The Disney’s Mum of the Year opens up to Mother&Baby about her health battles, learning to love her post-baby body and how motherhood has changed her outlook on life…
It’s been a tough few years for former Liberty X singer, Michelle Heaton. Not only has she had her own health problems, including a double mastectomy and the decision to have a hysterectomy to deal with, earlier this year her baby son was rushed to hospital with suspected viral meningitis and has recently been criticised for losing her baby weight too quickly. But despite it all, the 35-year-old mum to daughter, Faith, 2 and son, Aaron Jay, nicknamed AJ, 6 months, is still smiling. M&B caught up with Disney’s Mum of the Year for a chat about body confidence, battling her health demons and her fail-safe bedtime trick (CLUE: she’s a huge fan of Disney’s new Magical Bedtime Service)….
On being a mum… 'It’s all about understanding that your kids come first and that everything else will have to fit in around your children. Children’s daily routines change all the time, but I believe being a good mum is about listening to what your children need on that day, then, going from there.'
On family time…. 'There’s nothing more important in life than your family – it might sounds soppy but it’s true. Every moment that happens, and every amazing memory I have from now on is about my family. It’s not just about me anymore.'
'It’s not just about me anymore.'
On her health battles… 'You can never switch off from being a parent – even when are in bed. So my had to play second fiddle to everything. I suppose I haven’t really had time to actually sit down and really grieve what’s happening, but that’s a good thing. I haven’t had that many downs, mainly because my kids pick me up.'
On mother’s intuition… 'When AJ was ill, it was such a scary time. We didn’t even know it was Meningitis at first. I had an overwhelming thought that there was something wrong with him, and I didn’t know what. He didn’t have a temperature at the time, there was no rash, and there was no reason for me to believe that it was meningitis – I just knew there was something not quite right. I took him to the hospital and within two hours his temperature had gone up to 39° and he was later diagnosed with viral meningitis. A mother’s instincts are vital – you can never overreact with a child.'
On losing weight… 'Everybody knows that to lose weight you can’t eat processed foods like crisps, sweets, and chocolate or drink alcohol. If you eliminate those things you will naturally lose weight but you have to stick at it, to make it happen. There’s no magic potion or pill – it’s literally just clean healthy eating and keeping active when you can.'
On her post-baby body…. 'Mums shouldn’t give themselves a hard time. I had a C-section with AJ so I had to wait eight weeks before going back to the gym. But I knew I wanted to lose my baby weight and to do that I had to be really strict with my diet – and when I mean strict I don’t mean negligent of eating, I just mean clean. It’s not that I felt pressure to lose weight – I just wanted to feel like me again. Just because I’m a mum, doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to be happy in my own skin and I wanted to get that back.'
'Mums shouldn’t give themselves a hard time.'
On ‘date nights’… 'Now that I’m a mum, if I go out, it’s usually a work do, or a date night with my husband, Hugh.Organising a night out with the girls rarely happens – most of us are mums so we can’t go back reeking of alcohol or with hangovers. My baby doesn’t care if I’m hungover – he will still get me up at 5.30am! But it’s important for mums (and dads) to take time out. We make sure that we have a date night once a month and a long weekend away, just the two of us, once a year – when the grandparents get time with the children, and they probably get to eat chocolate every day!'
On toddler tantrums… 'Becoming a mum has taught me to be a more patient person. Faith is hitting her terrible twos. She had a bit of a freak out at the airport the other day and out of nowhere started screaming ‘no mummy no’ and I said ‘I’m not touching you, my hands are here’, everyone was looking so I was patient until the situation cooled down, then talked to her calmly. You have to have a totally different approach with little ones – if it was my husband screaming at me I’d have screamed back!'
'If it was my husband screaming at me I’d have screamed back!'
On getting the kids to bed… 'It all got a bit crazy at bath-time last night – Faith decided that she wanted to kick AJ in the bath so to calm down the situation I said if she’s good Jake, the pirate, would call her before bed-time. Some mums might use bribes like sweets or chocolate to calm the situation, but I either stay calm or use the [Disney Magical Bedtime] call service – it’s been a saving grace since Faith has hit her terrible two’s (and it won’t rot her teeth!)'
To help encourage kids into a good bedtime routine or reward good behaviour, parents can now text the new Disney Magical Bedtime service to arrange for their children to receive a special goodnight call Mickey Mouse and friends. To receive a Disney Magical Bedtime call text your chosen character name to 78000.
The hunting habits of the T-Rex. A slightly unorthodox baby-sleep trick. How to enlist a massive US actor as a super fan. Yep, M&B learnt a lot during a 15-minute interview with Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter