Parenthood

Lucy Kennedy is the lovable television presenter and mum everybody can't help watching (and giggling with). She has recently welcomed her third baby, Jessica, who joins big siblings, Holly and Jack. We caught up with her on maternity leave from her usual spot on TV3's Six O'Clock show. With her cheeky sense of humour and her raw honesty, we were intrigued to find out what she has learned since becoming a mother seven years ago.

In her own words:

"Don't sweat the small things

Enjoy every single second because boy, does it go by quickly. I still can't quite believe that my eldest, Jack is seven-years-old, and Holly is nearly five-years-old. It's all gone by so fast. I've loved every single crazy minute. The truth is, you spend so much time worrying when you're a parent – worrying about their health, if they're happy, if they have eaten enough, slept enough... the list goes on. The worrying never stops; it just changes each year. So with Jess, our third (and final!) baby, I'm aware of this now, so I'm definitely more chilled, and I'm taking more in, slowing down when necessary and trying to worry less.

Being a mum can be very tiring and very stressful. There are school-runs, children fighting, sickness, running a house, work, exhaustion. So it's very easy to let it all get to you, but there's no point in getting upset about these mundane things, save your energy for what matters.

Go to bed early

Don't laugh, this seems very obvious, but none of us actually do it. At least I didn't until now! I used to plan my sleep every morning as I was obsessed with getting more. It's taken seven years of complaining to anyone who'd listen, but I've learned that two hours before midnight makes all the difference in the world! It really does, try it. Like most people, I adore and really need my sleep. Pre-children, I would have easily slept for 12 hours a night, now if I'm lucky, I get a broken seven hours. I'm used to it now, though, and I can operate perfectly well on this. With children, learn to sleep wisely and get into bed at around 10pm. Also, if you can have a cheeky kip post school-run or when nobody needs you, do that too.

Ask for help

I'm lucky, I really am. My older sister, Anna lives across the road, and my mum and dad live five minutes away. I also have a very close bunch of girlfriends, who are within easy reach. Support and help when you are a mum are so unbelievably important. With experience, I now realise that I’m not actually a superwoman, I can't do everything all the time. There were times I wouldn't have accepted the kind offers of help from family, friends, and neighbours, but my God I do now! It's great to build up a support network with other mums with other mums in school and on your road if you can. Parents helping parents is what it's all about. Being a new mum can be quite lonely at times and exhausting especially as you're trying to look after a brand new baby with no experience and you're living in fear. My advice is, don't ever feel bad about asking for help.

"My advice is, don't ever feel bad about asking for help. People like being asked, and we all need it now and again."

 

Find the time for each child

Now that I've three small people who all need me for different reasons and at different times, I can feel quite over-stretched at times. I only have two arms, and there’s only one of me. The older children absolutely adore the new baby, Jess, but she does take up a lot of my time now with feeding, changing, and staring at her! So, now, I allocate proper quality time each for Jack and Holly individually – they get one-on-one with me, my undivided attention. With Jack, it's usually playing football; with Holly, it's playing tea parties with her dolls. They love it, I love it, and it's good for them. I notice how giddy they get when I suggest 'mummy time' – it makes them feel really important. To do this, however, I have to ignore the full dishwasher, the urge to clean or pick up my phone and just concentrate on them. Twenty minutes every day makes all the difference. Money doesn't matter; I truly believe that the most important thing you can give someone, is your time.

If your baby has a fever, don't panic.

It can be extremely frightening, especially the first time it happens. I remember when Jack was a baby and got his first fever, we were worried sick. Anything over 37.8 C is a fever, so my advice is to keep checking your baby or toddler's temperature. Strip them right down to their nappy or give them a lukewarm bath. There is medication available in the pharmacy like Ibuprofen or paracetamol which will allow you to medicate your baby effectively at home, but make sure you always read the label and if in doubt, phone your doctor."

Lucy is currently working with Nurofen for Children on the #FeverFighters campaign to help educate parents on the signs of a fever and how to manage fever effectively at home.

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