Kimberly Wyatt: "I smile more every day now"
The American singer, dancer, choreographer, TV personality and mum, Kimberly Wyatt on how her daughter Willow, aged two, has truly changed her.
Did you always want to be a mum?
Who’s your biggest parenting influence?
My grandmother. We were really close. She lived just around the corner from me, and I was there as often as I could be. She was the biggest believer in my dreams, and the biggest advocate for love and family foundation. She’s not around now, unfortunately.
Describe birth in one word.
What was your experience?
I was so ready for the experience of a natural birth, but Willow was breech so I had to have a C-section. Obviously then I had to take time to recover from that. I was pretty fit but, well, they severed my abdominal muscles after all and, despite dancing for over 25 years, it was like starting all over again. I just took it in my stride, though – and the fact that I’m a new mum and breastfeeding meant I got back to it as and when my body felt ready. It’s all about intuition – we don’t often listen to that, or go outside of ourselves to find the answers.
What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?
I smile more every day now. It’s seeing this little piece of you growing up into a human being. Hearing and seeing their development is just incredible; it’s the most fascinating thing I’ve been a part of. I think both sexes feel happy and confident with a same-gender child, and although I didn’t really care if she was a boy or a girl because I just wanted a healthy baby, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled that she was a little girl.
What’s your parenting style?
I try to take everything in my stride and not take things too seriously. Bringing up Willow in a happy, healthy household is my number one priority. It can be difficult, especially if she’s teething or not feeling great, but I do just try to go with it all.
What’s the best advice you’ve had?
Just keep things simple. In my life I’ve learnt from the negatives rather than the positives, so I just want to give Willow lots of positives in her life, and that means being content with who you are and what you are, and doing things that you’re passionate about.
Most embarrassing mum moment?
The first time she was sick all over me when we were out – that was pretty embarrassing. But it happens, right?
What does your husband (English model Max Rogers) do better than you?
He’s so organised – he’s quite fanatical about it, actually. He likes to have everything in its place, so he’s much tidier than me. I wish I was a bit more like that. I’m a dreamer and a bit more all over the place, but our different personalities seem to work well together.
How did you choose Willow’s name?
We were on a plane when we got on to the conversation of baby names. Then our friend Davina McCall joined us and asked what we were talking about, so she suggested the name Willow and we loved it as soon as we heard it. Willow’s middle name is Jane, after my grandmother.
What’s your perfect family day?
On Saturday mornings we have clean-up time – seriously, we clean the whole house. Then we take the dogs for a walk, make a yummy lunch and enjoy time together.
Are you a clean freak now you’re a mum?
I got the nesting bug when I was pregnant – it got me into the kitchen, and it got me winning MasterChef, because I totally had that nurturing bug.
Who’s your fantasy babysitter?
My sister! I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like, so I’d give her the job.
What baby product can’t you live without?
I love the Neal’s Yard Remedies baby range. And both Ella’s Kitchen pouches and Annabel Karmel have saved the day when schedules are tricky.
What has having children taught you?
How important family is and to offer a good, happy home. Our emotional health is so important and we need to start helping children in that department. Willow throws little tantrums and I have to teach her how to deal with those feelings.
What have you had to give up?
You have to make sacrifices for your children. Willow has changed all my goals – now it’s all about having a foundation; being in one place and having a home. Focusing on sleeping in the same bed every night instead of touring the world. It’s shifted my focus to health and nutrition and, ultimately, my family.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I write and write and write. I love to take time out on my own to write in my diary. I purge everything there – all my feelings. I don’t even care if someone finds it and reads it: I’m not ashamed about any feelings I have. Keeping fit is also important to me. It’s a massive stress reliever and, I’ve realised, the best thing I can do for myself.
If you could invent a gadget for new mums, what would it be?
I’d create one master button that controls all the baby kit in the house. I’m rubbish with all the electronics.
Would you like more babies?
Yes! Two is good.
What’s the top parenting tip you’d like to pass on to new mums?
Trust that you’re not alone. You’re learning, and there’s so much information out there, but you have the answers – listen to your heart.