Last week I had the absolute pleasure of spending an evening in the company of Edith Bowman in the fabulously swanky surroundings of the Soho Hotel in London. Just a regular Tuesday night, right? Well OK, not quite - although I could very easily get used to it!
Edith is one of the ambassadors behind the Proctor & Gamble 'Proud Sponsor of Mums' campaign in Ireland and the UK (have you seen the gorgeous TV ad yet - tear jerker or what?). Edith spoke to the press about the findings of Proctor & Gamble's report into 'The Changing Face of Motherhood', which highlights how the role of mothers has changed over the decades. I then scooped a private interview with Edith about her role as a busy working mum and her involvement in the P&G challenge to live as a 1930s housewife for a day. Here's what happened.
HCM: Hi Edith. Gosh, you're stunning. I'm a little bit starstruck. (why didn't anyone offer to do my hair and make-up? Hmm). Would you like to sip your champagne and munch on a mini burger while we chat?
Edith: Hi Hot Cross Mum. Oo, yes, that would be fab.
HCM: So, Edith, tell me about your challenge to live as a 1930s housewife? You certainly looked a lot more glamorous doing your challenges than I did!
Edith: The challenges were amazing, but I never want to see another washboard for as long as I live. It really shows you what hard work it was back then.
HCM: I agree. Did you see me trying to wash clothes with a washboard? Pathetic! So, what was the hardest part of the challenge for you?
Edith: Erm, everything! I basically wouldn't be able to work if I had to live like that now. I think we take for granted all the modern appliances and products we have now to make our lives easier - although we do fill up the time we have gained with other stuff. Life is very busy for mums now.
HCM: So you won't be trading in your dishwasher for carbolic soap and a wire scourer then?
Edith: (laughs) No!
HCM: Did I mention that your hair looks amazing? I did. Right, let's carry on then. So, Edith, you're clearly an extremely busy woman. What is your schedule and how do you manage to juggle your career with family life and your little boy Rudy?
Edith: (clearly melting at the mention of her little boy) - It's really tough. As a working mum I know how hard it is to juggle everything. I absolutely love my job and am very lucky to to do the job I love. I want to work to give Rudy the best I can, and for myself because I still have things I want to achieve. I leave the house at 6am for The Breakfast Show and am usually home by 11am. Rudy is in nursery 5 mornings - we try to keep his schedule as normal as possible. We don't have family living nearby and haven't had a nanny since last August so me and Tom (Edith's husband - the lead singer with The Editors) have to be very organised and juggle our schedules. I'm hugely appreciative of the support networks I have of my mum and friends who step in and help out. I had to put my mum on the sleeper train from Scotland so she could mind Rudy while I am here tonight.
HCM: So, you don't have a nanny? Is that through choice?
Edith: Yes. We made that decision because we want Rudy to have a normal, family life and be surrounded by family and people who are important to him; who will be there as a constant, whether that is me, Tom or his nana. It's hard work but we just have to be very organised.
HCM: How do you spend your free time with Rudy?
Edith: When I collect him from nursery I love taking him swimming, or we go to the cinema -just normal, everyday things really. Our time together is really, really important to me.
HCM: So, is Rudy into music? I guess he must be with such musical influences around him?
Edith: He is! He goes into the studio with Tom and bashes on the drums! He's into the Beatles at the moment - he calls John Lennon 'John Lemon' and likes singing 'Yellow Submarine'. He also thinks the Dizzee Rascal song 'Bonkers' is hilarious.
HCM: You clearly adore your son.
Edith: Rudy is amazing - I learn from him on a daily basis. He's the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. As a mum you just feel this massive sense of responsibility.
HCM: Ahhhhh -that's so lovely. You're so normal and down-to-earth. Please can I sit and chat to you all night? So are you doing any of the summer festivals?
Edith: Yes, I'm doing T in the Park in Scotland. Coldplay, The Arctic Monkeys and The Foo Fighters are headlining. It should be fantastic.
HCM: Excellent. So, you won't be wearing your 1930s headscarf to that event then? Well Edith, I know you want to sit and chat to me all night but I really must be fair and let some of the other people talk to you and take your photo. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting you. Please feel free to pop in for a cuppa if you're at the Oxygen festival in Ireland this year - I live just down the road.
Edith: My pleasure Hot Cross Mum (shakes my hand). Love your ring by the way.
And with that she drifts off into the waiting crowd. She liked my ring. That must make me cool, surely?
Edith Bowman is the loveliest lady and clearly a doting mum who works hard to balance her career and family life just as the rest of us do - her 'me time' is as limited as the next person's. It's really refreshing to talk to a celebrity mum who isn't surrounded by nannies, but who faces a familiar struggle to schedule and organise and spend time with her child while holding down a job she loves. Cheers Edith - you rock! Follow Edith on Twitter @edibow