If you think life with kids is chaotic at your house, spare a thought for Adelaide mother Hayley Lowther, who has five children – and her eldest is only 4-years-old. Yep, you read that right. Hayley’s rare and beautiful family contains two sets of twins that are only nine months apart.
Breakfast with the Borgs
Mornings aren’t easy in the Lowther/Borg household. Firstly, 11-month old Hunter wakes at 5am on the dot. By 7am, the other children are up, then breakfast commences. Around the breakfast table is 4-year-old Eeli. Fraternal twins Noah and Amelia (20 months). And finally, identical twins Hayden and Hunter (11 months).
That’s five under five. And for mother Hayley, breakfast is understandably the hardest time of the day. “I don’t do very well in the mornings as it is, and the kids like to be sloppy in the morning,” explains Hayley. “If it’s Weet-Bix, it goes on the walls, the windows, the floors, me, everywhere.”
We all know how much mess one toddler can make at breakfast, but four?
An unconventional birth order
It obviously wasn’t always like this for Hayley. In fact, she only ever thought she’d have one child.
Her first child, Eeli, was born with gastroschisis, which meant his large and small bowels and half of his liver were on the outside of his body at birth. Eeli was successfully operated on, but Hayley was told she wouldn’t be able to conceive again.
Later, when she met her current partner Michael, they decided to try for a sibling. Since twins run on both sides of their families, Hayley wasn’t exactly surprised when she found out she was having twins. Noah and Amelia were born big and healthy, but then only weeks after giving birth, Hayley was stunned to discover she was pregnant … again … with another set of twins. Naturally, Hayley’s first response was “what the hell?!”
Hayden and Hunter arrived nine months later.
It’s incredibly rare to conceive two sets of twins. In fact, the odds are set at roughly 1 in 700,000. But having a set of paternal and identical twins so close together is even rarer.
For Hayley, it’s been a blessing, but she admits it’s been a tough road.
“A week or two after we had Noah and Amelia, I had a major breakdown,” said Hayley. “I got post-natal depression. It hit me for a 6. Then falling pregnant with the boys, you can imagine my hormones.”
Not only did she have to contend with post-natal depression, Hayley also suffered from a difficult pregnancy with the second twins. “My stomach muscles had completely split: two-fists worth … so you could literally see a baby’s arm or leg or ear in that middle section of my belly. And my legs would give out on me because they were just so heavy.”
Still, it was worth it. Both Hayley and Michael are one of five siblings, so having five children has come naturally to them. They split the load together, and get a lot of support from their families. Hayley has even taken to documenting their family life on her Facebook page Five Under Five, and Instagram @five_under_five, which has attracted a strong community of Australian families with multiple births. She even gets recognised by people in the street as ‘Hayley from Five Under Five.’
“I think our life is pretty crazy,” admits Hayley. “But pretty cool at the same time.”
A day in the life
So, the question we’re all asking is how on earth do you stay organised with five young children?
“Routine is such a big thing for us, if we have one step out of routine, that’s the end of the day for us,”explains Hayley. This means a regimented nap schedule, lots of outside play, and a highly-organised bed time that would put the rest of us to shame. The youngest two are down at 6.30pm. Noah and Amelia 7.30pm. Then big boy Eeli gets to stay up a bit longer to have some alone time with Mum and Dad.
But before anyone can go to sleep, Hayley says they do the rounds to collect 30 (yes 30!) dummies. “Every day, just before (the kids) go to bed, we do the dummy check under their cots … and then we start our cleaning, ready for tomorrow.”
There’s no break with five young children. And yet, Hayley is so positive about her family. As she likes to say: “Our washing is full, and our hearts are fuller.”
Thanks for sharing your story with us Hayley. We are so inspired!
What do you think? Is this amazing or what?