Cath Tyldesley & Tom Pitfield share the news of Cath’s incredible career opportunity overseas that will leave Tom  ‘holding the baby’.

Cath Tyldesley & Tom Pitfield share the news of Cath’s incredible career opportunity overseas that will leave Tom ‘holding the baby’.

© BROOD MAGAZINE. OUR CO-FOUNDER TOM PITFIELD, HIS WIFE, ACTRESS CATHERINE TYLDESLEY & THEIR SON ALFIE & DAUGHTER IRIS 

“Mum guilt never gets any easier!

Only last week our co-founder Tom Pitfield, and his wife, a successful and widely respected actress, singer, writer and producer – Cath Tyldesley, had a gold-plated spanner thrown in the works when it came to their family life; when Cath was offered a dream role in an exciting TV drama, which meant that she would be filming on location abroad for three months! Within the space of a week, from the amazing opportunity arising, Cath was on a plane and on her way to pursue an incredible career opportunity, with Tom effectively left ‘holding the baby’.

Anyone who knows Cath knows that she is a doting mum and that she absolutely adores her family, so it goes without saying that leaving her family behind to embark on her latest career adventure was not going to be something that she would find easy, but having worked so hard her entire career and proving people wrong through undeniable determination and unwavering talent, the only option was to embrace the opportunity, and make both herself and her family proud. Cath is flying the flag for all the formidable Mamma’s that stand tall and say it’s more than ok to be a mum and still want a career and achieve their dreams; and equally Tom is flying the flag for all the fantastic hands-on dads out there, as anyone who knows Tom, knows that he is more than capable of manning the fort alone for a few months, (albeit that he may need to have lots of rum on hand!) Tom is an amazing father, and he completely supports his wife’s career goals – just as she does his! Between them they make a marvellous team and are showing their children that teamwork really does makes the dream work. We had the pleasure of chatting to Cath and Tom about this very ‘BROOD-esq’ situation, just before Cath had to leave for the airport, and they bravely shared both their excitement and fears that the situation has brought upon them, and they explain how they see it as just another adventure that they will complete and that will further enhance their family’s life in the long term. 

Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris
© BROOD MAGAZINE. OUR CO-FOUNDER TOM PITFIELD & HIS DAUGHTER IRIS 

“- yes, I am a mother, but I am also still Cath, and an actress

Cath, you’ve just landed a dream role – congratulations! It’s so well deserved and such amazing news!!! You’ll be working on location for a number of months though, meaning you will be away from your family, which will inevitably be really hard for you all, but in order to succeed in our careers it can often mean making sacrifices – especially when you have little ones, and you are self-employed; how important is it to you to lead by example in showing your children that they should always follow their dreams, and how much did that impact your decision in accepting the role?

Cath – “It’s hard, I almost feel like two different people, because there is career-Cath who is incredibly ambitious, extremely self-motivated and very driven, and so I’m always determined to fulfil my goals. Failure isn’t an option. And I love my job. My job is my happy place. But then on the flip side being a mum is my happy place too and it’s ok to want to have both of those things! There’s never a true balance, so there is no point trying to get that. I think I have to remember that sometimes I’m with them [the children] and sometimes I’m not, that’s just how it is. But I get to see my children more than most ‘9-5’ people, so although I might work away for a couple of months here and there, in between jobs I have a lot of downtime and that is always spent with my kids and my husband, so in a lot of ways we’re very lucky. But, yes, I’m not denying it’s incredibly difficult and I’m actually just about to leave to go to the airport and I can’t stop crying! I’ve got tears of joy because it’s an amazing role, it’s an amazing job, with amazing talent, but the other part of me is crying because even though I’m going to be reunited with my family in 10 days’ time, my little girl is only 16 weeks old, so it’s a long time to be away from her, to be away from them both. But I hope I instil a good work ethic in my children and show them that it’s important to remember who you are, because yes, I am a mother, but I am also still Cath, and an actress.

Also, my parents held down several jobs to give myself and my sister a good life, and for me to be able to go to drama school, so I grew up with working parents. And my kids come everywhere with me, wherever possible, we’re flying them out in just over a weeks’ time, where I go the kids go, we’re a family so I always strive to make it work!”

We live in a society where unfortunately it still seems to be ‘not the done thing’ for a mum to return to work while their babies are young, what would you say to anyone who may cast judgment on you for working away whilst Iris is so young?

Cath – “You can’t cast judgement on any parent! Being a parent is the most wonderful job in the world, but it is also the most challenging mentally – and physically! You need to be in athletic condition to be a parent, especially when you’ve got several children. Looking after your health is everything when you’re a parent for so many reasons. It takes real strength of character to be a good parent and you just need to make things work for you and your family, and every single family is different. I couldn’t do a 9-5 job, knowing that week after week that I would be caught in the rat race and only be getting home just in time to put the kids down for bed. That does not appeal to me. Whereas the way that I live, as mentioned earlier, yes there are intense work periods, but in between that I have weeks and weeks where I’m with the children, where I’m able to do the school runs and we can do lots of nice things together, and I just think that whatever your situation you make it work.”

Tom is obviously an amazing Dad and completely hands-on, so both the children are in very good hands, but the dreaded ‘Mum Guilt’ always seems to creep in – even when there is nothing to feel guilty about! What coping mechanisms do you use to help you deal with ‘Mum Guilt’ when you’re working?

Cath – “Mum guilt never gets any easier! I was awake at half three this morning and I had a little cry, I’ll admit that because I do feel guilty sometimes. But then I used to feel guilty when I had a more regular job, because I was working all day every day and there was no real end in sight. So, I think that no matter what position you are in as parent in terms of work, you’re always going to feel guilty, and the fact of the matter is that I want my children to have the best possible life that I can give them and for me that means being surrounded by love and wonderful, inspirational people, and that’s what my children have tenfold.

Hopefully they’ll be inspired by me and Tom, and I really hope that they both have driven personalities and can follow their dreams. I tell Alfie all the time that if you can see it, you can achieve it. I’m living proof of that. So many people told me I wouldn’t do half the things I’ve done, and I’ve done them! I think goal setting is very important in life and it’s very important to establish that positivity for your children because the world that we live in, more than ever, can be a very dark place, so helping them to have a positive mental attitude is so important.”

 

Tom, how much Rum did you drink when you realised Cath was going to be working on location for so long and that you would be left effectively holding the baby?! (Lol)

Tom – “I’m not going to lie; Rum will play a part in my parenting over the next three months!” He laughs. “To be honest, with this job and how it just all happened so quickly we didn’t really have time to think. As soon as Cath walked out of the door to go the airport, I had that realisation that I’ve got to cook the tea now, whilst holding the baby and looking after a 7-year-old, and that’s not going to change for the next three months. But you know what, we’ve done it before – albeit it was just me and Alfie then, so we’ve got an extra one this time, but we’ll do it! We knew this was going to be our life whether we had one or two kids, or no kids, so we knew the deal when we first got together and we always said we would do everything as a team, so this is just the next adventure, and we’ll complete it and move on. And we’ve got to just stay positive like that, as Cath’s following her dreams and we support her, just like she supports me, so it’s mutual respect.”

 

What are your biggest fears of juggling being the main carer for children and maintaining your own growing career whilst Cath is away?

Tom – “Initially I think my biggest fear is centred around Alfie, because he’s our first and he had 7 years of it being just us three, and when Cath was working away, it was just us two. I’ve explained to him that Mummy’s working away again, but that this time we’ve got Iris so it will be harder, and I might not always be able to give him the attention he deserves.

With regards to the career side of things, it will be a challenge, but it’s always a challenge when you’ve got kids anyway, especially with Catherine’s career being the way it is, so that has always been a juggling act. Having the extra element of having Alfie and Iris on my own will make it a little bit harder, and I’m sure there will be a fine line in making sure I don’t compromise the kids or my career, but I know I can do it and my main goal is just to get the job done and not to drop the ball workwise at all so that from a client point of no one will see the struggles, as that’s really important.”

You are a very hands-on Dad and although a lot more people are these days, for some there still seems to be a ridiculous perception that the majority of parenting responsibility should lie with the mother. Are you proud of the example that you are setting your children, in showing them that parenting isn’t just for Mum and that it’s about teamwork where Dad can play just as much of an important role as Mum?

Tom – “Yeah, absolutely. I think if I look around at a lot of my friends, even though they’ve got full time jobs, they are very hands on like myself, so I think it’s definitely changing. But when you are out in the wider public there certainly is still a perception for what dads ‘should be doing’ and what mums ‘should be doing’ – even in this day and age! So yes, I’m extremely proud. Even if I’m just walking through the supermarket to go and change Iris or something, and it’s just me and her, I’m very proud of wearing the changing bag and just being as hands on as I am. And I absolutely do think that will flow through to the kids and I’d like them to be the same, especially Alfie. I think the way both of us parent, going back to Cath working away, is because we want that work ethic to pass down to the kids. We always show them that Mummy and Daddy train hard, they work hard, and they play hard, and I think there is a lot to be said for that. So, if they can go into adult life with that similar mentality, we know they won’t do so bad. So, it definitely plays a part in the way we construct our lives, because we do want them to learn from it. The roles are very similar these days, it’s not just a dad’s job to go out and earn, Mums are just as big and as important in that respect and vice versa from a parenting point of view. And this is obviously one of the things that BROOD Magazine is about, we want to highlight that it’s ok for it to be 50/50 and get rid of that stigma!” 

 

Tom Pitfield, Catherine Tyldesley and Family
Tom Pitfield, Catherine Tyldesley and Family © TOM PITFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY 
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Simon Wood
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Kim, Oli Dunn and their daughter Romy Star © TOM PITFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY
Oli The Choc, Kim Minchin & their daughter Romi. IMAGE © TOM PITFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY

How different is it running a business as parents, compared to before Romy’s arrival?
Kim – “Very different!”
Oli – “It takes a lot more planning obviously, but in a way, it helps you to stop procrastinating. 
Kim – “When you don’t have her, you can literally get so much done! It makes you think what you did with your time before! So it’s just about utilising the time you do get productively. Also it helps that my store is next to Oli’s and Oli’s parents’ shop.”
Oli – “Yes, we’re altogether so we’ve got a little bit of help.”
Kim – “She’s got her highchair and duplicates of her things at the store so that works well. But there’s no formula.”
Oli – “No we’re just winging it and hoping for the best! We take each day at a time. We’ll work in the evenings if we have to and just do whatever we need to do to get things done!”
Kim – “I think overall we’re more efficient. Like, before having Romy, I would sit at home, have a cup of coffee and probably scroll through Instagram for an hour whereas now when she has nap I’m like, ‘Right, quick, what can I get done!’.”

What has been the hardest or funniest moment that you’ve experienced as Parentpreneurs?
Oli – “Well a big part of my business is creating content and videos and this one day, I went out on my one wheel which is like an electric skateboard kind of thing, and I was making videos down my by the canal and Kim was at the shop with Romy. And I had kind of got lost in this creative flow and when I stopped, I had all these messages off Kim saying can you get back quick, I’ve got a shop full of customers and Romy will not stop screaming!”
Kim – “Awww, yes, I was so embarrassed and stressed. Although everyone was great with her and saying ‘Ah we’ve seen her on Instagram so it’s great to meet her.’ But I just felt like I wasn’t giving them the shopping experience that they were probably after. But they have been back so it obviously can’t have been that bad.”

Both of your parents are entrepreneurs too. How much has watching them inspired you both within your business ventures?
Oli – “I saw how my dad created something out of nothing, purely out of something that interested him – and that was making chocolate. He had worked in sweet factory and making sweets can take weeks sometimes, whereas chocolate you can make quite quickly. And he went on this course in Germany to learn how to make chocolate and he just fell in love with it. So I saw that passion in him and I wanted to create something myself out of nothing so I took the slightly different direction of entertaining people with chocolate – showing them how to create chocolate themselves.
Kim – “You always talk about being a child, being with your sister whilst your mum and dad were making chocolate at home. I think that inspired you to carry on that magic, of having a business yourself. So, you can be at home, and you can bring your children into the world of your business.

“Yes, we used to sneak downstairs in the middle of the night, into my mum and dads ‘chocolate factory”

Oli – “Yes, we used to sneak downstairs in the middle of the night, into my mum and dads ‘chocolate factory’ and take a handful of chocolate buttons up to our bedrooms! That’s some of my best memories as a child being surrounded by chocolate, so I think it was inevitable that I would explore that. I think I resisted it at first as it seemed to obvious that I would go into the family business and then I think I realised that I could be missing out on something that could potentially be fun. That’s what I’m really for as my dad has given me this tool to be creative and have fun within your work. I have got a lot of motivation from my parents. If Romy can find something that is her passion too then I’ll be happy. We used to sit watching movies at Christmas so that they could get on with the orders. They made the office next door really cosy, and they could watch us through a clear glass window. They would actually even give us a few Christmas presents early so that they could get work done, but as much as they probably felt stressed at the time, they are really good memories for me and my sister.”
Kim – “It has helped with mindset of knowing that you can have a child and still do what you want to do. So, it wasn’t a scary daunting prospect for us. My parents had their own business too, so they had a massive influence on me as a businesswoman. My Dad had 136 branches of his business, he was and still is an amazing businessman and he has always guided me and my brother, any doubt’s I ever have always reached out to him. Parents have always shown me that you can follow you dreams and that you get out you put in. So, for me growing up I always wanted to have my own business, I didn’t want to work for anyone else. And my mum has the most amazing taste so that has definitely helped me from an artistic point of view when I’m designing my jewellery and picking homeware etc.”

You both have strong identities -individually and as a couple; How do you feel your identity’s have changed since becoming parents?
Kim – “Well, I kind of felt like I lost my identity a little bit when I had Romy. I feel like I’m a gradually getting it back, but I do feel like that is a really tough thing for mums. You get so absorbed and consumed with the baby, as your whole life is about them. But, when you’re tired and you’re trying to juggle everything and keep everyone alive, but I think there is an internal thing for mums that the dads may or may not understand. But I remember she was only a few weeks old and I said to Ol, ‘Can you just have her for an hour? I wanna go to home sense – on my own.”
Oli – “Yeah, and you had like the best hour!”
Kim – “Yeah, I didn’t need anything, but that was my regular routine.”
Oli – “Yes, you needed that, to feel that freedom and step into your creativity. So I guess that’s what we need to be mindful of, making sure you get that time to keep your identity. I think that has been your driving force in opening the store.”
Kim – “Yes, the opportunity came along, and I thought, ‘Yes, it’s the right time’ As we said earlier Oli’s place is there and his parent’s shop is there, and I can pick and choose the days that I want to do there. And having the shop has made me fall in love with fashion again, as I’m getting dressed for work and doing little videos whilst I’m there. So instead of constantly wearing my activewear and not having any make up on. Now I’m thinking about buying clothes again and that was something I had stopped doing after Romy was born. So, yeah, I do think that is something that people need to talk about more. And with the fashion side of things, I try and buy things that a practical but then other times I think – I want that Jacket etc, because I know I’m a mum, but I still want to be me.”
Oli – “For me Romy has changed my identity in that now I’ve become a father and a husband. She’s made us a family. People say, ‘Welcome to the best club in the world.’ And you really do feel a part of that and a way that strengthens your identity a bit, as everything you do has more meaning and in way that makes you feel more confident really.”
Kim – “I think we’re such a good team though and we have a strong network of people around us so that is something that can help you when you’re having those low moments, Oli was always there so I think that helps remind you of who you are and your strengths.”
And finally what advice would you give fellow Parentpreneurs?
Oli – “I would say embrace the challenges that it brings, because it helps you to grow as an individual, you don’t always realise that how much it can you to evolve. And rewards far outweigh the challenges. You will more than likely surprise yourself, nature is a wonderful thing and a lot of it is more intuitive than you think.”
Kim – “I think mine is to just enjoy the journey and keep telling yourself that you are amazing at what you are doing. I’ve learnt to be a bit more relaxed and stop comparing yourself and then you can think clearer.”
Oli – “Yes, that’s a big thing for anyone, be inspired by others but don’t compare yourself. Just be good at being you.”

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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Cath Tyldesley & Tom Pitfield share the news of Cath’s incredible career opportunity overseas that will leave Tom ‘holding the baby’.

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