Interview: Carol Smillie - Happy to Be Mum; She's Smillie, Smillie, Carol Smillie, but Her Most Rewarding Role Is Motherhood She Tells Catrin Williams No-One Else Can Be Mum but You Are Dispensable in Television. Your Children Need You
CAROL Smillie, a mother-of-three, has just penned a book on how women can have it all - career, babies, husband, the lot.
But it's no tome in honour of superwoman, instead it's a down-to-earth guide to getting the work-life balance right.
So has 41-year-old Smillie, one-time model, gameshow hostess turned household name, managed it?
The jury's out, she laughs, saying no matter how much cash you have, it's no help when dealing with a toddler tantrum.
Carol also explains why she had to leave Changing Rooms, why she's glad Welshman Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen took her place and how being mum to Christie, seven, Robbie, five and three-year-old Jodie prompted her to write her first ever book.
``Everyone thinks it's going to be a massive kiss and tell - but no, my life is not that exciting,'' claims the Glaswegian, who also gets up front and personal about THAT impression.
Carol on Carol Smillie's Working Mum's Handbook Carol, ``concerned'' readers would think ``who does she think she is?'', emphasises the book, co-written by former Mother and Baby magazine editor Eileen Fursland, explores all the options. Carol says, ``You feel isolated and that you are a bad mother if you cannot get through motherhood effortlessly. Sometimes it's nice to have a reference that understands that feeling.
``The guilt, coping with tantrums or sleepless nights - it does not make these things easier however much money you have got in the bank.''
Among the top tips are ignoring Climb Every Mountain perfectionism and spending at least one weekend a year alone with your partner.
On being a mum She coped ``catastrophically'' at times with her first child, Christie.
But it was a case of ``tough mate, you brought these children into the world. You have to take the consequences and get on with it.
``With each child it gets easier,'' she says.
Christie, a yoga fan, and Robbie now attend her old school, while Jodie is in nursery. The family also employ a nanny, Wendy.
``The best bit is the laughs you get; the one-liners they come out with. Jodie the other day was being difficult, I was trying to get dressed and she came out with, `Oooh, nice pants'. That makes it worth while.
``And when they need you makes it more worth while than a daft televisionjob. No-one else can be mum but you are dispensable in television - when I leave someone else can do it.''
Three is her limit.
``Sometimes it's hard to spend individual time with them. You walk in the door and they are all talking at once. Another one would make
it really hard for them.''
On juggling motherhood with career ``I went back to work 10 days after having Christie and Robbie, not flat out Monday to Friday, but it was probably too soon. I attended the Scottish Bafta awards all bound up and leaking and disappearing to the dressing room with a pump .''
It was never a question of staying home.
She believes it is far healthier to maintain her space from the trio and return home a more stimulating person.
``I am lucky. I do not have a nine-to-five job that I have to leave on a Monday morning and I am desperate for Friday night to come round. I will not pick a job now that would take me more from home for more than two nights at a time regularly.
``When I was doing Holiday the children were still really small and five days away from home for five minutes on screen did not add up for me. It's probably the best job in the world if you have not got ties but not ideal if you have little ones.''
Her escape is an art studio which Alex, a restaurateur, built in the garden for her 40th birthday - kids strictly by invite on
On modelling Modelling everything from Armani to bread-and-butter-but-dull promotions at 19, Carol brands that time of her life as her ``community service''.
But she did fall in love with husband Alex, then 28 and a part-time model, at a fashion show. …