I’m a mum-of-11 and I’m sick of people judging me

AFTER having kids, most of us mums resign ourselves to never having a tidy house again… or at least, not until they move out in 18 years’ time.

But just because she has 11 kids living under her roof, that hasn’t stopped mum Joanne O’Rourke keeping her home exactly as she likes it.

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Joanne and Tommy O’Rourke have roughly had a child every 18 months since 2003Credit: Instagram/@orourkesandmoreorourkes
The couple have fostered their niece and have 11 kids living under their roof

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The couple have fostered their niece and have 11 kids living under their roofCredit: Instagram/@orourkesandmoreorourkes

Speaking to MyLondon, the 38-year-old, from Barnet, North London, explained how her and husband Tommy share the household workload.

The mum said: “People judge us before they get to know us, they assume our house is pandemonium but that’s not true at all.

“Tommy and I have been together for 21 years and we’re a good team – one of us couldn’t run the show on our own, we work together. We share everything from the cooking to the school run.”

Every evening, Tommy is responsible for sorting out the snacks for the children’s lunchboxes while Joanne makes the sandwiches the following morning.


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At 3am, Tommy – who works as a fork lift driver – heads out to work and Joanne starts making breakfast at 6:30am.

Both Joanne and Tommy do their fair share of the cooking and they’ve got their weekly food shop down to £180 – which translates to £13.85 each.

Describing how they constantly have to meal plan, Joanne continued: “A lot of the time we create our own recipes, we make things like homemade burgers, sticky chicken, fried chicken, and campfire stew. And I make a mum-ssaka – which is my take on a moussaka recipe.

“A big favourite in our house is my own creation – which we made by accident – it’s half spag bowl and half shepherds pie.”

As the family live in a four-bedroom house, the couple have also had to get creative with storage.

“We’ve got four bedrooms so Tommy has made triple beds, one more than a bunkbed, and a trundle underneath that has another bed,” Joanne continued. “We’ve also turned out wasted space into shoe cupboards and a school uniform cupboards.”

Tommy and Joanne consider themselves to be 'fun parents'

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Tommy and Joanne consider themselves to be ‘fun parents’Credit: Instagram/@orourkesandmoreorourkes
The family's weekly food shop costs £180

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The family’s weekly food shop costs £180Credit: Caters

Tommy and Joanne have been together since 2000 in a nightclub and had their first child Mitchell, now 18, in July 2003.

After Mitchell arrived, the parents had another child roughly every 18 months and have fostered their niece – meaning they have eight boys and three girls living at home.

The mum added: “We’re all very close and there’s so many different characters in our house. We try and go all out for birthdays, Halloween and Christmas.

“I would say we’re quite fun parents. We want the kids to be able to look back in years to come and have lots of lovely childhood memories – and see that we were always all together.”

You can follow the O’Rourkes on their FacebookInstagram and YouTube pages.

For more parenting stories, this mum-of-eight was scolded by three-year-old daughter’s school for lunchbox – as savage note demands ‘healthier options’.

And this mum-of-12 shared what laundry day looks like for a big family… and just sorting the clothes into a pile takes hours.

Plus this is how to get your kids in a good sleep routine so you’re not affected by the clock changes.

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