Prosecco with Nia Parry

Is there honestly another Mum on this planet, that smiles as much as Nia Parry?! She’s a presenter, a producer, a teacher, a wife and Mother of two; Hedd is 7 and Tirion is 5. How on earth does she even have the time (or the energy) to smile all the time?! In an interview with Mam Cymru, we learnt more about the Mam behind the smile, and learnt how she succeeds to juggle all her roles and still look so overwhelmingly pretty!

You smile all the time! What’s the secret?! (No rude answers please!)

My Mum smiles all the time and I’ve been brought up with the mantra that “a smile doesn’t cost anything and saying nice things can change someone’s day!”. I’m very lucky and I know that – I have a family, friends, lovely children – so there’s no reason not to smile is there?! Even when I’m feeling sad or tired, if I smile – it makes me feel better!

Do your children smile all the time too?!

Hmmm…I better not answer that (between the screaming and tantrums…) yes, they are happy little children who smile a lot and Tirion has a mischievous laugh that makes everyone else smile too!

What kind of Mother are you?

You better ask my kids! Loving and caring I hope. Fair. I’m open and honest with my children. I’m not very good at discipline! The truth is, like all Mums, I’m far (very very far) from being perfect, but I try my best at all times, and it’s plenty of love and endless love that’s at the root of it all isn’t it.

Have you changed since becoming Mum?

Yes, I guess I have. I’ve certainly aged after all those sleepless years, and trying my best to juggle my work and family life – I’m up every morning at 5 am!! Saying that, I’m far happier and more satisfied, more grateful for every day in this world.

I’ve become rooted into a village and village life – something that wasn’t important to me before – but now, seeing my children become part of this village has made me realise that I will never leave Rhostryfan now! I’m far more aware of mortality too; I used to be quite brave…possibly stupid…but now I think twice before I do anything crazy, as I now have to look after myself for the sake of my children.

What have you learnt since becoming a Mum?

A lot. Firstly, I’ve learnt that its an honour – an honour that not everyone who has the desire to be a Mum, has the opportunity to do so, so I’m extremely grateful. I spent years trying to conceive and I had 3 miscarriages, which were heartbreaking – the thought of not having the opportunity to join this ‘fortunate club’ broke my heart. I’m still aware of and sensitive to those who are in that same situation now.

I now fully understand the true meaning of love too, and appreciate HOW MUCH my parents have done, and continue to do for me.

I’ve learnt that everyone is juggling and everyone is learning. I‘ve learnt to listen – children are far wiser than we think.

I’ve also learnt, and am still in the process of learning, that guilt is a wasteful and harmful emotion…even though it’s ever present in my life! When I have to leave my children to go away with work, I feel guilty. If I go to visit friends, go to the gym, do something for myself – I feel guilty..and then…I feel guilty about feeling guilty, as it’s such a waste of my energy!!!

What’s the best advice you can offer new Mums?

Enjoy the little things…forget about the washing up…spend time with the children…read with them…let them play in the mud and go with them!! Don’t listen to everyone’s advice – if you want to lie with your children until they fall asleep – do it – very soon, they won’t let you into their bedrooms!!!!! And don’t feel guilty – your doing your best! (hmmmm! Even though I don’t listen to this little voice!)

What’s going on in your working life at the moment?

Lots of exciting things!

I’m presenting a new TV series called ‘Adre’ where I get to nose around the homes of famous people in Wales and I love it! I’m producing a series for S4C called ‘Ar Werth’ (for sale) about Wales’ estate agents. I’m working part time as an editor of children’s books and Welsh learners’ books for Gomer.

I’ve just started my own TV Company called Flamingo and I’ve just done an interesting film about the benefits of Welsh in the workplace. I work with the Canolfan Dysgu Cymraeg Cenedlaethol – The National Welsh Language Centre on various projects and this is very close to my heart.I still translate, run workshops and teach a few Welsh classes, and scripting….and anything else that anyone asks me to do to be honest!

How on earth do you juggle all this with being a Mum?!

I love juggling…honestly, I’m at my best when I‘m doing lots of different things…but it isn’t always easy. I don’t always succeed! The difficult thing is the balance. As I’m self employed there’s always the pressure to say ‘yes’…I’m not very good at saying ‘no’. I’m quite organised and that helps. I start everyday by revising my ‘To Do’ list and note what I need to do today – tomorrow…and those things I’d like to achieve long term! I’d be lost without this.

I start my working day at 5 am so I can have two hours peace and the feeling that I’ve already accomplished something before the kids (and my husband) get up! It’s a good feeling…but I should go to bed earlier! I work between 9 – 3 when the kids are in school and then I can put all my energy into being Mum until the go to bed…and then I’m back on the laptop! The only problem is, I don’t have time to watch TV and…relax!

Since when have you been helping people to learn Welsh?

After I graduated from Swansea University in 1996, I went to work as an English tutor in Istanbul, Turkey for 9 months before returning to Cardiff University to study a PHD, where I researched different techniques if learning a second language. That’s when I had my first job teaching Welsh for Adults. After a very happy time there. I was offered the job of the tutor on the TV series Welsh in a Week and we did 6 series – 90 programmes! Since then, I’ve been sharing my time between teaching Welsh and working in the media.

Why do you want people to learn Welsh?

Where do I start!!..Language is a delicate and live treasure that anyone can embrace and love. There’s nothing better than meeting someone who shares your enthusiasm and passion, and love for our language, it’s thrilling to see them developing as they learn the language – it’s more than just learning a language – tutors often see their pupils grow as people, they flower and discover a brand new world and that’s seriously exciting!

What are the benefits of raising children bilingually?

There are endless benefits of raising children bilingually…trilingually…and more! There are emotional benefits if you raise your child in the language of their country – it deepens their sense of belonging. Practical benefits – it provides them with additional opportunity’s when they look for work. Educational benefits – There’s a lot of evidence which proves that bilingualism helps the mind, and makes the brain work in more positive ways. It also makes it easier to learn other languages. Cultural benefits – their understanding and compassion with the world and other cultures is far broader and deeper. It’s far better to have several windows to look out at the world!

At the end of the day, you are opening doors for them, and in years to come they won’t have to attend classes to learn Welsh as a second language – they’ll learn it without much effort – soaking it up like a sponge, like osmosis!

What advice do you have for Mums/ parents who want to learn Welsh?

Go for it…enjoy it…don’t wait until your fluent before you start talking…just talk! PLEASE don’t worry about mutations and mistakes – it does’t matter – communication is the important thing!

Back to your family, what do you like doing together?

Simple things like going for bike rides, beach days, walking up hills, swimming, visiting nain and taid / mam-gu and tad-cu, playing with friends, bbq’s, lego, building train tracks, a paned in a café, playing in the park, kicking a ball, playing monopoly, baking a cake, bouncing on a trampoline. Good times!

What would be your perfect day?

Imaginary day – Breakfast – syrup and cheese toast on the beach in Barbados with my family…swim in the sea..gallop along the beach on a horse…sitting with my mum and dad having chats over a ‘paned’…sitting on a mountain on my own enjoying the peace and quite as I watch the sunset…tango dancing in Buenos Aires…eating a curry in India…listening to a full orchestra and ending the day cuddling my kids and Aled in bed, as we watch a film.

Otherwise, I’m very happy with a family day at the beach in Llanddwyn or Dinas Dinlle and ending the day with a paned and a cake in a café! I’m easily pleased to be honest!

Mam Cymru would like to thank the lovely and inspirational Nia Parry for taking time out from her bonkers schedule to chat to us! It’s been a pleasure!

*For reference, Nia is equally as lovely and pretty in the flesh and she does smile all the time! I am going to try smiling more!

By Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru.

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