Coronavirus: Family of 14 say life in lockdown is 'calmer'

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Shaw familyImage source, Tom Shaw
Image caption,
The Shaw family said they had been "coping well" during lockdown

A family of 14 has said life under lockdown has been "calmer and more sedate than normal everyday life".

The Shaw family live in a Victorian semi-detached house in Mapperley, Nottingham, with mum Stacy and dad Tom joined by 12 of their children.

Mr Shaw said while food shopping had become more difficult, the absence of a morning school run had led to a quieter start to the day.

And some siblings had even bonded well enough to build a PC together.

"It's been different, but probably not in the way everyone imagines," he said, adding they were all "coping well" under the circumstances.

'Lockdown life is calmer'

Image source, Tom Shaw
Image caption,
Home schooling has meant a temporary end to a school run that usually involves trips to three different sites

The children living at home are aged between five and 23, with two more of the Shaw brood already having flown the nest.

Mr Shaw said he did not know why they had ended up with such a large family, and despite lockdown logistical difficulties, things were running smoothly.

"It is a lot quieter, calmer, and more sedate than normal everyday life," he said.

"Usually the morning is the maddest part of our day and there's drop offs at three different schools which take up to an hour round trip for us both.

"So life has slowed down a bit. We start the day a bit later, there's no rush and the children wake up at different times and we have a staggered start to the day."

Shopping for 14 must be stressful, surely?

Image source, Tom Shaw
Image caption,
Mr Shaw said food shopping had been particularly stressful

Mr Shaw said it did not feel like the family were "living on top of each other" but said working out trips to the supermarket has proven trickier.

"We used to shop three times a week, and now we're trying to keep it to once a week," he said.

"They're like a plague of locusts going through the kitchen at times - you can fill the fridge and it will be empty in two or three days.

"We get through a lot of food so the shopping has freaked us out a bit."

How about leaving the house?

Image source, Tom Shaw
Image caption,
The Shaw family has been grateful for their outdoor space

Mr Shaw said they were effectively isolating and staying at home, apart from the weekly shop, because of one of his children having a disability.

But he said having their own outdoor space had been a relief.

"Luckily we have got a large yard or garden with swings, slides and badminton set up," he added.

"I can't imagine how it must be for parents with children in a flat or a just a strip of concrete. There's nowhere for them to play."

And is it harmonious at home?

Image source, Tom Shaw
Image caption,
Some of the brothers have bonded over their love of gaming

Dad Tom said there had been the usual bickering among siblings but some of the bonds had improved during the lockdown.

"There's always going to be the odd little argument, but there's never any bloodshed," he said.

"If anything there is more cohesion. In the house there's four of them into gaming so they have built a PC between them with spare parts and now they're all gaming at one time."

His daughter Kelsey, aged 21, said the lockdown had given her more time to reconnect with her siblings after being at university.

"Quite a bunch of them are more intelligent than I thought," she said.

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