Babble's Five-Minute Time Out: The Masche FamilyJennifer V. Hughes
So, have you ever heard of a family raising sextuplets on a reality TV show? No, not that family. The network WE tv launched its new show Raising Sextuplets in June, which profiles the brood of Jenny and Bryan Masche, of Lake Havasu, Arizona and their six two-year-olds (predictably adorable Bailey, Savannah, Molli, Cole, Grant and Blake.) WE TV first started following the Masche family with cameras for a documentary on Jenny’s pregnancy (she did IUI after two-and-a-half years of trying to get pregnant.) So far the show has none of the drama of Jon and Kate (whew) but some of the fun and chaos: Jon tries to lose his “baby weight,” the kids whack each other in the tub. As if you needed any more reason to feel inferior, Jenny works nights as a physician’s assistant in the ER and runs marathons.
Babble talked to Jenny about what makes them different from the Gosselins, why they did the show in the first place, and what parents of just one or two kids can learn from a mom who had to manage six bottles at the same time. – Jennifer V. Hughes
There has been such an enormous amount of negative publicity and reaction to Jon and Kate Gosselin lately – why in the world would you want to do this TV program, especially now?
You know, all the stuff about them makes me very, very nervous, but our show started out so long before any negative publicity ever came out about them . . . we were filming our documentary when I was pregnant. But we are very different people. Just because we have a show doesn’t mean the same thing is going to happen to us. The only similarity I see between us is that we both have sextuplets.
Do you think there is something you can do with your situation to avoid the kind of media circus their lives have become?
Absolutely. It’s all about choices; they were not in the media until Jon got photographed at a bar with another woman, and then it snowballed and got crazy. Brian and I, we’re not perfect by any stretch, but we believe in Christ and we live our lives based on that, and a lot of the choices we make reflect on that. Hopefully we’re grounded in that reality with God, and that will keep us from things that will bring us negative attention. I mean, we still have our moments of being angry, but . . .
Why did you decide to do the show to begin with?
When we got pregnant with the sextuplets and they asked us to document the pregnancy, we thought this was a one-time shot for us. It was a documentary – we never thought of a show. We loved it, we just thought it was fun. It was positive, and hopefully it will continue to be positive. If it ever starts to add stress in our lives, it’s done.
Why do you think people are so fascinated by parents of multiples – the Jon and Kate thing, Octomom?
You know, I honestly don’t know. My life seems really boring to me. I don’t know anything different from sextuplets. But all my friends with one or two, their lives are so astronomically changed, people can’t even fathom having six or five or four. They think, “I’m overwhelmed with one child; how the heck does someone do this?” Sometimes it can be encouraging to see someone’s life that seems harder that yours. It helps to have perspective.
I’m sure you’ve heard about people making judgments about your decision to have so many babies, to do the show – what has bothered you the most and what did you do to deal with it?
You know, I don’t look at anything. I don’t read anything, because I want to guard my ears and my mind from negativity. As long as I please God and my husband and my family and the people around me can see that what we’re doing is a positive thing, I don’t care about what other people think.
What has been the most surprising thing you’ve experienced since having your children?
It’s surprising that it’s not as bad as we thought. I was so depressed when I delivered – I’m sure a lot of it was hormonal, I was sick, in the ICU. I had envisioned that this situation we got ourselves into was totally impossible. When you’re that depressed and negative, then when you actually have the kids come home and you realize what a joy they are . . . They fulfill me in a way I’ve never been fulfilled in my life.
What has been the hardest moment so far?
The hardest part is making sure we focus on our marriage. The first year was really hard. I had six little people who were totally needy of me and I had a husband who was needy of me too, and I didn’t have enough of me to go around. It’s been a struggle but it’s been good because it makes us work on it. If things are too easy you can get complacent.
What has been the best?
Absolutely the babies and our families. Our families rallied around us and it was so amazing. That and just regular people. I email a lady from South Africa to this day. She followed our pregnancy and we just became friends. It’s cool when you meet people from all over the country who are praying for you.
What do you think parents of just one or two measly kids can learn from your experiences?
“I can’t physically force six of them to sit in chairs.”I think there are probably a lot of things I do wrong. Hopefully people will see that and say, “Oh yeah! I don’t want to do that!” [Laughs.] I hope that people can learn how to let go of things and choose your battles. With only one kid you can fight a lot more battles. With us, we really have to let a lot of things go.
How do you get six toddlers to bed? Feed them? I’m talking logistics here.
You just do it. I fix dinner, I put it on the table . . . they’re toddlers, they sit down, they eat, they run away. I can’t physically force six of them to sit in chairs. Dinner time is just like that around here. They actually loved diaper changes because they got alone time with me. You learn how to be really, really patient. You do six of everything and that’s your whole night. Once you get them down you take a breath and think, we survived the day.
I feel that way with one!
My friends with one all say the same thing! I just don’t know any different.
How do you get anything else done? Dishes? Laundry?
I have to do everything when my kids are asleep. I do a huge clean up at naptime and a huge clean up at bedtime. My husband is really good at cleaning up the house. That’s something I’m grateful for.
I know that multiples often have health difficulties – are all of your children healthy?
They are totally healthy – we feel so blessed.
So, are you going to have any more?
[Laughs.] No. My husband got fixed when they were four months old. That’s done. C’mon, really?