She’s the modern day Mary Poppins who was the star of Channel 4’s Three Day Nanny. But when Kathryn Mewes gave birth to her first child just 10 weeks ago, she admits she “lost all control” and her expertise failed her.
Even though the high-profile nanny had trained countless people to be better parents, she resorted to hiring a super nanny of her own to help her with her daughter Harriet.
“Someone else trained my baby to sleep while I walked around the block with the dog, sobbing with guilt and frustration,” she told The Telegraph.
An uneasy start
Kathyrn had a difficult birth – Harriet was born by forceps and an episiotomy – and later struggled to bond with her baby. “Once I knew she was fine, I didn’t show much interest. I fell asleep,” she says.
She only began to bond with her baby once she was home alone with her and now she’s refreshingly admitted that being a mum is just not as easy as she thought.
“It’s all very well telling parents to behave in certain ways, but I realise now that life gets in the way,” she admits. “I’m not sure I’d have the strength to leave a child to cry and I don’t know how long I could let them tantrum without stepping in to soothe them.”
How becoming a mum changed the super nanny
Britain’s most successful baby experts Gina Ford and Jo Frost have no children of their own – and Kathryn believes this is no coincidence, as your emotions and outlook change once you’re a mum.
“You can be more logical before you have a baby,” she said. “I found it very easy to say to parents, ‘Your child is fed, bathed and you’ve read them a story. Leave them to sleep, what more could they need?'”
But Kathryn says she wasn’t ready for the “strength of emotion” she felt for her daughter. “No one had warned me about maternal guilt,” she said. “My job has always been to teach children to wait but I don’t want Harriet to have to wait for anything.”
The now 42-year-old has written two parenting books and runs a bespoke nanny business that promises to sort unruly children out in just 72 hours – but says she’s “just like any other mother”.
She added: “I’m constantly worrying if she’s hungry, if she’s sleeping. I cry because I’m scared something will happen to her, because it’s all so hard and because I’m so happy – and lucky – to have her.”
Well, we have to say, if even the experts struggle, we feel a bit better about ourselves.