Sunday, 22 June 2014
Kirsty Gallacher: My precious moments
Sports TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher tells us why having children is the most wonderful experience, but sometimes can be the most embarrassing too
Did you always plan to be a mum?
I always wanted kids, but we [her husband is London Welsh rugby union player Paul Sampson] didn't plan the first one! That said, I think often it happens at the right time – we'd been together five years and I was 29, which I think is a great age, and I was lucky – so it happened rather brilliantly!
How were your pregnancies?
Wonderful, but very difficult. I had morning sickness between seven and eight months. Pregnancy just doesn't agree with me – I think it's a family thing as my mum and both grandmothers were the same. If I was going to have another one I know I'd be thinking, 'How can I work, knowing I'll get so sick?' And it was worse with the second, so I think with a third or fourth it would be even worse!
What was giving birth like?
It was like unwrapping the most amazing present in the world. It was just an incredible experience, I loved it. My births weren't easy, and a lot of my friends have had horrendous things happen, but you'll never go through anything else like it.
How did you prepare yourself?
I looked at it a bit like exercise, as if the whole day was a marathon. I took bottles of diluted apple juice with me, and was just like – right, get your head round it, and get it done. I'm like that – very pragmatic.
What's the best advice you've been given?
After I'd had my first baby, Oscar, someone told me that I had to just get through the first 12 weeks, and then things would become much easier. I remember thinking, 'Yeah right,' but it's so true. For the first three months it's chaos. The sleep deprivation means you don't know what you're doing and the baby is all over the place. But it's so much easier after 12 weeks. It happened with both babies, like a light switch going on.
How have kids changed your life?
I don't know what I used to do with my days – now I have no time for myself! But I'm a much better person for having children. You become completely unselfish and your life is hugely enhanced by them – it really does make you realise what's important. But life is a juggling act and it's very difficult at times, so I often feel guilty. Because I work in a very sporty world, people maybe don't realise that I'm a girls' girl and very maternal. So having kids is very hard, but it's wonderful.
How do you make time for the family?
Breakfast is the only time I get to sit and eat with them on weekdays – I miss evening meals because I'm at work – so it's become the most important meal for us. I get everyone to sit down and we just have a lovely time together. We make smoothies with low-fat yoghurt and loads of fruit, and have cereal and porridge. We try to eat healthily, and I vary it for them, so they don't get bored. So weekday breakfasts are fun – chaotic but nice.
Any embarrassing moments?
Oh, there are loads! Just last week, the kids were having swimming lessons and I was with Jude in a packed changing room when he let out an almighty belch. He's three and a half, but it was like a huge baby milk burp – I'm not kidding. I thought, 'Oh my god, everyone will think I'm so rude, and that I don't control him,' but they were just dying, in fits of laughter, and he was saying, 'Oh, pardon me!' It was very sweet but very embarrassing too.
Any panics when you've thought, this is all a bit beyond my control?
Yeah, definitely. One time, when Oscar was newborn, he threw up all over me while I was queuing in a shop. I'd fed and winded him, but obviously not enough. I was putting him over my shoulder and it went all over me; he was like that David Walliams character from Little Britain. Luckily it didn't go over anyone else, but I was absolutely covered. It was seriously horrific. Lesson: never get the baby out of the pushchair when you're in a queue...
I often look at them and think how proud of them I am. I was quite beside myself at sports day this year – I missed last year because of work, so I was determined not to miss this one – because Oscar won all his races! I don't mean to sound so competitive, although obviously a bit of me is, but I just thought, 'Oh wow, that's my son, winning his races...' and then I started thinking, 'How did this happen, how did I produce these two?!' You have a lot of moments where you think, 'It's bloody hard work, but it's wonderful.'
Any gadget or baby product you can't be without?
I really can't live without baby wipes – it's that boring and simple but true. If I don't have any wipes around, I start getting a bit panicky! They are brilliant for a multitude of sins concerning children. I've got them in the car, in my handbag and in the changing bag because I like my children to look really tidy – who would want to touch a mucky kid? Sticky, dirty, horrible – I want clean children! I'm constantly wiping their mouths, telling them to give me their hands... everyone knows me for my baby wipes!
And do you have a fantasy baby product?
Yes, I do. It would be a special, padded room for sporty, wild children! Now, I know that might sound a bit dodgy, but honestly, I've got two proper boys: they fight, they're energetic, they're messy... So I'm just thinking of somewhere that they can go and exhaust themselves. A place where they won't come to any harm, but where I don't have to tidy up after them, and I don't have to play with them for a while and I don't have to worry about them either.
Do you ever wish you'd had a girl?
I hear – I hope – that boys become easier as they get older, because they're easy-going. But I think they're harder work. I've also heard that girls might sit quietly and do some colouring in, whereas if I told Jude to go off and read a book, he'd say, 'Shove it, Mother' – in the nicest possible way, of course!
Would you like to have any more?
I think I'd love another, but probably not for the next few years. I'd be an older mum next time – in two years I'll be 40! If I do, great, but if I don't, then that's fine too.
Kirsty was chatting to Hannah Thompson at Nestlé's Breakfast IQ launch