The Lapointe-Girard family is very organized. Meals, school at home, household chores, activities, everything has to be sorted out. Managing nine children from 0 to 14 years old with a truck driving father on the road from Tuesday to Saturday is quite a contract.
“Fortunately, I have my parents who live with us at home, explains Mélanie Girard. With my spouse [Patrice] who works, it gives me a hand.”
Must say that the mother is not afraid of the work. Early in the morning, she is on the peak for lunches and afterwards, she takes off her apron to put on her teacher's costume.
As in the time of Émilie Bordeleau in Les Filles de Caleb, she teaches several subjects from primary to secondary.
"It's been three years and I don't regret my choice," says the mother, who imposes nothing on her six school-aged children. We ask them and if they want to go to civil school, we will respect their choice.
$4000 per month
It is up to the grandparents to go grocery shopping.
On Sunday, once the fridge and the pantry are filled, the mother of the family launches into the preparation of meals for the whole week.
Lunches, dinners and even snacks, such as muffins and granola bars, are cooked in advance. “Buying the least amount of processed products is a good way to save,” says Mélanie Girard.
Despite everything, the explosion in the cost of food has considerably increased the family budget, which worries the woman of the house a lot.
For the past year, it's at least $1,000 more per month for groceries on a bill that reaches more than $4,000 monthly.
"Before with $750 I was okay, but now at $750 I'm not doing my week. In the gang that I have there, it takes me three chickens to feed everyone for a single meal, ”she gives as an example.
Stopping at nothing, Mélanie Girard even uses washable diapers. A decision that allows the family to save while making an ecological gesture.
However, this task is added to the excessive list of things to do with nine kids in the cabin.
"It's four loads of laundry a day, but with diapers it can go up to six," says the mother. And no need to add that the clothesline is an essential piece of equipment during the summer.
An only child, the 35-year-old mother has always wanted to have a big family.
“I wanted 10. I said to myself: if I have children, they will not be alone,” she recalls.
She does not regret her choice, especially during the Christmas period. New Year's Eve announces itself all in music at the Lapointe-Girard.
Grandpa pulls out the guitar. We dance, we sing, we laugh and we give each other gifts. As was the tradition, at a certain time, "in our old houses", as La Bottine Souriante would say.