I interviewed Katie Piper on motherhood, being a working mum and her new venture with My Babiie buggies, with whom she designed her own buggy range. We talked a little bit about her new book Confidence: The Secret as well.
Blogging is a funny old business and sometimes it takes me to some weird and wonderful places - such as interviewing inspirational personalities such as Katie Piper. Katie Piper is a philantropist, television presenter and former model. She has journeyed from a deeply traumatic life event to be an inspirational and active figure in media, spreading a positive and uplifting message to all. Having survived an acid attack organised by her ex boyfriend and faced a tough recovery she has also focused on shining a light on issues people with burns and scars deal with.
I am a big fan of Katie and loved interviewing her. It was a bit of a whirlwind interview as that morning everything seemed to go wrong for me, from late trains to trouble with my phone so I must have been quite ditzy over the phone. We got there in the end and she was delightful all the way as I was stumbling through the interview...
Here is what she had to say.
Katie on motherhood
How has motherhood changed you as a person?
I'm definitely more tired than before and because of constantly being with my daughter and also working full-time it has made me prioritise and manage my time better. I have had to get more organised. But unlike work making you tired and it's stressful, having a child making you tired is very rewarding and there are so many amazing bits to it. It has changed my life for the better, but my life is so hectic now.
What have been the most challenging things about being a mum?
The balancing act between working and being a mother is hard, and fighting off that mummy guilt. If I gotta to do something, I gotta to do do it and I don't want to spend my time feeling guilty about it. It is about trying to make quality time over of quantity time. Striving to get that balance on any aspect in our lives is hard and trying to consistently to have that balance is even harder.
What have been the most joyful things about motherhood?
I think probably the stage she is at now. She is two and a half years old. She is giving back, she is smiling and laughing. If you walk through the door after a long day she is going "Mummy mummy!" and runs up giving you a hug. Seeing all those emotions from her is really rewarding.
What Katie is up to currently
What is your average day like?
No day is ever the same because I do such a mixture of freelance work. Some days I could be abroad or travelling around the country. Other days I could be writing and working from home on the computer. Other days I could be at home with my daughter all day. No day is the same apart from that every day starts at about 6 AM, as my daughter is waking up. She is very much a morning person but she is really happy in the morning so it is actually quite a nice way to wake up.
What kind of things are you involved with currently?
I have just signed a two year deal to carry on presenting television with Channel4. I present a different range of documentaries and specialist factual features programmes. I have also just finished writing a new book called Confidence: The Secret, that goes out on sale on the 29th December. That's a book all about confidence, confidence for everybody. It is written for men, women, mothers, single people, everyone. That keeps me quite busy, this TV and book stuff.
Alongside that I run my own charity called The Katie Piper Foundation. It helps people living with scars. We fund their treatment, we help them meet with other survivors and we help them get back in the society after life-changing trauma or accident.
Katie on designing her own Believe buggy range with My Babiie
How did you get to work with My Babiie?
Collaborating with My Babiie is actually quite exciting for me because of how I met the guys behind it. I was originally just a customer and I bought one of the buggies for Belle. I started using it and I really loved it. I tweeted about it and they got in touch with me and said how brilliant it was that I liked the buggy and asked if I would like to come in, have a meeting and talk about the things I would do differently and change.
It is funny because when I was pregnant and a first time mum I didn't know much about what equipment or what to buy. For me the priority was safety and I was probably slightly anxious about it. Top priorities were that it mustn't be dangerous and it must have a certificate.
I did find when looking at the buggies that many didn't reflect my personality. Many of the top of the range buggies were navy blue, back and grey, and if you wanted to have something funkier you had to get a limited edition buggy which were really expensive. Also, I couldn't believe how expensive some of the buggies were, some whole travel systems were more than one thousand pounds.
So when I got in touch with My Babiie I told them that from a parent point of view I want the safety of the buggy to be top priority, but I also really want something that reflects me, in the patterns, shades and colours. I also told them that I don't want it to out-price everybody. It was really good that I was able to be totally involved in all the design stages and not compromise on price and not compromise on safety.
I created the Believe buggies and the whole idea about Believe to reflect my ethos, what my book is all about and the charity I run. It is about self-believe. When you believe in yourself, you have higher self esteem. When you have higher self esteem it becomes confidence, and that helps us achieve great things.
What kind of practical steps did you take in designing the buggies?
Being a mother really helped as I could draw on my experiences. I have had all these moments when in a Tesco car park and in tears because I can't fold the buggy up because it is too complicated and I cant get it in the boot because it doesn't fit. Because of that it was important for me that the strollers were lightweight so you can literally flick the pedal with your foot and fold it up and lift it in the car while holding your shopping and you baby. Those functional things were really important for me, and also the neat little things like having pockets for your phone, a cupholder, having a hood when it is sunny or raining. The buggy needed to be practical. It couldn't just be funky or a cool design.
So how about the fabric choices?
So rather selfishly ha ha I picked colours I like to wear. I felt a lot of the buggies might have things like dinosaurs and children's animals and I wanted something for the mother, where the mother can feel stylish and sophisticated and hold on to the part of being her.
I had two classic ones I went for, pink and blue, as some people love those kind of classics. I also had khaki, olive and desert in the range so a little bit more sophisticated and reflecting my own style.
Why did you choose a butterfly for the Believe range logo?
For me the butterfly goes along with the message of believing in yourself. The butterfly represents a journey. They start as a chrysalis and they grow into a beautiful butterfly and have that freedom to fly away. I very much think that becoming a mother is a journey you go on, learning to fly and trust your wings, and doing it by yourself is part of that journey. That butterfly represents that strength and freedom.
Katie on being a working mum
How do you manage your time as a busy working mum?
It is very difficult. It is a bit of a military operation so I use a lot of electric diaries so I know where I am supposed to be at different times. I block out time to be with my daughter and my husband. Everything is run by the clock. I wake up early every morning and wake up to exercise, and try to do that before my daughter wakes up. I try not to waste any time and fit it all in. It is tiring and it is nice when you can go on a holiday and just put all the calendars away and just be in the moment
Would you have any tips for other working mums?
Going back to that mummy guilt, lots of mums wrongly feel guilty. There's no right or wrong way to do things. Spending less time with your child is not wrong, it is about quality time. You could be a mum that is with your child every day but on your phone, watching telly and not concentrating. so never really with them in that moment.
When you are with them make it count. When you're not with them, don't feel guilty because otherwise there is no point in doing it. When you are not with them immerse yourself in your work and be proud of your job and pass on to your child that your mummy was at work just like some daddies go to work and that is ok.
Equally, if you are not working, being a mother full-time is a very demanding job - more demanding than some peoples' day jobs. Whatever you do, do it with pride as those are the choices you have made so make the most of them.
It was really interesting hearing Katie Piper's thoughts about motherhood, being a working mum and how she actually got to design a buggy range with My Babiie. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this interview with Katie Piper as much as I enjoyed conducting it.
What would you have wanted to ask Katie Piper?
You might also like: 10 things I learned in my first year as a mum and A week in the life of a working mum