Prima Baby: Betsy will be 2 in May. Now she’s a toddler, a whole host of new parenting skills must come into play…
Lee Mead: Being a dad to a toddler is very different to being dad to a baby! Especially now Betsy can form mini-sentences and ask for what she wants, usually about 10 times in a row. Her favourite things to say at the moment are ‘Mickey’ (as in, ‘where’s Mickey,’ meaning Mickey Mouse) and, ‘Watch TV’ – it’s funny how she mastered that one! I can’t take my eyes off her for a second as she’ll grab everything in sight – and I mean everything. Nothing is left at ‘Betsy height’ any more. We’ve got picture frames and placemats in the strangest of places just so they stay in one piece! We’re running out of space – it’s quite funny.
PB: Your work takes you all over the world. Do you find it difficult to get a work-life balance?
LM: I don’t find it that difficult as I’m not usually away for too long. As a couple, Denise and I work hard to get the balance right. Most of my recent work has been London-based, so I’m home during the day. When I’m on tour with my band, it’s usually for around three weeks at a time, and that’s tricky because I always miss Denise and Betsy so much. Thank goodness for Skype is what I say! It really is brilliant.
PB: What, in your opinion, makes a good parent?
LM: That’s a hard question as there are so many factors. A key thing for me is making sure that the time I do have with my daughter is quality time – really listening to her, engaging and playing. Showing me one of her new books is the biggest thing in her world at that moment. We all lead busy lives and it’s not always easy to juggle things, but I think it’s really important to prioritise giving your children your time.
PB: What’s the best and most challenging thing about being a dad?
LM: The best thing for me is being woken up (although often far too early) by this happy, smiley little person. Betsy is always happy in the mornings, full of energy and ready to play. One of the most challenging things can be when she has a ‘moment’ and wants her own way. Around this age, they really do start to test you! It could be the simplest thing like wanting another one of her treats, usually a biscuit, or getting her ready for bed when she doesn’t want to go to sleep at all.
PB: What’s your favourite thing to do as a family?
LM: Simple things really. We love being at home, and are fortunate to live in a lovely area. We’ll often go out somewhere local and find a nice place to eat, or take a day trip to the beach. Betsy also has a few little friends now, and they come over to play, which is really sweet.
PB: Who’s the disciplinarian in your house – you or Denise?
LM: We’re pretty equal in that sense.
PB: Are you the kind of dad you thought you’d be?
LM: I don’t think you ever know the kind of parent you’ll be until you become one, and you’re constantly learning as you go along. But that’s the joy of it.
PB: This is your second year being involved with Tommy’s Let’s get baby friendly Awards. Tell us a little bit about why the charity and the work it does is so important to you…
LM: I was really honoured to present Tommy’s Champion Children Award last year and the stories really touched me. Once you’ve spent even an afternoon with the families, speaking to the parents and the children and getting to know them, you realise how strong family can be during the darkest times, and how challenging events can bring loved ones together. Some of the things the families have been through, and continue to face on a daily basis, is heartbreaking. For them to have support from a charity like Tommy’s, which works so hard all year round to help, makes all the difference.
For more information on the Tommy’s Let’s get baby friendly Awards, see tommys.org/awards.
For more details on Lee’s new album Love Songs visit leemead.co.uk.