Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq said she gave up working in TV after becoming a mother because she needed to rush home to express milk for her young son before her ‘boobs exploded’.
The 45-year-old mother-of-two said that after having first son Covey, now eight, she initially tried to carry on presenting the Sky TV show she was working on in the belief she could ‘have it all’ and be a great mother as well.
But she quickly realised she was ‘doing everything terribly’ and had to give up her TV role if she was going to be a better parent.
Huq, who is married to presenter and writer Charlie Brooker, said she now limits her work as a children’s author to the hours of 9am to 3pm so she can focus on Covey and Huxley, six.
And she says the only time she now really gets to herself is when they’re asleep – or when she hides in a cupboard to eat a chocolate biscuit.
Speaking on the Alonement podcast, Huq said: ‘I’m a bit of a control freak and the young years just go so quickly.
‘I did this job for Sky early on and at first I thought ‘I can do it all’ but I remember it was filmed in Chelmsford, it was called ‘King of the Nerds’ and it was one of those shows where all the contestants live in a house and then they vote each other off.
‘It was all filmed in this Hogwarts-style stately home in Chelmsford and I said I’ve got babies so I can’t overnight’.
‘So I had to commute to Chelmsford every day which meant I had to be up at 5am every day to express milk for the baby before I got in the car – I had to wake up before the baby is awake which is unheard of.
‘Then I’d be filing this stuff and basically I would be willing for them to wrap so they could film the ‘actuality footage’, which is the contestants in the house, because I knew if I got on the A406 before four o’clock my journey would halve in time before rush hour.
‘And if not my boobs would be exploding with milk for the baby on the way back.
‘And I just remember I’m just doing everything terribly – I’m working terribly and I’m mumming terribly.
‘And those years go so quickly, kids grow up so quickly, and it’s about quality of life,’ she added.
Huq said she feared that if she didn’t dedicate time to her children and ensure they were happy, healthy and loved they might need therapy to correct it all as adults.
She added: ‘The only time I get to myself is when they’re asleep because they are boundless energy – my two are literally ricocheting off the walls from morning to night.
‘But it’s fun and it’s amusing. I would say that time to yourself changes as a mum – you might savour that moment when you sit down with a cup of tea for two minutes and they are just in the other room, and that is time to yourself.
‘Or eating a chocolate biscuit in a cupboard, hiding from view… you learn to saviour these precious moments.
‘But it’s all so transient anyway, I can’t believe they’re both out of nappies and in school.
It’s zipping past at a rate of knotts so I’m glad I’ve been here for every moment.
‘To get to drop offs and pick ups I will move heaven and earth. All my work is now done in the window of 9am until 3pm because I want to be there.
‘In your primary years you are shaping and forming – these are the adults they will be.
‘Even by your secondary school the blueprint is set, by your twenties you are done, by your thirties you need therapy to undo all that weird stuff in your head so really if you don’t get the primary years right, you have screwed up an adult basically.
‘So, its really important and as grown ups we know we are just a product of our upbringing.’
And Huq added she has barely spent a night away from the children since either were born.
‘I really don’t feel the need to get away. I did one job where I overnighted away from them and I haven’t been away for a holiday with a girlfriend or anything and I really don’t mind.
‘I like them, they’re fun.’
It comes after the former presenter revealed earlier this month that she ‘kicked off’ when she discovered Blue Peter co-hosts Matt Baker and Simon Thomas were being paid more than her on the programme.
The London-born star is best known for presenting Blue Peter from 1997 to 2008.
Speaking to the Telegraph, she revealed she was earning ‘in the high £20,000s in 1997’ before she learnt that her co-presenters Matt Baker and Simon Thomas were being paid more.
She said: ‘So I kicked off, fought for my rights and upped my salary. Because I’d done maths as part of my degree, I made sure I got all the back payments with compound interest.’