Yasmin and Ray Tusa with their family ahead of Ray’s graduation from USQ on Friday.
Yasmin Tusa is a master of managing competing priorities. She has to be because, together with husband Ray, she is raising 10 children.
Weekday mornings are particularly hectic but then again so too are afternoons, evenings and weekends.
“Life is pretty full on, obviously having 10 kids means there is always a lot happening,” she said.
“Our youngest is 17 months and our oldest turned 17 in February and is in year 12.”
Mrs Tusa said planning was the key to keeping family life on track.
As well as school for eight of the children, there are rugby league games, dance classes, swimming and singing classes and church to attend.
“We have to be very organised to make sure everyone is where they need to be,” she said.
“Every Sunday we plan what we are doing for the following week, what school assignments are due, appointments and things.
“We put it all in a calendar, everything goes into it and Ray and I both have access to it on our phones so we can make sure we know where we need to be and when.”
The logistics of moving a family of 10 mean the Tusa’s prefered mode of transport is a 12 seat commuter bus, supported by a smaller runabout car. When it comes to shopping, two trolleys are a must and sticking to a budget is essential.
“The budget is pretty tight and we make the most of specials, plan how we are going to eat for the week and of course I do most of the cooking because buying takeaway for 10 children is too expensive,” she said.
As well as holding down the fort at home, Mrs Tusa is studying a Bachelor of Human Services (Counselling) at USQ Ipswich.
“For a long time I’ve loved to help people and talk to women and children in particular about different issues they are facing,” she said.
“I think people have their own answers to things inside of them and it’s about discovering what will help them.”
Studying has been a major focus for the family in recent years, with Mr Tusa graduating on Friday with a Bachelor of Laws from USQ after five years of studying. Mrs Tusa said she and her husband wanted to send a message to their children that anything was possible.
“We want our children to believe they can do anything and to not hold back,” she said.
“We want them to know if you make sacrifices and do the hard work the payoffs will come.”
So what will Mrs Tusa be doing on Sunday – Mother’s Day?
“It’s really good, the kids all make me breakfast in bed. It’s the one day I don’t have to do anything, it’s like a day off,” she said.
“It’s a big family day. We will celebrate at home in the morning and then visit Ray’s family and my family later in the day.”
When former labourer Ray Tusa accepted his graduation certificate on Friday, it was the culmination of years of hard work.
Mr Tusa completed his degree while juggling work, family life – including raising 10 children with wife Yasmin – and church commitments.
“When I was in primary school I wanted to be a lawyer, but once I started playing footy I lost focus of what I wanted to be and went down a bad path of drinking and partying,” he said.
“My plan A was football and I didn’t have a Plan B, so when football failed me all I had to fall back on was my strength. All I did was labouring work, but five years ago I realised I can’t do this hard work for the rest of my life and that’s when I decided to enrol in a law degree.”