Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Real lives: Really, I'm no super mum

Karen Ireland talks to BBC presenter Sarah Travers

Sarah Travers

SLEEPLESS nights are nothing new to Sarah Travers. While most of us are still sleeping she is on the road to work. Working the early shift in the BBC's Belfast newsroom and living in Portstewart may seen like something of a contradiction but Sarah makes it look easy.


SLEEPLESS nights are nothing new to Sarah Travers. While most of us are still sleeping she is on the road to work. Working the early shift in the BBC's Belfast newsroom and living in Portstewart may seen like something of a contradiction but Sarah makes it look easy.

She puts it down to experience. She's been doing the journey for the past six years and found the shifts great practice for motherhood.

He son, Jack, is now six and she's just back from maternity leave after having her daughter Evie Rose, who is four months.

"One way or another I don't get a lot of sleep," she reveals.

"Evie is still up during the night and is usually just settling back down to sleep when I have to start getting ready for work.

"I have to get up at 4 am and tip toe around the house so I don't waken the rest of the family."

Sarah confesses that much as she love her news reading job, she was wistful during her maternity leave about becoming a full-time mum.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my leave. It was lovely to have a summer off with Jack as well as Evie. There is no better place to be in the summer than Portstewart.

"It was idyllic. We took off for picnics and walks on the beach. I did think how great it would be to be at home all the time but then reality kicked in.

"Firstly there is the small matter of bills to be paid and it could be a long winter being stuck in the house.

"In the end the thought of returning to work was worse than the deed itself. I do love what I do and it was good to be back in adult company again. I work three days now which is a good balance."

Sarah reveals that she never hankered to work on television, especially not in front of the camera.

After graduating with a degree in journalism from Nottingham, she started working as a news reporter for Radio Foyle.

"When I was pregnant with Jack it seemed a safer option to keep me in the studio, so I began reading the bulletins.

"After Jack was born I was trying to juggle things and fit in freelance work. Eventually I started working in Belfast reading the news. It seemed to work so I stuck at it"

As well as being the launch pad for her career, Radio Foyle also proved a turning point in her personal life as this is where she met her partner Stephen, a television and radio producer, who is starting lecturing in journalism at the university of Ulster this month.

"With us both being freelance in the industry it has meant a lot of juggling and hopeful now with Stephen's new job there will be more stability," she says.

Sarah says one of the reasons she been able to live in her dream location is the support of her mum who lives close by.

"That's probably the main reason why I haven't had to move away from Portstewart. Mum has been a tremendous support and I couldn't bear not to live near her. She helps out all the time with the kids and often we all end up staying over with her so she can help out in the mornings while I am in work."

Sarah's working day starts at 6am and ends at 2pm and over the years she learnt that in order to cope with the early morning shifts she has to listen to her body.

"I've realised I am not super woman and that it is ok to take a nap in the afternoon when I come home.

"This way I am more refreshed and have more energy for the children when they come home from school and nursery. I also need to be super organised now.

"As a working mum I do have a degree of guilt. It comes with the territory, but the most important thing is knowing that they are happy and settled. I couldn't do it if they weren't."

The six year gap between siblings hasn't proved a problem in this household.

She explains: "Being that bit older Jack has been a great help with Evie. I don't know how well I would have coped with a toddler and a new baby.

"Jack loves being the big brother and is very protective of his sister.

"I feel lucky as I have the perfect gentleman's family.

"I'm not sure if I'll have any more. Never say never and all that. I did really want a daughter as I feel that mother/daughter relationship is extremely special."

As to her future career path, she says she would love to do more behind the scenes work.

"I would like to get my teeth into some meaty documentaries. News turns around so quickly. It would be nice to get more involved in something and watch it develop. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.

"Right now, I am extremely lucky. I have a good job which I love, a wonderful family and live in the best location in the world."

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