Singer Rachel Stevens tells us about life beyond the sequins and celeb nights out
Did you always plan to be a mum?
I knew I wanted children, yes. I’m very maternal, so it was always a part of my plan.
Did you enjoy being pregnant?
I felt rubbish for the first five months, actually – I was so sick. But overall, I really enjoyed the experience. And I think I’ve sort of forgotten the bad bits. I think most mums who go on to have more children have forgotten, too!
What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?
Amelie is just such brilliant fun. Obviously, it’s really hard work, but it just gets better and better. She’s hilariously funny and is turning into such a character with sooo much energy. I love seeing all the different stages evolve and watching her turn into this little person.
Perfect family day?
It would start with a lie-in in the morning! I love my sleep. And then we’d all have breakfast together. But then we would just hang out really – I’m just really happy when we’re all together as a little family.
Why did you choose the name Amelie?
Well, we didn’t know if we were having a girl or a boy and we came up with millions of names. But by the time she arrived, we had narrowed the girls’ names down to two. I remember holding her and saying: ‘She’s Amelie.’ And Alex said: ‘Well, I’m not going to argue after what you’ve just gone through!’
What is the best gift Amelie’s received?
For her first birthday, my mum and stepdad bought her an identity bracelet. It’s so lovely and I know that she’ll have it forever. I’ll keep it safe for her to cherish when she’s older.
Any advice for new mums?
Get loads of sleep before you give birth! And when you have the baby, sleep when they are sleeping. Actually, I didn’t do that because I’m not very good at relinquishing control, but with hindsight I’d advise new mums to rest for those first few weeks, when baby mostly just eats and sleeps all day.
What have you had to give up?
Independence and spontaneity. You can’t just go out for dinner with your partner, and there’s no such thing as ‘popping’ out!
Biggest mistakes you’ve made?
I don’t regret anything I’ve done very much. But Amelie is a light sleeper and I think that’s because, at first, I always used to make sure everything was quiet when she slept. Now I think it’s better for babies to get used to noise going on around them, so they learn how to sleep through it.
Has Amelie started talking?
Yes – she loves saying, ‘No!’ She also says, ‘Bye-bye’, ‘Dada’ and ‘Nana’. She’s a right old chatterbox.
What makes her laugh?
Me. She thinks I’m hilarious – it’s brilliant! She absolutely loves it when I mimic her, and copy whatever silly noise she is making.
What’s been your most embarrassing moment with her?
Once when I was out, I held her up to do a nappy check and the paparazzi got me. That was a lovely moment to capture on camera!
And your biggest panic?
I haven’t had any big panics – but it was winter when I had Amelie and I remember feeling quite vulnerable the first time I was left alone with her. It can be quite hard having your first baby in winter – it’s dark and not so easy to go out, and you can feel quite isolated.
If she was a fictional character who would she be?
I’m not sure about a specific character, but when she was born she always looked to me like a little cartoon Eskimo, with black spiky hair and lovely eyes. Actually, she also looks quite like a cute Anime character!
Is there anything Alex does better than you?
No, of course not! We’re honestly pretty good at balancing each other out. Amelie is incredibly active which I love, but it’s exhausting. So it’s just brilliant when Alex comes home from work, all fresh, and takes her for a while, so I can just have a little time.
She loves her food (like her mummy). So I’m not sure she has a favourite – fingers crossed so far, she eats pretty much everything.
Oh, someone who doesn’t have anything else to do ever, and could just come on a whim. Someone I could literally blink into the room.
What’s the one thing you’d like to pass on to Amelie?
I would love her to have real confidence in herself and to know herself really well.
What has she taught you?
Having a child changes your life so dramatically, in every imaginable way. I think it’s made me look at and understand my relationship with my own mum better. What do mums have to accept? That they won’t have any more lie-ins! And, even though I feel a bit bad saying this, I do think you have to accept that, once you get into a routine, your life can feel quite monotonous. I mean, I love being a mum, and every new mum wants to tell everybody how amazing it is – and it is. But the very nature of a routine means you do the same thing every day. I’m not sure we really talk about and acknowledge that.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Once Amelie has gone to bed, and we’ve had dinner, we just sit in front of the TV and have a cup of tea and a Rich Tea biscuit. That makes me a happy girl!
If you could invent something for new mums what would it be?
Another pair of hands. Actually, a few more pairs of hands. Amelie is the wriggliest child in the world. If I had extra hands I could pop on when necessary, that would be lovely.
Would you like more children?
I would, yes. Not yet though. I want to enjoy Amelie, and I’m concentrating on work this year. But one day…
What would you do differently?
Looking back, I think in the first eight weeks or so, I could have chilled out a bit more. Next time, I’ll be more relaxed.
Rachel is the voice of the free Tasty Tunes downloads at ellaskitchen.co.uk. She was chatting to Pip Jones