A MOTHER-OF-EIGHT has shared what everyday life looks like as the head of such a large family.
Heather Bell, 51, and her husband Luke, 49, have home-schooled all of their children, now aged 15-23 years old.
The couple, who have been married for almost 27 years, had adopted one of their sons and had just become foster parents to another one of their children when they found out they were expecting a baby.
Heather spoke to The U.S. Sun about her family's journey to become a household of 10.
"When my husband and I got married we definitely wanted a family, but we never thought that we would be parents to eight children," the Michigan-based mom said.
"Luke has two brothers and a sister and they grew up on a dairy farm, so they definitely were raised to work hard and to put family first"
Heather also grew up learning the importance of family, with six sisters and one brother.
She explained: "My dad was in the Air Force so we moved a lot and got to see a lot of different places in the U.S."
Both Heather and Luke enjoyed the "chaos" of growing up with all their siblings and wanted the same thing for their future family.
The couple decided to expand their family even more by opening up their home to their two daughters and three other sons.
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With seven adopted children and one biological son, the Bell family was complete.
One of Heather's favorite things about having a big family is watching the different relationships that form among her children.
The supermom said she has loved watching her kids "become each other's best friends."
She added: "As a mother, I just love the chaos of my kids wrestling around and laughing. When we eat dinner, we all sit around the kitchen and talk about our day, sharing things with each other."
From ping pong tournaments to wrestling bouts, the Bell household has always been filled with a lot of noise, mainly laughter.
And when the children weren't playing with each other or being home-schooled by Heather, they were busy helping out on the family farm.
Heather shared: "Having a big family, you definitely have to try to budget your time and expenses for sure. We use a lot of our own resources to help be able to afford a family of 10."
For years, the Bells have been growing their own food in a vegetable garden, as well as raising their own beef, and running a poultry farm.
The family supplies eggs to everyone in their community and has taught each of their children the importance of hard work and being self-sufficient.
While Heather says the family's main expense is groceries, she recalled a time when she was taxi-ing each of her children to different sporting events every day.
"That cost quite a bit of money with having to buy equipment and the gas to haul them around to all the events," she said.
Heather acknowledged the challenges that come with raising a large family, but she says she wouldn't change it for the world.
Sharing some of her top tips, the mother-of-eight emphasized the importance of communication.
"Definitely schedule events and make sure the entire family is on board with what’s coming up," she advised other parents.
The Bells also take time out to plan everything from meals for the week to family trips away.
Heather also recommended going on "mini vacations" with two of your kids at a time if you have a larger family.
"We would choose two kids to take with us so they could have time with just us, and then also have one of their siblings with them," she explained.
The Bell household is a democracy when it comes to decision-making, with all eight children given an equal say.
She said: "Our kids are very close even though we’ve adopted seven of our children, you would never know it when you came into our home.
"It would be like they’ve always been together."
With most of the children now grown up, the Bell household is quieter than it used to be but it's still filled with just as much laughter and love.
Heather explained: "When you have a big family, everything is big, your meals are big, family time is crazy and loud.
"There’s tons of laundry, our vehicle had to be a huge vehicle to fit us all in, our house is loud, and we absolutely love it," she said.
While Heather's days involve fewer chore schedules and refereeing of board games, she sees the long-lasting effect of family life on her children.
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"A family is every member, not just one person, and we wanted our children to know that we cared about what they thought," she said.
She concluded: "I think what's really helped our family do so well is that we all work together to accomplish things."
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