Matthew Amroliwala, BBC anchor of Indian origin, leads a curious life. When he is not presenting the world news on BBC, he sits at home looking after his five kids. His days of partying may have been replaced by a hectic schedule of heating the bathwater and reciting bedtime tales, but the 52-year-old isn't complaining. After all, balancing work and a chaotic household, crazy as it may sound, can be a lot of fun if you have a sense of humour.
BT More catches up with the journalist for a closer insight into how he does it.
MAKE CHANGES TO ACCOMMODATE KIDS
It's a good thing I had kids quite late in life, because it gave me enough time to do all the stuff I wanted. I don't go out at all these days. I come back home exhausted from work, and then I find the rest of the day getting gobbled up by my children. The last movie we went out for was The Full Monty, and it was way back in 1997. Now, I know that lots of people (with children) try to continue living their old life. They think: Just because I have kids, why should it encroach on what I like to do? So they keep looking for ways to get away, trying to find somebody else to take responsibility for their kids. Maybe I just think differently. When I had children, I simply accepted that my earlier phase of life was over.
CHOOSE FLIGHT TIMINGS WISELY
I'm not good with jet lag. No matter what I do, I end up going to bed ill after a trip. I've tried everything, from staying awake through the flight, timing my sleep pattern to fit the correct time zone, even vitamin C, but I still end up feeling disastrous. Try to fly at a time that does not affect your body clock drastically. Does alcohol work? I have as much of it as I can, especially if I'm travelling with my five children. I almost never drink water when I fly; this shocks my father. He is a proper Indian who can't be without his bottle of paani.
THE CHALLENGES OF TRAVELLING
What's the biggest challenge I face while travelling long distance with five children? Managing not to lose them. Packing for a trip entails running around the house like a lunatic, throwing things into the suitcase, and then making my wife sit atop to try and shut it. It's never more organised than that. It's a really strange mismatch: while I'm utterly organised and scrupulous with my work, my domestic life is ruled by chaos and mayhem. I forget to do things, I forget to carry a phone with me, I drive everyone nuts. I'm completely shambolic, really. As the father of five kids, I love it when I go through customs, and the officials ask: Five children? All with one wife? And I find my wife glaring at me.
LEARN TO COPE WITH SURPRISES
I think life gets better once you accept that there are limitations to the things you can have. And then there's always bad luck. You think you've got it all arranged, but then the tiniest thing, maybe a small glitch in the system like somebody falling sick, makes everything come crashing down. However, having a successful job helps one navigate through such situations a little more easily.
SHARE PARENTING RESPONSIBILITIES
Parenting can dissemble you as a person simply because you no longer have the time to think about yourself. All the while, you find yourself paddling hard, trying to keep your head above the surface. There's an odd notion that it's usually the mother who ends up getting burdened by the children, but that's not necessarily true. When your wife is employed, all parenting tasks get split right down the middle. But, when I look at our arrangement, I feel happy that my wife has a successful career. I have three daughters, and I want them to have a role model like their mother.
CHOOSE YOUR PARTNER WISELY
Twenty years ago, I'd never have known that being married is so much fun. I thought it was something that you just have to do. Bad marriages usually happen due to bad selection. My wife is a lot of fun, which is why I married her, and time has proved me right. Choose wisely.