Parenting with Leanne Manas
Masanda Peter chats to celeb supermom Leanne Manas for Parent24.
How are you finding parenting?
I absolutely love it! It is something that you need to experience to understand just how wonderful it really is. My life has changed for the better in everyway since I had my son and became a parent.
How old were you when you had your first baby?
I was 34.
How involved were you in deciding when it was the right time to have a baby?
Very involved. My husband and I discussed it so much! We are both very career orientated and were both not ready when we first got married. But over the years we noticed more and more that there was a huge gap in our lives that needed to be filled. Marc was also very understanding of me and waited for me to be completely ready. We were very lucky that as soon as we decided it was the right time and the broodiness set in – I fell pregnant straight away.
Does your son’s name carry any heritage? Is there any name behind it?
No. I have always loved the name Alex or Alexander for a boy. I feel it is very strong. With my husband being of Greek descent it made sense to use the Greek version of the name – Alexandro. And it suits him to the T!
Has your work affected the time you spend with your child and how have you found the balance of being a working mom – if you have found the balance?
That has been the hardest part of being a working Mom. No matter how hard you try something will always suffer. We are not superheroes as mothers. There is only 1 of us so naturally we can only be at 1 place at a time, whether that be at home or with our children. I do my best however to work my schedule in such a way that I see my son as often as possible. I have an amazing help structure around me - with my mom and mother in law on speed dial constantly! They both live very close to me and are more than wiling to assist at any given moment.
When I am with Alexandro it is all about him and me. I switch off from the outside world and just concentrate on the quality of time we spend together as opposed to the quantity of time!
Working on Morning Live, I am sure you leave the house very early – how is that affecting the morning schedule of your son? Dropping him off at crèche and the morning feed – how are you handling that?
I have a live- in Nanny, Lenah, who is an absolute star! I leave the house very early so when my husband leaves for work she comes in and takes care of him until I arrive home. He goes to a playgroup 3 times a week, so Lenah gets him ready for me and as soon as I say goodbye on “Morning Live” at 8am I rush home and get him to school by 9am. It’s a big rush but somehow I manage it.
Does your son know that their mother is in the public eye?
He is 2 and a half and hasn’t got a clue! I am constantly being stopped and asked for photos and he just carries on in his own little world. I think he is far too young to understand.
What has being a mother taught you?
Patience and unconditional Love. It is such a deep love that it actually scares me. I did not realise that I could feel what I do and every day it becomes more and more intense!
If you could teach your son one thing about life – what would that be?
Respect yourself and those around you. The world out there is a tough and harsh place with many negative influences, but if you have the moral foundation to love and respect yourself and others, I believe you can overcome any challenge and temptation that comes your way.
What values are you passing onto your son that you received from your parents?
Love, respect, compassion and kindness. Never think you are better than anybody else. Always strive to be the best you can be with your abilities, but never look down on others in the process.
Who is more firm with your son between you and your husband?
Definitely my husband, Marc!
How important is the help of the extended family in raising your son?
It is vital. I would never be able to still be so active in my career without them. I also love seeing Alexandro surrounded by his grandparents, Aunts Uncles and cousins. He needs the influences of others around him and the love that they have for him is so incredible!
What are some of the things you never anticipated when it comes to parenting?
How tiring it is! Besides the lack of sleep, the constant disciplining and teaching is also tiring. There are times I feel like I sound like a stuck record and hate the sound of my voice saying the same thing over and over and over! Patience is definitely needed in parenting!
Do you allow your child to watch TV or do you let them read books?
I do let Alexandro watch TV - a limited amount however. I must confess it is my time to catch up on work or cook dinner or just complete chores. Luckily he loves books and being read too. He is a boy after my own heart!
When your son looks back, what kind of a mother would you like you to remember you as?
I hope he looks back at me with respect and affection. I want to have been his friend and parent at the same time. I want him to be able to talk to me about anything and know that I will always love him no matter what. There is a fine line between being your child’s friend and still being the disciplinarian – but I strive to attain that as the years go by and we grow together.
What is your dream for children in South African or even the world?
I dream for the freedom against crime and oppression for the children of this country. We are so burdened with the scourge of crime that being free is impossibility for the youth of today. They cannot enjoy the freedoms we had as children because you never know what will happen to them with all the crime out there.
I also hope that children no matter what their skin colour in SA is are given the freedom to see past that and live in harmony and unity in years to come. May kids get ahead in life because of merit and hard work and nothing else. But most importantly I pray for an education for each child in this country that allows them to open their minds to the true potential that is out there for this country!
I hear there is another baby on the way – how are you feeling?
I feel great! I am over the first trimester, which was difficult and am well into the second trimester. I have just found out it’s a girl and am over the moon! It’s going to be a whole new experience having a daughter, but I cannot wait!
How different is this pregnancy from the first one?
It is the same in my food aversions – I cannot stand the sight of meat but am totally off sweet things aswell, something I craved in my first pregnancy.
The other difference is that being a mother already does not allow you to focus that much on the second pregnancy as you are so busy with the first born that this one just flies away without you noticing.
Knowing what you know now what do you plan to do differently with this pregnancy than the previous one?
Don’t eat so much!!
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