One more makes 16 kids for mum who loves the hugs

Jeni and Ray Bonell with their 15 children.
Jeni and Ray Bonell with their 15 children. Picasa

THE mother of the largest family in Australia has never had that feeling other mums get when "they're done".

Jeni Bonell is halfway through her 16th pregnancy and said she plans to keep on having babies until nature stopped her.

"I didn't want any kids when we got married."

"But then we kept going. It was so wonderful to surrender into parenthood.

"It's amazing how your heart can expand to love so many people equally.

"I love the chaos, the noise, the hugs, the I love you's."

Between taking the kids to school in the 16-seater Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which actually used to be a school bus, and teaching the older ones to drive, the busy 44-year old was learning to cope with the challenge of a "whole generation of ages".

"It's interesting to go from playing games with the little kids, just starting out on the journey, to the older ones and careers, boyfriends, girlfriends and learning to drive.

"I don't teach them (to drive) until after the first 20 hours."

She said the 15 siblings, aged 2-24, were independent, capable and good at pitching in when mum and dad weren't available.

"There are so many different personalities and it's interesting to watch who the children gravitate towards.

"If you have an argument with one kid, they don't hold a grudge. They'll pick themselves up and move into the next room."

She said her and her husband Ray's parenting style had grown more flexible over the years as they learnt to adapt to each personality.

"We get it wrong, no parent is perfect. But you just keep trying."

"We're a team."



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