Denise Van Outen is fronting a new campaign to get mums mobile-internet-savvy after research by Three and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) found that half of mums are logging onto the internet in the middle of the night just to get everything done.
ThinkBaby caught up with her at Three’s Mums On The Go event to find out how she gets everything done.
TB: How much do you rely on the internet as a mum?
DVO: Oh I think it’s a necessity now. Just an example, I took Betsey to LA last week on her first long haul flight. It was 11 hours and she was as good as gold because I downloaded all these toddler apps and her favourite shows onto my iPad. Every time I thought she was going to cry, I just put on In the Night Garden and On the flight when I got the iPad out, she just stopped and went ‘wow’ and then she kept turning the iPad over to try and find out how Upsy Daisy got into it. She tapping it to work it out, it was so funny.
Why do mums end up doing it all?
I think we put pressure on ourselves to do everything. I moan and I nag Lee (Mead – Denise’s husband) to do things and he says, “but you won’t let me do it!” Take organising the changing bag, I just naturally do it because I’m really organised and I know that if I left it to him, we’d go out and there would be something missing. But as I’m doing it I complain that I’m always doing it.
How do you make sure you get a bit of me-time?
Well it’s rare…! Nowadays I get excited about things like having time to just sit in bed with the iPad. There was a time when you’d never hear me say that, I’d rather be out in a bar having a glass of wine. But to have a bath, get my PJs on early, get into bed, go online or read a magazine… heaven!
When you had Betsey you went straight to work on Legally Blond. Any tips for working mums?
My top advice would be if anyone offers help, take it. I think sometimes we’re too proud and don’t want to accept help because we want to seem in control. Every mum has meltdown moments and you worry about sounding like a failure, but you not! Everyone goes through the same things so when people do offer help, take it, even if its just ten minutes to have a walk on your own or go out to get a coffee. Just do it because happy mummy equals happy baby.
Any tips for disguising tiredness?
Whatever you try, nothing works except a good night’s sleep! I’m lucky because my husband is really hands on and we work similar hours. So he’s quite happy to tell me to go back to bed and get a bit more sleep. My mum was brilliant too. She would come and stay most Tuesday nights to let me catch up on much needed sleep.
Do you have to follow a strict routine to make sure everything runs smoothly?
We’re not quite that organised really! We just go with the flow as much as we can. You learn to gauge who’s getting stressed when. Sometimes when Lee just can’t calm her down I’ll come in and take over and take a breather. We just sort of know.
Do you get much time together as a family?
We make time. We’ve had to change everything and be very strict. More so me than him. I’ve restricted the days I work and we have Sundays as our family day. When we were in shows, we’d make Mondays our family day. That’s the one day when we have a no-phone rule. We usually go for lunch or for a walk, or just sit around at home or go to the park with Betsey.