Saturday 18 January 2020

Model Sarah McGovern: 'Throughout my second pregnancy I thought work would definitely be finished'

Model Sarah McGovern reveals what being a mother to her two children, Jude (4½) and Robyn (2), has taught her

Sarah McGovern
Sarah McGovern
Sarah McGovern and Robyn. Photo:

Even if you read every book before you become a parent, it's never going to be enough

Because you learn every day as you go along and you change your parenting style. I never would have shouted at my children before the age of two but then they become toddlers and you think 'Oh my God, I am actually one of those mothers who does shout at their children sometimes'. And then you think that shouting at them isn't really going to work so you do have to take advice from your family and friends and grasp little parenting skills from other people.

I didn't think motherhood was going to be so hard, at times

But then I didn't think there was going to be such euphoria as well. When I was talking to someone recently, I was having a bad day and they said: 'Every mother is the same'. I'm going to be as honest as I can be in an interview because I think so many people feel that many mothers are doing it all right and they're perfect and that can't be true because there are days when it's really tough.

I always wanted to be a mother

I was very fortunate to be able to have kids and I know I'm blessed. I had great pregnancies, apart from the little niggly bits, and I had great births. I absolutely adore having babies, I'm just finding the toddler stage a little more difficult, I guess. And that's probably just because I'm juggling work, and a couple of jobs at that, and kids at the same time. For me it's just been a little bit overwhelming although it might not be for someone else.

Sarah McGovern and Robyn. Photo:
Sarah McGovern and Robyn. Photo:

My husband Kenny and I use 'good cop, bad cop'

But we never overrule each ­other. Luckily we sing off the same hymn sheet so if one is being strict, we would never say in front of the kids that the other was wrong for saying that.

We would always back each other up but we may just give them a little hug to soften things!

I'm as busy now with work as I was before babies

I actually thought I'd have no work after having my first child. But work started coming in three weeks after having Jude and it changed really slightly - I might have been doing more ­mother-and-baby type jobs.

I think when you're a model and you start to get older, you begin to do different jobs anyway. Then, throughout my second pregnancy, again I thought I'd be definitely finished after that but I wasn't. So my career hasn't changed but personally, I'm finding it a lot tougher now.

Sarah McGovern and daughter Robyn
Sarah McGovern and daughter Robyn

With one child, it's a lot easier to find babysitters or get a crèche. With two, it's juggling a lot more. I used to bring the kids with me in the very early days when they couldn't move around. Being gone for long days or early mornings or late nights is just a little bit harder for me now. I don't want to give it up but I am going to have to change certain things because I need more routine in my life.

I do feel pressure but I put it on myself

I want two good children and I want to be with them all the time but I have to work and I want to work. I want the days out with them but I still want to be able to go on a holiday. You kind of want everything but it's more coming from within. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the perfect mother, wife, model, but that's probably more the way I was brought up - not that my parents ever pressurised us - but it's just within us, to be all things to all people, and my husband is always giving out to me and tells me that's impossible. It's a McGovern thing, we say!

If you have your health, you have your wealth

Facebook and Instagram have put too much pressure on us all. You see a picture every day of people with what looks like their perfect lives with happy families, away on holidays and a new this or that. You think that you need all this but you don't really. At night-time we say a little prayer with the kids going to be bed and we pray for all our families. I just keep thinking of those poor kids fleeing from Syria or those in Temple Street Hospital and I just think how blessed I am, and I then I think that's all that matters, that our kids are healthy. I keep reminding myself that you can't have everything and you don't need everything.

Sarah is the ambassador for An Taisce's National Spring Clean, Ireland's anti-littering programme, which takes place throughout the month of April.


Sarah McGovern and Robyn. Photo:
Sarah McGovern and Robyn. Photo:

Irish Independent

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