Mom of 14 Boys Says Stay-Home Order Poses Challenges

Schwandt: "At the end of the day, we're so blessed"

May 11, 2020

Life under a Stay-at-Home Order with 10 of her 14 sons has been a delicate balance of testing her patience and counting her blessings for Kateri Schwandt.

Schwandt; her husband, Jay; and their boys have spent the past two months at home together on their family farm in the Grand Rapids area. 

The boys still living with them range in age from 2 to 17 years old. Two more are in college, and two are grown.

The couple has no daughters.

“In our family, we exceed the number of (10) people allowed in gatherings. You just can’t get away from that,” Schwandt said in a live interview on WWJ.

The “little ones” like to play on the farm, according to Schwandt. As for day-to-day life, she says expect the unexpected.

“If you have a sense of humor and you stay flexible, you have to be prepared for anything,” Schwandt said. “You never know what’s going to happen next and what’s going to come out of their mouth.”

Homeschooling has been one of the biggest challenges for the Schwandt family.

Eight of the boys are navigating online schooling. One is in preschool, five are in elementary or middle school, and two are in high school.

“I have never had my patience tried so much since I started homeschooling,” Schwandt said.

It is harder to focus and hammer out the work remotely, according to Schwandt, but deadlines are not as binding as they usually are for in-person school.

Frequent recess, she said, is essential to surviving online learning.  

“It gets out some of their energy,” Schwandt said.

Life is hectic for sure; but Schwandt told WWJ’s Mike Campbell she would not have it any other way.

“It’s work and you want to scream and pull your hair out,” Schwandt said, “But at the end of the day, we’re so blessed. They’re all healthy and feisty little things, but we love them to death.”

Teamwork makes the family strong, according to Schwandt.

Her husband and the boys all pitch in on chores like laundry regularly. This Mother’s Day, she said she received homemade cards and thoughtfully picked out gifts from her husband and sons. 

As Schwandt celebrated 14-fold; she told WWJ that Mother's Day for her is not that different from the rest of the year.

“Every day feels like Mother’s Day,” she said.

You can listen to the full interview with Kateri Schwandt here. 

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