Actress, mum-of-six and author of Six Under Eight shares her take on parenting
As a mum to six young kids, you’ve certainly got a lot of parenting experience. What’s your best advice?
If by ’experienced‘ you mean I’m drowning in children, then yes, that‘s true! However, I’m no expert and don’t pretend to be. My one piece of advice is that there are no rights or wrongs in being a good parent. All children are different and all parents are different, with separate wants, needs and expectations. Follow your instincts and listen to your intuition and children – and you can‘t go wrong! Also, ask for help when you need it. There are no rewards in this parenting malarky and no medals for slogging it out alone. So when offers of assistance are made, grab them.
How did you find the time to write your book,
( Penguin, $ 35)?
While pregnant with the twins [daughters Xalia and Margot were born in November 2014], I had a dreadful time trying to sleep. At some point, I started writing anecdotes about parenthood, making little observations and taking notes on strategies I‘d developed in coping with all the hurdles parents face every day. On my partner‘s [chef Shannon Bennett] urging, I sent off an excerpt of my musings to Penguin Random House in the hope of being offered some advice, but was instead offered a book deal!
What’s your parenting style?
Free range! I‘m all about letting my children discover their world, passions and themselves in their own unique way.
How has motherhood changed you?
Becoming a mother has made me a better person. Parenthood has opened my eyes and expanded my horizons further than I could ever have imagined. Life now seems richer: colours are more brilliant, achievements have more meaning. I can only assume this is because everything I do now is for someone other than myself.
one baby product you can’t live without?
Papaw ointment. It has a myriad of uses in my household: from chapped lips and sore little bottoms to grazes, rashes, eczema, red noses when they have a cold, mild skin infections… I‘ve even tried it on cradle cap!