Konnie Huq: My Precious Moments
Television presenter and writer Konnie Huq chats about one-year-old son Covey and how husband Charlie Brooker is faring as a dad (rather well, by all accounts)
Did you always plan to be a mum?
Yes, I always liked kids and I come from a big family, so I like the idea of having one too.
Did you enjoy your pregnancy?
I had a bit of sickness at times, but apart from that I quite liked it. It's novel having a bump, and the feeling of having someone growing inside is weird. When Charlie and I were on holiday in Mexico, we were on the beach looking at my tummy moving around by itself, as the little one fidgeted about.
How was birth for you?
Surreal. I thought, 'He's going to be a mini me, he'll look at me with great big brown eyes, and there will be instant bonding' and so on. Well, they pulled out this baby, and literally handed me Mr Magoo! And I was thinking, 'Who is this?' Charlie was welling up and trying to take photos and I was completely out of it from the drugs and saying, 'Urgh, I'm going to be sick...' It was so not the romantic notion I had pictured!
Favourite thing about being a mum?
Covey, obviously! Also, it makes you look at everything differently, you re-prioritise and change as a person. And you join this elite (well, not that elite) club, the mothers' club.
What's your perfect family day?
Just spending a day with Charlie and Covey, maybe going to the park. Covey's just getting to that age where he's really inquisitive, he's really getting a little personality.
Why did you choose the name Covey?
We just couldn't agree on any names! We were idea bashing, with random syllables and words, and putting different bits together. I remember saying Cofey, and Cobey, and Charlie came up with Covey in the end.
Any advice for new mums?
Hmm, I don't know. I guess it's good in the early days, when you're sleep deprived, to try to sleep when your baby does.
What have you had to give up?
Well, we don't have a nanny or anything, and we don't have parents on hand to help out as and when, so I've partially given up that freedom to do what I want and to be carefree. But in a way, it doesn't feel like giving anything up, because I've gained so much.
Biggest mistakes you've made?
I've probably made a million! But it's all trial and error, isn't it? I just do whatever I need to do at the time! Parenting has really changed though, with all the things you now should or shouldn't do as a mother. When I was little, children would fit in around their parents, now it's the other way round – but we all turned out alright, didn't we?
Any embarrassing moments?
There have been lots of times when I have nearly tipped the buggy up on uneven pavements and things. And where I live is known as 'Nappy Valley', so I'm always going in shops and getting stuck in buggy jams.
And any big panics?
When Covey was really new, every day there was something! You're constantly thinking, 'Is that normal, is he hot, is he cold?'. One time, when he was really tiny and we were doing his nappy, he did this big pee and got himself right in the face, he was covered in it! He burst out crying, he didn't know what was going on, and so then I burst out crying, and then Charlie burst out crying – and then we looked at each other and started laughing.
Will you teach Covey about his Bangladeshi roots?
Yes, definitely. I mean, he'll probably notice that one half of his family is brown! I'm sure we will take him there at some point.
Is he a mummy's or daddy's boy?
He's a bit of a charmer, he winds us both around his little finger. He has such a blast with his dad – Charlie literally gets him in hysterics. I feel quite jealous sometimes when I see Covey keeling over with laughter! But he loves the cuddles from me, too. I think all babies have that bond with their mum.
Is Charlie hands-on?
Yes, he's relishing his new alpha male, protective, fatherly role! He's so good with Covey, he does the nappies and gets him to sleep. He even had meetings yesterday, in the gastro pub down the road, and Covey went with him and hung out with everyone.
What does Charlie do better than you?
He's more protective and cautious, actually. I'm quite relaxed about things, but Charlie will be like: 'You can only keep this food refrigerated for 24 hours, and it's been in here for 24 hours and one minute'! I'm more: 'He'll be fine!' We're quite a good dynamic, quite yin and yang.
Does Covey have a favourite song?
When he was really young, he used to like Blur. Charlie would play him music off his iPod. He also likes The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
And his favourite snack?
Fromage frais. And he loves cheesy mashed potato – his eyes light up when he sees it.
What would you like to pass on to Covey?
I'd like him to take intelligence and a good sense of humour from Charlie. And from me, well, I'd love him to be really open-minded.
What has Covey taught you?
Lots, especially how to be patient! It's no good stressing over the little things.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Well, I'm still breastfeeding, and I've been getting thinner and thinner while Covey is getting bigger and bigger. Anyway, we figured that he's just drinking me into oblivion, so I'm at a point where I can literally eat anything I like. Obviously, it's good to eat healthily, I'm stacking up on chocolates and snacks and steaks. Charlie doesn't think it's fair, and he's putting on weight. But it's not even a guilty pleasure, I have to (doctor's orders)!
If you could invent something for new mums what would it be?
It would be a Teasmade-type invention to have next to your bed for night feeding, with a little fridge compartment and a milk-warming section.
Would you like more children?
Yeah, definitely. Two more, or three.
Anything you'd do differently next time?
Er, I might get a routine together earlier. But maybe not. Maybe I'd be more laid-back, or get Charlie to be more laid-back. I might do proper sleep training next time. Maybe I'd get the baby into its own room a bit earlier. Um... maybe not. I don't know. Perhaps I'm a perfect mother already, goddammit!
Konnie was chatting to Pip Jones.