Having three babies in your 40s would have many women exhausted but former Miss Ireland, Pamela Flood, is simply bouncing with energy!
Pamela Flood is no stranger to Ireland’s media – or its TV screens! In a long and varied career the 45-year-old former Miss Ireland has worked in a variety of roles – from Beauty Editor at the Sunday Tribune to presenting on TV3. But for the last six years Pamela has been in a different – but ultimately more rewarding role – as a stay-at-home mum.
‘I didn’t have my first baby Harrison until I was 39,’ Pamela tells MM, ‘and to be honest, up until that time I’d been a party girl. I loved my social life and was literally having a ball. If I had to be honest though, I was kind of done with that lifestyle – it had started to lose its appeal so when I met my husband Ronan at a friend’s wedding in 2008, I really was ready to settle down!’
‘Husband Ronan’ is Ronan Ryan, celebrity restaurateur and co-owner with Pamela of Counter Culture on Dublin’s Mercer Street Lower. The couple are now parents to Harrison (6), Elsie (3) and Gracie, who’s 16 months old, so, as you can imagine, Pamela’s hands are full with three kids under six and as a partner in the restaurant where she not only looks after the social media but also does ‘front of house’ at the restaurant, ensuring that all of the customers are being well looked after.
‘Dining out isn’t just a meal,’ says Pamela. ‘It’s a dining experience, so it’s vital that the customers see a smiling face and have a pleasant welcome.
‘The idea for the restaurant first struck us about four years ago when we realised that more and more people were looking for healthy fast food as opposed to drive-thru burger joints and such like.
‘While I was pregnant with Elsie, I attended the launch of a book called ‘The First 1,000 Days’. It was a book put together by a number of different foodies and chefs with healthy meals and treats for children. The whole ethos behind the book was to get away from processed children’s food and provide them with a variety of tasty; appealing and most importantly healthy food.
‘Harrison – who’s now six absolutely loved the chicken risotto and the sugar-free ice cream – so did I – so from there we were inspired.
‘I have to say, however, that most of our clientèle isn’t actually looking for fast food as such, but more healthy options, so we do a lot of chicken, prawn and fish options with loads of veg. Like most parents I’m really concerned about the levels of obesity in today’s society – particularly in kids – it’s a ticking time bomb for later in life!’
With her hands so full, it’s perhaps surprising to learn that Pamela is also in the final stages of launching her own lifestyle website, but this plate-spinning flurry of activity likes to be busy!
‘I’ll always be on the go,’ she laughs, ‘but while I’ve enjoyed the last few years at home with the kids, I’ve slowly edged my way back to work with writing. The last few years have definitely been hectic – and a little crazy! Sometimes I think my days are just a flurry of ‘feed the kids, dress the kids, get the two bigger ones to school, pick them up….’. Like any other busy mum, a lot of my day is also taken up with food preparation. It has been stressful but it has also been very enjoyable. Now, with the two older ones away for part of the day (Elsie gets picked up at 12pm and Harrison in the afternoon), I’m back home for 9.15 every morning, so that’s the time for me to take Gracie to the park or to the leisure centre next door for a swim. I like to burn off her energy – and mine – with something that’s physically beneficial.
‘Even with launching the website I won’t need full-time childcare, so I’m very lucky in that respect. I don’t want to be away from my kids at all and I’m very grateful for the fact that I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay at home for the last six years, but I definitely feel that I would like to be interacting more with adults during the day. When you become a mum you certainly undergo a massive transformation and you fall into a lifestyle where your life totally revolves around every moment with your kids. You have moments that make you laugh, that make you cry…such as when they reach a milestone – say their first word or take their first step. I’m so glad that I was able to be here for this mixture of emotions and that I was able to spend so much of my children’s first years with them. They’re my favourite people bar none but at the same time I have sometimes found myself craving adult company. While I’m no longer the party girl that I was, I definitely love having girlie conversations with friends and just enjoying adult humour. It’s been a real mixture of emotions. Before you have kids you have nothing else to compare it with, so every moment is special, but I think I’ve now reached a stage where I’d like to blend both parts of my life a little more.
‘As I said, I won’t need to have full-time childcare and can just pick and choose the hours that I’ll work, so it will be more a case of me fitting in with my children’s routines but still getting to develop some of my interests. The idea of the lifestyle website (pamelaflood.ie) has been churning around in my brain for some time and it’s great to now be able to develop it. It will be a mix of children’s issues, fitness stories and cooking ideas, so I’ll be developing all of my own interests and hoping that it will appeal to other mums too. Over the last while, I’ve been edging myself slowly back into work by writing so I’ve been dusting down the brain cells and getting my brain back into gear! I’ve been making inroads into some projects so the next year will be an exciting one in terms of seeing where all of this leads. I’ll still, of course, help out at the restaurant because I love doing that, but I also love to come home and see my children’s gorgeous faces. I’m one very lucky woman!’