THE idea of having nine children would send many frazzled, stressed out mums into meltdown – but not Tracy Lewis.
The 38-year-old hairdresser from Poole, Dorset, admits she’s yearning for an even bigger family, and is simply following in the footsteps of her own mother who had 13 kids.
“I’m not stopping at just nine children,” Tracy tells Fabulous for My Supersize Family, an exclusive new series. “I’m broody now and I want at least 13 children like my mum – possibly more. I’ve got five daughters and four sons, but it’s not enough!”
Tracy lives down the street from her mum, Tracy Senior, with her long-term partner Alan Goodwin, 39, a plasterer, and their children: Shaznay, 18, Chantelle, 16, Candice, 14, Warren, 12, Reece, 11, Callum, eight, Ellie, six, Riley, two, and 14-month-old Kye.
Tracy says: “We love big families and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s totally bonkers and brilliant. Between me and my mum we have enough children to field two football teams.”
Tracy Senior, 58, is the matriarch of one of the UK’s biggest families.
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The admin receptionist and her husband Pete, 63, are proud parents to 13 children: Carly who is 40 in July, Tracy Junior, 38, Samantha, 37, Charles, 36, Lyndsay, 35, Danielle, 33, Chantelle, 32, Charlotte, 30, Georgia, 29, Candice, 27, Shannon, 24, Shaznay, 22, and 19-year-old Porsha.
According to the Office of National Statistics, Tracy’s big brood is a rarity in Britain. Figures released in 2021 revealed there are 3.46 million families with one child, 3.45 million families with two children and 1.24 million families with three children or more.
Tracy and Alan, who she met on a night out in Bournemouth aged 18, live in a five-bedroom detached house with a large garden. All of their children still live at home and they share four bedrooms.
She says: “We have two bathrooms and I love my huge farmhouse-style kitchen table. We always sit down together as a family for breakfast and dinner. My kids are best friends.
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“I was raised in a large family and my parents taught us how to save and get the best deals. I am glad they did. It’s how we can afford our mortgage, to pay the bills and raise nine amazing children.”
Tracy says her family life is so hectic she only gets about five hours sleep a night and has to get up at 5.30am to look after her brood.
“My bottle, bath and bed routine starts at 7.30pm with the little ones,” she said. “I get the next four ready for bed and then head off to work as a mobile hairdresser for four hours a night, leaving Alan to get the kids tucked in by 9pm.
“We tag team bedtime. We’ve heard every excuse a child can give you to not go to bed.
“It’s a chorus of ‘I’m not sleepy’, ‘I need a drink’ and ‘I can’t sleep, can I come with you?’
“I finally get myself to bed at 1am.
“We’re lucky the kids are all good sleepers.”
The supermum does the school run on her own as partner Alan leaves for work at 6am.
“I have to ferry six of my children to two different schools each morning. We have a people carrier that fits everyone.
“It's noisy and chaotic and occasional arguments break out.”
“The kids are up by 6am, have breakfast and are dressed.
“We leave for the double school run at 6.45am. If anyone forgets homework or a bag it can be even more chaotic.
“I always do a headcount before we leave the house. You don't want to miss a child.
“Alan works early so it’s just me and the children.
“I do get a lot of odd looks when people see so many children piling out of the van at the school gate.
“People think I am a bus driver.
“Having nine babies has been amazing.
“Mealtimes are crazy and hectic but I love it. I cook everything from scratch, including cakes, cookies and apple pies. I probably make 100 baguettes a week. It saves me thousands of pounds a year,” she says.
Tracy spends £300 a week on her food shopping in Tesco. She plans all the meals in advance, sends the children to school with packed lunches and buys most of her grocery staples from a cash and carry.
She estimates that the family chomp through 300 packets of crisps, 75 packets of Penguin chocolate bars and a 50kg sack of potatoes.
“I have used the same butcher for over 20 years and each week I get eight chickens for dinner. He gives me a great deal of £20,” she says.
The kids love casseroles, tuna pasta bakes, a weekly roast, loaded jacket potatoes and cottage pies. Tracy bulks out expensive meat dishes with carrots, onions and peas to make them stretch further.
“I swear by using a slow cooker for the vegetables,” she says. “I have the biggest one you can buy and put the veggies on at 7am, slow cooking them to be ready by 4pm. We all sit down for tea at 5pm and the chaos begins.”
Tracy has two washing machines and two tumble dryers and does up to eight loads of washing a day. “We go through 40 toilet rolls a week, too” she says.
“When I shop, I sweep the shelves of bargains. I often have three trolleys on the go when we do the weekly shop.
“I can spot a bargain like my mum and always use vouchers coupons and my Tesco Clubcard points to stretch my grocery budget.
“I look for designer dupes and use Home Bargains Argan Oil on mine and my girls’ hair to keep it shiny, which costs £1.99 a pot. I buy 10 at a time.”
Tracy, who named three of her children after her siblings, says both her and her mum have been the victims of cruel parent shaming.
“When people see the children jumping out of the people carrier or me in the park with all the kids they assume I’m a single mum on benefits and the kids have different dads,” she says.
“They are so wrong. Mum has experienced the same evil trolling, but like her I ignore the bullies. They are just jealous of the joy and love our brilliant big family brings us.
"I adore having children.
"I love being pregnant and feeling the babies start to kick.
“My body comes alive when I am pregnant
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