Why Baby Sussex will thrive with Meghan, the VERY modern mom: Books instead of iPads, vegan paint for the nursery, a £70,000-a-year nanny, and two hours’ cuddle time a day
Vegan food bowls, celebrity nannies and definitely no Fair Isle baby knits — motherhood Meghan-style looks certain to be a thoroughly modern affair.
Of course, Meghan, 37, is still adjusting to her new role as a mother. However, if she takes her cue from her friends who have already had children — and who have asked for her help and support in raising them as a godmother — then an interesting picture emerges of what kind of a mum she might be.
There will also be the considerable influence of her own childhood — with divorced parents who both worked, and who shared custody, and that very strong relationship with her own mother. From what her pal Serena Williams has let slip, she has already been dreaming about what sort of a ‘mom’ she will be — and what sort of a child Baby Sussex will turn out to be.
Meghan in 2016 with her hair in a top knot and watching TV in bed with pal Benita Litt’s daughter Rylan
SLUMBER PARTIES AND SNACKS
Every family makes their own traditions. As the godmother to pal Benita Litt’s two daughters Rylan, eight, and Remi, seven, Meghan took part in their ‘slumber party’ tradition.
She is pictured right in 2016 with her hair in a topknot and watching TV in bed with Rylan, who is wearing pink fairy wings. Other traditions which her friends follow are Golden Globes sleepover parties where the children get to stay up and watch celebrities walk the red carpet, and of course the making of s’mores, snacks made with toasted marshmallows.
Meghan’s friend Jessica Mulroney tries to put a healthy spin on some of the American junk food treats and makes ‘pizza pockets’ using local cheeses and vegetables.
Lindsay Roth, meanwhile, is all about green juices and vegan bowls.
The tennis champion said: ‘My friend is pregnant, and she was like: “My kid’s gonna do this,” [and] I just looked at her like: “No, you’re not.” She was like: “I need to talk to you about tips,” because, yes, I had all of those high expectations with Alexis.’
She added of Meghan: ‘She’ll be the best mom, for sure.’
THE FIRST ROYAL INSTAGRAM TOT
No photos on the hospital steps, instead this is the first royal Instagram baby, with the couple sharing news of the birth on their online account hours before it was announced by Buckingham Palace.
However, despite their affinity with social media, Harry and Meghan are said to be determined that Baby Sussex has a private childhood. In this they would again be following the lead of George and Amal Clooney who’ve never permitted the publication of pictures of their children.
Baby yoga looks certain to be tried as one of the Duchess’ parenting techniques. Pictured: Meghan striking a pose
Will this be a struggle for Meghan? She had high ambitions for her blog The Tig before giving it up to join the Royal Family.
She did say last year that she found it ‘freeing’ being off social media.
However, they have now agreed that Instagram is the best way to get their message across, unmediated, and set up their @sussexroyal account last month.
It may well be that the pictures they share of the baby do not show his face — many Insta-influencers only picture the back of their children’s heads in order to preserve their privacy.
The whole issue is rather a hot button for Harry, who remains tormented by memories of his mother’s difficult relationship with the ‘intrusive’ media.
In a recent speech he claimed: ‘Social media is more addictive than drugs and alcohol and it’s more dangerous.’
Amal, 41, hired veteran nanny Connie Simpson (pictured) to look after Ella and Alexander, her twins by actor George Clooney
A HIGHLY EDUCATED NANNY WHO REALLY DOES KNOW BEST
Long before she met Harry, Meghan made it clear that she will always work. ‘I’ve never wanted to be a lady who lunches — I’ve always wanted to be a woman who works. And this type of [charity] work is what feeds my soul and fuels my purpose,’ she said.
As a working mum she will need childcare, and the couple are reported to have contacted a Kensington-based agency and begun the process of hiring a nanny.
Rather than choose a uniformed Norland nanny, who will be on hand 24/7 and follow rather rigid rules, they are hoping to find someone who can ‘fit in’ with their family.
It is said that they are keen for the nanny to be American, to reflect Meghan’s heritage, and are also keen to ‘explore the possibility’ of a male nanny.
The salary on offer is said to be £70,000 a year, which is what a premier-level nanny can command.
The agency, incidentally, is the one which also provided Liz Hurley and Patsy Kensit with their nannies, and is known as the ne plus ultra for the smart set.
Many of their nannies are graduates and are sophisticated young people who will be able to fit into any family, no matter how wealthy or high-profile, with ease.
A source said: ‘Meghan was clear in telling recruiters she favours an American over a Brit and wants them to feel part of the family rather than a uniformed member of staff.’
This seems to indicate a child-centric approach. Rather than outsourcing the raising of the child to a professional, this is the ‘extra pair of hands’ version of hiring a nanny.
It looks very much as if Meghan will be following in the footsteps of Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer, who seems to have become her closest friend in the UK.
Amal, 41, hired veteran nanny Connie Simpson to look after Ella and Alexander, her twins by actor George Clooney.
Nanny Connie (pictured above) actually came out of retirement just to get them through the first year. In a statement released ahead of the publication of Connie’s book, The Nanny Connie Way, the Clooneys said: ‘If I were a baby, I would want Connie to be my Nanny.
‘I want her to wrap me in a blanket and rock me to sleep. We loved having her as part of our family.’
Nanny Connie said: ‘What I’ve noticed over the years is that new parents are nervous and need someone to guide them. I feel that I am more of a life coach. I’m a family coach.
‘I’m all about the nucleus of the family, and being together.’
One routine which was instituted by the high-profile family — who travel often and entertain friends such as former U.S. President Barack Obama in the evenings — was early-morning family time.
Amal said: ‘Between six and eight in the morning we get to have them in our bed — I don’t schedule any calls before eight.’
HIGH FASHION FOR THE BABY
We all know that Meghan loves to shop. If her £360,000 maternity wardrobe was not proof enough, there was a large and well-tended shopping section in her lifestyle website The Tig.
So what will Baby Sussex wear? Her sister-in-law Kate has popularised a very particular vintage style when it comes to her three children, putting them in clothes by Rachel Riley and Cath Kidston. If Meghan follows the example of stylist Jessica Mulroney, then Baby Sussex will go in a very different direction.
The Mulroney kids wear a lot of adorably scaled-down versions of adult clothes, with bright colours and quirky touches. No smocking, no Fair Isle knits.
LIMITED SCREEN TIME A PRIORITY
Meghan’s closest friend from college, Lindsay Roth, is living in London and recently had a baby. She posted a picture ‘caught reading on World Book Day’ on Instagram. The baby was actually looking at a copy of her mother’s own chick-lit book — What Pretty Girls Are Made Of.
Meghan’s other close friend Jessica Mulroney has been through her own battles with twins Brian and John, eight, and daughter Ivy, five. She remarked on her Instagram account that the family iPad had been taken away and that the children were having a ‘digital detox’.
Serena Williams with her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. is a close friend of Meghan’s
Posting a picture of the boys reading in April last year, she wrote: ‘This is a digital detox. Three months ago we decided to take away all electronics from the kids. It wasn’t easy and it’s not for ever but the outcome is incredible. So proud of these little readers.’
Limiting screen time looks certain to be a priority for both Meghan and Harry. He raged over the video game Fortnite recently, saying: ‘Where is the benefit of having it in your household? It’s created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of the computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible.’
WILL HARRY BE PRINCESS DAD?
When she lived in Toronto, Meghan would often spend weekends with the Mulroneys. Here she will have observed some ‘gender neutral parenting’ where both parents take on their share.
As Jessica Mulroney shared, alongside a picture of her news anchor husband Ben wearing a tiara: ‘He’s our King or in Ivy’s mind, he’s Princess Daddy. Despite an extremely challenging schedule, he never misses a birthday, a soccer game or a concert. He makes us so proud. Happy Father’s Day @benmulroney. Love you today and every day.’
The royal couple are said to have prepared a nursery in Frogmore Cottage (pictured) with vegan paint
GOING FOR GREY IN THE GENDER FREE PLAYROOM
A nursery has been prepared at the newly refurbished Frogmore Cottage for the baby, with the walls painted in ‘gender-free’ neutral shades of white and grey.
It is reported that vegan paint, infused with rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils, has been used. This Auro paint costs £19.99 for five litres and is produced by the Organic and Natural Paint Co, a British firm.
It makes perfect sense in the context of Meghan’s wellness-centred lifestyle —she’s had Prince Harry give up vodka for juices.
A source said: ‘Meghan is actively avoiding any paints tested on animals or ones that contain milk or beeswax as an ingredient.’
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