The singer and actress, best known for her time in girl group Eternal, is now 40 and mum to two tots under three. Here she talks cravings, kick-boxing, au pairs and the importance of routine…
My children are my joy. Regan (the name means ‘little king’) is three and he’s musical, vibrant, witty and intelligent – a bit like his dad! He’s my best buddy and we spend lots of time hanging out and going on play dates. Our last was to see The Lion King! Kayori Rose (it’s a Japanese name meaning ‘strength and determination’) is aged 20 months and she’s beautiful, focused and sharp. Due to illness after breastfeeding I spent some time separated from Kayori which was really tough. Our bond is now stronger than ever: we paint each other’s toenails and watch movies together.
It seemed like someone was giving birth every five minutes, but it was never my turn
I have yearned to have children since I was 16 years old. I come from a huge family: mum has eight siblings, 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. It seemed like someone was giving birth every five minutes, but it was never my turn. Fortunately I met Jay, my husband, and now we have healthy, happy babies.
Pregnancy was a glorious experience during which I was spoilt and felt exuberant, sexy and glowing. Big boobs and curvy hips were a big bonus! With baby number one I worked out right up until I gave birth: I even kick boxed! I took pregnancy vitamins religiously, and my cravings basically consisted of McDonald’s and Pepsi.
As I suffer from lupus, I was warned about having babies. Up until a few years ago I was told I wouldn't be able to have babies so pregnancy was incredibly special. With both children there were unfortunate medical complications post-breastfeeding.
I am one of those annoying women who was back in her size eight clothes a week after giving birth. I think this was mainly down to keeping in shape throughout the pregnancy and not over-indulging. However, breastfeeding is a great way of losing weight fast. They just suck away the calories. I had natural births so was able to get back to the gym in six weeks. I went for gentle walks and did pelvic floor exercises until I got the all-clear to train again.
I quickly learned the power of the routine
My first few weeks as a mum were a steep learning curve. With my first baby I was all fingers and thumbs, tripping up over the slightest challenges like crying, winding, temperatures, nappy rash. Typical first-time mum stuff. I quickly learned the power of the routine. With my daughter everything was much easier, though she liked a good cry which sometimes felt like torture. Having a really great health visitor was key – my tip is to maintain a great relationship with your health visitor and don't be afraid to ask for advice as they are there to help.
Now I’m a 'mumpreneur' with my own business and that certainly has its challenges. It’s a juggling act but so rewarding and hopefully I'm inspiring the babies to be independent go-getters.
We decided to invest in some help at home. When it comes to family/work balance, the main issue is childcare, which can be total frustration. After exhausting all the options we now have an au pair. It’s an inventive way of trading your spare room for in-house child care!
We have fun at weekends. We go to swim school every Saturday and as we are quite an adventurous family our activities range from watching daddy jump out of a plane to jousting at medieval events.
We subscribe to the Super Nanny naughty step technique
My parenting style is best described as ‘fun disciplinarian’. My husband and I have very similar values but different approaches. We subscribe to the Super Nanny naughty step technique, which seems to work even with Kayori. We tend to use distraction techniques most of the time. But we are both firm believers in good manners and proactive parenting. The routine is everything and we pretty much lose the plot without it.
For their future, we encourage them to explore and discover their own passions, and we try to ensure they get to try and experiment with most age-appropriate activities. At the moment Regan wants to be a digger driver after watching Bob the Builder!
Kelle Bryan is patron of the St Thomas Lupus Trust and gives talks on health and wellness through agency Kruger Cowne.