Former Strictly Come Dancing star Louise Redknapp doesn't expect breakfast in bed or bunches of flowers from her two sons Charley, 12, and Beau, eight, come Mother's Day. Instead, the joy of being a mum of boys rests in the every day affection that they shower upon the Stuck in the Middle singer. Louise sat down with HELLO! to answer our readers' pressing Mother's Day questions, and revealed her children's sweetest moments, why she and husband Jamie Redknapp love being parents to their sport-loving boys, and her ingenious tips for dealing with those awkward 'tweenage' years as Charley moves firmly into his teens. The former Eternal pop star also spoke about dancing with fellow Strictly star Ed Balls on tour, and why her new partnership with Ariel to redefine clean was inspired by Charley and Beau's P.E. kit needs.
What was your most memorable Mother's Day?
"As a mum, the most memorable moments for Mother's Day are when you first have your baby and get your very first Mother's Day card. I think there's no other memory like it, because it's such a whole new feeling when you get your first ‘To Mummy'. That's a memory you'll never forget."
What's the best thing about being a mum of boys?
"They love their mums! It's great, because I don't put any pressure on them about being good at sport or doing all the boys' stuff, to me just as long as they're happy, and I think they really respond to that. They show me a huge amount of affection and that means everything to me."
Do you have any tips for dealing with the 'tweenage' years?
"Being a mum to an eight year old and a 12 going on 13 year old, I'm facing lots of very different challenges being a mum. The phone – especially Snapchat – is pretty much ruling our 12 year old's life, but I try and remember back to the days when I was that age and how being with my friends and having some freedom was so important.
"So I try and respect my kids in the same way, especially my older son Charley because he's at the stage where he's really finding himself. I think giving him a bit of space and time, and letting him embrace his friends [is key]. We're always the household that has lots of boys over and it's important to me that they all can come and hang at ours. I try to embrace everything they want to do and let them do it at my house, which sometimes is absolute carnage but I think it keeps me secretly in control, without him knowing!"
How do you keep P.E. kits and school uniforms bright?
"How do I keep my boys' PE kits bright? Well, I'm working with Ariel 3 in 1 pods, which are brilliant, and I've used for a long time actually. It keeps everything looking as good as new. I'm a bit of an OCD mum, so it's really important to me that every time my kids go to school they look fresh and clean. I kind of pride myself on that, so I do make sure I get them up bright."
How do you stay stylish on the school run?
"I would be a complete liar if I said I always did the school run looking stylish because I don't. Some days I'm in dog walking clothes or dodgy tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie, and some days I do the school run on the way to or from work. Every day is different for me, so I don't put a huge amount of emphasis on what I wear because it's not that important. Saying that, as a woman I think we really do feel confident when we're looking our best so if I do have the opportunity to get up in the morning and put something nice on to drop the kids off at school it's a bonus. And that normally consists of jeans and T-shirt or jumper. I still keep it pretty simple."
What was your favourite Strictly Come Dancing outfit?
"There were so many I loved for so many different reasons. I loved doing the Argentine Tango because it was the first time I got to play a sexy role. I got to wear a really amazing dress and the music was incredible. I also loved doing the Paso Doble in Blackpool because I got my favourite outfit of the whole show: I got to dress as a queen and have jewels, the dress was gold and black, and the dance was fierce!"
What one thing would you do if you had the time?
"The one thing I wish I had more time to do would most probably be dance; after coming off the back of Strictly I found such a passion. But with work and a family trying to find time to go to lots of different dance classes is tough."
What's your favourite song to dance to?
"My favourite song to dance to is such a hard one! It changes all the time. But one I have great memories off is Ed Sheeran's Shape of You. On the Strictly tour we would put it on every time we got to a hotel and all dance, and I have great memories of dancing with Ed Balls to that song. He's a great mover and I thoroughly enjoy dancing with him!"