sometimes they’re like a baby in themselves.
[00:42:26] Kate: Yeah. And that in itself is, you know, that’s the one thing, you know, I keep saying to Matt don’t ever leave me and he’s like, well, you’re just going to take me on with six step kids. Genuinely. Because that is one, of the things actually that we have to be really conscious of because taking your relationship goes to the bottom of the pile and we knew. I mean, obviously we’ve had locked down and we’re all in this bit unknown time, but we were trying to make sure that we got a babysitter, got the kids in bed so that we could get a babysitter, who was prepared to sit in with six and go out and actually talk to each other and make the rule that we don’t talk about work.
[00:43:03] Carla: Thats hard, isn’t it? Yeah.
[00:43:04] Kate: Yeah. And I have a few drinks, just make sure.
[00:43:07] Carla: Oh yeah not a gin and tonic again.
[00:43:12] Kate: Yeah. Well hes had the snip now so we are alright.
[00:43:16] Carla: Oh, wow. has he?, Has he done that?
[00:43:20] Kate: He did. I took the youngest set of twins with me to the appointment. I dropped him off
[00:43:24]Carla: just to make sure, wait outside.
[00:43:25] Kate: The lady just nodded and smiled at me as he went in. I was like, go on in you go. I’ve birthed six babies. Your turn now? Yeah.
[00:43:34] Carla: Oh, wow. That is some story, Kate like I love that. How beautiful. So when they’re all at school, I suppose, although it will ,you probably have to get up at like three or four in the morning, but you know, it might be a bit easier then as well when they are all at the same school.
[00:43:52] Kate: Yeah, we, I think we’ve got, so we’ll have one year where Alfie will be in year six and the young, the middle twins will start. So we’ll have four at the same school. And then the following year, the next set of twins will start. Cause they’re only a school year apart. Um, and we will then Alfie would have gone to high school, but we will have, um, we will have all of our, um, everybody at school. And I think, I don’t want to wish the time away now because you know that everybody. Who has a little one looks back or I’d go to all the grownup so quickly. And the fact that Alfie is going to be 10 next birthday, I’m going where’s where’s my baby gone. He’s going into double figures. We’re going to be looking at high schools. Um, so I don’t want to wish it away, but there is a secret part of me what I’ve just told everyone haven’t i ? That actually when they’re all in school I’m going to be doing some merry dance out of the playground going. Yes. Yes.
[00:44:47] Carla: That’s it,
[00:44:49] Kate: But my first, my first big, a big milestone will be everyone out of nappies. That’s the first thing. And I’m, we’re on the cusp of potty training, the youngest twins at the moment. And then to just have no more nappies after nearly 10 years.
[00:45:05] Carla: Oh yeah. A lot of nappies to deal with. Isn’t it?
[00:45:08] Kate: Yeah.
[00:45:10] Carla: Yeah, gosh, that’s amazing. I absolutely loved it. Is there any advice you’d give to anyone that’s found out that they’re having twins and you know, anything that you think they should do that will help?
[00:45:24]Kate: You know what I would always say to a mum that’s having twins is whether that’s on Instagram or social media or whether it’s in person or at an antenatal group. Find another pregnant mum that is, or one that’s had babies before your twins before you, that is like you so that, so that you actually really value how they do things and then can copy them. Because I think if you try and copy or set yourself up to be like someone you’re not, it’s going to go madly wrong. And so you almost need to be in touch with as much of what sort of parent you are. And the sort of friends that you have. And then if you find a friend that’s got twins, there’s some amazing twin groups out there. And, and there’s some really good hacks. I mean, I write on my Noahs Ark family Instagram, about various hacks that you could do. Cause people go things like there was somebody putting on a twin group that was on the other day. How’d you get them both out of the car when they’re both toddling, like what do you do? You can’t put one down cause they’ve run away. How’d you carry them and all those sorts of things and some things you just have to work it out and other things see another twin mum and you go, yep. That’s it. I’ll put one in a backpack on my back, so I know they’re safe and then I can grab the other one and we have rains, all that sort of stuff. Um, yeah. And, um, you start to. So I, I copy shamelessly copy other twin mums and go. Yep. You’re good at that. Or I think you’re good at that. That looks good for me.
[00:46:50] Carla: Yeah. I bet you end up like making your own, so you’ll be like, Oh, I’ll, I’ll have you for that. You can. Yeah. I like what you’re doing with the tea time. Goodness me. I love it. Absolutely love it because when I was pregnant with twins, I think it was Andrea from the Lancashire area, the Mini First Aid franchisee. She, she said, you must speak to Kate because Kate has it down to a T. She was like, she’s, you know, you’ve got it. You’ve mastered it. You’ve mastered it. I mean, imagine you have two after two sets of twins,
[00:47:23] Kate: I think for our franchisees is if our family of very much part of the business in the sense that when we hold our annual training weekend, we’ve always had a set of twins with us. So I’ve led seminars with a twin backpack on, you know, it was one on the front and one on the back, or I’ve been holding hands with two while we go round an expo looking at first aid mannequin. So they’ve always been here very much part of the business because we’ve, the business is about children. I think that’s the important message to give, but also our franchisees and we’ve got kids, so we want to make it okay for their kids to be involved as well. But yeah, it’s so all our franchisees are like, Oh my goodness. Kate is running this whilst wearing some children.
[00:48:02] Carla: Nice top . Thats brilliant. No, I love that because I think that is, I think, especially as women and women in business as well, I think. There is, very much a place that women in business can fit in and be a mum and be a business owner and they can do everything, you know, and I think it’s amazing what you’re doing with the Mini First Aid and your children and just everything. I don’t know how, how you, um, how you haven’t had a break down mind.
[00:48:34] Kate: It’s funny. It’s sort of, I do sometimes wonder whether it’s delayed and whether I’ll get it once they’ve all left home. You know, I’ll fall to bits, but, um, it’s very, it’s, it’s, it’s always a challenge. It’s always a challenge and some days are brilliant days and then other days we’ll go completely wrong and I’ll be like, but we did the same as yesterday. Why is it gone wrong today?
[00:48:57]Carla: I think that’s just life. Isn’t it? With having children, you just don’t know what mood they’re going to be in I mean this morning. I made George chocolate porridge yesterday he was like, crying. Like no yesterday. Sorry. It was cuddling me and happy jumping through air, I made it this morning and nearly threw it in my face. You know why you just don’t know what, what child you’re going to get from each day to the next really.
[00:49:22]Kate: We lie in bed in the morning and we can listen to them all starting to wake up and then Alfie goes round and opens bedroom doors. They can all get out. And we start hear how he’s greeted. So whether he’s greeted by them, screaming at him or go, Hey, Alfie, had you just sort of go, right. We just know how it’s going to play from there. Yeah. Yeah, I it’s and it’s every day I just, I think we’ve just been out to have a quick sandwich in a cafe near to the office, uh, before I did this call today. And, um, uh, and the lady walked past and her toddler was absolutely losing it. And I was just like, I’m with you totally with ya. Because everybody has it. And if they tell you that or their toddler doesn’t, then that fibbing.
[00:50:02] Carla: Yeah, no, absolutely. I know. When its behind closed doors? It’s a bit easier isn’t it. It’s like when it’s in front of people, like we were at Legoland the other week and George had just decided it was kicking off and I thought I’m not leaving this queue. Like I know it’s probably should be something I’ve, you know, you do you leave or take them away, but when you’ve paid a hundred pounds to be somewhere, he can. You know, slap me all he wants I’m not leaving, you know, it’s hard.
[00:50:29] Kate: Yeah. We’ve all got, I’ve got those moments, but I’m like, keep, you know, my mum always says to me, you know, you go back and you look and you just smile at it all because it’s, you know, and they do make us laugh and we are very proud to them. And we do, we had a few moments where we went down to Cornwall for a few weeks in the summer because my mum and dad have got a little holiday house down there and we were sat on the beach, just looking at them, all, happily playing in the sand. Matt they are all ours. And look at them all. Aren’t they lovely. And then, that lasted about five minutes? Yeah. Yeah, we get enough of those moments. Where we love them and, not love them. We love them all the time, but where we feel so proud of them and just that we, that sort of helps paper over the bits where frankly, I could give them to someone else.
[00:51:16] Carla: Yeah. Yeah. The thing is, though without those bits where you could give them to someone else, you don’t realize how precious the times are that you are looking at them and the plane together and stuff, because if it was like that all the time, it wouldn’t be a special moment. Would it?
[00:51:32] Kate: Yeah, exactly. That, exactly that. And, um, yeah, it’s, uh, it’s it, life is real and it’s, uh it’s and it changes every day. And, uh, yeah, I’m just wondering what they’d be like today when I pick them up. Hopefully good vibes, mummy’s been at work and, uh, they’ll be nice to me when I pick them up.
[00:51:52]Carla: How do you sort your evening meals then? Um, Kate in the evening.
[00:51:58] Kate: So we’ve we feed, so Matt tends to work late. So just to, to keep up with the volume of stuff for Mini First Aid. So I finished work or finished doing stuff by three o’clock so I can have all the children and then I’ll do tea. Um, I do feel a little bit like a school dinner lady, cause I sort of ladle out on onto six plates. And then there’s four littlies have to eat quite early because they’re always starving the bigger two last a bit longer now. So I tend to keep their tea warm for them, but they all get the same. We don’t, there’s no choice. Everybody has the same meal and they all have the same meal and we get them to the table together mostly. Um, and we have a bit of getting up and down cause they can all get in and out chairs and I, which is a little bit frustrating if I’m brutally honest tea time is not my favourite time of day in the slightest. I do. I see it’s a means to an end. They’ve got to eat to be mobile and healthy. And therefore I have to do it, but if I miss any part of the day, um, it would be, that. But some of our times are great and we have a right laugh and we have a good giggle, but there’s a lot of food throwing things on the floor. People shouting. The doorbell goes and then everybody wants to go and see who it is. And theres a lot of cajoling of finish your tea and then you can have some pudding and all that sort of stuff. But one thing, Matt and I eat with the children at the weekends. So, and I don’t eat with them during the week because I need to be the person with the spoon waving it in faces.
[00:53:27] Carla: Yeah.
[00:53:29] Kate: And I just find it too stressful. I don’t enjoy food. So actually Matt and I still in the week we eat later on and in a way it’s like our treat that the kids have all gone to bed. So we wait until all six are in bed and then we eat.
[00:53:43]Carla: Do you cook that out as well Kate then your meal.
[00:53:47] Kate: So basically I am what’s I’m like the kids tea stroke microwave operative. Yeah. Matts a proper cook. He actually enjoys cooking. So when he gets in, he does our dinner. And, um, yeah. Yeah. And then if I’m lucky, there’s leftovers from it for me to reheat for the kids the next day. If not, but I, yeah, my, my food is standard. Shall we say? At the very best.
[00:54:09] Carla: Yeah, no, I am with you there, yeah. So. Kate. Thank you. So much for coming on because it’s really given us a good insight because obviously with me being pregnant with twins, we started to think about these things, but obviously we didn’t get that far. So all of the things that you’ve talked about, I was like, wow, I wouldn’t even think about how to get out a car or yeah. You know, everything. That’s amazing. So hopefully this episode that will really help some twin mums, but also other mums understand what it’s like being a twin mum.
[00:54:40]Kate: Absolutely. And I think it’s also just really important to say that when people say to me, oh Kate, I can’t make to you because I’ve only got one or I’ve only got two or what have you. And you’ve got six, you’re all in a storm and you’re all in different sized boats. That’s the thing. And I think you have this. Um, and that was something that one of my friends told me actually at the beginning of COVID was it that that’s how you’ve got to see it, everybody has got their challenges, but everybody’s challenges are different. You can’t compare. And actually the hardest baby for me to deal with was Alfie because he was the one that I was learning everything. Everything was new. I was guessing I was trying to interpret any signals and actually you do grow in experience. So actually the easiest ones have been the little bit that the twin, the youngest twins. So, um, I would never say to people, Oh, don’t, you know, don’t, don’t please don’t compare yourself to me. And don’t think that, you know, you can’t moan about your kids just cause you don’t have as many, as many actually moan away. Sometimes it’s quite nice for me to hear that other people are having challenges and it’s not just me.
[00:55:45] Carla: No exactly. That’s what, that’s what I’m all about. as well, love that. So thank you so much, Kate. What we’ll do is we’ll put your links to Mini First Aid and also your Instagram account on the links to the show notes. So if anyone of you want to message Kate or any, sorry, just give you another job there Kate.
[00:56:03] Kate: Oh no I dont mind at all. I do get lots of messages. The page called Noahs Ark Family. And I do get. Um, lots of messages through saying, can I just ask, or I saw this in a picture, you know, what did you do about car seats? I said, you know, I just think whether it’s a twin mum thing or just a general mum’s thing, but people like to help each other. And so if somebody’s got a question and I, and they think that I might be able to answer it, then yeah. Just forgive me if it takes me a little while.
[00:56:30] Carla: Yeah, of course.
[00:56:32] Kate: Yeah. Yeah. More than happy for them to message.
[00:56:35] Carla: Amazing, so thank you again so much, Kate, and I’ll let I’ll speak to you soon.
[00:56:40] Kate: All right. Lovely.
[00:56:41] Thank you.
[00:56:45] Carla: Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of 50 shades of motherhood. My aim is to support free chat around motherhood’s on uncensored unhinged and unapologetic mom chat. If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe and tell all your friends about it. The more listeners we get, the more subscribers we get, the more chance we’ve got of getting series three down.
[00:57:14] So I look forward to speaking to you next time and keep your eyes peeled on our social pages to find out who our next guest is. I’m sure you will love it.