Rachel Stevens – known to many as a former S Club 7 starlette and now Amelie’s mum – found the time to catch up with MFM and talk all things parenting. From balancing motherhood and work, to staying in shape and mum-and-daughter supermarket trips, Rachel answered all our questions. And despite her TV and pop star credentials, we think Rach sounds rather normal!
MFM: How has your life changed since becoming mum to Amelie?
RS: Amelie has just turned 1 and she’s growing into such a funny, bubbly little girl. She’s changed my life completely but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I was overwhelmed in the first three months but once I adjusted and got a good routine going, I loved it.
MFM: You’ve recently recorded a free-to-download ‘Tasty Tunes’ album with Ella’s Kitchen and performed at the Monkey Puzzle Nursery in South London. What was the motivation behind that?
RS: Funnily it was my best gig to date as the kids were lovely and got so involved. I love Ella’s Kitchen as a brand, what they stand for and I couldn’t resist doing something that helps parents who are trying to get their kids to eat more fruit and vegetables. A healthy lifestyle is essential to children’s growth, so working with the team to find a fun way to get them loving the good stuff will always get my support.
MFM: Do you strongly believe in a healthy lifestyle?
RS: Yes, I really do. I have been on and off diets for the last 10 years and I’ve come to realise that they really don’t work. As long as you eat healthily and exercise that’s the key.
MFM: The study commissioned by Ella’s Kitchen found that children who play and engage with vegetables outside of mealtimes are more likely to eat them than those who don’t. How do you get Amelie to enjoy eating her greens?
RS: She rarely refuses anything I give her as I try and make mealtimes fun, with a variety of colourful foods and I let her touch everything. It’s not much fun for me cleaning up afterwards though.
MFM: If Amelie does become a fussy eater in the future, how do you think you’ll deal with it?
RS: I will try and distract her in someway so that she forgets that she was grumpy about eating something to begin with. I’ll get her to play a game, sing a song or just give it to her the next day as by then she’ll probably have forgotten what she was kicking a fuss up about.
MFM: How do you find the time to stay fit and healthy?
RS: Amelie has me running around the house so that helps me to stay in shape, but just going for a power walk with the pram is good exercise. It’s a great solution if your short on time or don’t have the money right now to pay out for the gym. I also have an amazing trainer who I see three days a week, which I really appreciate as he keeps me motivated.
MFM: What’s your top tip for new mums that are juggling looking after a little one while trying to lose their baby weight?
RS: I make sure I drink lots of water but I’m the worst when it comes to actually doing it. I find it difficult to drink because it’s tasteless, so I to add a drop of lemon juice to it to give it that extra something.
MFM: How have you balanced your family and your career?
RS: It’s all about getting the right childcare, having flexible hours and taking the time to adjust to it all. Work is important, as parents need to have their own identity.
MFM: Do you think there’s a pressure out there to be supermum?
RS: I do believe there is a real pressure for first-time mums to be perfect at everything. The main thing I can advise is to sit down and breathe! Having children can feel overwhelming at times but us mums are doing our best and that’s all that matters. Once I’ve put Amelie to sleep that’s my time to stop, relax and unwind a little.
MFM: When out and about shopping with Amelie, how do you achieve a stress-free supermarket trip?
RS: I love watching Supernanny as she has so many great ideas that you can use in everyday situations. Amelie loves going to the supermarket as I let her hold items and play with them. I think as long as you make the trip as fun and interactive as possible, then your child will probably enjoy going.
MFM: What are your plans for you and Amelie in the future?
RS: Career wise, I am heading back into the studio. I’ve done a lot of one-off things but it’s so nice to go back to music. I’m also moving, so it’ll be nice to get settled with the family and just watch Amelie grow.
Rachel Stevens has teamed up with Ella’s Kitchen to record Tasty Tunes – a collection of free songs to encourage little ones to try new healthy foods. The songs were created on the back of new research that found toddlers who use all their senses to play with vegetables outside of mealtimes are more likely to eat them than those who don’t.