Monday, 14 January 2013
Singer, chat show host and mum, Charlotte Church talks about giving birth, designing shoes and juggling a busy life with two young children
Did you always plan to be a mum?
I always knew I wanted to have a big family, but didn’t really know how much it would change my life. I’ve got lots of cousins who are all close and we got to spend lots of time together when we were young and I still like to catch up with them.
So how has your life changed?
I’ve had to become much more organised to fit everything in around the children. It’s hard when you work but I think it’s so important to spend as much time as you can with them – you miss so much otherwise.
Describe giving birth in just one word.
Phenomenal! I was lucky to have a home birth with both my babies which was amazing – it was something I really wanted to do and it worked really well. I’m not saying it didn’t hurt, but it was lovely waking up in my own bed.
What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?
There are so many things. The children are such good fun to be with and are always making me laugh. I also love peeping in to see them sleeping. They really are my greatest joy!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Keep smiling! Yep, it’s hard when I’m rushing around and feeling tired, but it’s something I try to do, however stressed I get. I think it’s true that nothing seems as bad when you smile.
What were your children’s first words?
No marks for guessing... mama and dada.
What are their favourite songs?
Right now, London’s Burning and Jungle Boogie Woogie, but they like my songs, too. We’ve got a studio at home so we can record ourselves singing, which is a laugh. And I take them to local music festivals which Ruby just loves as she’s a great little dancer, too.
What is the one thing you’d like to pass on to your children?
To be nice and kind to people, which might sound old-fashioned, but humility is important, too. I want my kids to grow up to be respectful.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
It’s never that easy, but I do try and get a good night’s sleep. The children go to bed by 7.30pm and we have around 45 minutes’ reading time, which they love. I try to get to bed at a reasonable time, as
it really helps me to stay feeling fresh and on top of things, and my skin always looks fab after eight hours of sleep.
What’s your perfect day out as a family?
We all love being outside, especially if it’s sunny. There are some lovely walks and parks where I live, and we like just taking off with a group of other mums for a big picnic and games – we always have lots of fun.
What was it like getting to design children’s shoes?
It was good fun and all for a great cause! My best friend Naomi and I designed the shoes and boots (as she is much more into fashion than I am). The whole process of coming up with ideas and seeing the end result was fab, and I hope people want to buy them for their children – especially as profits from the sales will go to the British Heart Foundation.
Where do you go shopping?
I don’t get to go to the big stores very often– I tend to shop quite locally which is easier. Ruby already has a strong sense of what she does and doesn’t like, which is amazing. She’s such a girly girl and loves to wear pink. She has a wardrobe change two to four times a day. Dexter is a real boy and not interested in clothes at all.
What have you had to give up?
I know everyone says it, but nothing prepares you for the lack of sleep. I’m definitely looking forward to the day when they don’t come and wake me up at six every morning.
How do you find balancing your career and being a mum?
It’s tricky at times, but I do put my children first – I haven’t got a big team of helpers around me. My friend Gemma helps out with the kids if I can’t take them with me, but most of the time I fit my work around them. And I take them with me to gigs whenever I can, so they know what mum is up to.
What have your children taught you?
Wow, loads of things. They are a constant source of inspiration to me and make me laugh all the time. It really does keep getting better as they grow up.
What do mums have to accept?
I suppose nothing is ever really perfect and things do get stressful when you’re busy. I think it’s important to listen to what your children say as it can make a big difference to how your day goes!
What’s your biggest parenting influence?
I love reading baby magazines and all those shows on TV about having children, too. There was a good programme on Channel 4 called Bringing Up Baby which was brilliant and gave me loads of great parenting tips.
Would you like to have more children?
Absolutely. When the time is right, I really would love to have more.
Anything you’d do differently next time?
I don’t do everything perfectly, but I really am a firm believer in making mistakes and learning from them. I think most mums would say the same.
Any advice for new mums?
People always seem to have lots of advice for you and know what’s best, but I don’t think you should spend too much time listening to the advice of others. I’ve really learned to trust my own instincts and, fingers crossed, they don’t usually let me down.
Charlotte Church has created a limited edition shoe collection for Step2wo, in aid of the British Heart Foundation’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal. She was chatting to Abby Knight.