Mama Doodles + Anna Friel

In her latest interview, columnist Jakki Jones quizzes actress Anna Friel on motherhood, regrets and hangover cures

What is your parenting style and three words that describe it?
Love, respect and fun are my three words. My parenting style is very simple: we only ever show Gracie love. Even though her parents are separated, it’s the same in both houses. You can’t give a child enough love I don’t think. Make sure they don’t see any arguments. Keep their little imaginations as free and pure as much as possible and for as long as possible. We are a very tactile family. I think it shows in later years, those who have been hugged and those who haven’t. It’s lovely that even though my daughter is now taller than me, she still comes and gives me hugs.

The best – and hardest – thing about parenting is…?
The worst thing is that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. So if you’ve been working away, the last thing you want is to come in and discipline them. You just want to hug them and give them loads of love, but you know that discipline is better and kinder for them in the long run. The best thing was realising as soon as I was pregnant that I’d never be lonely again.

Before I became a mum, I wish I’d…?
Thought about becoming a mum sooner as I love it so much.

How do you deal with overwhelm?
Honestly? I stay in bed – if I can afford it and have the luxury to. It’s that good old saying: “If you don’t know what to do, do nothing.” So grab a book or put on a really good boxset. Anything that helps with distraction, as overthinking never gets us anywhere, but we all suffer from it.

When did you last say sorry, to whom and why?
To my mum yesterday, for not calling. We usually talk every day, but it had been four or five days… So sorry to my mummy.

The secret to a good night’s sleep is…?
If we all knew that we’d be billionaires! A glass of wine helps, but when I was doing Dry January, I discovered that apple cider vinegar and cherry extract helps aid sleep. Also, I would say to make sure you go outside. On days when I’ve spent all day in the house, I’ve found I can’t sleep.

Perfect Saturday night?
A warm evening so I can walk to my local pub, have a few drinks there and then come back home with some close friends, and perhaps order an Indian. I also love a good dinner party as well.

Kitchen disco or proper disco?
Definitely a kitchen disco. Beach or forest? I love the mountains and the forest – but I also love the beach. That’s why Los Angeles is so great as you get the mountains and the sea. I need both.

Screen addict or technophobe?
I’m technologically useless but I use a screen far too much. Don’t we all?

Do you have any mum regrets?
Only not being a mum sooner!

Is there a mantra you live by?
Try your best – that’s all you can do. And always have your own take on something – you can only win with that.

Tell me a secret…
When I’m hungover I dip my head in a bucket full of ice. And when I worry I become really tangential: one minute talking about aeroplanes, and the next minute talking about food in the fridge. You know I’m not calm when I start to do that!

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