Motherhood & Me
'The days are long – but the years are short'
How many children do you have?
I have two children, a girl Katie and a boy Luke.
What age are your children?
Katie is 12 and Luke is nearly 2.
What age were you when you became a mother?
Thirty when I had Katie, 10 years older when Luke came along.
Did you breastfeed?
I didn't breastfeed either of my children.
Did you buy baby food or make your own?
Whenever possible I made my own baby food.
Large batches which I froze. But I was never averse to buying ready meals.
Does your baby have set nap times?
Absolutely. Luke still goes down for two-three hours every day. Those nap times are important for both of us.
How soon after the baby did you go back to work?
I'm a freelance journalist so I could juggle work around both babies. Sometimes jobs came in when they were very small but I made the best use of their nap times.
Peter my husband also works from home so between both of us, we've managed to keep our children at home.
Were you happy to go back to work?
Yes. Sometimes the hardest thing about going back to work is worrying about your children. Once those worries are gone, you can enjoy the fact that you're doing something you love.
What are the peculiar challenges of your job?
I am on the road a lot with 'Ear to the Ground', travelling all over the country.
That can be hard but I'm very lucky that Peter's job is flexible so he can be there when I'm not.
What do you find most difficult?
In truth I hate complaining about what I do. It's a fantastic job and I'm very lucky to have it.
But driving around the icy by roads and boreens of Ireland at 6am on a November morning can quickly lose its charm.
Do you work full time or part time?
I work part-time. 'Ear to the Ground' is only on air four months of the year. I work from home as a freelance journalist the rest of the time.
If you had the choice, would you stay at home full-time?
I am at home full-time a good deal and I do love it. But sometimes it's great to walk out the door and leave someone else in charge.
What is the division of labour between you and your partner?
It can be the source of some tension but I'm talking to my union rep about that one!
Creche, childminder or nanny?
What do you think of Gina Forde?
She frightens the life out of me.
What was the best advice you were given?
The best advice I ever got was to enjoy every minute of your children because 'the days are long, but the years are short'.
What was the worst advice you were given?
The advice in most parenting manuals. They are guaranteed to make you feel like a bad mother with a backward child.
What do you do when you have time to yourself?
I love to go running with my dog Juno. I live in rural Co Kilkenny and the two of us often head off for some headspace, pounding our way around the lovely quiet roads.
Do you children do any activities?
Katie plays basketball and swims, Luke runs around in circles.
What's your guilty pleasure?
A bowl of night-time Cheerios.
Helen Carroll is an ambassador for the Check Your Skin campaign encouraging people to become aware of actinic keratosis, a sun-induced skin condition that can lead to cancer. For more information go to checkyourskin.ie