VIP mum Natalie Barr

Natalie Barr, 38, is the newsreader and some-time presenter on Channel Seven's Sunrise.

She is married to Andrew, a film editor, also 38, and has two children, Lachlan, aged 5 and Hunter, aged 16 months.

Her career as a journalist has taken her from Bunbury in WA to LA where she won an Emmy Award nomination.


Most mums suffer from sleep deprivation. Given that you have to be at work by 4am to present the news on Sunrise, how do you manage the early mornings?

I think when you're a working mum you just have to be organised. I put Hunter to bed at 7pm, Lachlan at 7.30 and I jump in at eight o'clock… so by then I've got my bag packed with my work things and my clothes out in the bathroom, ready for a quick shower in the morning and then it's out the door. I've also kept the midday rest/sleep time. Hunter sleeps for two hours and Lachlan goes into his room for quiet play-time. I lie down for half an hour and take a break, too. I'm pretty strict on the schedule for the boys. I also eat dinner with them at about 5pm.

Sunrise presenters, David Koch and Melissa Doyle [aka Kochie and Mel] and Mark Beretta are also proud parents. Do the three of you ever swap tips?

Kochie's youngest daughter is just finishing her HSC so we're at different points in our parenting lives. But Mel and I gossip about kids and home type issues as soon as we get in the door in the morning. Hers are six and three, so they are very similar ages. Mel's got a fussy eater like me, so I often get tips on good food for kids.

And what's your top tip?

Mine is discipline. We started early and Lachlan knows he gets to go to the corner if he does something such as hitting or directly disobeying us. I think if you keep at it and be consistent it can work well. But if you wait until they're four, they think they can get around you!

Your job as a TV anchor must be demanding. How, then, do you juggle your work/life balance?

I don't do much else really. Since Hunter was born, each day I'm either at work or at home with kids. But it goes so fast …next year Lachlan's at school! Andrew and I try to give each other a little break on the weekend if we're both at home. I might slip out for a run for half an hour and then he might go to the gym. I think if you can rope in a partner or a friend or family member to even take the kids for an hour or so here and there it makes the world of difference.

Is it possible to 'have it all'?

I think so. But if you work and have kids there is a sacrifice and I'd be lying if I said there wasn't. I took holidays mid-year and was a full-time mum for two weeks. The house was cleaner, the family ate better meals and the kids were with me for longer. But I choose to work and so I deal with the consequences.

Do you think your children would prefer you spent more time with them?

Probably. They get excited when mummy is there in the morning on the weekends, but I still spend eight hours a day with them as I'm home by lunch-time. I've spent nearly 20 years working to have a career and I'm happy with my decision to keep working.

How do they react to seeing you on the TV?

It's normal for them. I went back to work when each of them was four months' old so they're used to it.

Can you tell us about the last time you had a big belly laugh with your children?

Each day we have a good laugh! We go to the park or the beach or a girlfriend's house in the afternoons or I push the pram and Lachlan scooters up to the local shops. We love our afternoons together.

If there was something you would change if you had your time over, what would it be?

Nothing really. I feel like each hurdle you face helps to define you. You learn from your experiences and are usually a better person for them.

How do you and your partner/husband keep the romance alive?

We've really started trying to have date nights. I think it's so important to allocate time for you as a couple. If you put all your focus into the kids, one day you may wake up and find you don't know the person beside you and I don't want that.

What chore do you simply despise?

Scrubbing the bathroom.

What is that you love most about being a mum?

The cuddles! The smiles when I walk in before lunch each day and see these two little men scramble towards me with pure joy in their faces.

Is your partner 'hands-on' around the house?

Very. He gets the boys up each morning, gets them breakfast etc. He's a wonderful help and we really do share most household tasks.

How do you handle it when your children behave in a way that is challenging or inappropriate?

[They go] straight to the corner! I'm pretty strict and I don't believe in asking them to please not do that. Lachlan's five… he knows right from wrong.

What has been your greatest personal sacrifice since becoming a mum?

My own time. It's never the same when you have kids. You have to plan your own time now and you have no idea how much time you waste before you're a mum!
 
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