couples

Natarsha Belling: Never underestimate the power of a glass of wine

She gets up at 3.30 every morning, juggles live television and two boys. What’s her secret? ‘Never underestimate the power of a great glass of wine’

Natarsha Belling

Run us through your typical day?

Alarm goes off at 3.30am. I jump out of bed, have breakfast and read the online newspapers and my twitter feed.  I head into work ready for Wake-Up, there’s lots of preparation (and I mean a LOT of make-up needed at that time in the morning!).

After the show, I work through my emails, prep for the next day and attend meetings. I then race home, try and fit in a quick sleep before heading off for the school run! My afternoons are full of organised chaos – homework, bath time, umpiring bike races and backyard cricket, dinner prep and trying to keep across breaking news and the rundown for tomorrow’s show.

I have an afternoon conference call to run through the next day’s show, while cooking dinner and reading news stories online. The joys of multi-tasking.

After my sons head to bed I grab some dinner, watch the news and fall into bed. Ready for another day full of adventures!

What are the challenges you face?

Not enough space provided. Seriously, the constant battle between juggling work and family. My sons are still quite young and while I have a very demanding job, I’m also determined to be a very hands on mum.

What is your favourite time of the day?

I have two favourite times of the day. Picking up my sons from school and hearing about their day and then watching my sons sleep peacefully in their beds. Bliss.

When is the last time you almost lost your cool when dealing with your kids?

Last night. They have selective hearing and I think I broke the world record for the amount of times I asked them to get into the bath. Consquences work brilliantly.

When is the last time one of your children embarrassed you in public?

Today, they asked me to stop singing in the car as I was ruining the song.

Have you ever embarrassed one of your children in public?

Yes, a few months ago my eldest son ask me not to kiss him goodbye inside the school gates. I was devastated.

How does being a modern mum make you feel? What are the specific challenges you face?

I think many modern mums (like I did) put too much pressure on themselves. We need to be kind to ourselves and realise compared to previous generations, many of us are very blessed. My grandmother had five children, with no electricity, no modern technology, no washing machine, no fridge, no take away. I never saw my grandmother stressed because she had experienced real life challenges and focused on what was really important – health, happiness and family.

Her favourite motto was the Serenity Prayer – “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We can learn a lot from the extraordinary courage and wisdom of our mothers and grandmothers.

How do you get everything done and ensure you pay enough attention to your children?

I was a perfectionist, but that disappeared a few months after having my first son. Our children need our love and attention and that basket of washing can wait. It’s all about priorities and working out what you see as important. I adore that my sons have taught me to appreciate about being present and living in that moment. I now am far more relaxed about the list of endless jobs and enjoy being present with my family.

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Was it hard to go back to work after becoming a mum?

The hardest decision of my life. I felt guilty every single time I walked out the door. But that is often a question never asked of new dads and that disappoints me. We need to redefine social attitudes, why don’t we ask many new dads that same question. Shouldn’t they have the same opportunities to bond with their new precious babies and do many new dads feel the same guilt we do and why/why not?

How do you make weekends special for your family or are they just as crazy and busy as weekdays?

After almost a decade of working weekends, I am now weekend free and it’s liberating! Working weekends was great for the family (when the boys were young) as I was able to stay at home with them during the week. But now I adore spending weekends with family and friends. We have strategically stepped back from too many weekend sport commitments with the boys, as we love just hanging out and enjoying family time.

Are you an involved mum when it comes to school and activities or do you prefer to take a step back?

I try to be as hands on as possible with school and activities because as parents we strive to support our children and their education. Yet, I also believe it’s so important to let your children stand on their own two feet and learn about resilience, respect and responsibility.

What kind of questions do your children ask you about your work?

Of all the great questions they have asked me, this would be my favourite. “What do you do if you need to go to the toilet during your show”? After 13 years of working hard at school, three years at University and 20 years of journalism it came to this. Priceless.

If you could ask for any sort of parenting advice, what would it be?

I still don’t understand why hospitals don’t hand out an instruction manual when we leave hospital with a newborn. There was so much focus on the birth of the baby, but what about when you arrive home? I would have loved to know more about breastfeeding (it does not come naturally for many new mums!) and how to settle a newborn, how to change a nappy and how to cope with serious sleep deprivation.

If you could share one thing you’ve learned about motherhood, what would it be?

Tomorrow is a new day, stop sweating the small stuff and never underestimate the power of a really good laugh and a glass of great wine!

Australia has a new conversation for breakfast. Wake Up is a different way to start your day. Set in the stunning surrounds of Sydney’s northern beaches, Wake Up broadcasts live every morning from Manly’s Surf City, kicking off your morning with something intelligent, irreverent and entertaining.

Hosts Natarsha Belling and James Mathison, along with newsreader Nuala Hafner, bring something unique to the national conversation. Nothing is off-limits, no topic is taboo. There is nothing Tarsh and Matho won’t talk about. “You cannot get out of bed at 3am every morning if you do not genuinely love and respect the people that you are working with”, says Tarsh.

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