Friday, 12 February 2016
Angellica Bell: My Precious Moments
The TV presenter talks about her children, and the bittersweet pleasure of watching them grow up
Did you always want to be a mum?
I did think one day I’d have children of my own, but it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind until I met my husband Michael – which goes to show it’s about meeting the right person.
Who’s your biggest parenting influence?
I’ve taken things from many different people. My gran played a big part in my life when I was growing up, but I’ve also been influenced by friends and other family members.
Describe birth in one word...
Was the experience different with each of your kids?
Both of them were quick – it was right, here we go. Both were natural, too, and great experiences, and I was lucky that Michael was there with me. We had music – I’d made a playlist – and I just wanted to enjoy the moment. I wanted to be in control so my children came out into a good environment.
The first time, with my son, there was a bit more fear. But it was Christmas time and fairly quiet so I stayed in hospital for a few days – they helped me with breastfeeding. With my daughter, she was a little bit turned, but everything was fine; I didn’t even have gas and air. I was cared for by an amazing midwife – I felt like she loved me and my baby. Michael was amazing; he was calm and strong. He knew what I was capable of and I didn’t get annoyed with him once; he just made me laugh. At one point he even got me and the midwife dancing!
What’s the best thing about being a mum?
The unconditional love. When they look at you for help and support, your heart melts.
And the best advice you’ve been given?
Always go with your instincts. If you’ve given birth to them, you’ll know what’s best. Never let anyone make you feel guilty about how you want to parent your children.
What’s your parenting style?
I think structure is important. We have a routine, so they know when everything is going to happen. If I’m not here, Michael knows exactly what’s going on, and vice versa.
How do you juggle work and motherhood?
We manage our schedule – we don’t have a nanny. One of us is always with the children. We’ve made sacrifices, but we want to be with them. We’ve sometimes had to turn a job down because it doesn’t work for the family, but so be it. We haven’t missed a thing. We might have to reassess this arrangement in a couple of years, but right now it works for us.
What does Michael do better than you?
He’s better at changing light bulbs – but then I don’t mind doing the bins. He’s hands-on with bath and story time and we’ve both always got up in the night: we’re a tag team. He’s so good – he doesn’t think anything is a man’s or woman’s job – he thinks we should muck in together.
Who’s your fantasy babysitter?
Supernanny, because I know she’s probably been CRB checked... or Mrs Doubtfire!
Have your children ever seen you on TV? What was their reaction?
Maybe once, but they didn’t really clock it. They don’t know anything about it.
What has having children taught you?
To be super-organised.
Have they ever surprised you?
Every day. It’s the little things they do.
Or made you panic?
Yes, because they’re growing up so quickly. I hope I live long enough to see them grow up – having children makes you think about your own mortality.
If they were fictional characters, who would they be?
My son would be Superman; my daughter Supergirl. They’d have to have the same powers or it would cause friction. They’re so close in age that they copy each other, and I can’t imagine them being without each other – I love the friendship they have.
What’s your favourite kids’ outfit?
Jeans, T-shirts, jumpers. I’m not into fancy clothes. And Michael doesn’t want our daughter dressed liked a doll. We don’t buy any designer stuff, just practical things that they can run about in and grow out of.
What makes your children laugh?
We chase them around the house, dancing with them, or I’ll pretend to be a monster. And I love it when they giggle at the TV by themselves. They laugh a lot.
What have you had to give up?
Free time! I don’t go to the gym so often. Spontaneity had to go. Luckily the kids sleep well, but I’ll even plan in my diary when I’m going to have an early night, just to make sure it happens. One night I might go to bed at 8pm, then another I’ll go out. If I go out twice in a week, I’ll plan an early night! It’s hard when you’re tired – you’ve got to be on top of it.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I’ll go for a run, or I might go to the gym between 6 and 7am, before they wake up, then I can get home, get them up and give them breakfast. It sets you up for the day, and I don’t want to miss seeing them wake up.
If you could invent something for new mums, what would it be?
A robot to make a bottle in the night. I’d still feed them, but it could make the bottle up.
What’s your top parenting tip?
Don’t ever think you’re not capable or that you can’t cope. Don’t let a minute of doubt get in there.
Angellica Bell is supporting The Good Stuff campaign at munchbunch.co.uk. She was talking to Ali Horsfall.