By Al Booth for LovedByParents.com
It’s fair to say Lucy Mecklenburgh is happy.
Of course she is.
Lucy has millions of followers on social media, where she shares her journey and photos of motherhood with her gorgeous baby boy Roman and fiancé, bona-fide TV hunk Ryan Thomas.
Together they live in a beautifully gleaming house in Essex, where Lucy keeps her followers up to date with her life through a series of fitness videos and perfectly posed parenthood pictures.
The former star of TOWIE has every right to be happy.
Yet it’s not fame or the fortune made from each post that have her smiling today.
As the mother of a 7-month-old, Lucy is smiling for a reason that comes to us all. Eventually.
“Roman slept for twelve-and-a-half hours last night,” she exclaims with all the joy of someone revealing the winning amount on a Postcode Lottery advert.
“BUT… this is after months of sleep deprivation.” She reassures me with a tone that lets me know babies are the same whether you feature in glossy mags or not.
“It has been so hard,” she admits. “I honestly have a new appreciation for parents.”
“I am surrounded by Mums whose babies slept through from really early and I have been that jealous person that entire time.”
Lucy Mecklenburgh is, despite the Hello-esque photos and the seemingly perfect celeb life, as normal as any parent could be.
She doesn’t speak like a media-trained celeb with a pre-rehearsed answer to everything, as is the wont of a lot of celebs who have come through the reality TV turnstile into the world of fame.
She speaks like a Mum.
Roman Ravello Thomas was born on March 7th, 3 days before my own daughter Sienna. He arrived just 16 days before the UK went into its first lockdown.
When I spoke with Lucy in October, she was sharing a lot of weaning videos on her socials. It looked like it was going rather well.
“I started with porridge and then puree-ing up anything I was eating without salt and giving that to him too.
“It’s only just recently that I’ve started to experiment with eggy bread and avocado sticks. It didn’t feel the right thing to do at six months, but it does now, a month on.”
As my daughter is roughly at the same stage, I tell her the thing I hate about baby-led weaning is the reflux. I know it’s natural but it’s just very odd to have to sit and watch your baby stare you in the eye as they cough up a bit of egg; like a cat coughing up a fur ball.
“I initially gave him just little bits of banana, but he did the gagging thing, and it was terrifying. So I thought ‘No, I’m sticking to purees.
“It scares me. If I’m alone in the house, I just won’t feed him,” Lucy confesses. Laughing. (She’s quick to point out she does still feed him, just not solids.)
“And Ryan just says, “Do what you feel is right.”
Lucy’s fiancé Ryan Thomas is probably best known for playing Jason Grimshaw in Coronation Street. They met on a reality TV show and have been engaged since the summer of 2019.
“We’re missing out Sunday lie-ins,” she says, striking common ground with any parent who has ever had a newborn, ever.
“But you just become this team. You find your way and Ryan has been so supportive. I’ve exclusively breast fed and he’s made sure I’ve always got a drink when I’ve been feeding.
Obviously, he can’t do night feeds, but he supports in loads of other ways.”
“Like, he always makes sure we have a home-cooked meal for lunch or dinner. He’ll do bathtimes and reads Roman a book before bedtime.”
(I want to ask about the home-cooked meals, but my own self-esteem decides against it. I mean, beans-on-toast also constitutes a cooked meal, doesn’t it?)
SOCIAL MEDIA MUMMY
The reason I am speaking to Lucy Mecklenburgh is because she is fronting a Pampers campaign aimed at discouraging parents from comparing themselves to others on social media.
Given that she has 1.7 million followers on Instagram and a further 1.4 million on Twitter, it’s a little ironic, don’t you think?
“Well, as much as it has helped me sooooo much during lockdown and with having a new baby,” she says very matter-of-factly. “I think we do have to stop comparing ourselves, our lives, our babies to other people’s on social media.
I was looking at someone’s page the other week and their baby was sitting up. I found myself looking at Roman and thinking, ‘Should he be sitting up too?’”
Here’s someone who has more than 3 million people looking to her social media channels and she’s no different to any of us, in that sense.
Of course one way that Lucy Mecklenburgh is most certainly different from the rest of us does become apparent on social media.
As she says, she is doing baby-led weaning (unless she’s in the house on her own) or feeding Roman purees, yet the photos and videos she shares show a spotless, pristine house. All light greys and sunlight gleaming through handprint free windows.
(Mid-way through our interview I realise I have trodden-in banana on the bottom of my sock and an Ella’s Kitchen stain on my jeans.)
“Well, one: you only see the bits I want you to see and two: our sofa is an amazing wipe-clean sofa.
Remember, on social media you only see the good parts.
You should see the play area. You should see the washing pile.”
Now that is where I would happily compare myself to another parent on social media.
After all, one person’s hiding mess from 3 million social media followers is another’s bundling it all into the downstairs cupboard before the health visitor Facetimes.
And with that Lucy Mecklenburgh is off to pick up her “Bubba” from Ryan, before they all head off for a lunch filled with energy and solids.