DJ and TV presenter Edith Bowman has two sons Rudy (pictured above in 2010) and Spike with her husband Tom Smith, frontman of the band Editors. She’s refreshingly down to earth for a celeb mum and here talks openly about her family experiences, which sound all too familiar…
So how well do your sons Rudy, 7, and Spike, 3, get on together?
They have their moments. One minute they are hugging each other, the next grabbing toys off each other, but there is definitely a deep and honest love for each other. Spike adores Rudy and Rudy loves teaching Spike stuff. There is definitely a bit of brotherly competitiveness there too. Rudy is very patient and especially if I’m on my own with them, he never demands time or anything. Spike is going through quite a clingy phase at the moment, I call him my little orangutan. Rudy really is a great help and Spike is pretty awesome at doing the dishes, he loves it!
How did you find the ‘terrible twos’ – is Spike safely out of that toddler tantrum phrase now?
I’m sure that spreads into Terrible 3s – it did with Rudy. The boys are really so little and still don’t know how to express themselves. I call Spike my little firecracker, he’s definitely got a spark to him but it’s about talking to him, not shouting and making him realise how he should talk and react to things. We have this thing where if he shouts it’s about letting him know we won’t listen to him unless he uses his inside voice, not to shout. But it’s hard not to laugh as he is utterly hilarious.
We’ve all suffered the ‘Are we nearly there yet’ moans during long car journeys with the kids. How do you keep yours happy?
With audio books – our boys Spike and Rudy love stories. One of our favourites is Fantastic Mr Fox – voiced by the brilliant Chris O’Dowd. Spike & Rudy love it! We also play games like Eye Spy and they love music so we have playlists that they have helped to make. That’s why it felt like a very natural fit to work with Vauxhall on the Backseat Bedtime campaign – I’ve narrated a number of stories to keep children entertained while travelling in the car.
Are you the chief story reader at home, or do you and Tom take it in turns?
We are a team and it really depends on if we are both home, but both boys get stories every night either from us or from their grandparents. Bedtime is one of my favourite times of the day. Spike absolutely loves The Gruffalo’s Child at the moment and isn’t happy unless I put on what he calls “silly voices”.
As a DJ, what music do you play to your boys?
Spike’s favourite tracks at the moment are Thunderstruck by ACDC as it’s used in Planes 2 Fire and Rescue and Primal Scream’s Rocks as it’s featured in Shaun The Sheep. Rudy loves a real mix of stuff and has a sensitivity for classical as well as loving Uptown Funk and I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow.
So what would a perfect day with your family be like?
A nice lazy morning with pancakes, bacon and strawberries for breakfast, followed by a stomp on Hampstead Heath with bikes or just exploring. The boys are very active and are both great swimmers, so maybe a trip to the pool followed by pizza or burgers. Then back home for a movie followed by pyjamas and stories.
Looking back to your boys’ births, did they go as planned?
No. I have a heart condition which meant I knew I was having a C-section both times because of that. Do you know, I have a real bug-bear when you tell people about the C-section and they make that ‘ooh’ sound as if it’s the end of the world. Don’t be so judgmental and assume it’s a bad thing. It’s not, both my boys are brilliant and healthy and so am I. That should be the main priority.
Talking about judging mums, what are your thoughts on the controversy around breastfeeding?
I was lucky that I was able to breastfeed both times – I loved it. It was so convenient and easy. My mum wasn’t able to breastfeed with both my brother and I, and I know how bad she felt about that. Similarly to having a C-section, there shouldn’t be so much pressure or judgement on women around breastfeeding. It should be their choice what they do and it also infuriates me that people have a problem with women breastfeeding in public. If you don’t like it you can be the one to leave, not me.
Edith Bowman has teamed up with Vauxhall to create Backseat Bedtime helping parents entertain their children on long car journeys. Using Vauxhall’s in-car intelligence system OnStar, you can stream Edith’s stories, as audio or video, to recreate bedtime on the move. Find out more here or watch the three videos below.