My Heart Broke in a Whirl of Blue Confetti: Gender Disappointment and Sex Selection IVF

My husband and I each stood poised, needles in hand, ready to burst the balloons and reveal the genders of our unborn twins. Parents to 3 boys, we were hoping and wishing for a girl (or two). My husband popped twin A’s balloon; boy. Heart pounding, I popped the second balloon. Boy. In that moment, my heart broke in a whirl of blue confetti. I tried to hide it with a laugh and pretend that I didn’t care, but inside I was devastated. The daughter I had dreamed about for so long died in that moment.

Our twin gender reveal

Rewind 6 years earlier, I was that person that didn’t ‘get’ gender disappointment. My husband and I had been trying unsuccessfully for a baby for nearly 2 years, we didn’t care what the sex of our baby was, we just wanted a baby. ‘Why isn’t she grateful for a healthy baby?’ I used to think. While I suffered month after month of devastating nothing. When we finally conceived on our 3rd round of IUI, we hit the twin jackpot (yes we have 2 sets of twins). Both babies were boys, and we were delighted. When number three joined our family 2 years later, I had a slight preference for a girl, but I didn’t mind either way and was happy to welcome my third son.
It wasn’t until some time after my third son was born that I started to experience gender disappointment. I felt like someone was missing from my life. I wondered what our daughter would look like, would be like. I started to daydream about her, she shadowed me. She began to feel real. Increasingly, I felt like she was missing from my family. We had made the logical decision to stop at three kids, but once the vasectomy was booked in I was tortured by indecision. We talked it over and decided to try one final time in the lead up to the vasectomy. This time we would do everything we could to have a daughter. Gender selection IVF crossed my mind, but it’s illegal in Australia and the cost of having it done overseas was prohibitively expensive. So we gender swayed. We tried diet, positions, timing; the works. Of course I was prepared for the fact that I might have a boy and was ready to welcome a fourth son. What we didn’t expect was a shock second set of twin boys.
Finding out both twins were boys led to a grief I never anticipated I would experience. I expected to feel some sadness if I didn’t have a girl on board, but I was not prepared for the strength of my grief. I cried for weeks, mourning the loss of a daughter who had never existed, would never exist. To me, it felt like someone had died. It wasn’t just the baby moments I grieved for; I was grieving the loss of many mother-daughter moments over a lifetime. I would never get a pedicure or go on a girly shopping trip with my daughter. I would never look on with pride as she did her deb, wipe away tears of joy as she walked down the aisle, hold her hand and encourage her while she struggled to bring her first baby into the world. I mourned for what would never be. Five kids were more than we had planned for, there would be no more for us so there would be no more chances at a daughter.
I was also struggling with the fact that I was having twins again, twins were not part of our plan; a fifth baby and a second set of twins was very scary and the strain told on our relationship. Locked in my own world of sadness, I struggled to bond with my unborn sons like I had done with my other babies. I felt envious of other mums pregnant with singleton girls, I avoided the baby girl section of shops and hid girl clothing pages that came up on my news feed in Facebook. I told myself I was being unreasonable, that I was fortunate to have healthy, beautiful twin boys on board. But that didn’t take away the sadness and longing for a daughter. I opened up about it and for the most part, people were supportive. There were the ‘you should just be grateful’ comments (usually from people with children of both sexes). Such comments hurt; but I figured I could do my bit to help raise awareness about the experience of gender disappointment by sharing my experience. Over time, my grief subsided, I bonded with my beautiful boys and have come to love them to bits. I wouldn’t change them even if I could and have embraced life as a mum of boys. However, I will always feel a certain sense of sadness for the daughter that will never be.

Our five beautiful sons, shortly after the younger twins arrived.

In recent months I stumbled upon a page where a group were lobbying to have the option sex selection IVF available in Australia. I joined this group and read story after story of the loss and suffering associated with families not having a daughter or a son. Every one of these families carried the pain of feeling like a family member was missing, plus the added suffering caused by the often cruel comments made by people who didn’t understand the additional wound they were inflicting.
Families who use IVF for gender selection are often met with so much negativity that they fear even sharing their identities. They are shamed, ridiculed and labelled ‘selfish’ or guilty of creating ‘designer babies’. Gender selection IVF is not about altering the embryo in any way, it is the standard IVF procedure; the parents just learn the sex of the embryo during the procedure. This is common practice in the USA and other countries and overseas, parents who have IVF have the option to know the sex of their embryos. Allowing gender selection IVF for the small portion of the community who would utilize this has a massive positive impact on balancing the families affected and minimal effect on anything else. A higher portion of families on the page were hoping for girls, because the natural birth rate sits at around 51/49 with slightly more boys being born than girls. So if anything, allowing this process would even the birth rates out ever so slightly. Those wanting to go through this are prepared to pay full IVF fees, they do not expect Medicare subsidies like those that are available to couples suffering infertility. They merely wish to have the option to undergo IVF for gender selection in Australia.
Many will not agree with the idea of IVF for gender selection and that is understandable. The majority of families of 3 children or more are of mixed sex (around 73% of 3 child families are mixed sex). The odds of having all the same sex children decline with the number of kids you have. 85.4% of families with 4 children have children of mixed sex. The chances of having 5 boys like we did, is around 6%. That means 94% of all other families with 5 children have both boys and girls. The upshot of this is that the majority of families have both sons and daughters; therefore, they may not understand what it feels like to experience the longing for a son or daughter they don’t have. It’s easy to think it wouldn’t affect you, but it’s something you don’t know until you experience it. In addition to this, many other families who have two or more same sex children may not experience gender disappointment, not everybody does experience this.
But that does not mean that the suffering of those who do experience it is any less real.

Have you experienced gender disappointment? Would you support the legalising of gender selection IVF? Share your thoughts below.

  1. Statistics from: http://www.ingender.com/gender-info/odds-of-having-all-boys-or-girls.aspx#Comparison, accessed 30/7/19
     National Longitudanal Surveys, United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Not so pointless points: how to make money out of rewards systems

Aldi don’t do points:
We’ve all seen the Aldi ad. You know the one; where the brainwashed ‘Bliss’ band gives their newest recruit a plastic card, while flatly intoning ‘poiiints’. The implication is clear, points systems are of little value.
With $1 acquiring you 1 point, and 2000 points being worth $10, it would appear on the surface that points systems are little value. This does not take into account bonus points, which can be quite lucrative. If you want to learn how to maximise your rewards points and turn them into decent money, read on.

Photo source: http://www.thestable.com.au/bmf-aldis-loyalty-reward-is-humorously-good-different-too/

I want to start off by stating, that yes, Aldi is very cheap and if you shop there and are strict, it will save you a decent amount of money. I have a couple of big issues with Aldi though, and this is more to do with my lack of willpower than anything else.
Firstly, no delivery and Click and Collect, necessary options for a mum of many small children who meal plans and shops online at night after all children are asleep. Secondly, the dreaded Special Buys middle isle. It gets me every. time. I will be planning to stick to a budget, then I’ll see an item at a great price. I didn’t know I need until I spotted it; will suddenly realise I need it, but can’t stop to think about it because it will be gone in a week if I don’t buy it right away. Total at checkout comes to considerably more than I usually spend at Coles because I end up with my groceries, plus a new set of King Bed sheets, a toboggan and 2 snow jackets!  
So I don’t do Aldi. Except this weekend, when I will be popping in for a kid’s snow jacket or two…

The lowdown on points schemes:

Anyway, I digress. Onto points.  

The two supermarkets I shop at are Coles and Woolworths, I nearly always shop Click and Collect as it’s free and I find this much easier than shopping in store and saves me money (because aforementioned lack of willpower when shopping in store). Both supermarkets have their own reward system, Coles has Flybuys and Woolworths has Woolworths Rewards. Both have the same $1 dollar spent = 1 point system. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of them, maybe you’re even a member, but don’t get much points adding up. Trying to build points up without any bonus points is slow going. Add a bit of tech in and it’s much easier to quickly rack up the points money. I’ll start with a look at Flybuys.

Some sample Flybuys offers from the app: from top left: bonus points on an item I regularly buy, a triple points booster, a 2000 bonus point offer and a recent 4 week spend

Flybuys:
I absolutely love Flybuys as I find them very generous with bonus point offers. Flybuys gives you the option of taking $10 off your shop each time you reach 2000 points, or saving up your points balance to be used when you see fit. I save my points up. Points can be used to redeem for items online, to shop at Coles and affiliated stores, to buy gift cards for Coles and affiliated stores, plus more.
Flybuys have a great app you can download, through which you get sent bonus offers. These come in a variety of different forms, bonus point offers on individual items, single spends and 4 week spend offers. They also send out boosters at random a few times a year. Shopping to offers can wind up making quite a bit in points.
For example; a single spend 6000 point offer might be sent out at the same time as a triple point booster and a 400 bonus point offer on a single item, eg. mince. Just say I spend $200 in this shop. This is 600+6000+400= 7000 points ($35). So I made $35 in one shop, just buying the things I ordinarily buy and activating offers.

Top Tip:
Bonus points offers are randomly distributed, so some people tend to do better out of them than others, but there are ways to improve your offers. Here is the best tip I learned for maximising points. Flybuys allow each person to get their own account, there is no limit per household. I have a card with my husband as a secondary cardholder, and he has a card with me as a secondary cardholder. This way, if my account isn’t getting any offers, his account is; so I can just switch between Flybuys accounts depending on which account has a good offer.
Another major benefit of switching between accounts is that it keeps the spend amount down. Bonus point offers always have a minimum spend amount, this amount is based off your usual spend. Flybuys tends to go with the higher amounts you have spent, so if you regularly do big $300 grocery shops, your offers will be for $300. By switching between accounts, you lower the spend amount.
Recently, both of our accounts had good offers, we were both sent 50,000 points bonus offers for a 4 week spend. The spend amounts were low enough, so I split my grocery shop into two and picked up both 10,000 point offers, that’s $100 easy money.
Splitting my shop also prevents me getting bonus point offers for higher amounts, which means I can utilise the lower amount offers more often, and prevents my future spend amounts on offers from being high.
The higher bonus point single-spend bonus offers don’t come out all the time, so when they do I tend to take advantage of them to stockpile long life items and things I use often, like nappies, wipes and laundry detergent.

Left to right: my most recent spend earned me some good points bonuses on family taco night, plus more bonus points on that shop that didn’t fit in the screenshot. Middle photo of the 10,000 bonus point spend being awarded (with other add ons I made $70 on one account alone that week) and my Coles Black MasterCard points. I run all my expenses through this card and earn an average of $10 a week in points.


Coles Credit Card for boosting points:
The Coles Platinum Rewards MasterCard gives 2 Flybuys points for every dollar spent and 3 points at Coles and affiliated retailers. Just by running my expenses through this card, I make around $10 a week, which adds up to over $500 over the course of the year. Even factoring in the $99 annual fee it’s a good earner, just from paying my usual bills and expenses through the card.
A bit of a warning with this one though; a credit card is only going to be beneficial if it’s paid off in full before the due date. If you’re paying interest, it will wipe out the benefit earned by points. So I’d only recommend doing this is you can pay your credit card out in full. Credit cards can be used to benefit you, but they can also be a debt trap, so it’s a very personal decision as to whether this is a feasible way to boost your points.
Coles have a range of financial products that earn points, such as home and car insurance, utilities (AGL) and health insurance (Medibank) so if you are looking for insurance or a utility provider this is another way you can boost your points.
Flybuys do offer bonus point deals for fuel at their servos, but use a fuel comparison app to check for price as I find Coles fuel much more expensive than any other service stations where I live, so this offer is rarely worth the points.
This brings me to Woolies Rewards.


Woolworths Rewards:
Woolies Rewards is similar to Flybuys, giving you the option of $10 off every 2000 points like Flybuys do, or banking your points for Christmas. I bank for Christmas. The money becomes available around the start of December; however, you can change your setup to money off shop at any time. Like Flybuys, each person in a household can have their own card, however I only have one account with Woolworths Rewards. Woolies Rewards does not have an app like Flybuys do, their offers come via email. They do similar offers to Flybuys, offering bonus points on certain products, 4 week spends and single spend bonuses. Personally, I don’t get anywhere near as many offers from Woolies Rewards as I do from Flybuys, but every now and then there is a really good offer. One great offer I got a couple of months ago was a 4 week spend worth 15,000 points ($75).
One things Woolies Rewards do which Flybuys don’t is offer bonus points for cumulative spends in a week. So you can get bonus points if you spend a certain amount in as many shops as you like for a week, instead of having to spend it in one shop. I find this great as we often do quick mid-week trips to the supermarket for top-ups such as more bread/milk/fruit. This way the points from small shops count towards the weekly spend amount.

If you’re wanting money off your shop at Woolies, sign up to Cash Rewards, where you can buy Wish eGift cards at 5% off to use at Woolworths and affiliates.  I use eGift cards for the 5% discount off groceries, alcohol (at BWS) and fuel.

A recent Woolies Rewards group offer I received. I get a few from Big W and BWS. I activate all of them, but only use them if I was already intending to buy something. I used this one as I needed some clothes for my babies.


Don’t spend extra just for points!

One caveat I will add; it’s important not to get sucked into buying things just for points. I don’t buy anything I wouldn’t ordinarily buy just to get the bonus points.
If a single spend bonus points offer is sent to me just after I’ve shopped and I’m not due to shop again, I activate it but don’t use it. I stick within a grocery budget on all spends, I don’t ever go over that budget for points. I’m not loyal to a particular supermarket, I shop where the best offers are and switch it up.

Happy shopping and enjoy your points!

With a bit of savvy activating of bonus point offers and doing your regular shopping, you can turn your standard shop into a good little money-earner. Although it’s only May, I have a good chunk of rewards money banked for Christmas. While you can’t get your rewards money out as cash, you can use it to pay for your December groceries and take your usual money out as cash. Shopping for a family and activating rewards, you can end up with hundreds, sometimes even over a thousand dollars’ worth of points after a year of banking points.

Not so pointless for just doing your regular shop and spending nothing extra!



So what is manifesting and the Law of Attraction???

Manifesting: writing out my goal as a gratitude statement as though it has already occurred. 55 times over 5 days.

Last year I was having the worst year of my life, it seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I started expecting the worst and it kept happening. One thing triggered it, but it was like bad luck was finding me! I found myself thinking ‘what’s next?’ and the bad things kept coming.
The Law of Attraction basically talks about how what you think about and focus your energy on is what you manifest into your life. It follows the principle that the universe is abundant and by changing your mindset you can welcome abundance into your life. But it also works in reverse. If you focus your energy on negative things, that’s what you get.

Ever been driving behind a car and you’re running late (all the time for me lol) and you find yourself thinking ‘I hope I don’t get held up’ and then like magic, you seem to get stuck behind the slowest driver on earth??? But when you’re not running late or are early, this rarely happens. It’s like the minute you focus your energy on what you don’t want, there it is! 

I learned about The Law of Attraction in reverse. I was manifesting alright, but I was manifesting what I didn’t want. I was focusing on what was going wrong or what could go wrong next, instead of focusing on what I did want. Some of the stuff that happened to me was really random and unusual. Like having a second set of twins (1 in 3000 chance), getting a paralysed vocal cord post c-section (1 in 500,000 chance) and falling and breaking my wrist on the bathroom floor (only happens to very old people usually lol).

This year I attempted to turn things around but found it hard to change my thinking, with the babies playing up and being very tired and overwhelmed by being back in full time work with 5 little kids and challenging twin babies.

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a video by Sarah Prout that linked to her website, it had an ad for a guide to manifesting called the Ancient Manifesting Ritual. It was cheap and had no hidden terms and conditions that I could see so I bought the ebook and decided to give it a try. This ritual has been around for thousands of years, Sarah has packaged it to deliver to a modern audience. 

Sarah has a lot of great stuff but the crux of the Ancient Manifesting Ritual is that you set a goal that you’re passionate about and write it down like your goal has already been achieved. 55 times for 5 days, you hand write your goal over and over. Actually handwriting it is important to the process, as is not being interrupted (easier said than done as a mum of 5 and the babies wake still, I usually had to write it at around midnight lol). 

My goal is to pay off my mortgage in 6 years, so my statement was ‘I am so grateful to have easily and effortlessly paid off our mortgage’. Our mortgage hasn’t been paid off yet, but part of the process is making the gratitude statement like it has already happened. 

Keeping a positive headspace while doing this has been important, which is not always easy when your hand is cramping up and you’re tired as it takes a while to write, but I kept on track with it by staying focused on my goal, thinking how it will feel when the grass under my feet actually belongs to me.

Very crappy picture of our dream home. One of our older twins drew himself in ‘his’ room which was so cute!

Our plan for the house is to pay off our existing small mortgage, then do a knock-down rebuild and build our forever home on our existing block. Our existing home is old and too small for our family of 7 people, but we love where we live. Hubby and I sat down one of the nights and drew plans for our home, how we want it to look and want features we want to include. The next day the kids drew on the plans too, picking their bedrooms and drawing in the features they wanted. It is fun to dream, plan and get excited about our one-day forever home.
After finishing the writing ritual I tucked it away in a hiding place to be revisited later to see if the goal was coming to fruition.

I started thinking about what I could do to get started towards that goal. One thing I noticed almost right away was that things I was posting were getting a lot of interest and positive comments. People were complimenting my writing. I got pm’s from different mum pages wanting to share my posts. One post in particular has been so popular that I’ve received numerous PM’s to share the idea, and have been contacted by a couple of different mum pages for paid gigs. One in particular is very exciting! I’m in disbelief actually, it’s like as soon as I finished manifesting my luck took a 180 turn! This is the power of the mind, it’s incredible! All I did was open my eyes to what was already in front of me, stop telling myself I wasn’t a good enough writer and start moving past the fear of the unknown towards opportunities. 

I’ve also had some good moments in my day job since I did this manifesting. I’m trusting that the universe has a plan for me and I’m going for it, maybe I’ll reach my mortgage pay-off goal faster if I can generate more income, time will tell!

It’s really powerful and I just had to share it with you wonderful people. For the specifics of manifesting I did a google search, but found Sarah Prout great and her ebook was very affordable, it was $9 USD, which I think is around $12AUD. 

Writing my goal out 55 times for 5 days. This took around 20-30 mins a day for 5 days.

I think the power of manifesting is not that it’s a magic trick, more that it changes you. It’s about having the courage to dive in; setting a goal and going for it!

If anyone is interested in the ebook I mentioned by Sarah Prout this is the link here. I don’t make any money off this recommendation, I just really liked this ebook and found it explained how to manifest really well. You nee to scroll to the bottom of the page to buy the ebook.

https://sarahprout.com/lp/main-ancient-manifesting-ritual-full-moon/

Happy manifesting!

Colour Coding: Organisational Mum Hacks

My 5 boys very happy with their new items. From left to right: Finley 12m- yellow, Nathaniel 12m-orange, Maximus 4y-blue, Sebastian 6y-green, Theodore 6y red

Life in a small house with a husband and 5 little boys can be total mayhem. I learned pretty quickly that I was going to need organisational systems if I was going to survive the chaos and get out the door for work in the mornings. My morning routine consisted of microwaving my coffee repeatedly, changing dirty nappies, making the thousandth ‘choccie milk’ and digging madly through mounds of clean washing while screeching ‘where are your shoes!’ at my 5 year old twins, while they stared absently at the TV, one sock on, school shirt inside out and half a jar of Nutella plastered across their faces.
I’m sure you’ve all been there.
Enter colour coding.
I got very much into Marie Kondo last year and did a lot of tossing and donating of items that didn’t bring me joy. Plenty of things I kept because it was functional, but was constantly frustrated at the never ending cleanup. I would ask the kids to help, and give directions but the more stuff they had, the less inclined they were to help clean up. Perhaps they were as overwhelmed with the mess as I was. Requests to pic up after themselves were met with ‘it’s not my towel/plate/cup’. The fairies were messing up my place apparently (insert eyeroll here). So I started Googling what other large families did and stumbled across colour coding. This is the very simple idea that each child has their own colour in a variety of items and is responsible for it. With 5 kids I needed 5 colours. Not having any girls, I went with red, green, blue, yellow and orange. Orange was a bit tricky to find, but I was able to source everything I was after online.
My boys now each have in their colour:
2 towels
1 face washer
1 plate
1 cup
1 bowl
1 cutlery set
1 toothbrush
1 drink bottle
toy storage (for the older 3)
1 laundry hamper (this will be mainly used to fold clean laundry into so the boys can put their own stuff away).

As a full-time working mum I need to have systems that run well when I’m at work. Our house is small and needs to be well-organised to prevent it all turning to chaos fast. On top of having a seriously pared- back wardrobe for each child (5 winter, 5 summer and 5 transitional outfits) I’ve culled a lot of what we own down to much less. The idea of the kids having their own colour is that they are responsible and accountable. It’s easy to see who is not putting their belongings away and it’s easy for them to find and care for their own things. Already I’ve seen positive results, with the kids automatically taking their own dishes to the kitchen sink and hanging their towels up on the towel hooks. 
At a glance I will be able to tell who has left their stuff lying around and it will eliminate the ‘that’s not my plate’ type excuses and arguments about wanting a certain plate or cup. 
I’m feeling positive about this system and will introduce more colour coded items as we go along. I’m loving the ideas on this page! 
Anything else people colour code please add below so I can get more ideas 🙂
Here’s where I bought these items if anyone is interested: 

Towels and face washers: Pillow Talk Urban range https://www.pillowtalk.com.au/pillowtalk/en/Categories/Bathroom/Towels/Urban-Towel-Range/p/ESSAURBAN15
Cups, plates/bowls and cutlery: the brand is ‘Replay’ (100% recycled plastic).  https://www.littleearthnest.com.au/collections/replay
Tooth brushes: Caredent https://www.caredent.com.au/product/junior-sparkle-soft-toothbrush/
Laundry hampers: bought off eBay https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Foldable-Pop-Up-Laundry-Soiled-Clothes-Mesh-Basket-Hamper-Storage-Bin-HBASK01/151308187358?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=450438289830&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
I got everything online as I couldn’t find the colour range I was after locally.

Happy colour coding!

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Kids clothes: organization and budgeting hacks

A full wardrobe for one child: 5 winter, 5 summer and 5 transitional outfits

Sometimes life throws you curveballs….

“Congratulations, it’s twins!”
With those words, I unexpectedly became a mum to 5 boys and my world was turned upside Adown. I already had 3 little boys, including another set of twins. How was I going to manage? How was I going to afford 5 kids?
I needed to get organized. I wanted to be one of those mums who seemingly had it all together, instead of being the hot mess who was always late and forgot her baby wipes (always a massive tactical error as it guaranteed a poosplosion!).
 I spent the next several months searching for organizational hacks and tips, learning how other mums with large families did it, slowly refining the systems I already had in place and putting something together that is workable for myself, my kids and my husband; who is the main stay at home parent while I work full time. Our house is on the small side so we don’t have a lot of space for storage. It’s still a work in progress but I would like to share the tips I picked up along the way that I found handiest.

The Rule of 5 winter, 5 summer and 5 transitional outfits:

If your kids are anything like mine, they tend to wear the same clothes over and over again, while rejecting a fair portion of their clothes. There are battles with getting dressed as the 4-year-old wants his Paw Patrol jumper and one twin can’t find his lucky red shirt. Days begin with rifling through huge piles of clean washing, trying to find particular items. Wardrobes are full of a range of sizes, stuff they’ve grown out of, the wrong size a grandparent bought, and a lot of stuff they don’t wear. It’s overwhelming and a huge task to manage.
With the rule of 5 winter, 5 summer and 5 transitional outfits, each child has 5 of each item.

How this system looks for one of my boys:
5 jumpers
5 t-shirts

5 pairs of pants

5 pairs of shorts

5 long sleeved tops

5 pairs of pyjamas (2 summer, 3 winter)

7-8 pairs of socks

7-8 pairs of jocks
3 singlets
2 full sets of school uniforms (2 summer, 2 winter + 5 pairs of school socks)

5 pairs of shoes: runners, school shoes, gum boots, sandals and thongs

Exceptions to the rule…

For my 4yo I have a couple more sets of clothes as he doesn’t have a school uniform. He has a couple of extra sets on rotation for kinder.
I find I need around 8-10 sets of clothes for my babies as they get dirty very easily and need to be changed more frequently.
I don’t have any girls but if you did you might have to add on skirts, dresses, tights and accessories into this system. Girls would have more items of clothing most likely, but the rule of 5 could still be used to reduce excess.  
 

How to cull:

To cull down to this amount of clothes, I used the KonMari Method. You may have heard of this method from the Netflix show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’. You take all your children’s clothes out of their wardrobe and dump it in a big pile. Get them to hold each item, and decide whether it ‘sparks joy’. This is a great technique and I found my boys were very good at deciding which things brought them joy. All ‘joy’ items were kept, and I made sure out of the remaining items I had covered each of the 5 categories, then donated the rest. If you’ve got brand name clothes in good condition you can always bundle and sell for some extra cash. My kids clothes tend to be pretty worn out after going through 5 boys!

Storage: a 2 tub system:

My older twin boys wardrobe. One twin has the green tubs, the other twin has the blue tubs. The smaller tub holds underwear, top tub holds good clothes, then house clothes, with pyjamas in the bottom tub. The kids can easily access their own things with this system.


To store the clothes, I use a system I learned off another mum. You have 2 tubs, one for ‘house clothes’ (think play clothes/ones you don’t mind getting dirty) and one for ‘good clothes’. I have the tubs labelled. I keep whole outfits in these tubs (not including underwear). I have 3 outfits on the house clothes tub and 2 outfits in the good clothes tub. This way my boys are able to pick an outfit easily. With baby twins to organize I need my older boys to be able to dress themselves. My boys know to get dressed from the ‘house clothes’ tub, unless I tell them we are going somewhere. This system is great as it makes it easy for little kids to find whole outfits, dress independently and there are less battles because the clothes they have are all clothes they love. In addition, the system prevents the good clothes getting wrecked and dirty, so they are available and clean when you want the kids looking nice for a family outing.
Having less does mean washing daily, but it prevents huge mountains of washing and folding as it’s done more frequently. This system works best when children are school age. Younger kids will most likely need a few more sets of clothes, especially crawling babies, messy toddlers and toilet training 3 year olds who have frequent accidents. I follow the same 2 tub system for my babies, but I do need more outfits on rotation as they are crawling and get quite dirty.

School Hacks:
For school uniforms I keep them in this cubby setup, a hack I picked up from the Kmart mums page (cost under $100 to make). It has bags in the bigger locker section, school uniforms in the top cube and school shoes in the bottom cube. The basket is for readers lunch boxes etc. I keep whatever season’s uniforms in the cube and switch them out depending on season. 
To save money on school uniforms I buy the logo items from the uniform shop during a week of the year where they have 25% off and I buy non logo items like pants and shorts from Target or Kmart in January. This is much cheaper than the uniform shop. Plus I’ve got some hand me downs stashed away for when my bigger twin grows into them. Schools often sell off unclaimed uniform items for very cheap at some stage in the year too but I mostly buy new as they have to go through 5 boys.

School storage: wire baskets for readers, lunch boxes, drink bottles etc, locker area for bags, top cube for school uniforms/daycare clothes and shoes in bottom cube.

Financial benefits of less:

I’ve always enjoyed shopping and loved buying all the cute kiddie clothes. With a large family I’ve had to stop and take stock of spending as it can get expensive with 5.  Now I sort through the clothes, see what new bigger sizes are needed and write a list to make sure I’m not over spending on unnecessary items and duplicates. House clothes are usually hand-me-downs. My twins are all different sizes so I can get away with passing down house clothes through the kids. A friend gives me clothes in a larger size that I can use for my bigger twin. 
For their good clothes, I buy new. I worked out a yearly amount I would spend on clothes, including school uniforms and school shoes. I divided that by 52 and put that amount aside into an account weekly to cover the cost of necessary clothing items. I love being able to just walk in, buy what I need with money already saved and not have to worry about credit cards, layby or AfterPay to afford things.
In addition to this, I downloaded the Flybuys app and activate bonus point deals throughout the year when I grocery shop, saving up points for Christmas and birthdays costs. My boys each get a new outfit at Christmas and their birthday, paid for with my Flybuys points.
For my baby twins I buy bundles of clothes on Facebook marketplace or check out opp shops; often there are good brands and lightly worn at bargain prices.
 House clothes are typically hand-me-downs in less perfect condition, or dark coloured cheap onesies that hide dirt. I find I need to spend very little on baby clothes as people gift you a fair bit of stuff or pass on baby clothes with a new baby.

Enjoy life!

The major reason I started getting organised in the first place was to have more time for my kids and to spend less time dealing with all the stuff I owned. Having less means it’s quicker to get through the washing, folding and putting away, then have more time and money to be doing fun stuff with family.

How am I going to do this???

“I just want reassurance that there’s only one baby in there”
Famous last words.
As the sonograher’s probe settled on my abdomen, I saw them right away. 2 perfect beans, hearts beating away. Perfect, beautiful and utterly terrifying.
This was not my first time on this crazy twin roundabout. In June 2012 I had a similar moment, finding out with surprise and delight that my first baby, one that had taken 2 years and 3 rounds of IUI to conceive, was twins! The first time it was exciting. A little scary, but we were thrilled, and again with our thirs baby, a singleton. The second set of twins? I was rocking in the corner.
How was I going to cope with 5 kids and a second set of twins??? Only really organised people could manage a family that size and I struggled to get up in the morning as it was!
At 20 weeks, we found out we had 2 more bouncing boys on board, bringing our boy tally to 5. 5 boys aged 5 and under. For a little over a year I have been mum to 5 gorgeous, bouncing boys and I’ve barely come up for air since.
This blog will be a mish-mash of parenting related topics and hopefully some helpful tips. Welcome!
*Image of my gorgeous twinnies NAthaniel and Finely at around 17 weeks gestation.

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