Karen Koster & Glenisk
Q. You have been with Xposé on TV3 for 10 years now and you appear to viewers like a woman who really loves her job. Is it still your dream job?
It actually is. I struggle with working mum guilt constantly, so I'd have to love this job to justify leaving the boys. But I'm a better mum for it, I know that for sure. I get to be the old me, make TV which is my passion and I'm a more balanced person because of the independence work allows me. I take my hat off to stay at home mums. It's definitely harder work than working on Xposé. I never thought I'd say it, but work is a break. It's my new "me time".
Q. As a person in the public eye and anchoring on a show that often interviews celebrities, you are uniquely positioned and informed to observe the pressures that female celebrities experience around motherhood, body image and work life balance. What's your take?
That's a whole heap of questions rolled into one! I could talk all day on those topics. Everyone's experience of motherhood is different. Everyone is a different type of mum and all our kids are unique. I've stopped comparing myself to other parents. I used to think I wasn't as good as the next mum if I didn't breastfeed as long as her, if I let my baby have a soother, if I put the TV on so I could make dinner. And now I say "sod it". My boys are the living proof that I'm doing pretty good. They're thriving, they eat, they sleep, they engage, they laugh a lot. We're a happy little family. In terms of body image, I appreciate my body so much now. I don't curse it for being too soft, too pudgy, too pale. It spent more than 80 weeks carrying two babies, it managed to get them here safely and in good health and yet I still feel like the old me. Yes, some bits look a bit different but all for a good reason. I've less body hang-ups now than I ever did. Now as for my face? Well broken sleep over the last 2 years means it could do with a good iron!
As for work-life balance, that's a constant juggling act and it always tips in one direction or the other. When I feel work is getting all my time, I make sure the boys get the best of me in the few hours I have with them during the working day. Nothing is tidied or cleaned up while they're awake and it's all about them until bedtime!
Q. Congratulations on the birth of your second baby, JJ last year. How have you found motherhood second time around and how do the boys get along?
It's definitely easier despite it being busier. You just know what's normal and when to panic for real! Also during the more challenging times, you know they'll pass. Everything is a phase.
Q. For some mums, weaning is plain sailing but for many of us, it's a minefield, with the newness, the challenges of ensuring a nutritious start and all of the emotions that come with nourishing and nurturing another little human. How did you find the experience, and did it differ with each of your babies?
Typically, breastfeeding is the most challenging time for mum and baby. But I was one of the lucky ones, and my babies got the hang of it pretty quickly. And considering I was never well endowed, I was amazed my humble boobs really stepped up to the plate and I experienced no problems breastfeeding. But I found the weaning stage so stressful. I guess because Finn had breastfed really well from the get-go, I was impatient for him to master solids quickly. And he took forever it felt! I also started and stopped again, as I felt he just wasn't ready. And often, you need to just trust your gut. So my advice would be, don't rush it, you and your baby will get there. I was far more relaxed when it came to the weaning stage with JJ.
Q. What advice would you give to first time mums about pregnancy and the early days?
I felt very grateful to be pregnant and really enjoyed my first pregnancy. I felt "special" all the time, a walking miracle who was growing a human being. I know that's not always the experience of a first time mum, but when and where possible, try and enjoy your pregnancy. You're carrying a baby and you're amazing! Try not to wish it away but I know that's hard because I myself was counting down the weeks. Make time for your partner, for your girlfriends, for your family. They're about to be completely usurped by the new love of your life so enjoy them while they're all top of your priority list! And then when baby arrives, everyone who's had children will tell you to enjoy this special time. But it's ok too if sometimes it just feels hard and challenging. You're allowed to feel exactly how you're feeling. There's a lot of pressure to live the "insta" dream and for everything to be perfect. My life now is messy, loud and chaotic but it's wonderful!
Q. What did you find to be ideal first foods?
Puréed pear was a favourite. I'd stew it and add a little baby rice, praying that it would fill Finn up enough to sleep through the night, but that took a while! Sweet potato with milk was also one of the early foods I tried but I always found it a bit labour intensive, all the peeling and baking and blending. That's why I became an early fan of Glenisk yogurts. They were easy, nutritious and Finn loved them!
Q. Do you have fussy eaters in the family and how do you deal with it?
I wouldn't call Finn fussy but he's very suspicious of anything new. Even new textures. Plus I'm a useless cook, so even though I try and expose him to lots of new flavours, I tend to go back to old reliables like lasagne because I know it will be polished off!
Q. What are your favourite foods?
I pretty much eat everything. Our favourite dinner to cook at home is Steak with garlic butter, rocket, parmesan and a baked potato.
Q. What's the best piece of advice your mum ever gave you?
Just keep doing what you're doing. With my first, I second guessed everything I did. Did I feed him enough? Has he got wind? Is he too warm? But one look at Finn and you'd know he was thriving. So whatever I was doing was working. When my mum told me she thought I was a good mum, I burst into tears. It was the best compliment I'd ever received! I had thought I was failing at everything!
Q. To finish, have you any parting pearls of wisdom for mothers out there? A quote or line to live by?
I say it a few times a week to myself and it's my mantra when I'm knee deep in nappies... "This too shall pass". When one is waking at 3am, when one has been changed 3 times before I've even dropped him at the crèche or when they're both crying because the dinner is taking ages... I close my eyes, breath and tell myself "This too shall pass". I also remind myself of it during the amazing times. The giggles, the bath times, the story before bed... before I know it, they won't need me and I won't be adored quite as much as I am now. So I try and savour every moment, fleeting as it may be.
Karen Koster is working with Glenisk as Brand Ambassador with the Glenisk #SweetBaby Search.
Glenisk are looking for a new baby to feature on our new Organic No Added Sugar Baby Yogurts.
To enter your little one & be in with the chance to win visit our website glenisk.com
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