TV3 star tells us how her life was turned upside down by two kids
It took just two years and two tiny arrivals for Karen Koster’s life to be changed forever.
The 35-year-old Xposé presenter appreciates how dramatically her life has U-turned since embracing the all-consuming role of motherhood. But that doesn’t stop the TV3 star from remarking on the irony of her new life. In a rare reprieve, the artfully put-together Glenisk ambassador has stolen a moment to speak to Mum&Me on the phone.
In the background, her boys JJ and Finn are slumbering as she takes full advantage of their afternoon nap.
“I have become a total mom bore and I was just so far from that person before I had kids of my own. I have really done a 180,” laughs the besotted mum.
“It’s funny, I just gravitate towards babies now whereas before I would have been like ‘aww how cute’ now I am like, ‘give me your baby!’
“I constantly take pics of my guys, I am obsessed. When myself and John say ‘okay, let’s go to bed and get an early night’ we just end up scrolling through videos and pictures on our phones that we have taken of the boys during the week. It’s a world away from my old life.
“Even now if I am sent to interview someone and I know they have kids, I have to stop myself wanting to just talk to them about their kids.”
Tying the knot in a romantic ceremony in Sicily in 2013, Karen and her husband John McGuire welcomed Finn (2) on New Year’s Eve 2014 and their one-year-old baby boy John James in February 2016.
Despite the demands that come with two mischievous toddlers, Karen admits giving up work was never an option.
“Work is where I get to be the old me and when you work in an industry you love, it can become how you identify yourself sometimes.
“I think I would feel a bit lost if I didn’t have it; I was lucky that I wasn’t dreading going back to a job I hated.
“If I wasn’t happy in my career I would have been sick leaving the boys.
“I get to appreciate my time with them more and I think they get the best of me.
“I am not dying to put them to bed at seven every night because I have had it up to my eyes with them. I like the independence I get from work so it was never a consideration not to go back.”
Commending mothers who work full-time, the TV3 star admits, “My work hours are really quite manageable. I work from 10am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday. I really tip my hat to mums who do a five-day week, because your weekends are so short.”
Gushing about her bonny baby boys, she adds: “They are at the cutest age, but also the most stressful age. You cannot turn your back on them for a second. It’s like ‘how did they reach that?’ and you turn around and they are juggling knives.
“The cuter they are the more of a danger they are to themselves.
“Finn is very sweet and I know most mums will say this, but he is very funny.
“What they tell me in crèche is that where most toddlers will get bored of a jigsaw, he’ll happily sit there and finish it. He has a diligence about him and he is a great big brother.
“But he can still have a tantrum and then start singing Bob the Builder five seconds later.
“JJ smiles and laughs and just looks like he is up for the craic all the time. He is just a bundle of fun.”
Determined to ride the highs and lows of motherhood, the say-it-like-it-is presenter adds: “Everyone has a few tears the odd time but it’s nothing that we don’t laugh about after. Once everyone is happy and fed, that’s what matters.
“My life is not perfect and my house is a tip come Monday morning and as much as I feel like my guys are at a labour-intensive age, in a blink of an eye they will be sailing out the door not needing me at all.
“Even when it come to mealtimes I have relaxed; I realise I can’t freshly prepare everything. It’s all about what works, which is why Glenisk yoghurts are so great because they are organic and guilt-free, and an easy way to give your baby something tasty.
“I really do try and stay present and appreciate the moment and, yeah, if there is a crappy moment, acknowledge it and move on.”
Giving advice to first-time mums who strive for perfection, Karen says: “As grateful as you should be — and it’s a gift to become a mum — it’s okay to have your blue days or to say ‘I miss my old life, I miss the spontaneity that went with that and I miss that time with my husband’. I think you are allowed feel like that as long as you keep things in perspective.
“Parenthood has brought out the best in myself and John because we are very similar in our approach; fun is always our number one priority.
“Home has such a bigger draw for us than it used to be. I was ready to stay in and watch Ant and Dec on a Saturday night.”
Karen has also accepted that with motherhood comes inevitable changes to your body.
“My figure is totally different to what it was pre-baby,” she says.
“I was never a gym bunny and now I have a great excuse not to go.
“I am quite active because they want to be carried everywhere.
“I am just trying to get away with it and not look too fat on TV. There are few squidgy and floppy bits but that’s fine. I paid the price to have children and, you know what, it was completely worth it.”
Glenisk’s new range of Baby Yogurts, suitable from six months onwards, has been developed with absolutely no added sugar and nothing artificial because Glenisk believes that babies are sweet enough and should not have their palates conditioned towards sugar in childhood, and especially during the critical weaning phase of development.