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Mum vs Life: Jenni Baird "My daughter likes to have conversations with me while I'm in the shower"

Welcome to the summer series of Mum vs Life. Each week we’ll bring you our favourite celebrity mum who will take us through their day. This week we talk to actress Jenni Baird from the epic Aussie drama A Place to Call Home and mother-of-two.

JENNI BAIRD

WAKE UP

My husband and I wake up at 6.30am EVERY DAY!  This is because our daughter has one of those “Star/Sun” clocks and she waits for the Sun to appear before leaving her room and this happens to be 6.30 – otherwise it’d be earlier.

I am a morning person, however I am groggy until I have had my coffee.  I love this time of day.  The world looks glorious and I usually look forward to my day.

Yes, so first thing I do is turn on the coffee machine.  Second thing is lift my baby boy out of his cot, third thing is a nappy change, and depending on how messy it is, sometimes we are running a bath at 6.45am!

BREAKFAST

Breakfast in all reality could just be the latte I have religiously.  However, I will try and eat cereal and sometimes an egg as I know it’s good to eat breakfast.   I find that the milky coffee really fills me up.

When I am feeling motivated in terms of health I will sometimes start the day with a glass of water with lemon squeezed in.

BATH vs SHOWER

I wish I had a firm routine with this, but I don’t.  If I have been filming I will generally always shower before bed to really deep cleanse and get all the TV makeup off.

If I am at home with the  kids, I have to wait for my baby boy to go down for his morning nap and then I can have a relaxed shower – ‘me time’, I call that.

Unfortunately, I can rarely use our big deep bath as the pipes are very close to Charlie’s room and we don’t want to wake him up!  So I am a shower girl out of necessity.

Our daughter, Rose, does freely wander in and talk to me while I am in the shower.  That’s because we’ve trained her not to yell out and wake her baby brother.

GETTING DRESSED

I am a firm believer in “just because you’re at home with the kids doesn’t mean you don’t make an effort”.  I am afraid of the daggy-mum-in-track-pants trap because it would be so easy to give up and sleep and live in the same tracksuit for days at a time!  So I really try (most days) to feel put together to some extent. That being said, the teachers at Rose’s preschool have seen me in all attires!  From full hair and makeup and heels to Asics and baggy sweats.

I love clothes and love shopping.  I can’t do it as much as I’d like.  I was spoiled living in LA as there was so much affordable fashion there.  Here in Australia, things are often twice what they’d be in the States (hello, Converse sneakers) so I will try and look for Australian labels like Lover and Lisa Ho.

I feel most comfortable in skinny jeans and some sort of heel on a boot- when I say heel, I mean a one-inch Cuban.

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WHAT IS YOUR WORK DAY LIKE?

Work on a TV set is usually early- like 5am.  I get ready the night before so I can literally roll out of bed, into the waiting clothes, grab the bag and go to the car.  Working lately with Charlie and a nanny changed that to an extent.  Charlie and I would meet our nanny on location or in studio, sometimes at 5 in the morning.  It would be pitch black and she would be there ready to receive baby, port-a-cot, nappy bag, breast pump, eskys, etc.  Now that he is older and not breastfeeding I will be able to leave him at home more and he can visit at a reasonable time during the day.

WHAT DOES WORK MEAN TO YOU?

Work is such joy for me.  An actor’s life is so sporadic in terms of employment we are usually thrilled to be working.  Each job is totally different but the ethic remains the same- turn up on time, learn your lines, switch on your imagination.

I have spent many years of my life on TV sets and I am pretty comfortable there.  I believe I need to be relaxed to do good work for the most part, and if I am enjoying myself I am relaxed.  All Saints taught me that.  Lots of banter and good conversation and lots of laughing!

FOOD AT WORK

We are lucky at work because food is always provided.  A Place to Call Home had us in very tight undergarments (to mimic a corseted feel) which was vital to getting into character and period (1953). This meant that I was unable to eat any kind of carb while filming as blowing up inside Spanx is PAIN.  So I had to eat largely protein and vegetables and save the pasta, bread and potatoes for when I got home.

I am a coffee drinker, but only one a day or I am skittish and nervous!  No sugar, just a one-shot latte, full fat milk.

I am usually a yoga girl but have torn my rotator cuff so am trying to power walk.  However my baby boy is 12kgs now and giving my biceps a daily work out!

CHILDREN AND WORK

I was on the Morning Show two weeks ago and my daughter Rose refused to watch.  Maybe it’s too weird seeing Mummy on the TV.  My boy watched and pointed to the TV then cried.  Why wasn’t Mummy getting out of that box??

When I am doing theatre, Rose loves coming and meeting the actors in the rehearsal room.  She is more bored when I am on TV as the hours are much much longer – and the free cordial is fun for only SO long!  She does say she wants to be a doctor and an actor.  Well, that is true if you’re on a medical drama!

EVENINGS

We love eating out but the reality of life with two small children means dinner at home for the most part!  We do try to incorporate date night into our week if possible and then we will go out somewhere nice.   Charlie eats early these days, at 5pm, and I will cook something separate for him.  When he is older he will eat with the family and we all eat the same thing – no short order cook in this house!

Our end of day routine is pretty standard: dinner, bath, story time and bed.  7-7.30pm is the window for getting both kids in bed and then the evenings are ours (unless my husband is on deadline, then he works) to watch TV or a movie or for me to read if I am addicted to a book.

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If I am working I use the evenings to learn lines and get an early night.

BEDTIME

Sleep comes easily for me if I’m not stressed about the next day.  I am usually wakeful the night before the first day on a new job. I am stressed until they “have something in the can” and then I exhale. I do love having a long shower before bed as it’s great for your skin and gets you relaxed-especially in the winter.

My hubby usually makes us herbal tea in the evenings. I am a chamomile girl.

Jenni Baird graduated from Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2000. 

After a worldwide search, Touchstone Television cast her in a US Pilot, Metropolis, which was months after re-locating from Perth to Sydney.  This was the first of 3 pilots she filmed in the USA prompting her to move there in 2004.

Previously Jenni spent a successful 3 year stint on Logie award winning medical drama, All Saints, where she played nurse Paula Morgan.

Whist living in Los Angeles she starred in several television shows including Justice and Good Christian Belles and spent a season on the USA network’s The 4400 playing Meghan Doyle.

Her love project in Los Angeles included marrying Aussie screen writer Michael Petroni and having her first child, daughter Rose Lilly.  Her second pregnancy brought her back to Sydney where 7 weeks after Charlie’s birth she took to the stage at The Ensemble Theatre in American play, ‘Circle Mirror Transformation’.

Her return to Australian television comes as a 5 episode arc on Seven Networks new epic country drama, A Place to Call Home.

Keep reading our Mum vs Life series here:

Sally Obermeder: “It’s a tough balancing act as a parent”

Meshel Laurie “My children are just starting to resent my work

Jackie O “My daughter loves to pretend that she works too”

Amanda Kellar “I have help and I choose not to feel guilty”

Mrs Woog: “I live my life in chaos

Lindy Klim “Two of my kids are fantastic eaters but my son is shocking”

Rebecca Judd “Gone are the days when I wear heels”

Lisa Williams “How I teach my son not to be afraid”

Miki Field “When Anthony is home, it is a little more chaotic”

Angali Rao “Dinner time with my son drives me to my wit’s end”

Tags: mum-vs-life , parenting-2
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