Monday, 04 April 2016
Laura Hamilton: My Precious Moments
The TV presenter talks about sibling rivalry, new-parent panics and being a mum to two children under two
Did you always want to be a mum?
Yes. When you meet someone that you do want to have children with and then you have them, you just can’t believe that you’ve made this thing together. My husband Alex and I look at them both and say, ‘Wow, we did that.’
Who’s your biggest parenting influence?
My own mum. I’m very close to my mother-in-law too – she lives less than a mile away. Alex said if you could describe the perfect mum it would be her.
Describe birth in one word!
Was each experience similar?
Neither of them went to plan and both ended up being traumatic in one way and amazing in another. But for me the most important thing is having two healthy, happy children. With Rocco I did a hypnobirthing course and was in labour for five hours in the birthing pool before they told me they’d missed that he was breach. I ended up having a caesarean, which was a bit disappointing.
With Tahlia I elected to have a C-section because I didn’t want any more surprises. They really didn’t want me to but eventually agreed. Then I went into labour a week before I was due to have it and my uterus nearly ruptured. I knew something wasn’t right – I could tell by the contractions and the pain I was feeling, and I was begging for the caesarean I had originally wanted. When I was finally in surgery, they didn’t even need to cut my uterus because it had almost completely ruptured. If I’d pushed any more, it would have been a different story. But I actually recovered quicker the second time around.
What’s the best thing about being a mum?
Every day your children will surprise you by doing something new. Rocco is changing all the time, and seeing a new baby develop is exciting too. The first couple of weeks after Tahlia was born was quite interesting. Rocco starting being a little naughty and we weren’t sure if it was because our attention wasn’t on him so much or if it was just because he was 18 months old. He settled down again when we were more relaxed about having a new baby and giving him more time again. I had wanted two close together so Rocco won’t remember the time of being on his own.
What’s been your most embarrassing mum moments?
Them being sick over you is pretty standard, isn’t it? You always take extra clothes out for them, but never for you. So you change them, but you walk around covered in sick and poo. I’m breastfeeding and if you’d asked me ten years ago if I’d be happy getting my boobs out in public, I would have said no way. Now I’m more than happy to feed her anywhere.
And your biggest panic?
There was one time when Rocco went very floppy with a high temperature and we ended up calling an ambulance. He had a viral infection and quickly recovered, but we really panicked. With Tahlia I’ve often sent Alex to check the cot if she’s quiet. But that’s normal new-parent behaviour, I think.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
There’s so much great advice out there, from books, magazines, random strangers –everyone has an opinion on parenting. But you have to find out what works for you.
What does Alex do better than you?
Dads struggle to be involved as much and feel pretty useless in the early days. But I love watching Alex now with Rocco – they enjoy being out in the garden together kicking a ball, and when I’m tired he’s good at taking Rocco out on his trike. I loved it when he had paternity leave and did wonder, when he went back, how I’d cope, but you adjust.
What’s the one attribute you’d like to pass on to your children?
I have good family values and would also love them to be strong, confident go-getters. I have lots of energy, so that too – you have to cram as much as possible into life.
How do you juggle work and motherhood?
We’ve got a part-time nanny who travels with me while I’m filming. When Tahlia was only five weeks old I was filming A Place in the Sun. It was really hot, I had two children in tow and was breastfeeding – I’d have to stop filming because I had wet patches and needed to run off to feed her. My mother-in-law looks after Rocco on Wednesdays, and on Thursdays he goes to nursery so I do get time to myself. Tahlia sleeps well so when it works you have to lap it up. But when both of them start crying it’s a nightmare – you can’t get anything done.
Perfect family day?
I think hanging out with a group of friends or family. On Sundays we’ll all go for a walk together or take Rocco for a swim.
What’s your parenting style?
I’m laid-back, but quite strict. We’re both houseproud, but with children you soon realise you have to relax. Alex wants to wipe up the mess with each mouthful as Rocco is feeding himself; I have to tell him to leave it.
What have you had to give up?
Being spontaneous was the hardest thing for me to give up. For Alex, it would be a lie-in but that doesn’t bother me – even before children I’d get up at 7am on the weekends.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Maybe getting my nails done or a massage – something that makes me feels good. I had a pregnancy massage before I had Tahlia and it was just lovely. I also have eyelash extensions, which make me feel so much better when I don’t have time to put mascara on.
If you could invent something to help new mums, what would it be?
A machine that magically gives you a few more hours in the day.
And do you have a top tip for them?
Follow your instinct – it’s so strong as a mum.
Laura is working with children’s charity Dreams Come True. She was chatting to Ali Horsfall.