Celebrity Families

EXCLUSIVE: Ada Nicodemou on raising her son and the parenting double standard that drives her crazy

''It annoys the crap out of me!''

By Alex Lilly
When you become a parent, you're bombarded with a never-ending list of do's or don'ts but Ada Nicodemou is all about getting back to basics.
The Home and Away star has learned a lot since she became mum to six year-old Johnas but confessed that there is one thing that still bothers her when it comes to parenting. And it's a double standard that many mums face every day.
"I always find it amazing when you see dads out and they're looking after the kids and they always say to the mum, 'Oh aren't you lucky?' It annoys the crap out of me! Like what do you mean, it's his child too!" Ada exclusively tells Now To Love.
The Home and Away star added that she, like many mums, puts pressure on herself to be Wonder Woman and be on top of everything.
"I am a control freak, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the perfect mum, to be the perfect housewife, the perfect worker and I don't think men do that."
Ada's son Johnas has just started year one. (Image: Instagram @adanicodemou)
However Ada, who shares Johnas with her ex-husband Chrys Xipolitas, says that gender expectations when it comes to parenting are changing thanks to more and more people talking about it.
"Back when mum gave birth to me, my dad just dropped my mum off, he went home, had breakfast, had a shower and then got a phone call and just came back in. It was different back then, men were the primary breadwinners and women stayed at home but no one in Sydney can afford that now!"
"If you do want to, that's fine but we've both got careers and we're both parenting together."
WATCH: Ada Nicodemou getting ready for the 2018 Logies. Post continues...
Ada, who is the ambassador for the Little People, Big Lives report commissioned by The Sanitarium Health Food Company and The University of Notre Dame, says she's all about bringing back that holistic, simple approach to raising children. That is, focusing on the key pillars of safety, security, love, healthy eating and drinking, active play, healthy sleep and positive screen time.
She's also big on stripping away the pressure that so many parents face to do everything perfectly, something Ada herself struggled with when her son was a newborn.
"It's always a lot harder for women who have been in the workforce from such a young age to then have a baby and realise that you have no control over anything that they do," she confesses.
WATCH: Ada Nicodemou on Heartbreak High. Post continues...
"They just take over your life. I'd always had the perfect home and I exercised and I ate really well and I could see my friends whenever I wanted and my career's gone well, I had control over every aspect of my life and then this newborn baby comes along who's not sleeping, has silent reflux, I struggled with breastfeeding, the house was a mess, I was just so tired, I was forever changing nappies..."
"So I think it's such a rude shock when you first bring home a baby. It's so funny, you're in hospital for five days and they say 'Ok now you get to go home,' and I'm like 'What do you mean, you're trusting me with this child?' So I learned that lesson early on that you can't control children."
"They need time with us as well and if it means I've got to stay up for an extra couple of hours once he goes to bed to get everything done, well so be it." (Image: Instagram @adanicodemou)
Ada also admits that a key lesson she's learned as a parent is to find that balance between raising a well-rounded human and disciplining her son but also letting his personality shine.
"I remember there was this moment when we were going down the escalators at our local shopping centre and he was just dancing away to the music, he likes to sing and dance and he's quite loud. So I said 'Johnas maybe just stop doing that,' and he goes, 'What do you mean Mum, I'm just dancing!' And I'm like yeah just keep dancing, who cares what everyone's thinking? If the kid wants to dance, he can dance!"
Ada is making sure she disciplines her son but also lets his little personality come out! (Image: Instagram @adanicodemou)
Learning to prioritise is also something that Ada's been learning to do.
"When he comes home from school, he just wants to spend time with me but I've got two loads of washing to do, I've got to get dinner ready, I might have a script to read or answer some emails and you've got to put everything aside for a second and say 'Of course.'"
"They need time with us as well and if it means I've got to stay up for an extra couple of hours once he goes to bed to get everything done, well so be it. I can't say to him 'Don't be on the iPad,' when I'm on the phone while we're having dinner, you just can't do that."
Ada has starred as Leah Patterson-Baker on Home and Away since 2000. (Image: Instagram @adanicodemou)
Ada has been part of the Home and Away family since 2000 and is one of the iconic show's longest serving cast members. So what's in store for her character this year in Summer Bay?
"Leah's going through a lot of changes this year with her son moving out of home, she's 40 years old, her son's grown up and left, she's got a successful business but what is she doing for herself?" Ada tells us.