May 8, 2020
People & Places

“I think I was born to be a mum”

Lucia Staykov is the proud mother of six children – including twins and triplets. The 46-year-old will spend this Mother’s Day with her big brood, starting off with breakfast in bed. The professional children's photographer says being organised is key to handling the busy juggle.

Tell us about your background

I was born in Bratislava, Slovakia, and we migrated to Australia when I was eight years old. I loved dancing from a young age and always attended dance schools. I went on to study a Bachelor of Dance at Adelaide University and ended up teaching dance.

How did you meet your husband Anton?

I was a dance teacher for 25 years and I met Anton when he attended my hip-hop dance class with his friends. He continued the class for a couple of years and we became friends and gradually started dating. We have been married for 20 years. Anton is very easy-going and sweet, and a great dad.

Did you always want to be a mum?

Yes, I always wanted to be a mum, but I always thought I’d have two or three children. Anton and I never really talked about how many children we were going to have.

What are your children’s names and ages?

Jordy, 18, the twins, Alek and Bailey, 14, and the triplets, Mia, Lilly and Chloe, who are eight years old.

Chloe, Lilly, Mia, Bailey, Alek and Jordy will be celebrating with their mum this Mother’s Day.

Tell me about first becoming a mum

I loved being a mum. Jordy was not an easy baby, he had reflux and was a terrible sleeper, but I really loved everything about being a mum. I think I was born to be a mum. There were hard days, crying days, but I just love being around my kids.

Are there multiple births in your family?

Yes, there are two sets of twins on my dad’s side of the family.

 Tell me about your reaction when you found out you were having twins.

We found out we were having twins at the 12-week ultrasound. Anton and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was totally unexpected. Jordy was three when the twins were born.

People would often say having three children under three must be so hard but I didn’t find it that way. I guess I’m pretty easy-going and also very organised. To me, you just had to get things done and make it work and it did work. Life was busy but we felt so lucky as well.

The boys meet one of their baby sisters for the first time.

Tell us about discovering you were having triplets.

So, after having three boys I was still hoping for one more child, maybe a little girl? So, after the twins started school, we decided we would try for one more. Again, we found out we were having triplets at the 12-week ultrasound.

This time our reaction was a bit different. Anton and I were in shock and a bit of disbelief. I kept saying, “Are you sure?”.

Anton, who works in IT, was in total shock. We didn’t speak about it for a couple of weeks until we processed it. To go from three to six kids just like that, Anton was a bit worried about what that would mean for our family in terms of holidays and finances. But I was determined it wasn’t going to change things too much.

Tell us about bringing twins and triplets home.

The triplets stayed in hospital for two weeks, waiting for the little one to fatten up before coming home.

There was a big difference between bringing the twins and the triplets home. I didn’t need any help when I had the twins and a toddler, I did it on my own. However, with triplets and three older boys, it just wasn’t possible. My mum Sona, who lives close by, helped a lot with the cooking and taking the boys to school and general support.

Mum still helps with occasional babysitting and folding clothes when she comes for a visit. As you can imagine, there are a lot of socks to sort.

I also got some help from the Australian Multiple Births Association with a nanny coming three hours a day for a few months to help with the triplets when they were born.

Having six children can be expensive, so daily shopping trips are necessary.

Can you describe a typical day in those early years with six children?

Non-stop! Feeding, changing, burping, soothing – and repeat. I breastfed all my kids. Jordy breastfed exclusively until 24 months, the twins were the same. With the triplets, I exclusively breastfed for the first three months but then I got really bad mastitis and had to spend two nights in hospital. After that we had to introduce some formula, so we could alternate with two girls on the breast and one with formula. We continued this until one girl weaned herself at 10 months and the other two continued on the breast until 26 months.

What do you love about having such a big, busy family?

I love that there is always someone to play with. I love that there is always someone who needs a hug from me. Yes, it’s busy but I have always been a person who can’t sit still for too long.

Being in self-isolation at the moment, the three girls have been playing together, as have the twins. Jordy is at university now doing IT so he’s been busy with his online studies. But we’ve managed really well. The girls love dancing, singing and playing music. They also love going bike riding and scootering, drawing, reading and they love school.

The boys and girls will still play hide and seek together and Monopoly.

The boys and girls still play together, just as the twins helped the triplets on their first day of school.

What do you find challenging about having six children?

Holidays are challenging. We love to go on family trips but finding accommodation for eight isn’t always easy.

Also, the amount of food they eat – doing daily shopping trips is a must.

The cost associated with after-school activities is challenging, too, especially when you have to times everything by three. The girls do dance classes and it is so expensive when you have to pay three times!

Finding accommodation for a family of eight can be challenging, but they enjoy holidays when they can, such as this trip to New Zealand.

How do you cook for all those kids and what sorts of things do you make?

I make normal food, just lots of it. When we make bolognese, I need one kilo of pasta and one kilo of beef for one meal. Jordy likes to make nachos, so he’ll do a big pan of that.

What other lifestyle factors do you need to consider with six children?

Public schooling! Of course, it costs a lot of money to bring up six kids but I often shop at the Salvation Army where you can get brand new clothes. Our kids know they won’t get the latest iPhones or iPads but they don’t go without, either. We just don’t spend money on things they don’t need.

And we have to have a car that fits us all – we have a Kia Grand Carnival eight-seater.

What are the kids like? Can you give us some insight into each of them?

They are smart, loving, caring kids. Yes, they are all very different but we are so proud of all of them.

You are now a photographer specialising in child and newborn photography?

Yes, I was a dance teacher and personal trainer until the girls were two years old. I worked only early mornings and some evenings so I was home to look after the kids when my husband went to work. I started my interest in photography when the girls were little and I started using Anton’s camera. I fell in love with children’s photography and started my business Child Expressions Photography six years ago. I absolutely love it. Again, I work part-time when the children are at school and occasionally on weekends.

Lucia adores her job as a children’s and newborn photographer, through her business Child Expressions Photography.

What are your plans for this Mother’s Day?

Anton will make me breakfast in bed, then we’ll probably order some food for lunch (normally we would go out to a restaurant). We’ll go for a family walk to somewhere like Morialta and then visit my mum.

What is your advice to anyone who finds out they are having twins or triplets?

Take it as it comes! But one thing I did do was set their sleeping patterns early. They all fed at the same time and slept at the same time – this is important for your survival. Also, allow extra time when going shopping or going out in public. You will get stopped every two minutes and asked 50 questions from multiple strangers.

People often ask the most personal questions, too, such as were the kids IVF. You just have to be polite and go with it. I’ve never really had any negative comments. But, if you are in a hurry, keep your head down and don’t make eye contact!

One of my twins said to me when he was about six or seven, “Mummy, you are like a super famous star, everyone wants to talk to you”.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity for the family to do something together, but Father’s Day is important too.

 

My South Australian Life is a first-person series, published each Sunday. Read our previous profiles here.

 

 

 

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