Monday, 06 April 2015
Julia Bradbury: My precious moments
The Wonder of Britain presenter Julia Bradbury chats about the fun she has with three-year-old son Zephyr, and how delighted she is to be expecting twins
Did you always want to be a mum?
I certainly wasn't someone who dismissed the idea of having children, but I was diagnosed with endometriosis in my thirties so motherhood came later for me as an amazing surprise. We so longed for Zephyr to have a brother or sister and our miracle twins were conceived after five rounds of IVF. We went through a lot but it's worth it, we're so excited.
Who's your biggest parenting influence?
My mum. She's Greek and is very warm, protective and motherly so our parent/child bond has always been very strong. My sister is a great mum too. She started much earlier than me so I got to watch how she did it all. My nephew's 16 now and I've always been a big part of his life as he's grown up.
Describe birth in one word!
Best thing about being a mum?
It's fascinating. Babies change so rapidly – almost on a daily basis – and at this stage I love that Zephyr is talking and we're having proper conversations. At three, you can almost see their little brains overloading with everything they want to talk about.
The best advice you've been given?
To get into a routine. And that doesn't mean staying at home because of a rigid routine. It means keeping their timings the same wherever you are. Children thrive on it but it's also important for the whole household. You can structure your day accordingly to catch up on rest, housework or work. A routine gives you something to anchor yourself to.
What makes Zephyr laugh?
He's the skinniest little thing but he has this cute double chin so we tickle that and he roars with laughter. He's very ticklish.
Most embarrassing mum moment?
The conversation bloopers – when he comes out with something inappropriate in public. He makes loud (yet often true!) observations about people and I have to 'shhh' him or turn away cringing and pretend I haven't heard.
And your biggest panic?
We've had a couple of hospital visits with him and it's always frightening – you feel so helpless. When they're poorly and can't tell you how they feel, there's a lot of worry about what potentially could be wrong with them.
What are his favourite things?
He loves his toy bunnies and has a whole family of them. In fact he won't go to sleep without his bunny family. He's also obsessed with aeroplanes and can spot the tiniest plane miles away. He says, 'Hmm, it must be going to America, Mummy.'
His best outfit?
He's always in trainers and is a big fan of leggings rather than baggy trousers. When we're shopping he shouts 'trendy' if an outfit meets his approval.
Perfect family day?
Being outdoors, of course! Zeph loves trees and the way leaves rustle in the wind and he'll often chirp up with something profound like, 'Just look at the beautiful orange sunset.'
What have you had to give up?
I've had an amazing career, travelling the world and seeing incredible things, so I'm happy to have moved into a different stage in my life. If you'd said to me ten years ago that I would be spending a Saturday evening at home, pregnant and pottering around with my toddler and then snuggling on the sofa, I'd have thought that sounded terribly boring. Now I relish it and never want to go out! Saying that, I did have to give up my little sports car – they just don't work with babies.
What would you like to pass on to your children?
A great sense of humour and a love of music. I'm forever playing tunes and we'll dance around the house. Zephyr loves to get on down – he has his own dance leggings.
How do you juggle your career?
I'd find it emotionally impossible to be away filming for long spells so those jobs are on the back burner and I've set rules so I work around Zephyr. My career fulfils me but it's a juggling act, as every working mum knows. I'm quite good at compartmentalising so I put my work hat on and will be 100 per cent committed when I'm on the job. The missing feelings come on the way home and then I look forward to the cuddles and bathtime.
Has Zephyr ever seen you on TV?
Yes, he thinks the big box on the wall is my office. He'll spot me in the newspaper too but sometimes gets me mixed up with "Princess Kate", which is funny. He'll say, 'Oooh, there you are.' I quickly point out that it's not me.
What's your parenting style?
Love is top of the list. We're a very loving household so every day he's told he's loved.
I think love, comfort and security makes for happy little people.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate, a yoga class and when I can drink alcohol again, it will probably be a cocktail with my girlfriends. I'll need to pace myself though – the younger me could've drunk anyone under the table but these days I have no tolerance. I'm a lightweight.
What would you invent for new mums?
A 'getting dressed pod' that's positioned by the front door. You'd put the child into the pod, pop the clothes in the top and press the button. By the time you'd got your bag, keys and collected your thoughts your child would be dressed and ready to go. No fuss.
What's your top parenting tip?
Don't be overly protective, let your baby be held and cuddled by friends and family so they're not just clingy to you. Its good for them to get used to a wider circle of people.
Julia was chatting to Ali Horsfall; The Wonder of Britain starts on ITV in January.