I'm a mum-of-13 & nan-of-24 – Mother's Day is bonkers, I’ve received 4k cards and 112k choccies | The Sun

FOUR thousand Mother’s Day cards, 1,200 boxes of chocolates, 1,112 bouquets of flowers and more than 300 presents emblazoned with the word ‘Mum’. 

While this may read like an order inventory for Clintons, it’s actually the huge haul gifted to Tracy Lewis over the past 40 years by her 13 devoted children. 

The 58-year-old admin worker from Poole, Dorset, and her husband Pete, 63, a coach builder, are the proud parents to: Carly who is 40 in July, Tracy Junior, 38, Samantha, 37, Charles, 36, Lyndsay, 35,  Danielle, 33, Chantelle, 32, Charlotte, 30, Georgia 29, Candice, 27, Shannon 24, Shaznay, 22, and 19-year-old Portia.

Thrifty Tracy and Pete are conscious about celebrating March 19th on a budget – and firmly believe you don’t need to spend a fortune to show your love.

They said: “From handmade cards covered in finger paint splodges to dried pasta necklaces and cheap bunches of daffodils, we are proof that you can mark Mother’s Day with little or no cash.”

A week before Mother's Day, DIY-fan Pete holds a card making morning with the kids. He reckons it saves him £50 a year. “I have a huge craft box filled with used cardboard, tissue paper, glue, glitter and colouring materials. I give it to the kids and let them get crafty.”

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Tracy, who is also a gran of 24, said: “I have kept nearly every Mother’s Day card my kids have given me. Mother’s Day is bonkers in our house and these cards remind me of every one we have celebrated together.”  

She added: “I plan to give the cards back to the kids one day so they can see what they made me over the years. They can show their own children and grandchildren. It’s a free and personal Mother's Day archive for our family for generations. I can’t bear to part with them; they are just too precious.”

On Mothering Sunday, Pete gets the kids up at 5.45am to make sure the day runs smoothly. “I oversee the children making breakfast for Tracy. She isn't allowed to lift a finger. It’s her only day off a year and she gets to be Queen for the day,” he said.

The kids are then all assigned a chore, including sweeping, dusting, washing up, loading the dryer and helping cook the breakfast, by Pete they must complete that day. Tracy is usually up every morning at 6am, but gets to enjoy a lie-in until 7.30am when the celebrations begin. 

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“The kids bring me breakfast in bed, a full English fry up, toast and tea. It's a luxury for me,” she said. 

The kids then all line up to give Tracy their gifts. They are all given a strict budget of 50p or less, the Lewis’ are adamant that this is not a day of excess. 

Pete said: “Every January, the kids and I plant daffodil bulbs in our garden. The children have to look after and water them, and then on Mother’s Day they have free flowers to cut for their mum.”

If there’s not enough garden blooms, Pete drives them to a local field to pick wildflowers and make daisy chains. “We’re the ultimate ‘free flower raiders’,” he joked. 

Tracy gets between 25 to 30 bunches of flowers every Mother’s Day. “We worked out that in the last 40 years, I’ve received 1,120 bouquets. It’s bonkers, that’s enough to fill a two-bed house.” 

Mother’s Day is bonkers in our house

Tracy said she has received 78 dried pasta necklaces and bracelets over the years, and as her brood has gotten older they’ve got even more crafty making bead jewellery, decorating photo frames, making calendars and even sewing tea towels. 

“They cost next to nothing to make and the girls even get competitive about their DIY creations,” she said. 

Tracy’s favourite gift is the ‘Cuppa Tea Card’. Pete explained: “The kids put a teabag inside their homemade card then, over the next 13 days, they all make her a cup of tea. It’s a cheap and thoughtful gift.” 

The kids also gift coupons, meaning Tracy can redeem anything from help with chores to hugs, and personalised photo collages. “On Mother’s Day, all the kids and grandkids look at the photos with me. It’s really nostalgic.” 

My daughter Lyndsay is expecting her second child so things are going to be even crazier

Over the years Tracy has also received 300 cups, glasses, soft toys and pillows with ‘Mum’ written on them. “I have them scattered all over the house,” she said. 

She also gets 30 boxes of chocolates every Mother’s Day, with her favourites being Dairy Milk Tray and Guylian Seashells. “I’ve received more than 1,120 boxes. It’s crazy! Pete used to buy chocolate in bulk to save money. He always planned ahead.

“On a few occasions I’d open the chocolate box and discover the kids had eaten them the night before but still bothered to wrap them. The chocolate fairy thief was always blamed!”

This year, Tracy’s Mother’s Day is set to be even bigger. “My daughter Lyndsay is expecting her second child so things are going to be even crazier.” 

The family will be going to a local pub for a Sunday roast. “Everyone will be contributing to keep costs down,” she said. “My daughters make a cake for me with the grandchildren, it’s a tradition. It saves money, rather than buying it.” 

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Pete admits he’s tried to haggle down the cost of the pub room hire, but, because demand is so high, he’s unable to. 

Tracy admits she’s been judged for her big brood, but ignores the criticism. “Mother's Day is a reminder of how I defied expectations and had a big family, challenged people’s views, raised 13 beautiful children and saved money doing it.”

Tracy’s Mother’s Day Money Ideas

1. Plant bulbs in January so you have home grown flowers to pick for Mother’s Day

2. Pick wildflowers from fields

3. Make Daisy chains

4. Use recycling to make cards

5. Make dried pasta necklaces and bracelets

6. Give a Teabag in a card

7. Cut up old gift cards to make new ones

8. Make photo collages

9. Get kids to make mum chore and hug coupons

10. Make a celebration Mother's Day cake

11. Assign Mothers Day preparation tasks to kids

12. Buy chocolate in bulk for gifting

13. Create a card storage gift box for old cards. Gift them back to adult children as a card history gift.

Tracy’s 13 Bonkers Mothers Day Statistics

1 day off a year

13 children

24 grandchildren

One husband 

Received 78 dried past necklaces and bracelets

4000 cards received from kids over 40 years

4000 separate handmade gifts as kids made gifts at school , home and afterschool clubs.

Gifted more than 300 items with Mum written on them

Received 1120 bouquets  

Total individual flowers received  is 112, 000 blooms over past 40 years

Flowers gifted fill a 2-bedroom home

Received 1200 chocolate boxes on Mother's Day 

Total number of separate chocolates is 112,000

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