German mom of 11 children fights virus with self-discipline, love

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Heimann, who lives along with her husband Andre and their youngsters within the small village of Eisemroth in central Germany, retains a strict every day schedule to get all the pieces accomplished that must be accomplished when you could have 11 children. That features a whole lot of self-discipline: getting up at daybreak, cleansing the house, doing the laundry, cooking and, as well as — since colleges have been closed for many college students in Germany because the finish of final 12 months — serving to her youngsters with distant studying.

Regardless of her perseverance the state of affairs “has become very exhausting lately,” the 41-year-old instructed The Related Press in an interview Thursday.

“The biggest challenge is to keep on going,” she added.

Like tens of millions of households in Germany and throughout the globe, the Heimanns are fighting the continuing every day burdens of the pandemic. However the place most households, at the least in Germany, must handle one, two, three or hardly ever 4 youngsters, the Heimanns have a whole soccer workforce of children in the home.

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The oldest, Milena, 22, has already moved out, however lives close by and comes over for visits a number of instances every week. Along with the seven school-age youngsters, the Heimanns even have three little ones — the youngest solely 18 months — who’re nonetheless in kindergarten, which has additionally been closed among the time because of the virus.

“It’s extremely noisy right here and cramped,” Katja Heimann said with a sigh, but also a smile. When the four high school students are participating in video conferences with their teachers, she helps her three elementary school students solve their exercises on the long wooden kitchen table.

“In the beginning of homeschooling we had only one laptop for our entire family — that didn’t work out at all,” she said. Friends and neighbors quickly helped out, lending their spare devices to the family.

Husband Andre, 52, a locksmith, says he is in awe of how his wife manages to keep their family together during the pandemic.

“She takes care of the household, the homework, the cooking, the cleaning, the paperwork, everything,” he says. “She’s superb.”

After all, the Heimanns have good and unhealthy days.

Generally the youngsters argue with one another, they get bored and do not wish to do distant studying anymore however do wish to hang around with their mates once more — which isn’t allowed because of the distancing laws.

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“Of course, we have stress and we argue too,” says Andre. “But in general the situation made us get closer together.”

Across the country, families are bearing the brunt of the pandemic and parents as well as children are exhausted by the ongoing school closures. While in some German states some schools have reopened carefully and for half-size attendance only, other states are still keeping many children in remote-learning-only mode.

In the beginning of the pandemic, Germany seemed to have the virus relatively well under control, but things got worse last fall, when the start of the second wave quickly filled hospitals and brought up death numbers. Since November, the country’s 83 million people have been living under various lockdown measures. Restaurants, bars and many leisure facilities remain closed.

However, despite the restrictions, infection numbers in Germany have been rising again in recent weeks as the more contagious virus variant first detected in Britain has become dominant in the country.

Germany has registered more than 75,000 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic a year ago. On Thursday, the country’s disease control center reported 22,657 new confirmed daily cases, up from 17,504 a week ago.

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Contracting the infection is a constant fear for the Heimanns as their 3-year-old son Oskar suffers from a rare genetic disease, has an intellectual disability and is therefore especially vulnerable.

“We have two risk patients in our family — Oskar with his genetic defect and my husband,” says Katja Heimann. “So we are living in constant fear that somebody will bring home the infection.”

Regardless of their worries, among the youngsters began going again to highschool part-time not too long ago they usually’re hoping for full-time courses once more quickly.

“The best thing will be when we can all go back to school every day and meet and play in groups again,” says 10-year-old Martha.

“And play soccer again which is currently canceled — which is really a stupid thing,” provides 12-year-old brother Willi.

The remainder of the Heimann household can also’t await the pandemic to be over.

“The most important thing will be when the kids can finally be kids again and enjoy their hobbies,” says father Andre. “That they are no longer bored and can go wherever they want and do what they like to do again.”


Grieshaber reported from Berlin.