Giovanna Fletcher on being a mum and podcast Happy Mum Happy Baby
Being a parent there are often times when you feel judged, be it you let your children watch TV, choose not to breastfeed, or send them to nursery.
It is something that author Giovanna Fletcher has tried to combat with her book Happy Mum Happy Baby and the follow up podcasts.
“There are so many books out there about being the perfect parent, and it doesn’t exist,” she says.
“I wanted to get rid of the judgement of being a parent and just share my own experiences with people.
“The idea for the book came about because I am an author and I did YouTube videos about being a mum so I just started writing things down, at first I thought write down everything and I could always edit it out but in the end I kept everything in.”
Giovanna, who’s husband is Tom Fletcher from the band McFly, is mum to three boys Buzz, 5; Buddy, 3 and Max who is seven months old.
After the release of her book Happy Mum Happy Baby: My Adventures into Motherhood two years ago she was empowered by the conversations she was having with parents who were able to relate to the book.
From here the idea for the Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast came about.
“I text ten people in my phone asking if they would take part and they all said yes,” she smiles.
“It is very therapeutic, I enjoy being in a room with people and them talking about being a parent, their children and sharing their stories without any judgement.
“I think with Emma (Willis) we are great friends anyway but I think it caught her off guard. She revisited feelings about breastfeeding and when she decided to stop, and it got very emotional.
“I just think if it makes you feel unhappy then you aren’t going to be the best for your baby and that is where the name came from happy mum, happy baby, you have to do what is right for you.”
The previous three series have included Frankie Bridge, Emma Freud, Jo Malone, Fearne Cotton, Clemmie Hooper and Amanda Holden.
“The people featured are ones I admired or thought I bet they have an interesting story,” she says.
“With Ore Oduba I saw him on Lorraine and asked him to come on, and when I heard Joe Wicks was going to be a dad I just thought ‘yes!’.
“I have a dream list of people I want to talk to and some have said no and I do understand.
“Some people haven’t spoken about their children in public and don't want to share their story as they don’t want to feel judged which I completely get.”
The fourth series of the podcast was released last month (March) and features former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips and her daughter Alana.
“We had three generations of the family there as Alana brought her five week old baby,” explains Giovanna.
“I was most surprised about Arlene though. I think with her granddaughter being born she had been reflecting a lot about being a parent.
“She said she went back to work when her daughter was a week old, after a c-section working as a choreographer, it was interesting to hear her talk about it and her regrets at going back so quickly.
“It is a conversation I have been going back to a lot and thinking about.”
For fans of the podcast Giovanna is doing a live one as part of the first Brighton Podcast Festival: Wave which starts on April 2 and ends on April 13.
“It will be a live show with a guest, and I’ll be there talking asking questions hopefully it will be entertaining and funny but it will be great show,” she says.
So is Giovanna the type of mum she thought she would be?
“Well I thought I was going to be like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, but I haven’t made any clothes out of curtains so I’m not quite Maria yet.
“I think I have learnt a lot about being a mum since having my third Max. I have learnt patience and to be calm. I thought I would be a stay at home mum so expectations vs reality has been a bit different in that sense.”
In her podcast Giovanna ends by asking her guest to finish some statements.
Being a mum means… ‘having to think about someone else and always putting them first.”
Since being a mum I… “have slept less. I used to sleep for like ten hours and still be knackered but now I get half that and I’m ok. You become a lot more proactive when you are a parent as you don’t have time to waste.”
As for what she is working on next she has recently become a presenter of CBeebies new show ‘The Baby Club’
"Baby groups are great for development but some people can’t always go be that because you have to pay, it is two bus rides away or you feel anxious about going," explains Giovanna.
"I remember when I had Buzz I was worried all the time about if he would cry and I was really anxious.
"So the show has songs, story time, singing, and play that parents and children can interact with. As soon as I heard about it i was like yes I need to do it.
"I was pregnant with Max and when I was training the lady said that he may react to songs on the outside that we sung a lot when he was inside which is really interesting. I was upstairs when the first one was aired Monday (March 4) and I could hear Buddy singing along."
As for her books she is currently working with her husband Tom on the next two in the trilogy of the Eve of Man books.
The Baby Club is on CBeebies is on everyday at 10.20am and 2.20pm
Happy Mum, Happy Baby will be at the Komedia, Brighton on April 3.
For tickets, visit brightonpodcastfestival.co.uk where you can also find the full line up of who else will be there.
For more information on Giovanna: