Katy Hill: My Precious Moments
TV and radio presenter Katy Hill chats about the panics and joys of raising Kaya, eight and Akira, five, and how she tries to help them avoid gender stereotyping
Did you always want to be a mum?
Yes, I'd always adored kids, but you can never imagine what it entails properly until you do it. I'm glad I managed to cram so much in before I had children, I feel like I lived about four lifetimes before I got around to it.
Who's your biggest parenting influence?
I had practice myself. My sister is eight years younger so I was like a second mum to her. I learnt what to do with a baby and really did help bring her up. When I discovered I was pregnant I loved the book the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and took great comfort in someone giving me guidance.
Describe birth in one word!
So what happened?
With both my pregnancies I suffered with symphysis pubis dysfunction and was advised to have caesarean sections – it's unlikely I would've been able to have a natural birth. The main thing that I wanted to avoid was needing an emergency section, so I was very happy to take that medical advice. I made sure I took plenty of time after each section to recover properly. That was a life change for me – I really took a step back and pressed the pause button on my career so I could be a mummy, but I don't regret it for a second because it's the best job I've ever had.
Best thing about being a mum?
I've loved it all from the beginning. When they come out and take their first breath, there's just no going backwards. You get that crazy overwhelming feeling of responsibility for this little person. The desire to nurture and protect is huge.
How did you choose their names?
My husband Trey chose the name Kaya – he'd always loved it – and her middle name is Sky because I'm a closet hippy. For the first four days of his life Akira was actually called Seven. It's symbolic for something being complete, he was born on 7 December and I was in room seven on floor seven of the hospital, so it seemed like fate. However, after four days of people looking confused when we said his name, we decided it should be his middle name instead.
What's the best gift they've been given?
I got Kaya a Baby Annabell doll when Akira was born, as a present from him. It meant she could copy everything I did with him and she didn't feel left out. As Akira's grown up, I have encouraged him to play with it too – I think it's important that boys learn nurturing skills too, dolls shouldn't just be for girls.
The best advice you've been given?
Trust your instincts. I'm an information junkie, so I read and read about pregnancy and babies but I soon realised that so much of it is instinctive.
What makes them laugh?
Slapstick humour – anything to do with falling over or getting pranked. Proper panto comedy makes them giggle.
Most embarrassing mum moment?
When I was pregnant, I went to the doctor to be tested for group B strep. In the surgery the nurse recognised me and was telling me how her children had always watched me on Blue Peter. Then I had to say what I'd come for – and if you don't know, the test for B strep is a swab where the sun doesn't shine!
And your biggest panic?
The panic started early. Trey would wake up in the middle of the night and find me searching around in the bed for Kaya. She'd be tucked up safely in the Moses basket but in my tired, delirious state, I'd be thinking I'd lost her.
Who would be your fantasy babysitter?
I'd like Brad Pitt to come over and babysit, but I guess if I'm going out it would be pointless – so I'd say Supernanny Jo Frost. She could make some impact, then I would come home to impeccably behaved children.
What's your perfect family day?
I like those days where we don't have to be up and out that early. Getting dressed really late always feels like a treat in our house.
Anything that Trey does better than you?
Garden play. He creates crazy assault courses – extreme waterslides with spraying hoses and obstacles. He's so good at spontaneous fun and will say things like, 'Right, let's go on an adventure to find ice cream.'
What would you like to pass on to them?
Positivity – I'm a 'glass half full' person. There's so much to stress about in life but most of it is pointless.
What has having children taught you?
Patience. When I was doing live television I was driven by a clock but with children you just can't be like that. At first you try to control everything but then you just have to submit to their pace. You'll be rushing to leave the house and then there'll be a poo explosion and so you suddenly can't go anywhere for a while. I'm also getting good at answering lots and lots of questions. Children ask so many questions.
What's your parenting style?
I'm all about the fun and cuddles rather than an immaculate house. I'm also keen to raise my kids without gender stereotyping.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Massages. I only get to have one about every six months but I need more.
What would you invent for new mums?
A magic medicine that makes you immune to the sleep deprivation. I experienced tiredness like I'd never known!
What's your top parenting tip?
There's no right or wrong way to parent, there's lots of ways; and then there's your way. It just takes a while to get your confidence.
Katy was chatting to Ali Horsfall; Katy is 'mumbassador' for Zapf Creation