Friday, 13 November 2015
Nemone Metaxas: My Precious Moments
The BBC radio presenter and club DJ on life with her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son
Did you always want to be a mum?
When I was about eight, I constantly told my mum that I wasn't ever going to have kids. It frightens me now to think what I would have missed out on. In my twenties I concentrated on my career and wasn't even thinking about children. Then I met a fantastic man and threw myself off the precipice. Looking back, if I'd started earlier, I would have had more, but I know I wasn't ready.
Describe birth in one word.
Incredible – and I didn't have an easy time of it. It's life-changing on so many levels.
What was your experience?
My daughter was breech – bottom down, legs up, stuck in my pelvis. Wouldn't move. I tried to find a midwife who'd deliver her naturally, then at about 36 weeks my partner James sat me down and said, 'Physically, think about what you're trying to do.' Then I realised that it wasn't such a good idea, so C-section it was, and it was brilliant.
With the second one I knew I was going to try to have my son naturally, and it was horrific: the hardest thing I've ever done. Fortunately we came out unscathed, but it was a long labour. Because I was a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) I had to give birth in hospital and couldn't go near the pool because it hadn't been arranged.
Biggest parenting influence?
Definitely my mum. You don't think about their parenting style until you're a parent, but I now see my mum and dad as nurturing, open – but firm – clever and unconditional.
Favourite thing about being a mum?
That it's more than just about you, and you're totally caring for these amazing little people.
What's the best advice you've been given?
My cousin said, 'Good enough is good enough,' because she knows how much of a perfectionist I am, and said I had to accept that good enough is Ok. And just before I had my daughter, my mum told me, 'Trust your instincts – you will always intuitively know what's best for you and the baby.' I've found that to be true.
How do you juggle such a busy life?
It's all down to good childcare. I couldn't be working as much as I am without James, my parents and Magali, my incredible nanny, who I'm really good friends with now. We've managed to make it work flexibly though. I wouldn't be working if it wasn't for that. And I am seriously organised. Also, there are nine of us in my NCT group and we're all still best friends, so there's that network too.
Magali – she's Mary Poppins, she's unbelievable! Her kids are pretty much the same age as mine, so we've been through the process together. Also she's French so she speaks French to them, too.
What's your perfect family day?
I love it when we just get a chance to chill. Unfortunately, this term we've arranged swimming lessons at 9am on a Saturday morning, and it's horrendous! Bowling out of the house at ridiculous o'clock... I do love it when we get a chance to all just pile into the bed and have a snuggle to start the day. I like all of us going swimming, doing something active, then having lunch together. We're into cycling at the moment, so going to the park on the bikes in the afternoon is perfect.
What attribute would you like to pass on?
There are plenty that I wouldn't! Just being quite driven, I think. That came from my parents – believing that anything is possible.
What has having children taught you?
Not to panic, and to be flexible. It's taught me a flexibility that I probably didn't have before. You have to be willing to go with the flow.
What's your parenting style?
I'm quite firm – I surprise myself sometimes because I think I'm very laid-back: James and I both are. But I innately seem to know when I need to turn on 'Firm Mummy' – I don't know where it comes from, it must be my upbringing. I realise I need to lay down the law because if I don't, no one else will.
Have you had to give anything up?
All sorts of things, but the one that sticks in my mind – and it absolutely doesn't matter because I did so much of it in my twenties and thirties – is running. What a lot of people would have said about me before I had kids was, 'She's a runner and she's a DJ.' But I haven't been running since I got pregnant with my daughter. I know in my heart that I'll come back to it one day. For someone who had sport so ingrained in their life, I didn't feel like I had to do anything after having the kids. It felt natural to be eating cake and breastfeeding, and I really enjoyed it! I loved that stage when you go around to people's houses and the biscuits come out.
Any guilty pleasures?
I do like to go out for a bit of a dance every now and then. I went to a club the other night – it was great just to be there.
What's your top parenting tip?
Listen to yourself. And don't worry, because everything is a phase. I know everyone says that, but it's true. You'll be alright.
Did you do anything differently the second time around?
It felt like life was slower with my first baby. The second, bless him, has kind of fitted in to his big sister's timetable, but I think that's inevitable with the second child. My daughter didn't eat chocolate or watch TV till she was about two-and-a-half, but my son started doing that a lot earlier.
If you could invent one thing for new mums, what would it be?
A stop button to press, just for five minutes.
Nemone's Electric Ladyland is on BBC Radio 6 Music every Saturday night at midnight. She was chatting to Lizzie Catt.