Philippa Forrester says mums should not try to be perfect

TV presenter and producer Philippa Forrester is mum to Fred, 11, Gus, eight, and Arthur, five. We caught up with her to talk life with three boys, why we shouldn't wrap our children up in cotton wool, and the relentless pressure put on parents...


Three boys and the school holidays around the corner, how's life?

Frantic! We're gearing up for the summer break, so there's loads going on at school with end of year events, sports days and leaving ceremonies. Fred is about to go to big school which is a strange thought and for the first time in years I'm not going to have one in nursery or reception. When you have three close together you always have a small one - not any more!


What's a typical day like for you?

Up in the morning to complete and utter chaos - and that's each and every morning, without fail. My husband Charlie and I share the school run duties, but if I'm doing the morning then I drop all three of them off, and then head home to start work.

We're running a production company so it's time at my desk until the afternoon shift. Charlie has been filming abroad recently, so I've been on my own with the kids, which has been interesting...


How long is he away for?

The longest stint has been about five weeks. Home life is absolutely relentless without him, but I know he's coming back - hats off to single parents who do it on their own all the time.


You've fronted a few science based shows, including Tomorrow's World. How do you get the boys interested?

I have a fascination with education and how to make learning fun and enjoyable, so we continue a lot of things from school at home, but obviously with a twist. That's why I'm supporting the new RM Education website, At Home.

It helps parents continue their child's education once the school bell has rung, in a fun and inspiring way.

Teaching and learning is a shared responsibility between parents and teachers, and there is so much you can do at home. It's all about supporting what they learn at school when they are at home.

Philippa Forrester and her childrenRex

You started off in children's TV, how did you find working with kids?

I loved it! I'm now doing a lot of writing and producing for children, and take a lot of inspiration from my boys. Although if you want to maintain your dignity, don't work with children and animals as I have found out a few times!


What's your favourite thing about being a mum?

Being outside and exploring things with them, and watching them learn. We're a very outdoorsy family and travel and explore a lot. I can remember bottle feeding one while on the Maasai Mara in Kenya!


And the most difficult?

The constant balancing act and need for negotiation, especially around screen time and spending time on the internet. I worry a lot about what they see. That and the pressure to be a good mum.

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It's almost like we're expected to look like Elle Macpherson, cook like Nigella and have perfect children - we just can't do it, and shouldn't have to.

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How can families who don't have a lot of outdoor space, or don't live in the country enjoy the outdoors together?

You absolutely don't need to live in the middle of nowhere to explore. Go for a walk and get to know your local area, there's always so much to see. Cycling is a fantastic way to do it, and there is always a cycle path somewhere near you.

It's always a faff getting everyone sorted and on board, but once you're out, you're really off. Find a route, pack a picnic and get outside!


Do you think there is too much red tape and health and safety concern for children?

Yes, without a doubt. But you cannot let it hold you back. Anxieties are bred into modern parents, there is no escaping it, but it's important to let our children explore and take risks. You can't wrap kids up in cotton wool.


Three boys, would you like a girl?

Never say never to another baby, but I don't think we would try for one. I always wanted three, after number one and two I knew our family wasn't complete. I was always secretly after boys too. Even after my second was born, I knew deep down number three should be a boy too. I know where I am with them!

RM At Home is a brand new website offering a wide range of educational products for children that have been tried and tested by teachers, children and parents, to help support your child's learning at home and have fun whilst doing it. Visit Home.rm.com and follow at Facebook.com/rmathome and Twitter.com/RM_AtHome.

More on Parentdish: Sarah Beeny talks to us about life with FOUR boys!