She may be the wife of the future king, but, as she makes clear today, the Duchess of Cambridge shares the same fears, joys, and guilt as mothers everywhere.
Engaging with the competing demands of three children and a high-profile work function often leaves the Duchess – who declares herself a hands-on mother – with “doubts and questions.”
Asked if she is suffering from maternal debt, she answers honestly: ‘Yes, absolutely. And everyone who doesn’t do that as a mother actually lies! Yes, all the time.
The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured above on a tour of Canada in 2016, recalls’ a very wise man ‘who advised her that she did not necessarily have to be always with her children as long as they were surrounded by people who are’ safe and loving and caring ‘
“And you even know this morning … George and Charlotte were like:” Mama, how could you possibly not take us to school this morning? “… It’s a constant challenge – you hear it time and time again from mothers, even mothers who don’t necessarily work and are not drawn in the direction of work and family. “
Asked if she is suffering from maternal debt, she answers honestly: ‘Yes, absolutely. And everyone who doesn’t do that as a mother actually lies! Yes, all the time. Kate says she is happiest in the country with her children
In her remarkable interview with podcaster Giovanna Fletcher, the 38-year-old Duchess admits that she “had doubts … about the guilty element of being away from work”.
Inevitably, she adds, you notice that “you question your own decisions and your own judgments and such things, and I think that starts from the moment you have a baby.”
She remembers ‘a very wise man’ who advised her that she should not always be with her children as long as they were surrounded by people who were ‘safe and loving and caring’.
“So yes, it was really a burden on my shoulders that it is not entirely my responsibility to do everything,” she adds.
“Because … we all have good days, bad days – and if you can dilute that with others who don’t have it on that specific day … I think it makes such a difference to your child and makes them so constant and keep it as happy as possible. “
In her remarkable interview with podcaster Giovanna Fletcher, the 38-year-old duchess admits that she “had doubts … about the guilty element of being away from work”
Sometimes the podcast feels less like an interview than a chat with an old friend while enjoying a cup of coffee – and what emerges is all the more enlightening. Above all, it is the pure bliss that the Duchess derives from having children who shine through it.
“I have found a new pleasure in life,” she explains, adding that she is happiest when “with my family out in the country and we are all filthy dirty.”
George, six, Charlotte, four and 22 month old Louis pull their mother “in all directions,” she says.
“We all need space”: the Duchess – pictured with a then 13-month-old Prince Louis at the Chelsea Flower Show last May – says it’s vital to take the time to focus on what really matters to you children
More than once during the conversation the duchess evokes domestic scenes that are known to many parents, but which may seem difficult to reconcile with her status.
“Then the third [child] how can you physically get all three children out of the car at the same time? That is not possible, “she says.
Although we recognize that mothers “get a lot of support” during pregnancy, the challenge is when you are then sent home with your newborn baby, especially as a mother for the first time, you think, “Oh my god, can I do this doing well? “
The family is pictured on the left at Kate’s sister Pippa’s wedding, while Kate is seen with Charlotte on Christmas Day
“William was like:” Oh my god, is this what parenthood will be? “It took us a little time to establish ourselves and go again, but that’s the beauty, I think, of having a newborn baby. You will be drawn to your most difficult and unknown places that you had never thought of before. It is also almost worse when you read the books, because that plays in how things should happen. “
The duchess says that she “has learned a tremendous amount that I would like to tell myself at the start of pregnancy, right at the start, what I really think is important as a parent, but what is also important for the children.
‘It’s the simple things that really make the difference. It spends quality time with your children, it’s not like you’ve done every drop-off and every pick-up. But it is actually those quality moments that you spend with your child, where you listen to them well, understand what they feel and, if something goes wrong, really take the time to think: ‘How do I feel as a mother? Am I actually making the situation worse for my child because it brings out all sorts of things that I feel instead of concentrating on them and how they can respond or respond to certain situations? ‘That would be another advice that I would like to give myself.
Mixed emotions: Kate, last year at a regatta with Charlotte, says that motherhood is a combination of joy, guilt and insecurity
‘Someone asked me recently, what would you like your children to remember about their childhood? And I thought that was really a good question, because actually, if you really think about it, did I sit down and try their maths and spell homework on the weekend? Or is it the fact that we went out and lit a bonfire and tried to cook sausages that didn’t work because it was too wet?
‘That’s what I want them to remember, those moments with me as a mother, but also the family that goes to the beach, gets soaked, fills our boots full of water … no stressful household where you try to do everything and not really one thing succeed. “
Bluebell snap “means so much”
Princess Charlotte subtly smells a bell on a clear spring day and is captured on camera by her mother who explores the grounds of Anmer Hall, her family’s mansion in Norfolk.
Princess Charlotte is captured on camera by her mother who explores the grounds of Anmer Hall, her family’s mansion in Norfolk
In her interview, the duchess – an avid photographer – reflects how the image, left, shows the “physical and mental well-being” that children enjoy when they are immersed in their natural environment.
“As children we spent a lot of time outside and I am really passionate about it,” she says.
“I think it’s so great for physical and mental well-being and laying that foundation.
“I have this one photo of Charlotte that smells like a bluebell, and it’s such moments that mean so much to me as a parent. I try to use such moments every day, even when I don’t have the time … but that’s what I would like to do in an ideal world. “
With her thick dark hair tied in a ponytail, Charlotte wears a checkered Amaia Kids skirt under a gray cashmere cardigan in the newly released photo that was thought to have been taken on the occasion of her fourth birthday last May.