Helen Skelton has opened up about juggling being a mum with her busy TV career.
The in-demand presenter, 38, shares children Ernie, seven, Louis, five, and Elsie, six months, with estranged rugby player husband Richie Myler, whom she separated from earlier this year.
She recently completed filming for the latest series of On The Farm and in addition to working on ITV’s Lorraine and Countryfile, is excited about returning to radio for BBC 5 Live in the coming weeks.
Speaking to the Standard, the former Blue Peter star said: “I’ve got loads of little bits and bobs in the pipeline which is good because the kids are so little I don’t like to commit to big projects. I did a big series last year but it’s a bit too much for me when the kids are still little, I like do school pickups and stuff.
“Where I’ve got a seven year old and a six month old, you see how quickly the time goes and each age has a phase so I’m like desperate to try and keep my hands in but not do too much.”
Even when she’s working, her brood is never far behind.
“They never like my work as they always say you have to be quiet at mummy’s work, but I’ve always taken them; even from them being tiny,” she explains.
“Ernie I took him with my to the World Championships. Then Louis I did the European Championships with him in tow. Elsie, she came to On The Farm. They’ve always come with me and dipped in.
“Sometimes I let them see where I’m at work so that they know. I don’t think they are that bothered or they like it, but now that they are at school, like one of the little boys’ in Louis’ class loves On The Farm and I think probably for the first time they’re like, ‘oh, that’s pretty cool’. They’ll say ‘Mummy, is your job cool?’ I think so!
“I think I’m very lucky with my job. It’s not the real world and people are probably unjustifiably kind to you. When I do On The Farm the kids just go in the soft play and they have it all to themselves and they think they are the bees knees.”
Away from work and the kids, Skelton’s other big passion in life is animals.
Having grown up on a farm in Cumbria she was surrounded by lots of different types, but her favourite has always been dogs and she’s currently the proud owner of a fluffy crossbreed named Barney - a former stray who she adopted from her time on Blue Peter.
The mum-of-three also has a beautiful black Labrador called Spiderman, who she wanted to call Brian after Family Guy, but was outvoted by the kids.
She is currently working on a campaign with Petplan to encourage people to enter their own animals into the 2022 Pet Awards as a way of celebrating our furry friends’ own unique personalities and attributes.
Skelton said: “There’s a reason that more people got pets during Covid, it’s because they are such good company. When I moved to London from rural Cumbria it was quite hard to get used to and I would say Barney made me settle. I don’t know why, once I got a dog I just walked every morning and every night and it worked for me,” she continued.
“Spiderman’s a classic Labrador in that he eats anything. He likes to pick my bras off the radiators so like he’ll walk off with his mouth in the middle so that there’s like a cup hanging out of his mouth either side. He’s also a real womens dog, any woman who comes in the house he will sit on her knee.
“People will say god you’ve got enough on without that crazy dog, but that’s the joy of pets. Life’s a bit like [the movie] Marley and Me, they’re like ‘why have we got this?’ but you couldn’t be without them.”
Helen Skelton is working with Petplan, the UK’s no.1 pet insurer on its 2022 Pet Awards, encouraging pet owners to nominate their furry friends for an award to celebrate their exceptional personalities. Visit https://www.petplan.co.uk/pet-information/blog/pet-awards/ to find out more. Nominations are open until August 7 2022.