TV3 Exposé presenter Aisling O’Loughlin says motherhood has been defining for her.
“It has really focused me and given me a purpose. I’ve been so much happier since becoming a mum— you’re allowed to be a big Care Bear for two beautiful people.”
But Aisling, who celebrates her 37th birthday this year, admits being mum to Patrick, three, and Louis, one and a half, isn’t always a doddle.
“The biggest challenge is trying to balance work with motherhood. Scrambling out the door in the mornings, it’s the not being there that’s the hard bit. But I do love my job — it pays the bills — and by Sunday evening, I’m exhausted and ready to go back to work again.”
Aisling’s partner Nick MacInnes recovered from leukaemia last year.
“He got the all-clear but they’ll keep an eye on him over the next five years. We are forever indebted to the doctors and nurses at St Vincent’s Hospital and to Dr Barbara Bonnar of Bray Medical Centre for making him go for blood tests urgently,” she says.
Aisling is ambassador for this year’s Cow & Gate Big Toddle for Barnardos.
“I’d do anything for Barnardos. It’s the most amazing charity, doing vital necessary work for children who need it. Becoming a mom is an eye-opener –— you realise how much children need love, care and nurture. That security blanket isn’t always there and that’s where Barnardos comes in.”
* Families, crèches, schools and groups can register their toddlers for the Big Toddle by visiting www.barnardos.ie/bigtoddle or by phoning 1850 222 300. If you can’t toddle but would like to support ’s Big Toddlers, just text TODDLE to 50300 to make a €4 donation to Barnardos.
What shape are you in?
Considering I don’t go to the gym or do regular exercise, I’m doing OK. I don’t have too much fat on me. I could be exercising but I don’t have time.
I have work and the kids and if I put the gym or yoga or walking in the middle of that, I’m not with the kids — the choice is after work I go back to the kids. And, with them, I could be up and down the stairs 40 times a day.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I’m always mad for a good salad. My partner is half French, so if you hand me a plate with just green leaves and tomato, I’m not going to be happy. I love avocado, fresh olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh ingredients.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
I love chocolate and wine. I eat some sweets and have some wine every day. Around the 3pm dip, there’s always something in the Exposé office to sample. I don’t beat myself up about it.
What would keep you awake at night?
Unresolved issues — something I didn’t tackle head on at work, thinking ‘I should have said this or that’.
How do you relax?
I love reading. Since becoming a mom, I’ve tended to change from books to magazines. I read French magazine articles and I get some good nuggets [of information] from those.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Liberace — you always need somebody who can play the piano. And you need someone who can cook, so I’d invite Nigella Lawson. I’d also invite Karl Lagerfeld — he’s very bold and would be great fun.
What would you change about your appearance?
If I was to start on the plastic surgery, I wouldn’t stop. We’re conditioned as women to look at ourselves and to not like what we see. I’m not going down that route. I really appreciate that I have a working body and I won’t change a thing.
When did you last cry?
I cried on a weekend recently. The VIP Style Awards were on and I was working late. The next night Louis was awake and then Patrick woke at 6am. Nick was away and I was just exhausted. I burst out crying from utter exhaustion but getting some sleep fixed things again.
What trait do you least like in others?
Sneakiness, somebody not being upfront and not saying it as it is. I find that hard. It’s confusing.
What trait do you least like in yourself?
Loads of things — I wish I could sometimes come back with a really good killer line. Instead I think of a really good line at 4am — I’d like to be faster.
Do you pray?
I do and I’m not religious but I believe strongly in the power of prayer.
What would cheer up your day?
Going home to the kids and seeing their little faces pressed up to the door and they’re screaming in delight. It’s the best feeling —you couldn’t bottle it.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved