This week we are talking with the stars of TLC’s Table for 12, Eric and Betty Hayes. Eric and Betty are the proud parents of 13 year old twin boys, Kevin and Kyle, 11 year old twins, Kieran and Meghan and finally, 5 year old sextuplets, Tara, Rachel, Ryan, Connor, EJ and Rebecca who has cerebral palsy. Betty is a stay at home mom while Eric is a police officer. Their show is down to Earth and really just a slice of life. Eric and Betty are sweet as can be and it was a joy to interview them!
Below is a quick clip from the last season that let’s you know more about the family.
What are some of the challenges you face with having such a large family?
Betty: I would say challenges are all the activities now that they are getting older and more involved in extracurricular activities, things with school, homework. All those things where you have more than one person participating. I think those are the big challenges for us.
Amanda: I can’t imagine trying to get everyone to baseball and soccer and things like that!
Betty: That, homework, they are in school plays. This one is interested in drama, this one is interested in wrestling, this one is into sports.
Eric: Instrument lessons.
Betty: Yeah, they’re all into music. So it gets to be like you’re juggling a bunch of balls in the air at one time.
Do you get a lot of opportunities to have just one on one time with each of your kids?
Betty: Yeah we definitely try to have different experiences with each child. Kieran is into sports, Eric likes to take him to sporting events. Meghan actually likes to go out with me for a walk. We definitely try to spread ourselves around to each person. The little kids are still fairly little, they like to go in groups. A car ride for them is entertainment.
Eric: Even with the older kids if you go to the store and they can go with you alone that’s some time they can just sit down and talk to you. They actually get a little upset if somebody else, not upset but “I thought I was going to the store with you by myself” because they just want to go and hang out with you and get some conversation, some one on one talk.
What are some of your favorite activities to do as a whole family?
Betty: It’s hard, something like that, obviously you have to take into consideration that everything costs money. A lot of times we like to do things, like we’ll a game together, watch movies together, we go out in the back and ride bicycles together. We try to keep it where it doesn’t cost us a lot of money.
Eric: We have a pretty good gap between ages, I mean, 13, 11 and 5. So to get everyone to go out and do something, not everyone is going to be interested or entertained. So we do things around the house, we find a good movie. The little kids will sit on the big kids laps while they’re watching it. The big kids are excited because they can help them out with the movie. You know something like that works out nice. Even like you said, the bikes in the backyard, they ride the scooters, they’ll race each other. The big kids will make up a game for the little kids to do. They interact well together when they do stuff like that.
What made you decide to do Table for 12?
Betty: Well I was the hesitant one, I held out for 4 years. It wasn’t a big thrill for me, but Eric kind of made a point that if we could help Rebecca in any way, if we could even help other moms, because sometimes I feel helpless like, ‘what do I do with her?’ with different things. And I thought if I could open up that window and let suggestions come in, as well as suggestions go out, that maybe it would make things easier.
Eric: I think early on there was interest before this, but we weren’t comfortable with Rebecca’s situation. Now we’re to a point where we’re comfortable, we know what’s going on, and things are a little bit easier for us with her.
Betty: Because as soon as we had the children we were really bombarded with all sorts of offers to do many many things. We pretty much turned everything down until just lately.
How do the other kids interact with Rebecca? Do they understand what is going on?
Betty: Well they have lots of questions. You know as far as the little kids go, they’re always asking ‘why doesn’t she talk?’ ‘why doesn’t she walk?’ ‘how come she’s still in diapers?’. They have questions like that. Innocent questions.
Eric: Like they get it, but they don’t get it.
Betty: They think she’s their younger sister, she’s the baby and I have to explain all the time ‘no she’s born at the same time you were’. You know that kind of thing, so they have lots and lots of questions. And you know it’s funny they do come in in the morning when I wake her up and they walk in and kiss her, and rub her hands, so they do have interaction with her. They don’t ignore her like she’s a piece of furniture. We care about her and love her. But they know she is not exactly the same as they are.
Eric: Even when she’s in the chair sitting down or whatever, they’ll walk over and hold her hand for a few minutes, rub her leg and say ‘I love you’ or something like that. A ten second, fifteen second little deal and then they’ll walk away, but they always acknowledge her which is cool.
Betty: Especially for me, if I’m doing dishes or cooking and I hear that exchange between, well not exchange because she’s not responding back, she laughs or smiles, you know when I just hear what they say to her it just brings a nice feeling to me.
What can expect this season?
Betty: Well, we really….
Betty: Here I am thinking we really kept it simple!
Eric: You know we don’t know what you’re going to expect, we don’t get to see it.
Betty: I can tell you the activities we did, they followed us around, it was in the summer time. So anything we did as far as swimming, we have a backyard pool, so they followed us in the pool. I took the little kids to swim lessons at the local YMCA, so they followed us doing that a little bit. A couple of the others kids did some stuff during the summer, they followed us to the different activities. I had a Tupperware party, they filmed that much to my friends dismay. My friends were like ‘no not the cameras!’. So different little things around the house.
Eric: A day in the life, different activities really.
The new season starts Tuesday, November 10th at 9/8c. A big thank you to Discovery Networks and the Hayes family for letting us feature you on Multiples and More!