TIPS AND TRICKS FROM FELLOW WORKING PARENTS DOING THE DAILY JUGGLE…
Since we first launched BROOD Magazine we have been lucky enough to speak to a host of parents, who like us and you, are doing the juggle between work and parenting daily. In each interview we’ve asked each person if they had any tips or tricks that may help the rest of us!
Inspirational Mum of three, Helen Skelton, is one of Britain’s best-loved Television presenters. Helen started her presenting career at Newsround before landing a dream role at Blue Peter, where she completed numerous extreme challenges for charity. Incredibly Helen has kayaked over 2,000 miles along the Amazon River, and cycled 500 miles to the South Pole, both for Sport Relief. Her amazing career has included many highlights including meeting the iconic late Queen Elizabeth II. Not one to shy away from a challenge, last year she took what was probably her hardest yet, as she joined BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Class of 2023; whilst juggling life as a single mum, looking after her 3 young children, Ernie, Louis and Elsie.
What tips would you give other working parents?
Oh, I’ve got loads of tips – I’m on a journey at the moment. Firstly, lower the standards! I think unfollow people who don’t have a similar life to you. For example, if you’re a working mum, don’t follow a mum who doesn’t work, follow someone who is doing the juggle. Or if you don’t work, follow someone who doesn’t work, because I think you if you compare apples to pears yours will never be as good. I’ve been given lots of tips myself lately, including find companies that will deliver healthy meals – like meals on wheels but for parents. Then that takes the pressure off grabbing something naff for yourself, you can get them pre ordered just a couple of times a week and the whole family has got a healthy home cooked meal. Just make life easier for yourself. Another one is, have a notepad by the bed because every has them things where they wake up in the night where they are like ‘oh s&*t they need a yellow t-shirt for tomorrow’. I also think delegate stuff in your life that you don’t need to do yourself. Like I hate cleaning, so I got a cleaner. I felt really bad about it at first, I felt really middle-class, and I would tidy up before they came, but then the lady said to me ‘why are you doing that, you are paying me to do this?’ Oh, and don’t buy clothes that you need to iron! Again, why are you doing that to yourself. And finally, I have a present cupboard because there is always a party that you have forgotten, or you haven’t got time to go to B&M before you go. And a distraction box is always good too when you’ve got multiple children. What do you mean by a distraction box? Well, I would always keep a little box on the side, I’ve done this from Louis being born. I will put a couple of snacks in that he would like, a couple of books, or some little cheap toys in there. So then if you’re feeding or changing the baby and your older one wants you too and you can say ‘Go and get something from your box!’ I think that’s it!
Helen Skelton Images © BROOD Magazine
“I THINK YOU HAVE TO FIND THE COURAGE TO REACH OUT AND ASK FOR HELP”
Image © James & Victoria Bye
James Bye & Victoria Bye
Parents of four, Actor James, and Blogger Victoria Bye, have had a whirlwind few years, as their children came along at the same time as their careers started to soar. Having relocated from London to Cheshire just before they had their first child, James then got the part as Martin Fowler in one Britain’s best loved soaps – Eastenders. Consequently they made the decision to move back down south, so that James wouldn’t spend the majority of the week separated from his family. The couple have since welcomed another three boys to their brood over the years, with the newest addition arriving only in the summer of 2023. James took part in the 2022 Strictly Come Dancing.
We had the pleasure of chatting to the lovely couple in 2023, about how their lives have changed over the last few years, how they juggle everything and their ambitions for the future.
What tips would you give to other parents who are juggling busy career schedules alongside bringing up their family?
James – “I think what really helps us during really busy times is we are very fortunate that we have a really amazing group of friends, and we all help each other out. I think you have to find the courage to reach out and ask for help, and once you start doing that, you can all work together. So, I definitely think that’s a really important tip – don’t be afraid to ask for help – especially reach out to those closest to you.
Victoria – “Yes, totally. And for me in terms of the family side of things, when you do get those moments together, to remember to put your work down, and be present. At the end of the day, work is just a job, it’s replaceable, family isn’t.”
Rebecca Adlington OBE is undoubtedly the greatest female swimmer that Great Britain has ever produced, and one of the greatest GB swimmers of all time, not only because she is a multiple Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallist but she also broke the World Record in the 800m freestyle in 2008 at the Olympic Games in Beijing ; a record that was 19 years old, the same age Rebecca was in Beijing.
Becky’s drive and thirst for success did not diminish when she retired from Swimming, and she is still the same overachiever that she was in the water, having juggled a number of amazing career accolades for a number of years, such as her role as a pundit for BBC Sport, running multi businesses, creating swimwear ranges with Slazenger and work in her role as an ambassador for the Encephalitis Society and as a Patron of Women in Sport charities too; all alongside her biggest and favourite ‘job’ as a mum of two to the adorable 7-year-old Summer and 21 month old Albie.
What tips would you give other working parents who are juggling work and bringing up children?
“I think being organised is definitely something that I need to be in order to stay sane – I’m a bit like Monica in friends!” [We laugh] “For instance with the planner that I do on a Sunday, I use different coloured pens, and we stick that on the fridge! We have an online diary too and that is also colour coordinated, and I make sure everything goes in that diary. So I am very organised. I think there is so much going on each week that it’s one of those things that really helps us and the kids to have that reference. I think that really helped me with that transition of being back at work, so it eases my anxiety too and gives me that peace of mind that the kids aren’t going to miss anything. It also saves me time as I’m not checking in with Andy every two minutes like I was when I first came back to work! Which obviously caused a bit of friction too with Andy, because I wasn’t used to letting go so I think having that system in place has worked really well for us.”
Rebecca Adlington Image © BROOD Magazine
Charlie Condou Image © BROOD Magazine
Charlie Condou is a successful British actor, columnist and LGBTQ+ rights activist – not forgetting his important role – a doting Dad of two, to Georgia and Hal. For as long as Charlie can remember, he always had an overwhelming desire to start a family and create the kind of upbringing that his own lacked.
What tips would you give other parents, in particular co-parents?
“I think my advice would be don’t take advice from anyone, find your own way. Everyone thinks that they know the right way how to be a parent, but everyone finds it out for themselves. And from a co-parenting point of view, the most important thing you can do is communicate properly, whether that’s talking about how things will work, logistics, making sure you do it with someone who has the same values and morals, and ideas about bringing up kids. And also, if something is irritating you, just get it out and just say it. That’s what us three do, don’t get me wrong it’s not easy but then it’s done, and we can deal with it. Because if you don’t speak up, these things just fester and before you know you’re screaming at somebody, about something so small! It’s much better for everyone when you can communicate well, and you move on.”
Philanthropist, qualified counsellor and doting Mum of two, Emma Neville, has always kept herself out of the public eye despite her husband, Gary Neville’s, extremely high profile and widely documented career; meaning that a lot of Emma’s personal achievements and her incredible dedication to support so many charities have gone under the radar.
Emma is exceptionally modest about her charity work and what she has achieved already in her career as a counsellor. It’s a journey that she embarked on around five years ago; after spending many years embracing her role as a full-time mum and taking the lead with the family’s home life to counterbalance Gary’s demanding career schedule. But as the girls got older Emma realised, she wanted to do something for herself, consequently pushing herself out of her comfort zone and pursuing a lifelong ambition of becoming a qualified counsellor. Emma also accelerated her contributions to several charities through volunteer work, rather than ‘just’ making monetary donations. Emma volunteers for many charities including Destination Florida, Bury Cancer Support Centre, Girls Out Loud, Child Bereavement UK and she is very passionate about enhancing the amazing work that these charities already do, as well as helping to raise awareness for them. She has also recently created a ‘This is Me’ movement, creating a safe platform for women. @emmanevillethisisme
When you meet Emma, you can instantly see why she is so well suited to her chosen career path, as her warm and endearing nature shines through. It was an absolute pleasure to chat to Emma and listen to how she has carved out her new career path, whilst making a difference to so many people’s lives, and to hear how she balances that alongside her role as Mum. We chatted away to Emma before the girls, Molly 13, and Sophie 12, returned home from school and joined us for our photo shoot; that we managed to squeeze in between school finishing, teatime, and netball practise!
What advice would you give to the BROOD readers who are parents of teenagers?
“I would say just listen to them and try and just keep conversations going. I know that can sometimes be difficult, but just asking how they are is a good start. I also think a big thing for us, as parents, to make sure we own up to our own mistakes and learn to say sorry, because when we’re in the heat of the moment and we’re stressing at them and complaining, sometimes just saying ‘I’m really sorry about this morning, I wasn’t in a good place, and I was rushing and I shouldn’t have stressed at you’ that can make a big difference. Sometimes we put a lot on them, especially when I think about the morning chaos and when parents get stressed, it makes you wonder does your child leave the house or the car and take that stress and negativity into their school day? So, I think holding your hands up and owning your mistakes is very important. Children can read you; they know when you’re not yourself, so being open with them can put their mind at ease that it’s not on them. Just letting them know that we’re not perfect either. That it is ok to not be ok.”
Emma Neville Images © BROOD Magazine
Brooke Vincent Image © BROOD Magazine
Doting mum of two, Actress & Radio Presenter Brooke Vincent is best known for her role in one of the UK’s most loved TV programmes, Coronation Street, but in 2018 Brooke boldly ventured into the world of business launching her company Oh So B. After starting the business in her bedroom, whilst juggling her acting career, Brooke’s fabulous stationery brand has gone from strength to strength, and Oh So B has now become one of the go-to brands for practical and stylish planners for busy professionals. We sat down with Brooke last year to chat about what inspired her to step into the daunting world of business and how different she finds running a business now that she is a mum of two gorgeous boys – Mexx and Monroe.
Do you have any advice or tips for fellow working parents?
“If there are any tips out there you need to tell me because my life is just like a circus!” We all laugh and chat about life within our own circus’. “I think even though it’s something I struggle with myself, I feel like I’m constantly learning, but you shouldn’t expect too much from yourself. You need to remind yourself just what good job you’re doing. That’s why I’ve included reminders in my planners that ‘you are doing your best’, as I think it’s so important for us to remember that.”
“IF THERE ARE ANY TIPS OUT THERE;
YOU NEED TO TELL ME BECAUSE MY
LIFE IS JUST LIKE A CIRCUS!”
Award-winning Radio & TV Presenter, doting Dad of two, Mike Toolan, is one of the UK’s most loved presenters; with an impressive career spanning over 20 years. After starting his career as a radio presenter in America, his career in Radio really took off in UK at the exact same time as he became a dad for the first time! In recent years Mike became a single dad, with his two children living with him full time, so he had to learn to manage the juggle of looking after two teenage children and school runs, alongside his work as a radio & TV presenter, Voice-over artist, numerous theatre roles and the latest string to his bow – writing for TV! We sat down with Mike to chat about how he managed to get through the haze of his first big break as a breakfast presenter (with 4am starts), alongside becoming a father; becoming a dad to two under two, and the job opportunities that he turned down when they didn’t fit into his family life.
Have you got any tips for any other parents juggling work and family life?
“I’m always making notes of everything on my note’s app, and I put everything in the diary, so the iPhone has changed my life in that way as there’s always reminders popping up. So, I would say just to be as organised as possible, as it really helps you from dropping the ball. I have to write everything down otherwise I’ll forget as I have a memory like Nemo!
Then the other thing that I do, that is quite a nice tip, is that whenever we go to bed, I have always got the kids to say their prayers at night – not even from a spiritual point of view, but just for them to think ‘what are you grateful for today?’ And we’d do a little list of gratitude, and then the one thing that does is remind them of the best bits of their day, even if that’s the dessert they’ve eaten or something like that. I think that it’s important that the last thing they do before they go to sleep is remember all the good things that have happened, and then they end their day on a positive. That’s really helped them both actually and I think it’s important to integrate a bit of mindfulness into their daily routine.”
Mike Toolan Image © BROOD Magazine
“IT ’S IMPORTANT THAT THE LAST THING THEY DO BEFORE THEY GO TO SLEEP IS REMEMBER ALL THE GOOD THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED”
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