Akouris: It’s eight and counting for McDonough and family
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org March 24, 2013 9:28PM
Lewis baseball coach Tim McDonough The McDonough family Back Row (L-R) – Jacob , Anthony , Rose , Christopher Middle Row (L-R) – Tim McDonough and wife Amy Front Row (L-R) – Teagan , Finnegan and Aili
Updated: April 26, 2013 6:42AM
When you find out that Lewis University baseball coach Tim McDonough has eight kids, you almost have to stop yourself from singing the theme song to the late 1970s hit TV show “Eight is Enough” or thinking of the reality show “Jon and Kate Plus Eight.”
“Those shows don’t depict what it’s like,” McDonough said. “It’s not how it is.”
McDonough should know, because on Jan. 24, the McDonoughs welcomed their eighth child, Jameson, a boy.
Jameson joins Anthony, 15, Jacob, 14, Rose, 13, Christopher, 12, Teagan, 5, Finnegan, 3, and Aili, 2. The four older children are from Amy McDonough’s first marriage, and Tim McDonough has adopted them. The couple has been married for six years.
“Some names are connections to grandparents and saints,” McDonough said. “We started looking at Irish names with Teagan.”
Anthony and Jacob are in boarding school in Georgetown, Ill., while the other school-age children are home-schooled through the Our Lady of Victory program, based in Idaho.
“We’re not like Jon and Kate (Gosselin), because we have no multiples,” McDonough said. “They had six kids at the same time.”
How do they do it?
McDonough admits that it could be viewed as non-traditional to have such a big family. But a couple of generations ago, big families were the norm. This arrangement works for them.
Amy McDonough pretty much handles everything at home, and that’s the way she likes it.
“She likes to say that if she stops, she’ll die,” Tim McDonough said of his wife.
School begins for Rose and Christopher at 9 a.m. Teagan has a half-day-type kindergarten lesson later.
The three children have a routine regimen until about 3 p.m., and take turns watching the two youngest children. Now that there is a newborn in the mix, the older children can chip in if Amy needs to tend to the baby.
“Having a newborn and home-schooling (the others) can be challenging, but you just do what you have to do,” Amy McDonough said. “I just feel so fortunate to be able to be at home with the kids and just be a mom. I really think that is rare, yet important, in this day and age.”
The younger children aren’t involved in sports yet, but the two older kids who are in boarding school dabble in rugby and basketball. Baseball hasn’t come up yet.
Having eight children would seem to open the floodgates for rude or odd comments from strangers. But since the family doesn’t go out that often — maybe a trip to the Brookfield Zoo once a year or a family movie outing — McDonough can’t really recall the weirdest thing anyone has said to him, aside from, “Are you going to have any more?”
“We have no other different concerns than any other family,” he said. “Finn was sick while I was (on a road trip earlier this month) and he had to go to the emergency room. So that was hard on both of us.
“Large families used to be the norm, and it does seem a little bit undoable, but we’re no different from anyone else.”
But McDonough does recall what life was like before the chaos.
“Sometimes I think that 10 years ago, I was just a single guy living alone.”
McDonough is in his sixth year as head coach after having been an assistant at Northern Illinois for five years. McDonough played college baseball at North Central College in Naperville and went to high school at St. Laurence. He’s a Bridgeview native.
The Flyers have been held hostage by the weather — to a point, though. Lewis was able to play 10 games and spent a week in Florida and a weekend in St. Louis. The Flyers are 10-3 and have won four in a row after sweeping Illinois Springfield over the weekend.
“We are relying more on experience with our seven seniors and we have a heavy junior class,” McDonough said.
The Flyers are hoping to improve upon last year’s 33-22 record and NCAA regional appearance.
For now, though, the McDonoughs are holding tight with their brood of eight. But McDonough isn’t worried if another little one — or two — comes along the way.
“I don’t think I have the twin gene, but my wife does,” McDonough said. “We’d love (multiples). Buy one, get one free — that’s how we live our life.”