Welcome to Spill the Milk, where we ask some of the UK's most famous mums and dads to reveal all about the wonderful world of parenting.
I grew up with three brothers, so I always wanted to have a big family
I didn't plan any of this though. My husband and I weren't married or anything like that when I became pregnant with our little boy, it was a surprise and same goes for our daughter. I know that must be very hard for a lot of people to hear, but that's our journey and I think that's the way it has to be for somebody like me, because in the acting world, you can't plan anything. I don't think I would have become a mum until maybe the age I am now (37). I had my little boy when I was 32 and that’s quite young for my industry. I always knew I wanted a big family though, so I suppose I should have really started a bit earlier.
My first pregnancy was exciting because it was such a shock, but 14 weeks in I nearly lost the baby
The doctor said it was due to stress and that's when I realised I have to learn some breathing techniques. There was a reason why there was a thing called ‘bed rest’ back in the Victorian days, because women don't know how to rest. The doctor said ‘the only thing you should be doing for the next two weeks is lying in bed and going to the toilet and everybody should be doing everything else for you’, and I said ‘in what world is that going to happen?’. I had a lot of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) with my first pregnancy too and a lot of water retention. This was about six months in, but I would sit on a chair and there would be an indentation in my leg where that chair had been. With my first there were so many things that I’d never even heard of too, like carpal tunnel. I just woke up one morning with like electric bolts in my fingertips, it was so painful, but apparently it's very common in pregnancy. I also had this thing called restless legs. Honestly, I'd rather be in pain than ever have that, it's like you have to keep moving your legs so you can't get to sleep. But with both pregnancies the worst was the acid reflux, it was absolutely appalling. If I didn't have a Rennie with me, it was a no go.
I'm a very much 'go with the flow' kind of mum, because I don't really know what I'm doing
Obviously it's the most amazing thing in the world, but I can’t control any of it. There were all these ideals I placed upon being a mum, as my mum had us all on a farm and I had my little boy in London, so I knew what I wanted to be for my children. I wanted to be there for them 100 per cent and I didn't want them growing up a small little place in in London. It’s now that we’ve moved out of London and I that I have more space with my children that it’s everything I thought it would be. I am super surprised about the constant guilt and comparison I experience though and the sleep deprivation is something that you can't prepare yourself for - you don't know yourself with sleep deprivation when you have children.
There's this cup I've got where you can click the mouthpiece on and off, so you don’t have to worry about it spilling when you’re breastfeeding
You just click this button and then the mouthpiece opens so you can drink from the cup and it keeps it warm as well, so you don't have to lift the lid or pop anything, it's just like a little ‘click’ and you’re like ‘this is great, I can breastfeed and drink my tea’. But also my husband will make me a coffee and I'll never drink it. Believe me, I want to drink that coffee, I want to sit down, not just on the toilet, and have five minutes to myself, but you can’t, you put it down and it's still there. So it keeps the coffee warm. But it's so good because your child's safe and you can enjoy your drink. I'm also a big fan of the Neal's Yard baby shampoo and bubble bath.
Milu Travel Mug
Lydia's must-have parenting product, that's ideal for if you're breastfeeding.
I’m in the four-year-old stage with my little boy and that has been quite challenging
I'm getting a real idea of what my child's going to be like as a teenager and there’s quite a lot of interesting stuff going on. You're being tested all time by your child who was once a sweet dough ball of dumpling and now they are challenging you on everything and if you've got a lot going on already it’s hard. One thing my birthing taught me though is to breathe, breathe your way through those moments, because you can't let that feeling rise in your chest or you’ll end up shouting and not being the mum that I want to be. I’ve also had to learn to let go of each stage of my little boy as a one year old, two year old, three year old, because you can’t constantly see them as perfect. All of a sudden you realise that your child is irritating you and you’re like ‘that wasn’t there last week’, but it’s because their personalities are developing and you have to let them do that. You can’t control that.
As a kid I poured apple juice down the stairs so my brother would slip down them
My brothers and I were constantly trying to kill each other and I have to say that was after they dug a hole and put me in it.
I have a lot more body confidence since becoming a mum
No matter what little thoughts I may have about my body now and again, you compare the significance of when you see your children and you think ‘I did that’. You have to be so kind to yourself, because women are just so hard on themselves. Sometimes I just have to close my ears off to what some other women are saying about themselves because they forget what they've done. Yes, you do have this result of your body changing, but personally, for me, I feel so strong and I'll take that any day over the way I felt in my twenties.
Would you rather…
Watch your child's favourite cartoon for a month or never watch Netflix again?
The first one.
Never drink wine again or never drink coffee again?
Never drink wine again.
Clean glitter out of the carpet or clean felt tip pen off the walls?
My little boy literally just said to us ‘look what I did Mummy and Daddy, I did my height!’ and we turned around and on the painted walls he’d drawn his height with felt tip pen, which we've kept we didn't even tell him off because we thought it was so sweet.
Be able to go to the toilet and peace forever or have undisturbed sleep for a year?
I think the toilet, I really value that time. Even the dogs are at the door, it’s just like ‘please go away, let me have this time to myself’.
Experience your kids temper tantrums in a busy library or on an aeroplane?
That's a no brainer, a library.
Lydia can be seen in the Netflix adaption of Jane Austin's Persuasion, out now.