Family life

Ann Kaplan Mulholland: “I gave birth on a Friday and went back to work on Monday”

The Real Housewives of Toronto star and mother of eight made hard sacrifices to become a self-made millionaire. When her sister passed away, she gave Kaplan Mulholland the “greatest gift”: custody of her niece and nephew.

When my sister passed away three years ago, she left me a really nice dress and two of her children [Destiny, 20, and Rock, 18]. I got the greatest gift that anybody could ever give somebody.

My sister was a free spirit, but I’m running Fort Knox. I’m a disciplinarian on everything. The children have to sit at the table, with napkins on their laps. They have to clear the table and make their own beds perfectly. Their shoes have to be put away at the door. We have a big household, and I run it like I run a business.

I’ve had to balance running my business with raising eight children. I gave birth on a Friday and went back to work on Monday. I took the babies to work, but I was home at night to cook dinner. It doesn’t matter how much you’re making. Raising children and running a business or working is challenging for any woman who is trying to get ahead.

In June, Rock was hospitalized after a failed viral video stunt.

Rock jumped off the roof of our three-and-a-half-storey house. It was a Snapchat moment that went wrong. He was holding the video up, saying “Look! Here is me live, jumping!” He was just trying to have fun with it, but he hit pretty hard on one foot, which crushed the bones in his ankle.

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I made him get off all social media. I went to a counsellor with him and said, “Your life can’t live around social media.” I actually put him in a private military school in September. All of his devices have been taken away completely. I’ve looked for ways that I can get him help in all of this.

When my sister passed away, I was at the end of her hospital bed and said, “I’m going to miss you.” She said, “Oh, you’ll have my children!” All she wanted was to know that her children would be OK.

It’s hard to believe that she isn’t here anymore, but there’s something beautiful about having her children. Destiny looks like her mom. She can talk about her mother and love the memory of her mom and not feel like I would be threatened by it.

When my nanny told me that my young children had started calling her “Mom,” I said to her, “Thank you for loving my children so much that they want to call you ‘Mom.’” Who cares? You can’t compete for children’s love.

You don’t own children. They need to know they’re loved by a mother, but they’re not your possessions.

Kaplan Mulholland is CEO of iFinance, a national finance company that specializes in cosmetic surgery loans. In October, she was named Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year. She has eight children: Luke, 28; Gabie, 26; Barrett, 26; Keaton, 25; Destiny, 20; Rock, 18; Talise (a.k.a. Molly), 15; and Chase, 14.

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