Becoming a parent is both terrifying and exciting. However, the excitement can quickly turn into a financial challenge, especially if you’re a mother of 12 kids trying to manage in today’s economy.

Photo Credit: Veronica Merritt | NY Post


Veronica Merritt, a 39-year-old mother of 12, recently shared her struggles online. She faces many challenges, including limited financial help from her former partners and an irregular income. She does receive $1400 a month in government assistance, but it’s not enough. “I’m trying to take care of my kids as best I can. This month I didn’t have any money, so I had to spend $1,400 in food stamps,” she said. “It’s impossible to feed 11 people on $1,400 — the prices of everything right now are tight. I used to feed my family of 12 for $500 a month but now you need $2,000 to $3,000 a month to feed this many people ramen.”

Veronica’s annual food bill is about $24,000. To manage, she shares easy and affordable meal ideas on TikTok, where she has almost 450,000 followers. Despite her popularity, she only makes a few hundred dollars a month from TikTok, depending on viewer engagement. She also earns about $15,000 a year from her work as a freelance artist, and one of her former partners pays for the family’s utilities.

Veronica had her first child, Victoria, at 14 years old. Now 24, Victoria has a child of her own and lives with Veronica. Her other children are Andrew (19), Adam (17), Mara (16), Dash (14), Darla (13), Marvelous (11), Martalya (9), Amelia (7), Delilah (5), Donovan (4), and Modi (2). Despite the challenges, Veronica does her best for her kids, but rising grocery costs make it hard.

Veronica also spends about $7,000 on Christmas and $10,000 on birthdays each year. She saves money by planning ahead and shopping for deals. “I start my Christmas shopping years in advance, so one of my kid’s presents is something that I bought four years ago,” she said. “I find things from the Halloween store, on clearance, or at thrift stores.”

Despite her efforts, Veronica faces criticism online, with many people blaming her for her struggles. Comments like “Get a job” and “How did this happen?” are common. However, some people offer support and encouragement. One person commented, “Mad respect to you mama!! And much love.” Another said, “You’re the definition of a supermommy.”

A few people defended her, saying she did her best with little guidance and asking others to be kind. One person wrote, “She’s a great mama. Be nice to her. Please?” Another added, “Hats off to you for standing by your kids … you never gave up on them.”

Veronica’s struggles are part of a larger issue. In many U.S. cities, homelessness is rising, and more people need government assistance. According to a HUD report, 2023 saw the highest homeless population since the 2008 recession, and food costs increased by over 11% between 2022 and 2023. About 42.2 million people receive SNAP benefits, which replaced food stamps in 2008. However, in 2023, the average family’s benefits decreased by around $80 per month.

While Veronica’s life choices, like her career and having many children, contribute to her challenges, she’s not alone in feeling the financial pressures of today’s economy.

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