Ben Shephard, 36 is a TV presenter and dad to sons Sam, five and Jack, four. We caught up with the dashing dad of two to talk family life, school run scrambles and why he might be ready for baby number three...
Your boys are very close in age. Are they best mates or squabbling siblings?
They're the best of friends and love hanging out together, but both have a competitive streak which sometimes results in the odd squabble. We have lists for everything to keep the peace, like who went up the stairs last and who had the first cuddle at bedtime the night before, so they can see everything is fair and avoid an argument.
Are they firmly through the tantrum stage then?
Touch wood, we haven't had any really bad ones yet. I'm not gloating, but they've generally both been brilliant throughout toddlerhood, and although they can have their moments, we've been very lucky.
What sort of dad are you, hands-on or in it for the fun stuff?
I'm involved with as much as I can. I do the school run as often as work allows, although I think it should really be renamed the school scramble, as it can be so tricky juggling everything and getting everyone out of the door on time. My wife, Annie, has been ill this week and out of action, so I've been doing everything with the boys and at home. I completely take my hat off to her and all mums out there - you're amazing and I don't know how you do it!
We bet you're a popular man at the school gates when you're dropping off and collecting the boys...
I'm usually too busy unloading, getting coats on and making sure they're both in the right place to notice what else is happening. I haven't seen any mums swooning, but you never know!
Do the boys know you're famous?
They know I'm on the TV but I think they're too young to really understand. Jack was at a class the other week and one of his friends ran over to him and said 'Ben's on the telly.' Jack ran over to Annie and said, 'Ben's on the telly' without any realisation it was really his dad his friend was talking about!
It sounds like life is pretty hectic. What's your favourite thing to do with the boys at the weekends for some down time?
Anything that involves being outside. Life is all about creating memories and enjoying time with your family, so we make sure we have days out and time together that we all enjoy. We're quite an active family, and I love keeping fit. Sam and Jack see me heading out for a run in my gear and want to be involved, asking me if we can all do press-ups together. They're both so full of energy, so it's really about keeping them busy enough so it burns off for bed time. A play on the beach or a bit of golf works...until we put them in the bath at the end of the day and it's like they've been plugged into the mains again. They're suddenly full of beans as they love splashing around so much.
There are lots of long weekends coming up, what are your plans?
We're going to Cornwall and doing a Cadbury and National Trust Easter Egg Trail which I'm supporting. It's great way to get out in the fresh air, keeps the boys happy, and we all get to (hopefully!) eat chocolate at the end. That's my kind of day.
What about the Royal Wedding, is Kate and Wills fever hitting your household?
We won't be trekking into town to see it, but we'll all be together and might watch it on the TV. Annie's talking about dressing the boys up for the occasion, but I think full-on page boy outfits might be a bit much....
What's your favourite thing about being a dad?
Making them laugh has got to be up there, but the best thing is just hearing them call me Dad, and knowing that they need me. Sam is a bit older, but Jack is still incredibly tactile, and if we're going somewhere he'll shout, 'Dad wait for me' and come running to hold my hand so we can go together. That little moment when they reach for your hand is amazing.
And the most worst?
I find being consistent with them incredibly difficult, especially as being a parent is never black and white. Another tricky one is resisting the temptation to laugh when you're telling them off, especially if they've done something funny, but still naughty! I'm terrible at distracting them when they should be doing something else, and tend to lead them astray with fun and games, even when I know I shouldn't.
So, two little boys, time to try for a girl?
Maybe one day, perhaps when Jack is properly at school. I'm one of three, so who knows. I would love a girl, but I'm pretty confident with boys now, so I'd be happy either way. Jack says he wants a little brother like Sam has in him, so we'll have to wait and see...
Ben is supporting the Cadbury and National Trust Easter Egg Trails which are taking place across the country over Easter weekend. Find your nearest trial at eastereggtrails.com
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