Anna Daly: I adore being a mum but I'm done having kids!
Anna Daly’s honesty on TV3’s Ireland AM is why she is one of TV3’s most popular presenters. Her admission of nerves and frankness about her maternity leave when she returned to work after her first boy James in 2012 earned her a massive following.
Three years and another son later and the 35-year-old stunner is still as refreshingly honest as ever.
“I still find the whole family/work balance really hard. I’ve been doing it for over three years now but I still struggle with guilt,” the Dubliner admits.
“I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. I found it hard to adapt at first and I am not ‘there’ yet as regards finding the perfect balance between home life and work life.
“When I’m in work at 5am each morning I worry that my husband Ben is doing okay with Euan (1) and James (3). Then, when I’m finished for the day and back at home being a mum to the boys, I worry that everything is okay at work.
“The absolute worst thing anyone can say to me is that ‘I have it all’. I hate that so much. No one would ever say that to Ben, would they?
“I am very lucky that I have a husband, kids and a job, but does anyone ever ‘have it all’? Just because I finish work some days at lunchtime and I could be walking around town or meeting pals does not mean I have an easy life. My alarm goes off at 4.30am every morning.”
She continues: “As guilty as I feel about missing some things with my boys, I would never stop working. If I won the Lotto in the morning I would still work every day.”
The down-to-earth star may have thousands of live hours of telly behind her but is apprehensive about stepping in front of our cameras for this exclusive Mother’s Day shoot.
Despite nailing it, look after look, it is clear that Daly is much more comfortable once the shoot is over and we start chatting about Mother’s Day.
“To be honest, I think of Mother’s Day as a day for catching up with my own mum as opposed to spending it with my two boys. I’m not quite there yet, which is weird because I’ve been a mum for over three years now.
“I don’t feel part of the occasion but that might change this year. I don’t think it is just a Hallmark Day – I like the idea of doing something nice for my mum.
“And I’m sure Ben will have something special planned for me,” she says, knowing all too well that he may well be reading this and panicking. “I will certainly get a lie on and if I get breakfast in bed then it’s a bonus.
“But I do plan on catching up with my own mum and maybe without the three lads so I can have a proper chat with her instead of the usual one- and two-minute soundbites I get with her, usually because Euan and James are hanging out of us.”
With two young boys tearing up her family home in Wicklow, the 5ft 9in blonde has given up all hope of having that “dream home”.
“We had three good years after getting married before James arrived where we were house proud. It wasn’t the kind of home where you were afraid to sit down on anything or you had to take your shoes off.
“But it was a nice clean house with some order in it. Now? Oh God! Last night I spent a large part of my evening taking part in a Monster Truck race, and as soon as Ben came home there was a full-on football match in the hall.
“It is that kind of house now and I love it. I know it will be 10-15 years before I get that showroom house back and I am okay with that.”
Refreshingly, when I ask her about more kids, she is as honest as I would hope. “In an ideal world, of course, if you had asked me three years ago what I would have liked I would have told you that I wanted a boy and a girl.
“I grew up with one brother, so it’s what I know. One of each. And yeah – if the world were that organised I would have opted for one of each too. But I wouldn’t change my two lads for anything. They are brilliantly mental and add such love and life to the house that I feel blessed.”
So would there be a chance of a third child in the hope of having a girl? “No way! We’re done as far as I’m concerned.
“I wasn’t a girly girl growing up. I wasn’t all about the dressing up and the make-up so I don’t yearn for a little girl to do all that stuff to.
“I’m all about the Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam these days. Naughty Norman Price is far more important to me and my family than Barbie. I fully expect Transformers and Ninja Turtles to be the next big thing in my house.”
Being part of the Ireland AM furniture for the last six years (it has been on air for 16 years and ratings are up 20 per cent year on year) has meant that Anna has had to get used to people casting assumptions about her.
“When you are on TV for three hours every morning, people really think they know you. I get people coming up to me all the time offering their opinions. Most are positive I might add, but not all.
“I think it is a generation thing. People my mum’s age are very frank about telling you what they thought, whereas I get the impression that people my own age keep their opinions to themselves.”
She continues: “I actually still watch myself on Ireland AM. I watch it back on the 3player whenever I can. I know I probably shouldn’t, but I just do. I am a bit obsessive about making sure I don’t get too casual on TV. Helen Mirren once said that she watches herself back all the time, so if Helen can do it then so can I.
“Like yesterday I thought I was slouching too much in my chair so I won’t do that again. You can learn so much from watching yourself back. But it is so awkward and cringeworthy seeing yourself on TV and hearing your voice. You never get used to that.”
The last time we got the Dublin-born presenter, who is a Seat Ambassador, into our studio she admitted how hard it was to lose the baby weight after giving birth to Euan.
So, looking even more sensational this time around, we were convinced that she had become a complete gym bunny in the 14 months since our last chat. We were wrong.
“I genuinely haven’t. I’ve been very lucky in that my relatively short stints of exercise have been enough to keep the weight off. I love my food and I would never deprive myself of dessert. I do fluctuate a lot but I have to try and eat healthily most of the time and try and get in decent walks as often as I can.”