These parents underwent a drastic lifestyle change after getting married, going from zero to nine children in three years.
Following their wedding in 2016, Jake Young, now 36, and his wife, Maxine, 33, decided to open up their home to four foster children.
In 2017 they fostered four siblings before falling pregnant with their biological first child just a year later. In 2019, they decided to adopt their four foster kids and then one month later discovered they were expecting quadruplets.
Despite their family growing at a rapid rate, the US-based couple couldn’t be happier with their large brood, and they’ve made a point to keep doing things they love like travel.
Maxine and Jake shipped their 15-seater van over to England so the family of 11 could complete their dream trip around Europe together. Along with Aiden, 11, Parker, eight, Connor, seven, Elliott, six, Henry, five, and their quadruplets, Silas, Theo, Beck, and Cecilia, all three, they were able to visit 14 countries across the continent.
Many people have described the pair as crazy for wanting to go travelling as a large family, but they say they’ve never looked back.
Jake said: ‘You’d expect it would have been insanity travelling around Europe for six months with nine children, but luckily all our kids travel well and it all went smoothly for the most part.’
Having been together for 11 years in total, Maxine and Jake always dreamed of a large family. But while they never expected to have so many children in their early thirties, they love their busy lives as mum and dad.
Life in a household of 11 has become normal to the Youngs and they’ve learned to make things work. Maxine is a stay-at-home mum who juggles homeschooling the three oldest children (with some help from Jake in subjects he’s good at) and getting their other six kids ready to head out each morning.
The parents began homeschooling all of their school-age kids when they left for their trip around Europe in February, and they seemed to be thriving. When they returned to the States, they decided to ask each child what they’d prefer, with Aiden, Parker and Connor choosing to stick with homeschooling and Elliott and Henry going to a traditional school.
‘Getting up and out the door each morning can be a challenge because it can be chaotic getting everyone dressed, doing their hair, and shoes on, and getting in everyone in the van,’ explained Jake. ‘However, it’s all part of the fun.’
The parents’ plan to head to Europe was sparked after they got married in Greece and honeymooned in Italy, and it initially raised eyebrows. However, they feel their regimented routine ensured things ran smoothly, both on the trip and since they’ve been back home.
Jake said: ‘The whole family works together as a team to get the chores done. When the kids reach about five or six they start getting involved with helping out.
‘There are set chores that each person does and we tend to stick to doing the same thing.’
His top tip for those with large families is ‘make sure you wake up early enough’, as more people means less time – and rushing starts your day off badly.
‘I know how hard this can be and struggle with it too,’ he added. ‘But it is always my goal.’
The brood also have a membership to a bulk buying store where they can stock up on things like nappies, wipes, paper towels and toilet paper, and they’re thinking of buying a second washing machine and dryer to keep up with their near-constant flow of laundry.
But despite the logistical challenges, Jake commented: ‘The best thing about being part of such a large family is the fact that there is so much love all the time.
‘At the end of a hard day, I just look at all my kids so happy and healthy and it’s amazing.’
He continued: ‘My mantra for parents is to take care of yourself. My family need me at my best, and if I am not at my best and I am struggling in some way, then it affects my family too.
‘It’s hard to think about yourself when there are endless nappies that need to be changed, and you have a load of hungry and thirsty kids on your hands, but you need to make sure you find the time to sit down and take a breath even if it is just for five minutes each day.
‘I truly believe this helps be the best parent possible.’
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